Difference between LTE cat 12 and LTE cat 18

Hi all,

First happy new year to all peaple on this community. Health and fun for all :slight_smile:
My question:
I got some difficulties for understanding the real difference between Cat 12 and Cat 18 product.
According docus I found on the internet, cat 18 is supposed to allow more bandwidth (with more canal, MIMO …) but according peplink docs for MBX HD4 for exemple, perf are the same

Can you give me a reason for that ? For which reason customer is supposed to choose cat 18 instead of Cat 12 ?
Why perf on HD2 MBX with 2 modem and perf on HD4 MBX with 4 modems are the same ??

Thx for taking some time for answering me.



There is something up there as it says CAT18 at the top but CAT12 underneath.

Where is that screenshot from?

The CAT 12 modems have a headline data speed of 600Mbps / 150Mbps (Download / Upload), the CAT 18 modems double the Download rate to 1.2Gbps - upload stays the same.

But in the real world, what I tend to see when using a CAT18 device over a CAT12 is often near doubling of whatever (normally much lower) speeds a CAT12 modem can get in a location (assuming the tower has the bandwidth available) combined with lower latency. That’s why I always use CAT 18 modems where budgets allow for anything that is latency sensitive (like video broadcast).

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Are there still issues with some carriers/plans and the CAT18 modems? My understanding was the CAT18 modems are made by someone different than the CAT 12 and other modems?

Not in the UK where I am. Perhaps so in the US. It seems this Thread is still alive and kicking.

They are. It tends to be Sierra Wireless for the CAT12 and Telit for the CAT18.

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Hi MArtin,
Thx a lot for your answer, interesting and conform what I read on the internet
sorry for the wrong cat 12 for the 2 column on the right.

But according your info, if you look spec for both HD4 (cat12 and cat 18), datasheet on peplink website give exact same performence. Mean, whatever the modem I choose, I will be never able to take advantgae of cat18 ??
Same remark for hd2 cat 12 which have same perf as the HD4 cat 18.

For which reason i will choose cat 18 ?
For what reason I will choose HD4 insatead of HD2 (exept for havong more modem) if performence are not better ??

Thx for helping me to understand.



The base router platform is the same. So overall performance (eg router throughput @ 2.5Gps) is the same.

To be clear. A CAT18 modem in a HD2 or HD4 MBX can do 1.2Gbps down and 150Mbps Up in theory. The screenshot you show is confusing because it says CAT18 at the top and CAT12 below. .

We’d not expect 4 x CAT 18 modems working to provide 4.8Gbps (1.2 Gbps x 4) of 4G. At least not for many years because the mobile networks are not ready for that. Instead the 4 x CAT18 modems combined with Speedfusion give us the best possible chance of getting and staying reliably connected with a very good amount of bandwidth.

If you really want to be ready to do more than 2.5 Gbps of throughput then buy a EPX (30Gbps of throughput) instead of a MBX (2.5Gbps).

Because if you can be in a situation where a CAT18 modem on a desk next to a CAT12 modem will provide more bandwith and lower latency than the CAT12 using the same mobile network because the CAT18 supports more MIMO and higher levels of modulation.

In the real world, when you deploy a CAT12 in a location and get say 45Mbps, you can sometimes deploy a CAT18 and get double the speed all because of MIMO and Modulation improvements.

Reliability. You can use multiple connections from multiple mobile networks and bond them together with Speedfusion Bonding for packet level resilience and failover.


Hi Martin,

It’s perfectly clear. Thx a lot Martin.



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Hello Vincent. If using the cat-18 modem (on a Balance 20x) for fixed wireless at home (out in the back country mountains of southern California), does the multiple connectivity you mentioned do any good if you have only one carrier account (e.g. just one sim)? I am currently limited to a single Verizon 4G LTE service that I use for data access.

I am trying to determine which cat level makes sense for me for upgrading the cat-4 built in to my 20x.


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Thx a lot, it’s perfectly clear.