Pepwave Max BR1 LTE Very Slow

So my wife and I are developers - who are also full time RV’ers. For the last year on the road, we’ve been using an AT&T Nighthawk with unlimited data and a Verizon Home MiFI with 15gb of data for area’s where we have no AT&T signal. We’ve had a few instances over the last couple months where it would be nice to pull in WiFi as a WAN into our network as one of our machines needs a wired connection.

Last week, I purchased an older Pepwave BR1 Max LTE router, currently running 6.3.0 build 1967 to test out to see if this concept would work. I used Speedtest.net to run the tests and manually selected the same server not too far away.

Currently, we’re at an RV park that has very good wifi. I ran several speed tests to determine a base line and figure out why the Pepwave is so slow. Currently, it’s located in an office right in front of a window with direct line-of-site to an AP - about 40 feet away. I also have a Weboost 4g RV booster. Also using a ubiquity AP.

For each of the tests, I ran it 3 times.

AT&T Nighthawk (Wired to AP) 27ms, 37mbps down, 24mbps up
Verizon Home Mifi (Wired to AP) 30ms, 44mbps down, 40 mbps up
Laptop direct to campground wifi - 12ms, 82mbps down, 75mbps up

Pepwave tests:
AT&T - 55ms, 3.5mbps down, 1.2mbps up
Verizon - 40ms, 4.5mbps down, 3mbps up
Campground Wifi - 90ms, 5,23mbps down, 0.39mbps

Signal strength seems ok and identical on the Nighthawk/Mifi/Pepwave
AT&T: RSSI -72, RSRP -80, RSRQ -15 band 4
Verizon: RSSI -80, RSRP -85, RSRQ -10 band 12

Is there any reason the Pepwave would create such a issue? The idea behind switching to this was to get rid of the multiple devices (2 hotspots, switch, router, ap) and go down to just one box plus we have to switch between AT&T/Verizon often. However, with this huge of a speed hit there is no way this can work.

Hello TheTravler,

I would first recommend upgrading the firmware on the BR1 to 6.3.4, and than upgrading the 7.1.0. You can find the 6.3.4 firmware in our archive. Searching is easy, all you’ll need to do is select the MAX BR1 and the 6.3.4 firmware, this will find 6.3.4 for both hardware 1 and 2. Download the appropriate image and install this on the BR1 under System > Firmware. After you have updated to 6.3.4 you can go back to the firmware section and you should be able to click on the Check for Firmware button. You will be informed that 7.1.0 has been found and you’ll have to click on the button again to confirm that you would like to update.

You may also want to try updating the cellular module firmware. This can be done from the support.cgi page. You can navigate to this by changing the “cgi-bin/MANGA/index.cgi” to “cgi-bin/MANGA/support.cgi”. Find the Cellular module firmware upgrade section and click on Check for Updates.

If you need any additional support then you may open a support ticket here.

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Great, thank you for that info. I’ll download and update it now. I figured since it wouldn’t automaticlly find an update that it didn’t have one.

Another question - is the only way to use the Speedfusion bonding with another VPN appliance? If so - would any of the Pepwave routers work? I do have data center space in Tampa I could use if that would really double my bandwidth.

Hello,

You are correct in that you would require another VPN Peplink appliance to take advantage of SpeedFusion. The BR1 does support SpeedFusion but it doesn’t support bonding. So you would be able to setup SpeedFusion to another Peplink/Pepwave/FusionHub, but you wouldn’t be able to get greater speeds with bonding. Our Multicellular routers suppot SpeedFusion with bonding out of the box.

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Hi there, brand new here and just saw this as I have exactly this problem with BR1.
I hope it’s ok to jump straight in to an old thread?
I see these upgrades are now 6.3.5 and 8.0.2 respectively, and assume same process to get my BR1 up to date?
This would be why my Verizon SIM is not getting more than a few Mbps?
Thanks in advance
Ash

Hello! I’m also experiencing this issue, but with T-mobile. On my phone, I’m getting at least 30mbps down, but our (new) BR1 Mini is getting <1mbps. Were you guys able to come to a solution?

Thanks,
Jake

What band is your phone connecting on?

The BR1 mini may not support the t-mobile band that is performing fastest on the tower near you.

The max transit mini and the max transit support more t-mobile bands.

I’m not 100% sure which band my iPhone was connecting on, but I did just try the same T-mobile SIM card in our (old) Mofi 4500 and the speed was tremendously better (30mbps in the Mofi vs 0.48mbps in the Peplink). Meanwhile, it seems like the Peplink is performing comparably on Verizon to an iPhone (similar speeds in each), so I think you’re on to something with the T-mobile band compatibility.

Is there any possibility Peplink will be able to improve the BR1 Mini with a software update to support these additional T-mobile bands, or will it have to be a hardware upgrade at some point in the future? I’m honestly surprised this is a problem, I’m testing with an iPhone X, which is a few years old at this point. Is the BR1 Mini even older?

Figured out that the Mofi is connecting to the T-mobile network using band 4. Looks like band 71 is the one not supported, per this thread? 600 Mhz T-Mobile bands

Apologies for double-posting, and thanks so much for your help so far, @aquablue.

I think the BR1 mini doesn’t support 66 or 71 t-mobile bands.

Also is your t-mobile sim a hotspot sim or a phone sim? I remember reading something about a phone sim’s hotspot data being limited to a slow speed on some t-mobile phone plans.

@rvcoders Jake: 1 really salient question – is your BR1 Mini a LTE or LTEA model? (Makes a difference.) - Rick

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Hello, I am having the same issue. I mistakenly shut that device off a month ago. Called Verizon and reactivated it and now all I get is 2.5 x 2.5. Verizon says they can’t help me. I have an AT&T Enterprise Pre-Paid account I could use but I would like to have a Verizon option as well.

Model: MAX-BR1-MINI-LTE-US-T

@Rick-DC We have the Cat 6 LTE-A model.

Hi. OK. That’s good. One thing you might try if you have a bit of time … The carriers do not seem to assign subscriber units to bands based on probable throughput. Rather, they tend to steer you to bands where they have the most uncongested spectrum, among other criteria. We have found, time and time again, if we disable certain bands we can actually improve throughput. Example: Last week we were working with a LTEA modem and AT&T. Once we disabled 2300MHz (where the carrier has a lot of spectrum and where log-normal fading is quite significant) the throughput increased markedly. Like I said … if you have time … :smirk:

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I’m having the same issue here in the Seattle area. Getting 40-50Mbps on AT&T through iPhone X Max but down under 10, usually more like 5-7 Mbps down through my MAX BR1 LTEA. Connected to AT&T on band 12:

LTE Band 12 (700 MHz)
RSSI: -66dBm SINR: 0.6dB RSRP: -98dBm RSRQ: -13.0dB

Model: MAX-BR1-MK2-LTEA-W
Firmware: 8.0.2 build 1480

Seems to be a common problem. I’m ready to throw mine out the window…

Today on band 12:

Download: 13.65 Mbit/s
Upload: 1.98 Mbit/s

iPhone:
Download: 57.4 Mbit/s
Upload: 1.41 Mbit/s

Here are a few steps I would try.

  1. Verify that your SIM card in the MAX-BR1 is on a machine to machine plan. If it is not on the correct plan, carriers will either throttle or block the data.

  2. Try manually switching between bands on the MAX-BR1. You may get better results on a different band.

  3. Depending on the where the MAX-BR1 is located (be it stationary or mobile) it might be worth looking in upgrading the antenna, directional if you are stationary, omni-directional if you are mobile.

It would also be worth reaching out to your point of purchase to see if they have any suggestions. If need be, can always start a support ticket with peplink.

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When I just purchased mine from 5g.com, NOBODY informed me that the data plan needs to to “machine to machine”. I don’t even know what that means. The sales team there acted as if I could add almost any plan. That is not the case and it’s just a paperweight right now. Now I know why they kept stressing the “restocking fee” that ranges from 20-90% or something. I feel totally scammed.,

For what it’s worth, I’ve used my BR1 mini and now my max transit category 18 with ATT and Verizon shared data plans, Verizon prepaid hotspot plan, and T-mobile reseller hotspot plans so far. You probably can’t use it with a phone-only unlimited plan but a plan that is meant to work in a hotspot device seems to work fine.

I see machine to machine M2M plans mentioned on the forum here, but I don’t see where I could purchase a machine to machine plan with a reasonable amount of data in the USA.

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