BR1 Mini Wifi range - Did I make a mistake?


#1

So I have always preferred commercial grade equipment even for my home or in this case my RV. I purchased a BR1 Mini with LTE and wifi over wan licence. I married it to a MobileMark 5in1 external antenna. I have set it all up in my office at home and decided to get a AP One for use as the indoor access point. I have a fibreglass roof so I had friend make a very nice 10"x10" polished aluminum mounting plate to act as ground plane.

The problem is the RV is still 30 days away from being delivered and everywhere I go on the net, its all about wifi ranger. So I asked the vendor 3G Store if perhaps I had gone down the wrong path as it relates to picking up wifi from a distance. Here is the response I got,

Hi John,

The WiFi radio in the BR1 Mini is one of the weaker devices we carry. Average range is around 100ft. Depending on obstructions between your RV and the WiFi sources nearby, you may be able to pick up networks within 100ft as well though it could be less if there are lots of obstructions and interference from other networks. We’re not familiar with the current WiFi Ranger and Wave products, but from what I have heard, I believe some of their products provide a wider range.

For real! 100 feet? I loved the integration with cellular. I think wifi over wan is awesome. But 100 feet? I get that with an apple airport. Did I make a mistake or is this just a confused customer service agent. I realize there are limitations and i was hoping just to improve the signal a bit. 5 db antenna should help but really 100ft ?

Thanks. If I made a mistake I would rather suck it up and order a wifi ranger now before I start making holes in the roof.

BTW, setup, and functionality we beyond my expectations. I love the router, and its features, just won’t work for me if I can’t connect than access point more than 100 ft away.

John


#2

Even if it’s just an estimate or an educated guess I would appreciate any input.

Thanks
John


#3

The main issue with the Mini’s wifi when used as WiFi WAN is transmit power, it’s only about 100 milliwatts. The Max BR1 is 300 milliwatts. 100 milliwatts is similar to a mobile device like a smart phone I believe but having an outdoor antenna on the roof should make it superior to a phone in your hand. 100ft seems like a indoor estimate, should be much further clear line of sight from roof to AP, but trees will effect it.

I had a WiFi ranger Sky2, its still on the roof, dead. Supposedly it went up to 1000 milliwatts transmit, but the reliability of the system was pretty bad. I moved over to a Surf SOHO for now and probably a Max BR1 or similar in the future, so far the Peplink system is much more reliable than my WFR. I had the Sky2 paired with their mini indoor router and their firmware had many issues keeping them in sync and staying connected consistently.

In practice for me I ended up using the Sky2 very little as most campground wifi is horrible, so most access is through my jetpack.

The best solution on paper is antennas on the roof with strong radios as close as possible, which is what WFR does for WiFi WAN and now cellular with their SkyPro LTE however the roof is harsh environment and after having my sky2 die within a year up there I like my current setup better with dumb antenna on roof with equipment inside.

One other thing WFR does is try and get through captive portals which is why its popular with RV’ers since many campground have them. Peplink does nothing here, so your on your own tricking the portal to let your router in, usually not hard but WFR tries to hide it from you as much as possible.

Anyway the Max BR1 is a better solution for RV wifi wan use, but it really needs updating to a CAT-6 modem, gigabit and AC wireless, but even in its current form is better than the Mini. Actually I am looking really close at the Max BR1 pro, it has been recently updated and has a strong wifi radio, although not AC, gigabit and newer modem.


#4

The BR1 Mini is rated at 20 dBm which is 100 mW while the BR1 and BR1 Slim are 25 dBm which is 310 mW.
If you need the range, I would recommend paying the little extra for the BR1 or BR1 Slim.
See if 3G store will let you trade it up.