Max BR1 Mini LTE or LTEA on Verizon

Hi, after being frustrated for over a year trying to find a decent wired Internet provider in the community we have a lake house in I’ve decided to go with an LTE modem. Our DSL provider was 2M/.5M, cable provider was 10M/2M that never performed better than 6M/1M and has wild performance swings. I just switched over to Verizon from AT&T and tested their speeds using my iPhone 11Pro and my wife’s iPhone X and saw consistent 35M/10M speeds so it’s time to make the switch.

I’m looking at the Max BR1 Mini and am leaning towards the LTEA (Cat 6) radio but looking to this community for recommendations. I don’t know what channels Verizon uses in that area but they have just gone through a tower upgrade so I’m assuming they are taking advantage of the newer LTE spectrum.

I’m also looking to confirm that either device will show compatible when I initiate the new service request to get a SIM.

Thanks!

My 2 cents … check out the towers on cellmapper.net. If verizon has good coverage with the bands you want then look at https://www.pagepluscellular.com/ They use Verizon data and way way cheaper. I set a 60GB (about $65) limit and then swap to a backup SIM.

You missed on “p” in cellmapper.net. Without that it takes you to a bogus forwarding site. It looks like they use Band 13 on the towers closest to our lake house so either should work. I’m still liking the additional channels, it gives me options with locations and carriers.

Based on the coverage map it looks like they are a Verizon reseller and that $55 plan looks perfect. You can’t do a “phone” plan on one of these devices with Verizon direct, they force you onto a data only plan. Honestly I don’t think we will use much more than 15GB since we are only there on weekends but for the same price why not go with 4 times that? Thanks!

I chose the LTE-A version over the LTE version.

It was only $100 more, and I’m happy with my decision. I figure for a month or so of service cost, I’d rather have the chance of faster speeds and have benefited from LTE-A some of the time, enough to make the $100 well worth it. I’m getting 30-35/20-35 during non peak hours, although speeds drop to 10-20 during peak hours sometimes.

1 Like

While the LTE models work well, I’d advise spending the little bit extra and getting an LTEA model. Two things folks often miss:
(1) Sites like “cellmapper” are not authoritative. In some cases they are simply wrong. The data are crowd-sourced and represent a “very good effort” but we’ve seen huge errors.
(2) The carriers change their frequency use on a frequent basis and not all freqs licensed may be in use at a given site. In our business of tower site management we have processed license agreement amendments for VZW, TMO and AT&T recently. These are mainly due to antenna changes. And why antenna changes? Because the freqs in use are changing.

Absolutely – go with Cat6 or better. :smiley:

2 Likes

Thanks everyone, exactly what I was looking for. If this were a primary residence then I would max it out with a Cat 18 radio but it’s not and it’s in an area that’s notorious for getting just enough capability for someone to check a box but never anything advanced, just not enough money or industry to generate the need.

Truth be told, this is just to tide me over until StarLink goes online.

One last question to be answered, are either / both of these devices considered supported by Verizon and are the IMEI numbers registered with the major carriers when they leave the factory?

I’ve been testing Visible another verizon reseller plan, and so far it’s working good.
You need to put in the apn VSBLINTERNET for it to work.
They can cap it at 5mb speeds, but doesn’t seem to always be the case.

2 Likes

I guess the question is, does Verizon prioritize their direct customers and/or do they throttle the resellers? Did you have Verizon before and if so, are the speeds comparable? $40/month for unlimited is almost a no brainer.

Have you tried Visible with peplink equipment? For their compatibility check I entered the IMEI of a BR1 that is currently deployed on Verizon. Visible stated that it was not compatible with their service.

1 Like

@mjw930
Hard to say for sure, I can tell you on our metered static ip b2b lines, we have never seen throttling, but we also pay a lot per GB. I believe it’s more likely when they have too many people that you will get throttled.

@zegor_mjol
Yes it works fine , I had to manually enter the apn. I used my pixel 3 imei for the wizard on their website.
I’ve tested on a HD2 dome, and a br1 classic HW3.

1 Like

Truth be told, this is just to tide me over until StarLink goes online.

Watching StarLink closely too! Can’t wait to sign up!

One last question to be answered, are either / both of these devices considered supported by Verizon and are the IMEI numbers registered with the major carriers when they leave the factory?

I don’t know the answer to your question. I can say I’ve been using the BR1 mini LTE-A without issue on verizon for a couple of years now and it’s worked great! I activated my SIM originally in a verizion brand MIFI hotspot though. I’d recommend keeping a MIFI on hand just in case you need it to troubleshoot anything… you could get one on ebay refurbished for about $20-30 from a trusted seller and it might be handy to have a second device that accepts the same hotspot sim in case you ever need to troubleshoot. (I have a hotspot-specific verizion plan and was told I should never put that sim in a phone or the plan would be messed up; I don’t know if that’s true, but I got a MIFI to use as a second hotspot device in case I need to troubleshoot anything.)

1 Like

I grabbed an IMEI from a friends Jetpack and it looks like the Verizon pre-paid data plans are being offered with double data (8GB plan gets 16GB, etc.) so I’ll probably do one of those when I get the Max BR1 Wednesday. I’ve also got a couple phones that aren’t being used so I could use those IMEI’s to try some of the resellers.

Great ideas guys, thanks.

Hi again
Sorry about missing out the p in mapper!
I’d always pay a little bit more for more capability and future proofing, but not everyone has the same criteria. The money saved on shopping around for data will quickly pay for a more capable device! FYI we have a BR1 mini and a BR1 MAX. Both LTE-A.
I’m not an expert, but my experience:

  1. You’ll need the actual IMEIs from your device when you register the SIMs. The networks gather this data at some point and Verizon (in particular) works out you’re not using the right SIM in the right device and you have to spend hours on the phone with tech support to sort it out.
  2. pageplus / verizon don’t seem to throttle the data in remote areas. We get ~12MB/s down and ~4MB/s up regardless of whether we use a verizon SIM or a pageplus at our place in the middle of nowhere. Signal is poor and shows 1 bar on most cellphones with Verizon and nothing on other carriers. In city / suburban residential areas we do see throttling with pageplus, but only it seems at peak times (at the moment that seems to be variable between 7am to 10pm and not predictable!!!). When it does throttle it slows down to 6MB/s down and 1MB/s up. When I’ve investigated this on a few occasions I find that the verizon SIM (slot B) in the same location gives 20+MB/s down and 4MB/s up at about the same time.
  3. as an example of real world use we spent Memorial Day weekend at camp in the woods with 1 bar of signal (Verizon iPhone X). We had 5 people with 9 devices connected to wifi and consumed 3-4GB of pageplus data each day. No one complained about connections, even though some were streaming Facebook and YouTube videos.
  4. if we’re needing to do critical work when we’re at camp I use the MAX with SpeedFusion cloud and connect the WiFi WAN to the iPhone in hotspot mode. Speedfusion combines the capacity of 2 cell connections and we have rock solid video conferencing for work.
    As I say, I’m not an expert, but this is my real world experience.
    Good luck.
3 Likes

One other issue I’ve seen conflicting responses on, will this unit’s IMEI be recognized by Verizon without having to go through 2 hours of help desk calls?

HI
I had no trouble recently setting up my LTEA BR1 mini and activating SIM A with pageplus as a new line, and SIM B with Verizon as a new BYOD hotspot on my existing Verizon account.
I have had a lot of trouble and hours on the phone when I’ve followed other advice and tried to migrate Sprint or Verizon SIMs from other devices. I’ve never tried to move AT&T SIMs.
I recommend new SIMs if you can.
David

I’m not trying to complicate this, I bought a new cellular modem, I want to BYOD activate it on the Verizon network under a new prepaid plan by entering the IMEI and ordering a new SIM. It literally couldn’t get any simpler.

However, I see posts upon posts of people having to jump through multiple hoops getting PepLink devices registered directly with Verizon when PepLink partners are advertising them as 100% compatible with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. I have no desire to dick around with Pageplus, Vision or any other 3rd party, I just want it activated on the Verizon network. Once I have that working I’ll look at hacks.

Once i get mine tomorrow I’ll know if this is going to hard or simple…

My experience is that it’ll be really simple as a new BYOD on Verizon with the device’s actual IMEI and a new SIM. I recall having to put the SIM into a phone so that I could receive a text message with a security code to activate the account. As I remember it my sequence last month was:

  1. get new SIM. Give the store the IMEI of SIM slot A in your new pepwave. They might ask what sort of device. I told them that it was a Pepwave and they told me that it was a Sierra Wireless hotspot once they’d added the IMEI to their system. I think that Sierra Wireless make the cellular modems in the pepwave unit.
  2. put SIM in pepwave, power up and connect
  3. register account online. It then sent me a text with a security code to set up the online account etc for payment
  4. power off pepwave and take the SIM out of the pepwave and into an unlocked or Verizon phone (not an old CDMA one but a GSM one from the last few years)
  5. power on the phone, get your text, complete the verizon online account registration
  6. power off the phone, put SIM back in the pepwave and power up the pepwave.

That sequence worked for me with Verizon BYOD, Sprint and pageplus.

Good luck
David

Ok, here’s something interesting. I tried to activate with the IMEI from the invoice for the PrePaid service and it errored out. I opened a ticket with peplink and they confirmed it was uploaded to Verizon on the 5th so I called and apparently it can be active on their post paid plan (less data, more cost) but not on their PrePaid plans. I wonder if that’s a separate database peplink needs to update, strange.

There is an option to order a Jetpack they have on sale for $49 with the prepaid service then just swap it over after it activates, that was the reps suggestion or to use an old phone then do the same after it activates.

Nothing is ever straight forward in the wireless world…

I tried a visible.com SIM card: Activated on an IOS device, added it to a MAX Transit and also a MAX BR1, entered the APN, and in both cases it is stuck in “Obtaining IP address”.
Suggestions?

Does that area have known working Verizon service.
What apn did you use , what Bands is it connecting to? What are th cellular signals? Attach a screenshot?