Two mysteries with a Surf SOHO MK3

I have been running a Pepwave Surf SOHO MK3 since the MK3’s release, with 3 VLAN’s & 3 SSID’s, without any issues (one SSID per VLAN). About a month ago I had to add some devices on two of the SSIDs on the edge of it’s range (where the devices signal levels were about -80db according to the Surf SOHO), so I added two TP-Link RE450 range extenders, one for each SSID. Then things got interesting. What seems to happen is that when devices connected directly to the Pepwave (not through the range extenders) need to renew their IP addresses, they don’t. This occurs even if the range extenders extension SSID’s are different than the Pepwaves. Eventually, when the range extenders need to renew their own IP address, they also drop off the Surf SOHO. So that’s one mystery. The TP-Link RE450’s don’t have a lot of granularity to their controls, so for example, they don’t appear to allow the extended SSID to be on a different channel than the connection SSID, although they do allow the extended SSID to have a different name from the connection SSID. (As I mentioned above, using a different extended SSID from the connection SSID does not change the observed behavior.) If I simply ditch the range extenders, then I have no problems with devices renewing their IP addresses, just the two devices on the edge of the Surf’s range often disconnect. So it seems to be some type of interference between the Surf SOHO & the RE450’s. Anyone have experience with using consumer grade range extenders with a Surf SOHO? Any tips? Any extender recommendations?

Second mystery: So I thought, OK, if I can ditch the RE450’s and just get those devices with roughly -80db signal levels up a bit closer to -70db through antenna swapping, I’d probably be marginally OK. So I tried replacing the MK3 Surf SOHO stock antennas with a set of Super Power Supply 9dBi 2.4GHz 5GHz Dual Band WiFi RP-SMA antennas (which usually are recommended with the Surf SOHO on Amazon). That resulted in a reduction of WiFi signals to all devices (as reported by the Surf SOHO) of about 5db from the reported signal levels when using the stock antennas. So, I switched back to the stock antennas. Anyone know of replacement antenna for the MK3 Surf SOHO that actually increase the antenna efficiency & range?

Hi @mjburns,

Range extenders are a pain and I would recommend never using them.
They cause more problems than that they solve.

If I’m being completely honest: If good WiFi is what you’re looking for, a WiFi router is almost never the solution.
Routers were orginally designed for, you guessed it, routing and managing internet traffic. :smiley:
WiFi is something that most manufacturers add to their products these days, because it sells.

I would recommend connecting a WiFi accesspoint to the Surf SOHO MK3, if the WiFi signal just isn’t good enough.
Swapping the WiFi antennas is not going to make a lot of difference either.
WiFi accesspoints usally have a higher transmitting power, which enables the WiFi signal to get through interference a bit easier, which might just be what you need.
Still, this doesn’t guarantee one WiFi accesspoint will be enough.
There are so many variables; the interference in your home/office, the distance between the WiFi accesspoint and the clients, etc. etc.

Use the Surf SOHO MK3 for it’s routing features and reliability, and use a WiFi accesspoint for good WiFi.


I’ve been running for a while now and it appears I misspoke (or something has changed in the Pepwave) when I said that I found that only the devices on the extenders were having trouble renewing their IP addresses. I’ve been running the last month with no range extenders, yet all of the devices connected through the Pepwave’s wireless fail to stay connected once their initial IP assignments expire. Even the ones that had no trouble before. This happens with firmware 7.0.0 & 7.0.1. I can get them to reconnect by logging into the Pepwave and turn off the radios, then turn them back on. Very odd.


Can you please open a support ticket here for support team to check ?

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I find reading many posts that they present an interesting problem. It may not be exactly the same device or problem I have but it is the same technology, firmware, and product ecosystem.

I will love to see the outcome or solution at some point, if there is one, to learn from and add to my experience. Thanks!

I concur. This seems to be a common theme with peplink wifi.

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I’m traveling now, but I’ll open a ticket when I can.

:+1: We will check from there

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I have had WiFi devices remain connected to my Surf SOHO for months and months on end. This is certainly not normal. That said, I am not using the MK3.

One thing to try: the Surf SOHO can write a record to the event log every time it gives out an IP address by DHCP. Might help debugging. Look for DHCP Server Logging. If using VLANs this is an attribute of each VLAN. Not sure where its located without VLANs enabled.

Another thing to try: give up on DHCP. Give the devices static IP addresses. This can be done either in the router or, perhaps, in the device itself.

As for seriously extended WiFi range, consider a mesh router system. With both Google Wifi and the Ubiquiti Amplifi, you can start with a single device, hard wired into your Peplink router. Then if it does not provide the range you need, its easy to add another device.

Or, the latest version of the Amplifi mesh points are said to extend any WiFi network from any router. I have not tried this, but if you just need a small bump in WiFi range it might do the trick simply and cheaply (about $112 on Amazon). But, buy if from a retailer that allows returns, just in case.

Im having similar issues with devices dropping off of the wireless network and then being denied access back on. Seems I have to reset the router ever time to restore the access. Any resolution to this issue?


What do you mean denied access back on the WIFI network ? The client device showing error message on “denied access” ? When the issue happen, all devices cannot connect to the WIFI AP ?

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