MAX BR1 Mini with Verizon Prepay

I am using a BR1 Mini with Verizon Prepay, but am not able to add Data if I run out. I see threads here discussing issues with Verizon Prepay. Some even say that Verizon will not activate Prepay service with a Commercial router.

Can anyone give me an update on this? If I get another VZW Prepay SIM card, can I expect it to work with this Router? Or was I lucky to get this one activated?

Thanks

I was hoping to get some positive feedback, but that does not seem to be coming. After fighting with this for several months, I have now come to the conclusion that Verizon does not actively support these devices, and they are given bottom priority on their Network. In my case, they restrict me to very low rates, and will not even let me speak to a human about the problems. I guess this is a competitive thing and Verizon is trying to “encourage” me to use their equipment.

Well, Mr. Duck, I feel your pain (really). A couple of comments … Generally, at least in the USA, pre-paid plans receive very little (if any) support – from any of the carriers. What you are experiencing is not unique to Verizon. While this is overly simplistic, the carriers dedicate support resources (highest to lowest) this way: (1) large business accts, (2) other business accts, (3) personal post-paid accts, (4) pre-paid accts. And, #4 is a good way below #3.

About the equipment: Verizon’s “real” profit center is their network. Indeed, much of the hardware they sell is a loss-leader. They sell it to get customers to pay for the use of their infrastructure. (That’s not to say VZW does not make a profit on some hardware – it does.) And, with regard to your comment “does not actively support these devices,” You have a point there. The carriers may offer some support of devices they sell but can one really expect support for a device with which they are not familiar? This is not a “Peplink issue” at all, in my experience.

No idea. What plan is/was it? Was it intended for use by routers/hot-spots?

There are a lot of smart folks who have shared many experiences here on the Forum. Spend some time reading and ask incisive questions as needed.

Final comment: The “mobile data situation” in the USA is a total mess. It’s super-expensive, difficult to provision and just “make work.” Sounds like you are figuring that out – sadly. It’s not about the hardware you’ve chosen.

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Thanks Rick, for the feedback. I agree that it is not a hardware issue. I am very impressed with the hardware and the support for this device. But I clearly did not give enough thought to the Network provider. Verizon is the only signal available in my Rural location and that is why I tried this. I went into a VZW Store and they sold me a Prepaid plan (16 GB/month for $ 45). I took along the BR1 Mini and they supposedly provisioned the SIM card for this device. It works but the rates stink, and I now think that is due to Verizon putting me on the bottom. They won’t provide any help and their big resellers have no idea (or maybe interest) how to deal with something that is not a phone. Only option I see is a Verizon-sold Jetpack but they look like garbage to me, so I will probably pass on that. For now, I’ll keep reading.

Hi Tom. Sorry if my initial response was sorta snarky. It’s just that I have been around this course many, many times. Your experience mirrors SO many others’. You’ve done nothing “wrong” and when one is a situation where there are limited providers that certainly limits the options.

You are exactly right – even the company stores understand only “phones.” Their “data business” is relatively negligible. Now, consider the fact that the guy you may have dealt with was selling shoes three weeks prior. :wink:

If you are certain that VZW is the only provider you gotta go down that path. But before you do so, check out Cellular Tower and Signal Map. While some folks think this site is “gospel” (it is not – it’s crowd-sourced ONLY and is often very much out of date), it may give you an indication other carriers may provide service to you.

Do check out what other thoughtful users have done. I wasn’t reprimanding you when I said that. There is a huge amount of experience here – seriously. And, ceteris paribus, you’ll get better results if you can start a business account. If that won’t work, post-paid is better than pre-paid. The latter is true because post-paid folks have no advocates, no one to help, no single point of contact, etc. That’s just the way it is – “pay less = get less.”

As a Peplink “partner,” I can tell you our business would be different (and a lot more fun) if making 4G “work” were easy and fairly priced. Period.

No offense taken at all. You gave me several good ideas to pursue. I did use Cellmapper when I started this adventure. Verizon 700 MHz is my only hope. At first I thought I just had a weak-signal problem, but am now convinced that is not the case. I am a Communication Engineer, so I understand the Technical parts, The Business part seems to be a real mess. Thanks

OK, you have a handle on it. If VZW at 700MHz is all you have got that’s not wonderful. Their throughput @ 700 is not what you will likely want to see. You may see good metrics, e.g., SINR, but …

You may well have a weak signal problem as you first surmised. FWIW, I’d still try to improve the S/NR – higher antenna gain, lower x-mission line loss, getting the Fresnel zone out of the dirt, etc. But, sadly, that won’t improve the “business part,” as you say.

Let u know what happens …

Maybe this is something you would know - Are there any of the 2nd-tier cellular providers that use Verizon Network? Like my Republic Wireless Phone uses T-Mobile. Maybe there is somebody else that would be happy to sell me Verizon data for a router, but not make me deal with VZW.

Hi. Some folks have had good luck with Visible. We have not tried it. If here is a company-owned VZW store near you you might try there – that’ll be a different experience than pre-paid.

Perhaps others can comment …

I haven’t tried it but if you follow ltehacks.com or the corresponding Facebook group, Page Plus seems to be a popular choice for Verizon. https://www.pagepluscellular.com (the ltehacks.com site seems to have a technical problem as I write this).

These are phone plans, not data. Rightly or wrongly, most people on that site seem to be using phone or tablet plans in routers and often doing multiple tricks to hide the fact that they’re using a router. That sometimes includes the potential illegal action of changing the modem IMEI which I don’t think can be done with a Pepwave. I have a feeling that they don’t do that with Page Plus. They just pop the SIM in a router, change the TTL (so it doesn’t look like tethering) and hope that they don’t get caught with an IMEI scan.

The unofficial observation seems to be that Page Plus with shut down the $55 “unlimited” account if it exceeds 200 GB in a month.

I use Visible on my phone and I briefly put the SIM in my MAX BR1 MK2 and it seemed to work well. You have to set it to “Generic”, not “Verizon” and the APN to VSBLINTERNET. Visible is very variable. It works well at some times and places and not others but if it works, it’s a good option. There are people on ltehacks successfully getting hundreds of GB per month for $25 (with party plan).

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What I found was that “Pre-paid” Verizon SIM cards do not work on Pepwave, It has to be a post paid account with Verizon using the “Bring Your Own Device Plan” SIM card. The IMEI number of the Pepwave is registered to the BYOD SIM card. Upon initial connection the Verizon SIM card has a splash page, which will not work on the Pepwave, but after 6-8 hours, the SIM card automatically logged into cell network, but I did call customer service to verify IMEI number registered to SIM card. Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the reply. I had taken my BR1 Mini into a Verizon Store and they sold me a Prepaid plan. They set it up and it does work, but the rates are terrible. I may get one of those SIM cards you suggest and try another Verizon plan, and see what happens. I am afraid it is a limit on available bandwidth in the 700 MHz Band on the rural tower I am using, or I am being throttled. Another suggestion was to get a Verizon Jetpack and use that to get the SIM card setup. That seems a bit expensive, but I am getting desperate!

An update - When I Connect on Band 13, I get 4 Bars and it looks like I have a decent signal level (RSSI: -65 RSRP: -94). PING time is usually under 50 mS. But as soon as I start doing something, I see the Latency go way up on the Link Status display. I would be happy with a reliable 2-3 Mbps, but right now I don’t even get that, and what I do get is not reliable. Speed tests typically show around 1 Mbps DOWN but can be as high as 5-8 Mbps UP. Any clues appreciated.

FWIW: In our (very rural) location we have found that B13 may perform well. It used to be so-so (5Mbps, give or take), but after Verizon upgraded the Tower to support LTE-A (with B4,B5,B13), B13 by itself is delivering at approx. 15Mbps at the same location. These are Verizon unlimited (legacy) post-paid accounts.

Up on a local ridge with better line-of-sight, a Visible-equipped BR1 is getting Verizon-like speeds as well.

One Verizon sample is from an HD2 LTE-A (but for this experiment limited to B13 only) with a very long antenna run from two MobileMark directed antennas:
Screen Shot 2021-01-01 at 20.03.28

The other Verizon sample is from a BR1 MINI LTEA (also limited to B13) with stock antennas, mounted on an outdoors pole:
Screen Shot 2021-01-01 at 20.10.16

Your mileage surely will vary :slight_smile:, but placement and choice of antennas can do wonders.

Good luck,

Z

A PS: Equipping the HD2 with two Verizon cards does help a lot :slight_smile: Even if they both connect to the same bands on the same tower.

Can you tell me how you got your Mini activated? I was thinking about getting one of those “BYOD” SIM cards and trying it. When I go tho the VZW Site for BYOD activation, it tells me that “my IMEI (tried 15 and 14 digits) is NOT compatible with the Verizon Wireless Network.”

For Verizon activation it was simply a matter of calling Verizon and asking them to set the SIM card category to “connected device” (which was allowed under this particular post-paid plan).

Visible activation is a bit more of a process, since Visible does not support routers. A quick search of this forum should yield the information.

Good luck,

Z