Newbie Question BR1 MAX MK2

#1

Hi

This is probably a simple question for you all but I couldn’t find the answer in the manual fully confirming this.

Is it possible to configure the BR1 MAX MK2 to utilize the WiFi antenna connections in the following manner :

I’d like to add an external high gain wide band WiFi antenna (2.4GHz/5.1GHz) to a boat hardtop and connect it to one SMA connection (Radio A) on the unit. With the intention for this to ONLY be associated with the WiFi WAN ashore via either bands depending on the connection ashore being made. I do not wish to utilize any simultaneous or fail over frequency/band features.

I’d then like to use the remaining SMA connection (Radio B), with the standard antenna it’s shipped with, to act as the WAP running two networks on 2.4GHz & 5.1GHz simultaneously. Utilizing the connection on Radio A.

I was concerned that the external antenna might also be associated with handling clients onboard, and with the antenna being a high gain antenna. The likelihood is they would be in a bind spot outside the antennas directional pattern.

Radio A - Only WAN traffic. (no clients)
Radio B - Only LAN traffic.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.
Thank you.

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#2

Hey Nettim,

While the BR1 does, technically, have 2 wifi radios, it’s a 2.4ghz and a 5ghz radio. The supplied antennas are dual-band, and labelled A and B for reference (eg. “Work order: replace Antenna A due to suspected bad cable run”). Both wifi radios are connected to both antennas.

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#3

Hi James
Thank you for your reply. I’m not sure I fully understand so would you mind clarifying something for me please.

Even though both radios are connected to both antennas and can receive/transmit 2.4/5.1 on either. Am I still able to assign one antenna only to the WAN, and one antenna only to the WAP/LAN please? How do I make sure that the external antenna I plan on fitting is not associated with any WAP/LAN traffic, only WAN traffic.
Thank you again for your help and please excuse my poor terminology.

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#4

My fault, I perhaps wasn’t specific enough. The device contains one radio for a given set of frequencies (technically everything is integrated, but for our purposes this is correct enough). Essentially, there is a 2.4ghz radio and a 5 ghz radio. Each antenna is connected to both radios. You can’t individually select say, the 2.4 ghz radio to use only antenna A and the 5 ghz radio to use antenna B.

For an application like what you’re proposing, you’d likely be better off using the BR1 entirely for WAN and have it feed an AP inside your vehicle to service LAN clients.

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#5

I have been testing a similar deployment for a boat. Like the OP, I wanted antenna separation for the WAN and LAN. Once I found out that LAN/internet speeds drop when using the device internal WiFi radio for both WAN and LAN WiFi, it was a no brainer to separate. On boats, I have seen many people get a Mikrotik or Bullet for WiFi as WAN and use a Peplink for Cellular and LAN WiFi but to me that didnt initially make much sense and I wouldve normally done it the other way around (Peplink for WiFi WAN and Celluar and another separate AP for WiFi LAN). Once I got to examining things I did note that the Peplink WiFi radios are lower power than a high power Mikrotik or Bullet so I surmise people were doing it the other way because they cared more about power and signal on their WAN WiFi. The benefit of the Peplink MK2 is it can do both 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi as WAN simultaneously whereas the Bullet/Mikrotik are dual-capable but you can only do one at a time. I couldnt find a Bullet/Mikrotik-like device that had dual radio capability that would work with a single external dual band non-MIMO WiFi antenna.

So I will have both a cellular antenna and wifi antenna mounted on the mast. I currently have a non-MIMO cellular antenna but may switch to MIMO. I could not find a single dual band WiFi MIMO antenna that would work with 1x14 threads so for now the plan is the non-MIMO cellular, non-MIMO WiFi antennas mounted and leaving the second ports empty or capped with a terminator on the Peplink. I am having trouble finding the right terminators though. I will have the LAN WiFi AP located in the cabin providing separation from the external WAN outside antennas.

#6

Thank you, all good information and appreciated.

#7

Thanks James, understood.

#8

Hi James. Wanted to circle back with you on this one more time if you don’t mind. If both radios are connected to both antennas. Would having one mounted externally still improve the signal of all WAN traffic despite it also broadcasting LAN traffic?
Thank you.

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#9

Thanks again mystery, one follow up question.
Originally, when you had one WiFi antenna mounted internally and one externally. Both broadcasting WAN & LAN traffic together, what degradation were you seeing on the LAN side. Was this because the bandwidth was being shared for both traffic segments, or were you experiencing some other type of conflict reducing speeds?
Thank you.

#10

I think it was degraded at least 50%.

#11

I’m going to defer to mystery’s hands-on experience here (raw empiricism always beats theory).

If you’re using wifi-as-wan, when under heavy usage you’ll have the radio handling WAN traffic 50% of the time and LAN traffic the other 50% (unless you dedicate, say, the 2.4ghz radio to wifi-as-wan and 5ghz to local lan traffic), so you’ll won’t see the same throughput as you would with a dedicated AP.

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