MAX Transit Duo Cat 12 or Cat 18 for a photographer?


I’m a photographer based in London, UK. I work on an automated real-time image processing and distribution workflow and I would like to use it for my event photography in the future (when the events will finally make a come back).
The vital part of this system is the internet connection between my cameras (2 x Canon 5D Mark III + WFT-E7B file transmitters) and FTP server deployed on AWS instance.
For testing the workflow, I use Netgear Nighthawk M1 router on EE network but I’m aware it might be not enough in a real-life scenario. I’m thinking about building a more reliable solution around the MAX Transit platform because it has all the features I’m looking for ( dual LAN ports, LAN as WAN, WiFi as WAN, WiFi AP, different power inputs, etc.).

WORKING CONDITIONS: Normally, I shoot various kind of events around London. From big parades with thousands of people to small panel discussions, conferences, award dinners, community events, etc. Outdoor and indoor, sometimes in buildings with a really poor 4G signal inside. Sometimes, with hundreds of people around on their phones causing local 4G congestions. But at some smaller events even using a smartphone’s hotspot is OK but not always.

I’m thinking about two options and I will appreciate your opinions. Which one can give me a more reliable internet connection taking into account the conditions described above?

  1. MAX Transit DUO 2 x Cat 12 modems populated with four SIM cards - I would like to use EE + Vodafone SIMs as my main networks and utilize cellular bonding via SpeedFusion Hub deployed on AWS (I already have AWS account) and O2 + Three SIM cards as backup cards.

  2. MAX Transit single Cat 18 modem with a multi-network SIM card in it.

Is having two bonded active Cat 12 modems better than using a single Cat 18 modem?

What about the SIM cards? Are the M2M data SIMs offering a higher priority than consumer ones when it comes to accessing a tower during peak times/when the network is saturated? Are the multi-network SIMs really a good solution?

What do you think?

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Hi welcome to the forum.
I generally advise that if you are moving (in a vehicle or on foot) then dual modem is the way to go. The Transit Duo CAT12 hits a number of commercial and technical sweet spots in that regard.

If you are stationary, and you have the time to do a setup and try 2 or more mobile networks to test latency and bandwidth characteristics then go with a CAT18 Transit. In London EE and VF are winning of course, but Three is flat out on network upgrades at the moment and with their extra 3.4Ghz bands and recent turn on of 256QAM on the 4G downlink you can get some serious speeds.

Of course you also have your Netgear Nighthawk M1, so there is a third option, A Peplink Transit CAT18 (with voda and three sims in it) paired with the netgear (ee) on its WAN port. That would be a very neat combination.

Ah FTP. That is a very poorly optimised protocol. You’ll want dual active connections and Speedfusion with FEC turned on for sure (so either the CAT12 Duo or the CAT18 and Netgear CAT16 Frankenstein approach).

In fact depending on your use case you might consider a local SSD NAS to dump the files to over FTP on the LAN and then an alternate protocol for syncing to AWS - even dropbox with the upload bandwidth limit is something to consider.

Nope. Its all smoke and mirrors. Yes they can sometimes be a small latency improvement due to network prioritisation in the core, but no one does network prioritisation at the tower (unless you are on the emergency network) and that’s where all your QoS / prioritisation issues will come from.

If you have deep pockets. Depends on how much bandwidth you need. Personally I avoid them unless you want a single SIM that will ‘always connect’, so for example we’ll ship our cloudcases with a multi-network SIM in to a customer when they want to use their own sims so that we can provide remote support before the customer puts their SIM in. Or we’ll ship a multi network SIM when we don’t know what will work best at a location, but we always then ship an unlimited SIM for day to day use and stick the multi-network SIM in backup.

EE do an unlimited SIM but the FUP is 1TB and you must never use more than 950GB otherwise they seem to blacklist both the SIM and the device. Three do unlimited with a FUP of 650GB, you can smash the full 650GB every month for as long as you like with them. VF also have an unlimited SIM but they are more complicated when it comes to FUPs as it is service dependant.

Generally speaking if you’re planning to smash through bandwidth it will be far cheaper to buy multiple unlimited SIMs than a single multi-network Sim from a MVNO.


Hello @retheos,
From your text it sounds like you take your setup indoor or at least you carry it with you. What do you do about antennas? A transit will need 4 antennas, and if you want to increase coverage performance they need to be higher gain antennas. Add the wifi antennas and you have 6. Using the stubbies supplied is ok but I would suggest to extend them and increase the distance between each as else they are so closely packed that they can interfere with each other.


Hi @MartinLangmaid,

Thank you for your elaborative post - it’s very helpful!

Looks like the Max Transit DUO Cat 12 is the way to go in my case.
Two built-in modems + my Netgear M1 as a backup and/or extra WAN.
(soon there should be the newest 5G model available - the MR5200)

Yes, Canon cameras use the FTP file protocol only. I was considering to add
a small SBC computer to my setup but I want to keep it simple and lightweight,
so, for now, my plan is only for a router + battery pack and the rest is in the AWS cloud.

Also, thank you for explaining the thing with the SIM cards. My workflow is for JPEG
images (2MB to 4MB per image) so I don’t think I will need more than 10GB to max 20GB data a month.

Thank you for your input @tgorter,

Yes, most of the time I’ll be carrying the router on me, probably in a backpack or belt funny pack and cameras connected to it via Ethernet cables. From time to time I would be also using a WiFi connection between the router and my cameras - for example in smaller spaces / areas.

So, what antennas do you recommend to use with the MAX Transit Duo?
I have heard that Poynting and Panorama are making good products.

Hello @retheos,

I must admit that I have never supplied for a backpack portable antenna or fanny belt. That said Poynting I work with often, and probably something like the MIMO-3 range is most suitable. In the Panorama range which I’m not familiar with I see on their site something like the BATGM. But also have a look at the peplink Puma-401 which is a high gain antenna in small form factor with 4 antennas. They of course are made for cars (or alike) and thus their size/shape will affect you most. Remember you will need 2 of them (as you need 4 antennas) with a MAX Transit to get the best performance.