Recommended configuration for livestreaming - MAX Transit DUO - On the move!


I support a not-for-profit that utilizes a MAX Transit Duo for live-streaming their running events. The events are such that it’s continuously moving (at the speed of the runners) over the course of several days with a goal of having a continuous Facebook live stream available for families and supporters to watch. The routes are usually between major cities and can include metro, suburban, rural and very rural points as the caravan progresses.

I’m seeking recommendations for router and SFC configurations that will combine maximum uptime, sufficient bandwidth for decent quality video (480p is fine), and management of cellular data per SIM/account.


SIM 1 - ATT This needs to be the workhorse and is to be used whenever possible. Unlimited data (more or less).
SIM 2 - Verizon This needs to provide a balance of filling in bandwidth when the ATT system is unable to provide enough (subject, of course, to it being available on VZW’s system) and for fail-over when needed and when available. Has defined data cap.

We use a roof-mounted antenna that is probably not optimal as it appears to by a “5-in-1” style with only 1 GPS, 2 wifi, and 2 cellular connections. Q#1: What is the suggested cellular connection scheme with this antenna - both cables to one cellular modem with paddles on the other or one external antenna connection and one paddle per cellular modem? Obviously a 7-in-on antenna is the correct upgrade but funding is tight.

Currently, I’ve got the ATT sim in slot 1A and the VZW sim in slot 2A. I’ve got both set to a Priority 1 in the dashboard.

Q#2. Recommendations for SFC configurations, profiles, other changes, etc?

Need any details to clarify, just ask!

I’m a bit of a novice with the complexities and permutations possible with this router. I do have both an IT and an RF communications background so I’m not totally out of my element but this is about like learning a foreign language for me. Anything you can do to point me in the “right” or “best directions” would be much appreciated!

Steve W

How limited is the VZW data plan, as if you know the bitrate of the outgoing stream you can work out how much data per hour you will burn when it is in use - this can help work out how to best use SF features like WAN smoothing to get the best chance of a nice clean outgoing stream to FB Live etc.

You can set limits on the WAN config on the TST as to how much data can be used in a given month on each modem, that may be helpful if there is a potential for out of bundle charges on the VZW plan.

On the TST you also have the option of WiFi WAN - you could use that to connect to a phone or mifi hotspot for an extra path out, obviously burning your phones data plan there but useful as a get out of jail option.

One modem to the roof antenna and one modem on the paddles - do not mix and match as you will likely do yourself more harm than good - as you want AT&T to do most of the heavy lifting I’d probably connect that modem to the external antenna to give it the best shot at getting a good signal.

A 7-in-1 type thing is neat and tidy, but as you already have a perfectly good 5-in-1 style antenna maybe consider looking for a lower cost antenna that just has two cellular elements to it assuming a suitable mounting option and cable route is available for you.

A basic 2 element cell antenna that could be roof mounted on a vehicle doesn’t need to cost a huge amount, Peplink makes a nice one (Mobility 20G - just ignore the extra GPS element) but you could also look at someone like Panorama, Taoglass or Parsec as good alternatives here.

A cheap window mount style thing may also be worth a go if the physical location within the vehicle is not ideal for the paddle antennas, or move the router within the vehicle so its on the dashboard etc. with a better view of the outside world - all small improvements maybe but could be better than nothing.

We use the CAT-12 TST Duo a lot for live broadcast too. My default starting setup for most video streaming these days with multiple cellular WANs is to configure the SF VPN for Dynamic Weighted Bonding (think this is now an option on SFC via the hidden support page as it is for regular SF VPN profiles) I’d then add in WAN smoothing and finally FEC if I need more reliability. You can also experiment with adding a buffer at the hub side, I have done this at some quite extreme settings with a 1 second buffer on the FusionHub to work around some seriously ropey connectivity where latency of the stream was less critical than getting reliable quality.

Bear in mind with WAN smoothing and FEC in use you are sending duplicate packets for your traffic, so if you have a 1Mbps stream leaving via AT&T you will have a copy of those packets leaving via VZW too - this can be tuned if you have more WANs involved but with only two active cell links it will be a doubling of traffic.

As an aside I generally do not use SFC either and prefer to run traffic to our own hubs inside our own network infrastructure, you can do this too for a minimal cost using the free FusionHub Solo licence and running the hub in a public cloud provider like Vultr or DigitalOcean (a small instance with 1Tb data transfer a month is around $5-10 USD so pretty minimal cost but does mean you need to setup and configure the hub yourself - there are plenty of guides on the forums though on how to do this).

This gives you a little bit more control over some of the advanced settings for the VPN vs using SFC, as well as giving you a stable public IP for inbound traffic via the hub (probably not useful in your given application though unless people needed to access equipment connected to the TST remotely).

Just to add to William’s good advice: Aside from the extra features and easier debugging and monitoring you get from running your own FusionHub vs using SFC, I’ve found fairly hit and miss performance from SFC at times. Switching to my own FusionHub on digitalocean in SF made a fair improvement over various US SFC locations I tried, especially Seattle which was consistently worse even though I’m located in Seattle.

It was also quite easy to setup.


My apologies for the belated reply, things got super busy for a while. I very much appreciate your in-depth reply and the time you put into it.

The VZW plan is 50 gig unlimited per month, then hard-throttled to 600K at which time it becomes useless for anything to us. I need to get the day of the month for the billing cycle reset from the account manager so I can incorporate that into the router’s settings.

We did have to resort to using the Wifi as WAN last fall as the cellular 2 modem took a dive on us. Used the VZW sim in a VZW mifi hotspot as the stopgap to finish out the event season. Just got a replacement router a couple of weeks ago and am getting it ready for our first road event in a couple of weeks.

Your recommendation regarding the antennas is noted and I’ll make sure the cabling for the exterior modem follows those recommendations.

I’ll have to avoid the configuration where the data is all simultaneously send to both cell links. The current VZW plan simply won’t provide the data capacity needed for some of our busy months that may see as many as 6-9 days of livestreaming. The ATT plan, of course, is a 22 gig plan with “data management” which, to date, doesn’t appear to have impacted us.

ATM, I’m going to set it up with VZW as failover. Any suggestions on that to take best advantage with what we have?

Best regards,

Steve W
Honor and Remember
Run For The Fallen

Yeah, 50Gb wont go too far if you are pushing say 2Mbps out that’s about 900Mb of data per hour so probably best to avoid WAN smoothing unless you are really struggling with just one uplink and instead just rely on hot failover.

If I am just doing hot failover from one WAN to another via a FusionHub I normally set the link failure time to “Extreme” and in most cases platforms like YouTube Live and FB don’t seem to have any problem aside from a small glitch or tear when the WANs flip. I am not 100% sure if this knob has any bearing on SFC though.

On the SFC config it could be worth creating some sub tunnels that allow WAN smoothing to be used though, just in case (you’d do that via the support.cgi page and then use outbound policy to direct traffic to the sub tunnel as necessary).

Without wanting to get too off topic another train of thought is to consider how you are sending the stream to your chosen platform, and whether a more reliable transport protocol such as SRT could be used to improve reliability.

For instance, we frequently will TX using SRT encoders back to a studio MCR or cloud platform like Castr and then redistribute the stream from there - this obviously has costs and overheads to consider but has worked well for us as another tool that can be used in combination with the PepVPN features.

Not sure what you are using on the video side, but you could in theory experiment using Larix Broadcaster (free app) and something as basic as OBS to receive the SRT stream (Wiki - Streaming With SRT Or RIST Protocols | OBS).