Advice needed on upgrading from Surf SOHO

I am looking to move up from the Surf SOHO to something faster with Wi-Fi. The Balance One is an option, but it does not have Wi-Fi as WAN which is an important feature for me. Also looked at the Balance 20x but again no Wi-Fi as WAN.

Any suggestions for something faster than the Surf SOHO but with support for Wi-Fi as WAN? Thanks.

Ah man I was a big fan of your SOHO write up on routersecurity.org. :sunglasses:

Looking forward to your next blog post. :grin:

I too kind of want to upgrade but $1K is a little hard to swallow right now.

Hi @Michael234. One alternative: Consider an appropriately-sized Balance router (e.g., Balance One) and use a wi-fi-ethernet adapter to act as a client on the wi-fi system of interest. We have two-three of these in service config’d this way. Note, however, that this approach only works well if the subject wi-fi network does not change. Way too much of a headache to reconfigure in a mobile/RV-type environment where the host wi-fi system changes frequently. . (I think this was the last type we purchased – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004UAKCS6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) There are undoubtedly others. Such a device would be your “wi-fi as WAN.”

3 Likes

Thanks, Rick. Excellent suggestion.

Do you have any idea why the Balance One without WiFi sells for the same price as the Balance 20x with Wi-Fi and a faster speed rating?

$1K is too high for me too. Looking at $400 to $500 max. Glad to know my website helped.

1 Like

I purchased a GL.inet Slate travel router to use when live-streaming at our church. Set in repeater mode and connect its wifi to church wifi and it sets up its own subnet I hardwire into. Also does USB iPhone tethering.

I presume plugging that into a spare WAN port on a balance router does the trick?

Hi Michael. Well, the product management folks @ Peplink are those best positioned to provide a definitive answer, but I’ll note that the 20X is a PrimeCare product. This reduces the purchase price but requires an annual license if you want to keep all the “premium” features working. (It’s included for the first year.) We were originally skeptical but when one sees all that’s included the annual charge of $49 is quite reasonable. So, we’ve been “converted.”

1 Like

Thanks. I have heard good things about the GL.inet Slate router and was thinking of using one as a dedicated VPN router. Did not know it did WiFi as WAN too. Great.

Rick: I am not familiar with PrimeCare. Do you know which features of the Balance 20X require ongoing licenses?

Sure!
Basic blurb about PrimeCare – https://www.peplink.com/support/peplink-primecare/
Here’s the product – https://www.peplink.com/products/balance-20x/
And, here’s the cut sheet – http://download.peplink.com/resources/peplink_balance_20x_datasheet.pdf
Look at the latter document for the “^” indications – that’ll tell you what required PrimeCare to keep 'em active.

Opinion: The minimal cost/year for these features – which include a warranty – is a “no brainer.”

2 Likes

The Balance 20x doesn’t appear to have a 2nd WAN port as a workaround to not having the SOHO’s ‘WiFi as WAN’ feature…is there another practical solution here?

Also I noticed on the 5G Store, a warning that Verizon has not yet certified the Bal 20x yet if that’s relevant for @Michael234 ‘s decision.

@Michael234 asked the very same question I have, so I’m very interested in the opinions shared here.

Would like to know what decision gets made!

Thanks!

Hi. All of the Balance routers we’ve tested (other than B20, as I recall) allow the use of the USB port with an Ethernet adapter as described here --> Can I Use Ethernet Adapters on the USB WAN? . In particular, in that thread check out @sitloongs’s post dated 04/22/20 re compatibility with Balance 20X. It’s supported.

1 Like

The Balance line supports wired tethering to Android phones via the USB port, but not iOS phones. I don’t think any Balance routers support WiFi as WAN. Also, the Balance line support multiple concurrent WAN connections, which the Surf SOHO does not. Everything is a trade-off.

1 Like

Well @Michael234, I beat you to it and upgraded to a B20x with 2 AP minis. :sunglasses:

I’ll be testing out the B20x wifi range alone to see what kind of performance I get compared to the SOHO.

Looking forward to seeing how the AP minis perform.

2 Likes

It seems like a logical step up from the Surf SOHO.

@stego I am very interested to hear your findings about the 20x and also the minis. Please post back once you have tested out your new equipment.

1 Like

I don’t know where this fits in with respect cost, and how that’s related to the hardware and associated degrees of software engineering complexity to run and maintain it etc…I did notice the other day that while the firewall throughput on the Balance One’ is about 2/3 of the Balance 20x:

— the Balance 20x is limited to the same number of max VLAN’s as the SoHo (16), while the Balance One allows up a 128 VLANS (I’m interested in micro-segmentation on networks so that caught my eye. Don’t know if this is important to you though)

— Balance One with WiFi uses about half the power at 15W…if having a network still running off of a UPS in the event of a power outage is important or not to you (as WAN connections seem to often remain up during them)

https://www.peplink.com/products/balance-series-comparison-table/

Speed testing on the Balance 20x WiFi.
On the 5GHz band with a connection signal strength of -55, the router peaked about 110Mbps on a connection with a wired speed over 200Mbps. This across a few speed test sites and looking at the router display of current bandwidth.

That said, the 5GHz connection is crippled by an extremely narrow channel width, only 20MHz. No one does this, but I live in a crowded WiFi neighborhood so this cuts down on interference from neighbors. With a wider channel, it should be faster.

1 Like

Im seeing about the same thing. Sitting next to the router at about -52 and speedtest showing 110-120mbps but on a 150mbps capped connection. I’m also running narrow 20mghz on ch 165.

Having 2 antennas instead of 3 shows in the signal strength for 2nd floor.

Planning to hook up 2 minis this week. 1 on top floor other in basement with the B20x on the main floor.

I think the upstairs AP mini will probably be enough to cover main floor so will decide whether I shut off the AP on the B20x or not.

What I may do is schedule the AP minis to shutoff at night and the B20x to come on at night. More of an emf thing while everyone is sleeping. But 100 other networks broadcasting 24/7 around us won’t help.