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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/