Peplink setup for mobile, Wifi WAN & Starlink - advice needed

Hi all,

Reaching out to see what community thinks. I am heading to the Med in a very short amount of time to help a friend get his new boat over to the US, but some crew onboard are going to be working full time so internet is highly important.

Looking to get a Peplink BR1 mini(hw3) for the boat. Currently located in the Med but next 3 months we will be working our way back to the USA(end destination is PNW) for couple years before migrating back out to being a full time cruising.

First off we will be utilizing the Starlink HP dish as our primary internet source with a failover to a data sim on the Peplink. WiFi WAN is our final failover though obviously this is quite limited in the aspect of it only is a failover in the event there is a network we can connect to.

Owner of the boat isn’t thrilled with the looks of the Peplink maritime antenna’s and prefers the Peplink Mobility style antenna - but i could probably sway him to the maritime version if it really is going to add much better connectivity when signal is weak.

Since the boat’s a 55 foot sailboat, I am worried about onboard wifi coverage with the Max BR1 Mini. Should I be looking to add something else as a repeater? If so, any recommendations? What about multi-regional SIM network compatibility?

Heres what I’m thinking for hardware:

  • Peplink Mobility 22G, 5-in-1 | ANT-MB-22G-S-B-6
  • SMA & RSMA extension cables as appropriate (making sure total length is under 30ft)
  • Peplink MAX BR1 Mini (CAT 7) | MAX-BR1-MINI-LTEA-US-T-PRM
  • Starlink Flat HP Dish

What I need help deciding on:

  • What should be utilizing for future proofing regarding different country LTE/5G spectrums? Is the MAX BR1 mini a bad choice for this(IE will it function in Europe, Asia, USA, South/Central America)?
  • Onboard repeater/mesh setup to handle wifi coverage on entire boat
  • Mobility 22G performance less than Maritime 20G?
    ** If we go with Maritime 20G what antenna should we consider for outdoor Wifi WAN pickup?

You’ve got a good list here. Any particular reason you chose the MAX BR1 Mini? It’s a pretty low-end router out of the lineup with an older CAT7 modem. I would be looking more at the MAX BR1 Pro 5G since it has the more modern chipset both for the CPUs and the 5G/LTE side.

As mentioned above, I would look at the MAX BR1 Pro 5G instead of the BR1. There are international versions, but they sometimes have limitations within the US as well. It really will depend on what countries you’re going to be traveling to and for how long.

For WiFi coverage, a 55 foot boat would likely require an additional access point. In almost all of my designs, I recommend placing the router in the flybridge or similar higher up location and utilizing its WiFi as WAN capabilities, and not broadcasting WiFi from the router. That also shortens the cables needed from the router to the antennas.

Then we use Peplink Access Points at various points around the boat connected back to the main router via ethernet, and managed all from there as one single point.

The Maritime 20G can be used both as a WiFi and LTE antenna, but you’d need multiples in this setup, and even more in the 5G setup.

I’m happy to chat 1:1 as I offer design services around this area. Feel free to reach out here if interested.

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Excellent call out - i have absolutely no idea how i missed the MAX Br1 Pro 5G unit. Looking over that spec, that is what i want, not the other one.

I was thinking of running the Pepwave AP One AC Mini units - one on both sides of the boat(this is a cat). Still thinking things over and laying things out.
I appreciate you getting me on the right track. I may reach out next week after i think this layout over

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I would not plan to use the MAX BR1 as both a WiFi WAN router and an access point on the vessel. Paired with the Mobility 22G, which would be mounted above-deck for best cellular signal, the MX BR1 could serve as the cellular and WIF-WAN device. You should add something like the AP One inside the vessel as an access point. I would choose the AX Lite or AX to prevent the AP from being your bottleneck, especially if you have Starlink.

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