The Peplink BR1 series of routers have been around many years and have provided a cost-effective way of adding internet connectivity aboard. They were always very simple and straightforward with minimal ports, and for a long time, only one WiFi band. The MAX BR1 Pro 5G is well beyond those older models and has a number of improvements. I've been using mine for a couple of months, and these are my initial impressions.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://seabits.com/peplink-max-br1-pro-5g-first-impressions/
What external marine antenna would you use with this? 20G? 40G?
Either one would be good. If you used the Peplink Maritime 20G, you’d need two of them. With the 40G you’d only need one, but I would guess two 20Gs might perform better. I’ve not been able to test that yet, but it is on the list over the next month.
Which modem is in the thing? Is it still a daughter card?
The modem is a Sierra Wireless EM9191. I’m not sure how it is integrated into the unit.
Steve, thank you for another great review. I bought Pepwave MAX-BR1-MK2 based your review almost 3 years ago and now its time to upgrade. We live-a-board and sailing around a lot, just entered Turkey from Greece. I was wondering if you would suggest a new router that has better world bands coverage? Also, should we consider MAX BR1 5G as our new router?
There is an APAC/EMEA version of the BR1 Pro 5G, part number MAX-BR1-PRO-5GD-T-PRM. I’d take a look at the bands it supports and see if that matches where you are traveling. You can find the datasheet here.
I always recommend buying the newest modem possible as the mobile router world is always a little behind the providers (sometimes quite a bit) and you don’t want to have to buy something for the newer bands that frequently.
What about the new C-Band that is supposed to enable greater 5G performance? Would the Peplink devices utilize the C-Band? From a quick spec eval I don’t see it listed. Therefore, with this emerging issue, will Peplink need to upgrade their 5G design(s)?
Thanks, i will take a look!
C-Band isn’t something that is in wide use yet. Verizon and AT&T have it scheduled for 2022 or even 2023/24. Most products out there don’t support it, with the exception of some rare cases for T-Mobile.
All providers will have to roll out new versions of things with that support. Since mobile routers and the modems that power them, usually from 3rd party vendors, usually take longer, I would suspect we won’t see this for a year or so.
With the peplink max BR1 pro 5g setup with wifi as WAN to access wifi from say a marina, is the device still able to act as a wireless AP that my devices can connect to or will i have to add access points into my network?
Do you have any newer recommendations for wifi antennas? I see in your 2020 project you use two Poynting OMNI-496 WiFi . Is this still a good option or have newer things come around since then that I could use with this br1 pro 5g to get wifi signals.
Also is there a reason you would use a microtik groove in the WAN port instead of just using the wifi as wan built into the pro 5g?
It will function as both, but with reduced performance on both. It is doing both things with a single set of radios, so expect less performance than if it was doing one thing.
Those are still good, as are the Peplink Maritime 20G and Mobility 42G depending on your configuration and space.
Yes, for better WiFi as WAN performance if you didn’t want to use the built in solution. The best solution in my opinion is to use a Peplink router like the BR1 Pro 5G for all internet or WAN sources, so that includes LTE and WiFi as WAN. That means disabling the WiFi access point in it for local clients. I’d use a mix of antennas, some for LTE and some for WiFi.
Then I’d use either the AP One Rugged or AP One AX series of access points for the local WiFi network and have the router control them.
Thanks Steve, Im leaning towards just buying the maritime 40g so i have single antenna solution for the LTE and GPS. The things pricey but seems like a good solution.
So my intended system is going to be pretty much what you describe. BR1 pro 5g with a maritime 40 for the LTE system and then two OMNI-496s hooked up for WIFI as WAN. Then I’ll run cat6 from the BR1 Pro 5G to a couple of the rugged APs.
So basically what you did in your 2020 setup, but with the newer peplink router and different antennas.
Trying to build a system that I wont have to upgrade soon and can just let run. The new boat were working on basically has nothing right now so i have a blank canvas.
You might consider the Maritime 20G (a single one) in place of the dual OMNI-496’s. On paper, the 496’s are slightly better, but you need two of them. With the 20G you can use RP-SMA adapters and one antenna for both of the WiFi elements, which you will likely never be using simultaneously anyhow. The 20G also looks similar to the 40G in color and size.
I’ve tested the 40G and have an article coming out on the 20/40G and they are both very good antennas. The 20/40 will be what I use for LTE moving forwards.
Thats an interesting Idea. Though I’m not space constrained it seems simpler.
Looking forward to your article on the 20 and 40. Is there a vendor you recommend for peplink products?
Does the MAX BR1 Pro 5G support IPv6 port forwarding? I have the max transit duo cat18 and I discovered this morning that it does not support port forwarding over IPv6 which is a huge bummer.
I don’t believe that it does. In general, most of the Peplink consumer line does not support IPv6. There’s a great forum post here that is recent and links to many other people asking for it.
Many smaller vendors like Peplink struggle to add it. Having been in the networking industry most of my career, it’s not easy to add correctly, and up until the last few years, hasn’t really been mainstream or in use to the point where vendors were forced to provide support, even though we were “running out of IPv4” addresses over 10 years ago
Hopefully Peplink will add it, but I suspect it will appear on their more commercial products first.
I highly recommend Doug Miller at https://onboardwireless.com/ - if you mention you worked with me on a design, it helps me out as well!
What happens in the case of a br1 pro 5g if you were to use a 40g antenna as a 2xwifi+2xLTE setup? Does this even work?
I guess perhaps more appropriately I should ask what am I going to actually experience in difference between a 40g + 20g setup and just using a 42g dome?