Balance 20X W/Cat 18 All-In-One Cellular Antenna

Question for the Pepwave Balance 20X users. Is anyone running with a cat 18 modem extension and have an all in 1 antenna that can handle the cat 4 2X2 MIMO and cat 18 4X4 MIMO in a single antenna? Oh that’s also 5G capable.

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I recently asked Taoglas about their 8x8 antennas for the purpose of running 2x Cat18 modems together and was told by their sales rep that there was sufficient isolation between all of the MIMO elements to allow for this.

I’m personally sceptical of these claims, but have not tested this in operation for myself and it may be necessary to restrict each modem to a given set of bands to give them some enforced separation which could be problematic depending on the carriers you are using.

Is there a particular reason you want everything in one unit (aesthetics, easier install?), it would probably be easier to just go with a separate antenna array for each modem where there are plenty of options out there for 4x4 Cat18 and 2x2 Cat4.

When it comes to antennas I consider this term to just be marketing speak, this is more a case of checking which bands your carriers are going to use for 5G and selecting an appropriate antenna with the required coverage / number of MIMO elements.

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For additional context…

So i’d like to go with the Peplink Balance 20X with the Cat 18 expansion over the the Max Transit Duo Cat 12 model. I have a Ram Promaster with limited real-estate on the roof and would have a challenge finding two spots for two separate antennas and am curious to know a couple of things.

  1. Is there an all encompassing antenna that I could use to meet all my needs in one? A Cat 4 2X2 MIMO and Cat 18 4X4 MIMO in a single antenna that is 5G capable

  2. How effective can the paddle antennas be for something like this if I went with 6 paddle antennas? If it’s similar to what I’m able to get with my Iphone 12, I might be able to get by. Are the paddle antennas 5G capable?

  3. Should I really do a mix of both? Possibly an antenna to cover my Cat 18 needs and just use the paddles for the Cat 4 until something better comes to market?

I’ll be using a Mobile Must Have AT&T Unlimited Plan and a Visible (Verizon) sim.

If someone also has a tip for the best way to integrate WiFi as WAN via the USB port or another way, i’d love the insight.

I’m hoping to have a decision made by EOD Monday to order and hopefully have everything in time before we leave on our trip by December 6th.

Thanks in advance!

Adam Hendren

Thanks for your response!

In terms of the antenna I’m looking for the easiest install option and have limited space to work with.

In terms of 5G, I know that there will be a 5G capable modem extension in the future for the Balance 20X so I just want to be prepared for that once 5G bands are a great option.

I’m installing in a Ram Promaster that has a lot of windows so I’m not sure if I’d have sufficient coverage just using the paddles or a mixture of paddle antennas and a 4X4 antenna like the Puma 401.

That would be one solution, the Puma antennas are pretty good.

As an alternative to the stock dipole antennas on the Cat4 and WiFi for the 20X have a look perhaps at a dashmount antenna.

This would be something you would typically mount behind the windshield and may be a neater alternative than trying to cram a load of dipoles onto the 20X itself if its being mounted in a confined space.

You can probably find something suitable with a 2x2 LTE antenna, 1x GNSS antenna and a 2x2 Wi-Fi array in a single unit from Panorama or Taoglas for example:

USB-Eth dongle plus something like a Ubiquiti bullet (or any other P2P radio that can act as a WiFi bridge). In the case of using a Ubiquiti you would then want to add an IP alias to the Ubnt radio LAN interface and a secondary IP to the Peplink USB WAN interface so you could easily get into the radio to change what SSID you want it to talk to.