MAX BR1 Mini Or...?

Creating a WLAN at a very remote location. The guy has been using a NetGear Nighthawk MR1100 to good effect, but now he wants his entire cabin and two (connected) pole barns thoroughly covered–as well as a couple outside areas nearby the cabin.

I know how to get the WiFi done. I know how to go about backhauling pole barn/cabin.

The problem is cellular coverage is scarce. AT&T is pretty much it. (T-Mobile and Verizon “work,” outside the metal-roofed and -sided buildings–more or less.) We’ve found, through experimentation and research, “consumer-grade” stuff just isn’t going to cut it.

The question is what is the most economical solution to get LTE-Advanced (4G+, LTE+) connectivity to AT&T’s cellular data network?

It looks like the Pepwave MAX BR1 Mini would be the most economical, yet effective route? Thing is: He doesn’t need either the GPS nor the WiFi capability (in fact, if we go with the MAX BR1 Mini, I’ll be turning the built-in WiFi radios off). For this reason: The MAX BR1 Mini Core would be ideal, except it appears not to be LTE-Advanced?

Since whatever we go with will be inside a metal-roofed and -sided structure, we’ll need an external antenna. I’m thinking the IoT 20G?

Thoughts? Alternative recommendations?

Br1 mini , BR1 ip67 , or HD1/HD2 dome is what I use on my farm.
We are a peplink partner, let me know how we can help you.

Just for variety (I guess): In one location we’re running things with a Max Transit Duo CAT-12, hanging on a pole outside in a weather-secure box, powered by a POE cable from the switch inside. Minimal antenna run (which could be critical if your cellular coverage is marginal). We employ the Duo because we want the flexibility of Verizon (OK) + T-Mobile (really OK).

Core take-away: Shorten the antenna run - put the router/RF modem outside.



Thanks for the follow-up, Jonathan.

The IP67 looks interesting, but it’d actually be more expensive than a BR1 Mini + IoT 20G antenna.

I want the IoT 20G antenna for the 16 ft. or coax. Yes, I could extend the others, but why?

(Btw: I was unable to find an “HD1/HD2” antenna.)

Thanks for the follow-up, zegor.

Could do that, I suppose. I’ve done it before, with inside WiFi APs placed outdoors. (Wasn’t my design. I was completing a project somebody else had started and failed to finish. Customer didn’t want to spend money on proper outdoor hardware. So I made it work.)

But does the IoT 20G not have a pre-amp? It appears to be powered?

The mysteries of antennas have not been mine to master. I have no insights beyond the Yoda-like “short runs good.”

In the FWIW category: In one location we have a CAT-12 with an omni antenna and a CAT-6 with a long (50-100 feet) LRM 400 run to a very directional antenna (the antennas are in the same location). Aside from the CAT-6 v. CAT-12 (irrelevant in this context), the CAT-12 unit with the omni wins (hands-down).



Thing is: In our case all the closest AT&T cell towers are in a ±180° arc.

And, by “closest” I mean there’s absolutely nothing on the reciprocal 180° arc.

Of the towers on the optimal arc: One of them, at the extreme “lower left” of that arc, is potentially blocked by a hill. The rest are in a ±90° arc.

Bottom line: A directional antenna I believe would serve us best.

However, since the MAX BR1 Mini can handle the winter temps (down to -20°F), we can probably use the IoT 20G with the 6 ft. coax, mount the modem directly to the side of the pole barn wall on the inside, and power it with PoE. (Hard to get to, up there, though. It’s a big, tall pole barn.)

I would not argue with that :slight_smile:

Given that your installation and location is fixed, and you know where the towers are, if you know which tower is the optimal then a short antenna cable run (mount the router on the pole barn wall) with a directional antenna seems a good set-up.



Turns out it’s probably too directional. (Which I’d have eventually figured out, as I’d planned to examine its radiation patterns before pulling the trigger on it, anyway.)

And, it turns out, the MAX BR1 Mini is not what we want, either. It’s merely Cat 6, whereas, it turns out, the NetGear Nighthawk the guy’s been using is Cat 12 or Cat 18, so the Mini would almost certainly perform worse than the Mini!

It turns out that little Nighthawk is an impressive little performer. Sadly, the Ethernet port is not to be trusted and they have a short lifespan in constant use. Otherwise I’d save my friend about $1,600 bucks and just use one of those. But, having the modem fail in the dead of winter with three feet of snow on the ground (because you just know that’s when it would fail), is not an acceptable option.

Also, sadly, Peplink hardware that would perform about the same as the Nighthawk, only more reliably, is not currently available due to chip shortage and the next most economical solution is not economical at all. But it would actually give him much better performance than the Nighthawk.


I did a quick search and found some 4x4MIMO CAT18 single modem Max Transits available online.

Hook up a pair of cross polarized yagi antennas pointed at tower 1 to ant1/2 inputs, another pair pointed at the other to ant3/4. If he had a business wireless broadband plan on it that’d be a solid setup as long as he doesn’t want to do streaming, otherwise it’d be a dice roll with a third party reseller account.


Also, sadly, Peplink hardware that would perform about the same as the Nighthawk, only more reliably, is not currently available due to chip shortage

What model are you looking for?

The advantage of the br1 is the short antenna run, and being able to power of a cat 5 poe.
The hd1/hd2 are not antennas they are their own routers with antennas inside them similar to the
br1 ip67

The current proposal is a BR1 Pro 5G paired with a Maritime 40G antenna.

Go big or go home, right? :slight_smile:

I only wish it could be powered from PoE.

We can quote this for you.
Send me a PM with your e-mail and company name if applicable.

Thanks, Jonathan, but I’m already working with the Peplink channel partner to whom Peplink referred me. He’s already put a lot of work into coming up with recommendations, etc. , and spent a lot of time on the phone answering my questions and educating me. So I’m going to stick with him.

Sound good James, thanks for the followup.
Update us when you have your gear in place and how it performs.

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Two critical first steps:
Step 1 assess what bands and signal there are from the carrier(s)
Step 2 assess what data plan works and is compatible with the peplink device

Its hard to pick a device not know what bands are being used in the areas. Some modems cover most of the bands, some only cover a few, etc