Antenna position on ship, BR1 LTE

Hi,
I’ve just installed a pepwave max br1 LTE on a 80m ship Im working on and have some questions regarding the antenna setup.
The br1 is connected to two OMNI291 Poynting antennas by 10m LMR400 cable each. I SIM-card only. I personally didnt choose this setup but is this an ok one? I saw there was a OMNI402 antenna aswell, would this one have been better? And is the antenna cable a proper one?

The thing is also that I’ve seen screenshots where it looks like some people can see that they are using two different bands but when Im logged on I can only see that it is using one.

And also, how do the different antenna plugs in the back work? Am I using them properly? Or are one sim card using one antenna? Could I leave the 1 aux port open (not connect any antenna at all) or will that burn something in the router?

A lot of beginner questions but im learning as I go here :wink: Thanks!

Hi,
I’ve just installed a pepwave max br1 LTE on a 80m ship Im working on and have some questions regarding the antenna setup.
The br1 is connected to two OMNI291 Poynting antennas by 10m LMR400 cable each. I SIM-card only. I personally didnt choose this setup but is this an ok one? I saw there was a OMNI402 antenna aswell, would this one have been better? And is the antenna cable a proper one?

This setup with the 2x Omni-291 is better using single cellular then one Omni-402. This is due to the distance of 50cm to 1M you should put between Main and Aux. 2x Omni-402 installed in Cross setup will be favourable with Dual modem devices.

The thing is also that I’ve seen screenshots where it looks like some people can see that they are using two different bands but when Im logged on I can only see that it is using one.

LTE units use only 1 Band for Download and upload with a difference inside that band. LTEA units will use 2x a different band while upload will only go over 1 Band. 5G ready modems (cat12) will use 4x download and 2x Upload.

And also, how do the different antenna plugs in the back work? Am I using them properly? Or are one sim card using one antenna? Could I leave the 1 aux port open (not connect any antenna at all) or will that burn something in the router?

Best is to connect Main and Aux at the same time, This due to enabling MIMO (multiple IN Multiple OUT). This will give you a better throughput then using 1 antenna when Upload and Download is used at the same time. When only 1 way traffic is needed you can just connect 1 antenna.
PS: only connecting on AUX will not work if using a single antenne connect it on Main slot

Hope this helps you out abit :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your quick reply Wouter!
Ok so the omni 291 is better, perfect. But do you mean the antennas should be positioned 50-100 cm apart? That sounds very close? Right now they are mounted on each side of our mast according to the picturem approx 4meters apart. You mean this is to much?


I was also thinking about any antenna interference, I remember from my education that one basic rule is to not place similar antennas on the same horizontal plane. Can they be interfeering with each other? Should the antennas be offset or possibly mounted at an angle?
Because right now the signal is not that great, with a lot of noise, from what I can interpret out of the signal values.
Band LTE Band 3 (1800 MHz)
RSSI: -66dBmSINR: -1.0dBRSRP: -97dBmRSRQ: -15.0dB

So to be clear, in my setup, does one antenna transmitt on 1800mhz and the other one receives(mimo)? How can I know if its using both antennas or just one?

Thank you very much for your help! I find this stuff very interesting and the last couple of days has been a massive knowledge boost for me :wink:

Are you by any chance using splitters? 10m LMR-400 shoudnt give alot of loss. 1 antenna should be on main the other on AUX.

Also check if your connectors are well build and tightly socketed on the back of the pepwave. Antennes can be 4 meters apart. Just always keep 0.5 to 1 meter at minimum between both of em.

Picture doesnt show depth but could the vsat in the dome be causing the noise when transmitting?

If you are on only 1800mhz, main will prob be used for down 1810mhz and aux for uplink 1820mhz. Just to give an example.

Also LTE you can put on the same horizontal plane they wont interfeer with eachother. The rule you mentoined is for HF and UHF coms.

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Hello @Wiktor,
I’m looking at your photo and suspect part of your performance issue relates to the signal gain of the antennas (or lack of).
On the BR1, if you open the device (this can be done in either InControl2 or locally on the device) and see what Signal Levels you are receiving. The advantage of using InControl2 is you can see historical data on this.
Also, why did you go an LTE instead of an LTE-A chipset, out on the water an LTE-A chipset will work better as it operates at the lower & newer radio bands used by mobile/cellular operators.

In Australia, we have successfully had customer deployments connecting with ample capacity to do live video streaming & video conferencing 30 plus km (over 16 Nautical Miles) out to sea.

There is a specific and specialist amount involved in correctly choosing an antenna system that will deliver the most suitable outcomes for your application.

Most wireless (be that cellular/mobile or Wi-Fi) antenna system for MIMO work best with an out of phase antenna array (+/- 45 Degrees of the vertical), meaning you can have a very tightly packed antenna with exceptional performance. The cabling system needs to be 50Ohm impedance (not 75Ohm as used for Terrestrial TV & most MATV systems). The quality of the cable system can make just as significant impact as the quality of the antenna; we run over 50-meter cable runs for some of our clients and get excellent results as we supply a professionally designed fit for purpose solution.

We suggest that you contact your local Authorised Peplink Partner for specialised assistance.

Your local Certified Peplink Partner can help you with a copy of the Antenna Selection Guide for Peplink Partners, this is a detailed guide and is only available to the Peplink Partners so to ensure that you get helped in working through it to get the most suitable antenna solution to your application.

Remember that the majority of these systems are MIMO (Multi-In, Multi-Out), so you must ensure you use antennas and cabling suitably designed for the application.
Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

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No, not using any splitters and all connected as you say. One antenna to main and the other one at aux.

The top dome is the TV dome, which I guess wont be transmitting/interfering and the V-Sats are the bottom two. A little bit offset in depth but do you think that could be it? I could of course turn these off and see if the signal improves but that would cause some unwanted downtime.

@mldowling , It is a “MAX-BR1-LTE-E”. I guess that is the same as the LTE-A version? I can choose the lower frequecy so it should be working with LTE on these channels.
We are approx. 17 NM off the shore in UK and I have cell coverage on my Iphone from time to time, so that is whats confusing me as I think this setup should be very good?

Im using 1800 because its the one fq where i actually get the most stable connection. Ive tried LTE 20 band, 800mhz, but for some reason it only connects to “T-mobile” service provider but can not obtain any ip. Even though it is locked to only go onto “EE” as provider. From what I know T-mobile uses EEs net but since its not obtaining IP i’ve guessed that this is because of incorrect APN on that network.

But Im still not sure if I am using a MIMO solution, with the two antennas. Is there any way to check this?
Some screenshots ive seen look like this:


but in my setup i never see a second band.
It only looks like this:

This is arround 30KM’s if im correct. normally at 30KM’s the signal will overshoot as the earth is round and there wont be a line of sight anymore. Unless the mainshore CEL tower is alot higher then sea level.

Actually the signal your getting at the range is good. Here in holland we get a signal till around 20-25KM’s offshore from my experience due to the landscape is below sealevel.

Also 800MHZ should have more reach then 1800MHZ. Try enabling roaming to see if it will connect at the 800MHZ one. its curious your picking up 1800MHZ at that range but not 800MHZ

Hope this explains abit.

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Base on the product code, don’t think you are getting the LTEA model. You can check the product info here : https://www.peplink.com/products/max-cellular-router/single-cellular/

:cry::cry::cry: Sad to say that LTE model doen’t support carrier aggregation.

Seeing that your phone also getting cell coverage, do you tested the direct attached antenna that shipped together with the box ? That should give you a comparison to further narrow down the problem ?

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@Wouter I have roaming on ofcourse…
These are the values I get when connecting to 800mhz…
RSSI: -69dBmSINR: 2.6dBRSRP: -104dBmRSRQ: -11.0dB
These are the values on 1800, same carrier
RSSI: -66dBmSINR: 0.6dBRSRP: -99dBmRSRQ: -14.0dB
A little better I guess but still not a great signal… The problem is that it just says “Obtaining IP Adress” and nothing happens. Im starting to think that the APN settings are incorrect but I got these from EE / T-mobile themself…

@sitloongs This might explain things. But I find it hard to find the correct model, and I have looked at that page before but its not clear. Couldnt find a “serial lookup” page… that would have been good.


The closest one I could find is the “MAX-BR1-LTE-E-T” model. You think this is the one?

Im going to see if I can find the small original antenna and try faultfinding that way…

Thats the br1-lte-e-t Its a single band CAT 3 modem router. So it will only function on 1 band at the same time using fdd for difference in upload and download using sub band freq.

The default antenna you can try, But they are weaker then the 291’s as they have less body to catch the signal as also lower in DB 2 VS 9.

If signal is better with default antenna socketed on the back of the router try looking for the fault at the cable.

Also look into the Br1-ip67-rugged-ltea- w-t. This is an outdoor unit that can be powered using poe. Then place it outdoor close to the antenna with short cable. This will give you the best possible result.

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@Wouter Then I feel somewhat cheated by my supplyer. I will bring that up with them, and as you said the ip67 version with poe would obviously be better.

Maby a stupid question but if it is functioning on only one band at the same time, will it still be using both antennas? One antenna for transmitting and one for receiving?

Maybe I could answer your question – @Wouter is in Europe and may be off for the day. :blush: No, typically the way “it works” is that both antennas are used for diversity receive and a single antenna (the “main” one) is used to transmit. You really want to use both antennas if at all possible but if only one can be connected (e.g., a testing situation) connect the “main” one. - Rick

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thanks @Rick-DC, I will use both antennas anyhow. But ok, so that is the case even though its not LTE-A?

So basically you can say (extremely simplified ofcourse) that LTEA would mean that it will also receive “even more” on the same band? On both antennas??

NO it wont reviece more on the same band. Yes it will reviece more bands over the same antenna’s on the same modem. i will try explain below. Signals of all bands should be available for the unit to utilize them. And differ for each country and Telco provider.

LTE CAT3:
Band 3 1800MHZ Downlink B3 1820 MHZ Uplink B3 1830 MHZ
1x downlink 1x uplink

LTEA CAT6:
Band 3 1800MHZ Downlink B3 1820 MHZ Uplink B3 1830 MHZ
Band 20 800MHZ Downlink B20 810MHZ
2x downlink 1x uplink

LTEA CAT12: (5G ready modems):
Band 1 2100MHZ Downlink B1 2110MHZ Uplink B1 2130MHZ
Band 3 1800MHZ Downlink B3 1820 MHZ Uplink B3 1830 MHZ
Band 20 800MHZ Downlink B20 810MHZ
Band 7 2600MHZ Downlink B7 2610MHZ
4x downlink 2x uplink

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thanks for all the quick info guys, I really appriciate it!

So @Wouter, In your example, LTE CAT3, I would have 1 uplink and 1 downlink frequency. Would that be the same even if I had only one main antenna connected? And what if I connect two? Will it then still be 1 uplink fq and one downlink fq but it will utilize both antennas? For better reception only?

@mldowling Not quite sure what you mean by lack of signal gain on the antennas?
Regarding the antenna mounting, when you say 45 deg, do you mean that it might be better if I mounted the antennas tilted 45 degrees or that I mount the second antenna 45 degrees above like in the picture?

Hello @Wiktor,
I can tell looking at the antennas they are not the most suitable for your application, they are part of the reason you’ll be having issues at the lower frequencies.

These two links will take you to some more suitable antennas (you need to source them from a reseller)

On a boat, there is no need to be mounting the antennas at angles; this is counterproductive due to the constant movement of the ship.
Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

@mldowling Im not sure if I understand you now. You say that the antennas are not suited for the application yet you reffer in the second link to the actual antenna that I have installed? I have two OMNI291 high gain antennas. Can you elaborate please?

This is a quite large vessel, almost 100m so it actually does not move that much :wink: It just rotates with the current as we are at anchor most of the time. So with this in mind would maby be better to mount them both on a different horizontal plane AND tilt them 45 degrees? Like the picture below?
image

@Wiktor
As these antennas are omnidirectional, they are looking at a slice of the horizon so mounting them at an angle would be completely counter productive. Please see the image below showing where the antennas would be gathering their signal from.

1dc78e6fbfa0f4f8d797026ccc4a1a75a37db2bc

We did an install last week in the Netherlands and we where getting the following results off the north of the Netherlands; 17 miles offshore - 50Mbps download, 40Mbps upload
Same install is now in Norway and as they approached, we where able to get 10Mbps upload and download at a range of 31 miles! Both tests where done with a Transit DUO LTE-A and Poynting Omni-402 antennas without bonding or balancing i.e. test was performed on a single modem.

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@GNO-2014 thank you for your answer! Ok, that was what I was thinking aswell. But should I still mount them 45 degrees above/below each other like this?
image

Thats really great test results by the way. I wish we could come close to that. Its actually a norwegian ship I am working on and it would be interesting to see what speeds we would achieve back home. I have a feeling that it also has some things to do with the service provider…

But since you say it was on a single modem on your Transit Duo, was that using only one Omni-402 (MIMO?) antenna or would that utilize more than one?

Hopefully I will be able to move the antennas tomorrow and see If it could have been some interference from VSAT or similar.

Hi @Wiktor
Forget about the 45º thing for yachts, it doesn’t apply to the physical mounting of the antenna. If you where using directional antennas, thats when you would look at the 45º mounting (like below)
17dBi_MiMo_Antenna_NG17DGRID-45-Fmv

What kind of SIM cards / contracts are you using at the moment?
We where using some e-SIMs based out of The Netherlands which have been working amazingly all over Europe this summer.

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