Peplink MAX BR1 Pro 5G initial impressions

You could definitely use the 40G for 2x LTE and 2x WiFi. Both the 40G and 20G have support for WiFi frequencies.

The difference between the 40G and 42G would be as follows:

The 42G has 4x LTE and 2x WiFi, where the 40G only has 4x LTE or 2x LTE+2x WiFi. So the 42G would have more LTE elements.

The big difference is that the 40G is specifically designed for maritime and is quite large, where the 42G is much smaller and wouldn’t work as well out in the middle of nowhere.

Thanks, really got to figure out how i want to go about this. While I know it’s a drop in the bucket, the 40g+20g setup costs a lot more than just buying a 42g.

Most folks worry about real estate for the antennas, performance, and budget. In the grand scheme of things, these antennas and devices can seem expensive, but they’re usually far cheaper than any marine devices!

@steve question on wiring for power. I’m planning to dedicate a 12V DC circuit to network gear including a BR1 5G, likely an AP One Rugged, a small switch and an IP camera. My concern is the voltage drop at anchor. Any suggestions on the best way to ensure that all these 12V devices get a consistent 12V instead of 11.5V or lower on battery only? Or is this not something you worry about in your experience?

I don’t generally worry about it for the Peplink equipment, as most of it, including the AP One Rugged and BR1 Pro 5G, run off of a wider DC voltage range. I know the BR1 Pro 5G is 10V-30V, so you should be OK.

In some cases, if your house bank is also used for big loads like a davit crane or windlass, and you kick those on while at anchor, you could have a sag that could affect some of that equipment.

I had this issue on Rendezvous. The windlass was on the house bank, and the Peplink stuff was at the far end of a long run up in the flybridge which meant the voltage was already lower than everywhere else. When kicking on the windlass, the entire internet stack would reboot.

To solve this I used a Victron DC-DC Converter (not Charger) from 12v to 12v to stabilize the voltage and provide a consistent output all the time: Orion-Tr DC-DC Converters Isolated - Victron Energy

I actually have several on board the new boat already - one for the NMEA 2000 network which was super sensitive to voltage drops, and one for something else I forget right now. But this particular electrical system is … not great, so there are a lot more voltage drops and deeper ones which I’ll be removing over time.

Thanks Steve, super helpful. I’ll probably grab one of the Victron units as my windlass is on my house bank (yuck). Just testing the BR1 Pro 5G at home, I’m super impressed with the speeds i’m getting from even 4G, fantastic bit of kit, looking forward to getting it on the boat in the Spring.

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Glad the BR1 is working well!

Will the MAX BR1 Pro internal config allow you to pass the carrier’s WAN public IP off to devices behind it, or configure the WAN if there are static IPs assigned to the account?

All of the Peplink products have a very feature-packed firewall and support NAT. If you’re just wanting to open a specific port to a server on your LAN, you could use the NAT functionality for that. If you wanted to do something more complicated, such as a range of ports, then you could combine that with the firewall inbound rules.

There are also a number of settings on the WAN side including items such as MAC address cloning, NAT vs IP Forwarding, and more.

It would really depend on the ISP and type of connection. For wired ethernet WAN connections, you have a lot more control over the WAN IP address and settings. For a cellular or WiFi as WAN connection, there are a number of those settings that aren’t available given the type of connection, however the firewall and NAT still exist.

Cellular connections in particular are challenging to get static IPs with, and many providers don’t even have architecture that will allow it without a lot of changes. To get around this, you can use some of the things I talk about in Remotely accessing boat systems or a VPN to a public cloud device that can tunnel back in.

Steve,

Can you hook the MikroTik Groove A 52 ac to the WAN port on the Pepwave MAX BR1 Pro 5G Router? Then use free WiFi from a marina, boosted by the Groove, through the Max BR1 router and out to your own wireless network?

Would this work if there was a splash page that you had to acknowledge before being able to access the free WiFi?

Thanks,
Jeff

You can definitely use a MikroTik off of a Peplink WAN port. I’ve done it for years (Grace's redundant Internet setup) and it works very well. You can get through most splash pages as well.

It is also possible to use the WiFi as WAN functionality within Peplink itself to connect to a remote WiFi signal, similar to using the MikroTik. The MikroTik will perform better, but is harder to configure (MikroTik Groove step-by-step setup guide) and can have some compatibility issues.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. I was going to use a Peplink Mobility 42G antenna, but learned that it doesn’t do well with the rolling motion of a boat. So, I am now planning to go with Peplink Maritime 40G antenna. I will be losing the 2 WIFI antennas that are built into the Mobility 42G, but am hopeful that the MikroTik Groove A 52 ac will be sufficient to pick up marina WIFI. If not, I could also try using 2 of the 4 cellular antennas for WIFI by using SMA to RP-SMA adapters. That will be 2 of the 3 legs of my internet plan. Starlink will be added at some point in the future.

If remote WiFi is critical, then using a 40G for the 4x cellular connections, and a Maritime 20G antenna (you can read my review of both of these here: Peplink Maritime Antennas) with adapters would get you excellent WiFi capabilities.

Remote WiFi is not as common or reliable as it used to be. For a lot of customer installations, we do the cellular antenna + router and test out the capabilities of the existing factory antennas on the Peplink devices to get WiFi as WAN remotely. In many cases that meets what they want for casual use. For more dedicated usage, using a Maritime 20G antenna + only using the router for remote WiFi + cellular and adding an access point inside the boat is common.

Internet is not a requirement, but highly desired. I was planning to do what you suggested, but I have purchased a MikroTik Groove to improve the wifi signal to my Pepwave MAX BR1 Pro. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks so much for your help! :+1::+1:

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