How to set up simultaneous Wi-Fi as WAN and Wi-Fi AP


We perform the following test:

  1. On the pier we create a Wi Fi hotspot
  2. On the boat we turn ON the BR 1 and a cellphone (an Android phone: Moto Z)
  3. On the boat, we search for Wi Fi signals, trying to connect with the SSID created on step 1 on BR1 and Cellphone
  4. Basically the BR1 and Cellphone perform with the same performance, however the BR1 use one external Antena (from Digital Antenna, model Bullet - link) and the cellphone only your internal receptor - I believed that the BR1 would have a much higher power than an ordinary cell phone.

What is the maximum distance the BR1 can connect to a Wifi WAN?
Could this low range be a failure in the equipment?

(sorry for any english errors, it’s not my native language - sometime it’s hard to make me clear)

Hello @marcomarinha,
Wi-Fi distance is dependant on may factors, here are some of those factors:

  • Antenna design
  • Antenna type
  • Antenna angles
  • Antenna connection to cables
  • Antenna connection to equipment
  • Antenna proximity to other antennas
  • Antenna received RF signals (interference & background noise)
  • Antenna system gains and losses (measured in dB)
  • Quality of the antenna system and electronics at both sides of the radio (Wi-Fi) links
  • Compatibility between manufactures equipment (we see this a lot, not all brands play nicely with other brands due to there separate interpretations of the standards), tis is especially so with consumer equipment

These are just some of the factors that affect an Antennas performance.

So the maximum distance of the BR1 (even with its factory supplied antennas) is dependant on all of these factors above.
Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

When I have this setup on my HD2. The public WIFI has great through put 25mbps + but when I access it through the pep wave it’s only 4mbps. Why is that?

I have Pepwave maxBR1 mk2 installed on sailboat. I was thinking of installing just one Wilson Electrons 4G Wide band Omni Marine antenna(50 - Ohm). Do I need two antennas or one would be sufficient?
Another question, what is maximum and desired length of the cable I can use? The antenna came with 20 ft of cable and I am afraid that is not going to be enough.

Hello @Sailor007,
Your Pepwave MAX BR1 Mk2 is designed to operate as a MIMO with both the cellular and Wi-Fi connections. So you need two cellular antennas and two Wi-Fi antennas, you are best to connect the same type of impedance-matched antenna solutions.

Cable length on any antenna solution should always be kept to a minimum.

Please contact your local Peplink Partner that sold you the modem. They have access to a detailed Antenna Selection guide for partners and can share a PDF copy with you. They can also ensure you are getting professional antennas matched to your modem and application.

Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

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I have a MK2 on a boat. Currently using a Wilson Omni marine antenna and poynting dual-band wifi antenna. Both have 1x14 thread connections. Having MIMO antennas can increase speeds (typically just download). I have been able to get over 50mbps on cellular and 30-40mbps on WiFi as WAN no problem using single non-MIMO antennas. I highly recommend not using the antenna wire included with the Wilson and instead getting a LMR400 variant. MPD Digital makes custom cables. While Poynting makes a MIMO cellular antenna for marine applications I could not find a MIMO WiFi antenna from any manufacturer with 1x14 thread connections. If you find one please let me know. Thanks.

PS. I have a separate in-cabin access point for the LAN and turn off the LAN AP on the MK2.

Thank you for your comments! So you have just one Wilson antenna plugged in and just one Poynting wifi antenna. Do you still have Pepwave’s supplied antennas attached to the secondary antennas ports or you removed them from your MK2? What are the cable lengths for your wifi and the cellular? Do you use LMR400 for both? I am thinking of installing antennas on my first spreaders about 25 feet above the deck. What do you think?

Hello @mldowling, cheers for the reply. I am trying to figure out what would be the most effective setup for our sailboat. Would having:

  1. Two antennas for the WIFI(using for WAN for connecting to remote APs as we sail around) and
  2. Two external antennas for CELLUAR to simulate MIMO MAX BR1 mk2 setup.

I was originally thinking of installing one marine wifi and one marine cellular antennas on the first spreaders which about 25 feet above the decks. I also was planning to use low loss cable(thanks to @mystery suggestions) Running cables, installing any antennas on a sailboat is very challenging & expensive on a sailboat … so my question is would gain some significant gains(for download and uploads) from installing two antennas instead of one? Another question has anyone come up with one MIMO antenna or you definitely need two antennas? Also, is there a coax low loss cable that can feed two antennas instead of one?

Yes one antenna each, one antenna wire each. Terminated the open antenna (secondary) ports with terminators per Peplink’s specs that I also got from MPD. LMR400 low loss cable used 20 feet in length. My antennas are mounted on the mast, cellular towards the bow, wifi towards the stern using Glomex’s stainless 1x14 mount which I painted white.

@mystery Just wonder what Poynting antenna are you currently using and if you like the performance? I just found this dual, MiMO Poynting antenna, it is a bit pricey and not sure if this would work well with my MK2.

I am using this for WiFi as WAN:

I dont know yet if I am satisfied with it. I am having some issues locking onto 5ghz. Could be a wire or peplink or interference issue though, havent figured it out yet.

Hello @Sailor007,
Can you place a cellular and Wi-Fi onto both spreaders?
LMR400 or LCU400 are your most suitable cables for lengths over 3 meters; else you can use LMR195 or LCU195 cabling. With LMR400/LCU400 we would on the antenna end typically terminate these with N-Type connectors as they match the mounts of the antennas we usually supply.

Every solution we put forward to our customers has lightning protection installed to both of the antenna end and the equipment end of the cable. Your boat is just one big lightning magnet (we’re not talking about direct stikes, we’re talking about strikes nearby). You are going to get some signal loss though the lightning protection, though it is small compared to the damages lightning will do.

You must do your best to keep the cable lengths to a minimum. One option if you are attempting to minimise cables is to place the router atop the mast (in a suitable IP67 rated enclosure) in between the spreaders. With this option, you only need to run power and an Ethernet cable from the router to your cabin. There are a couple of issues though with this option;

  • SIMs are difficult to change when the router is not easily accessible,
  • If you make a configuration error and need to factory reset, accessing the reset on the router may prove to be very challenging.

You best gains are going to come from implementing MIMO for both Cellula & Wi-Fi using the shortest cable lengths possible.
Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

I think I may have asked this before but can you please share what lightening protection you recommend for a boat? Thanks

Hello @mystery,
You can reference these sites and products for information.
We preference the Times Microwave models ourselves, though Polyphaser & Transtector also have suitable products and many of our partners use these too. As to specific model recommendations, you will need to choose yourself models specific to the application and environment.
Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

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Hi there we have a Pepwave MAX HD4 MediaFast and we are trying to connect wifi as wan, which we have don successfully with wifi which has no password and with wifi that has a password but we cannot connect to a wifi which has no password but then has a logon page (marina wifi) that you would normally have open automatically like at an airport, could you please advise on how to resolve this thanks

Turn off health check on the wifi wan connection,
Connect the Peplink to the marina wifi then try and access the internet using a device connected to the Peplink.
The captive portal will pop up you’ll login and from that point onwards, any device connected to the Peplink will connect without needing to login to the captive portal.