Cost down version of MAX BR1 Slim mobile router


#1

Hi Peplink/Pepwave product team,

I’ve been prompting and selling MAX BR1 Slim to local customers because I find it a great product for use on-the-go.

The features that I really like are:

  1. Small in size, good for carrying around.
  2. Built in 4G LTE modem with dual SIM card support.
  3. USB powered.
  4. VPN.

I’ve been using it from time to time when I was working outside my office, whether on the road or on a remote vacation. While this is a great product, I was thinking if it makes any business sense to your company by producing a cost-down version of this product so that the price point are more ‘economic’ for my end customers.

For example, some features can be strip down:

  • Plastic casing instead of metal rugged casing.
  • Single SIM card slot.
  • USB power only.
  • Built-In wifi antenna.

The key feature to keep is the built in 4G modem which the surf on-the-go is lacking.
It is really clumsy to carry another USB modem with the surf on-the-go. And the USB power is also a killer feature meaning that I can power on the MAX router with my laptop or a external Lithium battery pack. Usually I would place the BR1 pretty close to my laptop, so the wifi reception is never a problem. But the external cellular antenna is a must because I could be working in a remote island with poor cellular reception.

Hope you guys can give a thought about this. I will be very happy to provide more on my user experience with this product.

regards,
Martin Siu


MAX OTG End Of Life?
#2

I don’t think a plastic casing is something that fits in the BR (Business Rugged) range.
However, the single SIM-card slot, USB power and built-in WiFi antenna are great suggestions if you ask me.

Maybe this could be a new product altogether?


#3

Hi Martin (Epic Name).

  1. What price point do you think this new stripped down product should be at?
  2. Who is is aimed at? Who will buy it?
  3. What devices would it be in competition against at that price point for that audience?

I ask because I know thats the sort of questions the product dev team will ask.

Of course I agree with you that more customers would potentially buy a Peplink Cellular device if it was cheaper, however personally I’m not convinced that is the way forward.

We meet customers everyday who question the cost of a Peplink based solution. They wave their (often free of charge from their operator) MiFi device they currently use at me and say ‘How Much?!’, 'I’ve got this MiFi it gets me connected nearly all the time, has an inbuilt battery and only costs [nothing/$40 / $80 / $120 - delete as appropriate].

Then I quietly remind them that the reason for calling me in the first place was that they couldn’t get connected where they are / that they have had a huge cellular bill as its unmanaged / that it isn’t powerful enough to be used by an office full of people / that it melted when they left it in the car / that it doesn’t work consistently. And you know what, a large percentage of consumers will stick with what they have and not want to pay for a Peplink device as their demand for connectivity doesn’t justify the extra cost.

if I’m speaking to an IT department of a large firm the conversation is slightly different. They normally come to me when they have larger numbers of staff who have MiFi units and they are currently trying to monitor and manage that estate of devices buy using mobile network operator SIM portals/dashboards. They can’t get enough info from those portals to diagnose local user issues, they have staff who drive to motorway service stations to connect to public wifi because the MiFI units don’t always work. Those guys know and understand the pain of cheap devices that fail and need for hero levels of remote management and can barely contain themselves when I show them InControl and the problems they can solve with it.

The combination of enterprise grade hardware and remote management means that IT departments & service providers reduce their support overhead. They don’t have to go to site to see what is wrong or to work out what is consuming the bandwidth on site. They can see the cellular signal strength, set up a VPN in a blink of eye for remote diagnostics of LAN side equipment, and they can switch SIM cards remotely in a device when bandwidth caps are smashed on the primary SIM.

At the moment, Peplink Devices are squarely aimed at the enterprise and managed service providers as a primary target market. Naturally they also get a bunch of us prosumer customers tool, attracted by the level of capability in the product and services. Yes the devices are more expensive than some of the competitors equipment but when we’ do our 6 monthly review here and try another vendors kit we normally find the features so obviosuly lacking that those reviews take almost no time at at.

Personally I don’t want Peplink to produce a consumer cellular WiFi device - the market is flooded with hundreds of those things already. Could they do it better than most - yes I think they could. Does it make business sense to - I’m just not convinced it does.


#4

Hi Martin L,

Thanks for your detailed analysis.

  1. I won’t discuss too much about price point here in public as I’m trying to sell it to people here in Australia, knowing that your company has a local partner in Sydney. We can take the price discussion offline if necessary.

  2. I can only present my own experience. I know I cannot represent the majority of your customers out there. I think a possible target group who be power users who needed a all-in-one mobile router to carry around. In fact, the Surf on-the-go is a pretty good candidate given its sweet price point. But as I said before, the Surf on-the-go lacks the USB power and the built in 4G modem. I really don’t like to carry another USB modem with me. Having AC adaptor attached is also very inconvenient.

  3. I’m not familiar with your enterprise graded competitors’ products. You guys should have more marketing information than me. Needless to say, those TP-links and D-links are pretty crap, but they were competing in a different zone anyway.

Above are my 2cents.

regards,
Martin Siu