Dual HD1 Domes + WiFi as WAN

I have a potential setup where I’d like to have 2x MAX HD1 CAT18 Domes connected to a single SIM injector, with a downstream router device that can handle each dome as a separate WAN source. Since the SIM injector is supposed to be on the same LAN as the domes, how have folks configured this? Or do you put the SIM injector on a different network that is behind the router that manages the two HD1 dome separate WAN connections?

This is my current setup, and I am trying to eliminate the MAX Transit CAT18 from doing anything LTE, and remove the Poynting OMNI-402 LTE antennas. I’d like to have a second HD1 CAT18 dome with the MAX Transit doing WiFi as WAN for both 2.4 and 5Ghz, but I’m also open to replacing the MAX Transit entirely, since the LTE radio won’t be used in it.

So the first challenge is how people use multiple MAX HD1/2 domes with a single router. I’ve seen SDX implementations documented but that seems way overkill here. Plus it doesn’t have the WiFi as WAN feature.

Thoughts?

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i dont think that dome antenna will work well in a marine setting

why wouldnt you want one device handling everything (including LTE)? i’d get a single device with the right number of cellular modems, do wifi as wan, and any other WANs through one single device

keep local LAN APs separate though!

you are going to want the poynting antennas (or similar)

Can you explain why a dome wouldn’t work in a marine setting? I have one myself, and have installed a number of them. They work perfectly fine, and actually outperform a MAX Transit with Poynting antennas, which I also have installed a lot of…

I have a MAX Transit already but there is not a device that does CAT18 dual modems that isn’t huge, power hungry, or terribly expensive, and they all require physically connected antennas.

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@stevemitchell

This is a very challenge design as it’s more like how to work with existing devices (with minimum changes or cost) to introduce more WAN for the network.

I would suggest the followings:

P/S: This is really depend the requirements and the prefer way to achieve the setup. Some may prefer single device with embedded cellular modules like SDX/MBX some may like to separate the features into multiple devices. Hope this will help. :kissing_heart:

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This is a good approach @sitloongs, thank you. A couple of notes/questions.

  • I did not know about the Remote SIM Proxy - that solves the SIM injector for sure
  • Cost isn’t as big of an issue - I am fine purchasing more devices, and already had anticipated an additional HD1 CAT18 dome which is also not inexpensive.
  • PoE power loss - moving the SIM injector means the HD1 domes cannot be powered by it. That will require individual PoE power supplies in-line between the Balance device and the domes unfortunately.
  • Is there a particular Balance product that you would recommend that has 3x WAN ports, runs off of DC power, etc?
  • Out of curiosity, is there no way to have two WAN devices on a single WAN port and use VLAN tags or just alternate default gateways?
  • The other downside to this setup is losing the cellular awareness at the main router end - load balancing algorithms, SmartCheck, etc. Yes, those can be done on the HD1s but it moves that logic one step away.
  • This solution also means managing two HD1s and a MAX transit not on the same dashboard as the Balance.
  • It would sure be nice to have a router be Dome-aware. The Dome could pass LTE info across the ethernet link to the router so you could manage more from the router itself.
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I have a similar but hopefully simpler setup question. My goal is to use the simplest/best method to allow two HD1s to work on a single roof.

I wish to install the two HD1 domes correctly. Both will connect to a single Balance One Core.

How do I install both domes without a SIM Injector. Please consider PoE supply details. Can the splitter be used to connect both HD1s? Is a single Ethernet cable possible?
Or
How do I install both domes with a SIM Injector. Please show SIM Injector PoE supply details. Can the splitter be used to connect both HD1s? Is a single Ethernet cable possible?

Are there any dome separation, placement, or orientation best practices assuming each dome is for a different carrier?

Thank you for your help

Why not run the 2 domes of your SIM injector? That way you power both and you have them running on a single LAN, and you are able to place SIM & spares as you wish. All you need to configure (and match) the SIMs to each dome.
For your core switch I would use a balance router that enables you to handle multiple WANs. Configure vlans from the Domes to distinguish between the routes.
The core switch would enable you to manage the traffic as required including policies and also would enable failover/bonding/speed fusion etc if you like.

You would also be able to prioritise for guest/owner etc onboard ensuring traffic is not used by crew or non essential devices.
All can then be managed by single interface IC2, incl. your APs
There are other more sophisticated routers/firewall gateways if you need more granular control, but from what I understand above, this should work for you.

And on the comment about the Domes in marine environments, they are perfectly good, the failure normally lies in where they are mounted. They have to be high with a clear view, which thanks to the Ethernet wiring (6a with tough cladding) has made this oh so much easier! (Note caveat with the word “high” … be careful when it’s a sailing boat that heels a lot…)

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@stevemitchell, actually we have discussed this then only come into this suggestion. Below are the suggestions we discussed:

Option 1

Using HD2 MBX (CAT 18). This will meet all your requirements which support 2 x CAT 18 cellular modules, Wifi WAN, and RemoteSIM support. This option dropped since the purpose here is using 2 x HD1 Domes.

Option 2

This is what Sit Loong proposed to you. You have pointed out the right thing here - HD1 Domes will loss the POE source. So, you may change the Balance router to SDX or remain using Balance router (e.g. Balance 305) + 2 x PoE Injectors for the HD1 Domes. Balance router + 2 x PoE Injectors will be cost-effectiveness.

Option 3

This is the last option if both suggestions above is not accepted. Please find the diagram below. It is similar to your design.

Personally, I would recommend option 1 or 2.

Hope this helps.

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I think this has pointed out a gap in the product line. I’m not trying to save costs or re-use something - I’m trying to design a solution that uses two or more HD1 domes + WiFi WAN as WAN sources and takes advantage of the Peplink features. Having a core router that can provide PoE to various sources, or works with the SIM Injector more dynamically would be a great solution for this setup.

For Option 1, I appreciate the suggestions of an MBX but the whole point of what I’m trying to do is avoid running antenna cables on boats. Folks seem to think that it’s easy to do this, and it’s not. Not only is it very difficult on most vessels, it usually requires 20+ feet of cable alone just to get to a suitable antenna location, usually more, even on smaller vessels. And those antenna cables are running near other interference sources, so by the time you run the cabling, you’ve negated a large portion of the antenna gain!

An alternative is to have very short cable runs and place the router near the antennas. This requires custom enclosures in most cases, and they are hard to reach, difficult to maintain, and have very high temperatures. It can be done, but it usually scares people away when you start talking about custom enclosures or fiberglass work.

The Dome is a perfect product for a boat - all of the radios and antennas are self contained, it has an amazing mounting solution, and it only needs a single ethernet cable which really cannot be that affected by distance or interference if done correctly.

For Option 2, both the Balance 305 and SDX require AC power and have very low high temp thresholds. It is always preferred to use DC power on boats since it is already likely being converted internally in the product, and is inefficient to use AC. I’m also going to guess that the SDX is going to be very expensive, given the other products it is listed with, and will likely push this solution out of the realm of reasonable.

For Option 3 - it looks like you’re proposing two cables from the SIM injector to the Balance? Or are you suggesting this is using VLAN tags? This is a bit different than the previous suggestion. Can you have the SIM injector connected to two different WAN ports on a Balance, even with the same subnet? Or are you suggesting some sort of VLAN tag situation?

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Hello @stevemitchell

I revert to what I mentioned earlier and @TK_Liew please shout me wrong if the Balance is not able to do this.

In other setups where a device is multiple modem (like the Transit Duo) I create VLANs for each modem back to the router. On most vessels we have the GFI Kerio installed as it is a traditional favourite. The Kerio can handle multiple WAN connection on a single port via VLANs. I still have to trial this setup with a Balance router.

You are quite right about the Dome being ideal because of the cable, more expressively because it reduces cable loss (on the RF domain). And there is nothing like running a single ethernet CAT6a versus 4 x LM400 think stiff RF cable where every meter counts, connectors create losses and adaptors, pigtails etc have to be used as well.
There are a lot of manufacturers now coming out on the market with their version of the Dome antenna and it will be a very hotly debated product in the coming years.
The antenna (gain) performance is still not as good as the traditional whip setup, but I am looking forward to great improvement on this front.

So in my mind you have your central router (your WAN/firewall router) with a single cable to the SIM injector and then the SIM injector with a single to the first Dome and using the supplied passthrough to the 2nd Dome, or two separate cables from the SIM injector to the Domes if they are located in different masts or otherwise separate locations where running two runs is more convenient.

If you use a router has POE WAN ports, then I would put the SIM injector behind the router and use the remote setup accordingly, still using VLANs for the WAN path.

This way you also use your firewall router for any VPN tunnelling if required or attached caching servers for internet acceleration.

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Thanks, I stand corrected. If, the antenna arrangement in the dome is good for marine use, then I do see the value.

@Peplink team, is the thread on the mount 1x14? I.e. can this be screwed onto a standard 1x14 marine mount?

Is there a dome product that includes WiFi as WAN?

I can see a strong use case for deploying domes so as other posters have said you don’t worry about antenna cable runs, interference, pig tails, many unsightly antennas, etc.

Thanks!

Hello @mystery,

The Dome has an M35 screw mount, if you use the Ethernet splitter (supplied with the Dome) directly attached, the screw fitting is covered and the mount is thus no longer pole mount. (You can see this in the pictures on the product page https://www.peplink.com/products/max-hd1-dome/)

Currently, the Dome does not have a Wi-Fi modem/antenna and this is in the already requested in the forum here Max HD2 Dome -WiFi WAN feature- (add your voice to promote it up their to-do list :slight_smile: )

Good luck with your setup!
Cheers.

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Thanks but I think 1x14 is standard on boats. Would be cool to have an adapter than goes from M35 to 1x14 or make it 1x14 to begin with.

I agree. I ended up mounting mine using the included bracket because I wanted to use the passthrough both for weatherproofing and for a second future dome. When you do this, you are almost required to use the mounting bracket or come up with some custom setup. Having a marine mount threaded bracket would have been slightly better, but with the weight of the entire setup, I can understand why the included bracket is preferred.

I did a full post on the dome at https://seabits.com/peplink-max-hd1-dome/ and a video at https://youtu.be/3dYGDV8Zhjo

Yes this sounds great. I don’t believe a Peplink product exists to do this now that doesn’t have a missing piece - either doesn’t run off of DC power, doesn’t have WiFi as WAN, or isn’t a 3rd party product that doesn’t include SpeedFusion and other Peplink features I want to use.

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are the domes/antenna arrangements within the domes considered omni-directional?

Yes, I suggest 2 cables from SIM Injector to WAN2 and WAN3 of the Balance router. Balance router supports same subnet for different WAN interfaces. So, LAN of both HD1 Domes, WAN2 and WAN3 of Balance router are in the same subnet. WAN2 of Balance router will point HD1#1 as a gateway and WAN3 of Balance router will point HD1#2 as a gateway.

By the way, your guys (@stevemitchell and @tgorter) provided a good idea below which using VLAN Tagging!

Based on my suggestion from option 3, you may tag WAN2 as VLAN10 and WAN3 as VLAN 20 (we support 1 tagged VLAN per WAN port). Then configure VLAN10 and VLAN20 respectively in both HD1 Dome. This helps to avoid using same broadcast domain within HD1 Domes and Balance router.

Hope this helps.

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Hey Guys
I have created a separate topic regarding the mounting adapter for the dome. Please add you thoughts there!

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