Using Peplink Devices for Marine Deployments

Hi Martin,
Great article can you please advise a recommended Marine MIMO LTE cellular antenna for a BR1.

Thanks

Sure. I favour Poyntings omni-291 for marine work currently - its very good.

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Hi Angus, I can also recomment the Poynting OMNI-291 antenna, we already sold many for Marine deployments.

Great info, thanks! I’m looking at the Surf Soho for my boat, with WiFi WAN and LTE as the sources. Do you have any experience connecting marine antennas in place of the standard (included) antennas on a Peplink router? If so, any tips? Does it work just connecting it directly to the antenna port, or do I need additional equipment? I assume I would only connect to one port for WiFi WAN, and leave the other two for the internal WiFi network?

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is there a way to connect wifi ports A and B to one antenna? i.e using a joiner/splitter

Hello @mystery,
Using combiners and splitters is not recommended, even using a Hybrid coupler will take out 3dBi of signal (that half the signal strength gone). Part of the reason the solutions works that you can see in some of these case studies is the modems connect to a dedicated antenna for each, no antenna sharing.


Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

Thank you for this article
There are two small points I would like to comment on. I have quoted below:

“…but the additional hassle of running low loss antenna cable up through the mast to marine grade masthead installed antennas is very rarely worth the extra money or effort.”

I´m seeing that there has been and still is, a real desire by engineers to run the low loss cable up the rig / radar arch to the antenna. Its certainly big business for us here in the shipyard. Following on from that bringing the router to the antenna (installing the Br1 at the base of the mast for example) is common.
Having said that, at the METS this year I saw the HD2 Dome and SIM Injector, which I thought was pretty neat. Perhaps the narrative may swing back to running CAT cable up the rig, instead of RF?

The other point I´d like to comment on is:

“All or selected traffic types can then be sent over the secure VPN connection to the remote datacenter to either access datacenter based corporate resources or breakout to the internet using a public IP based in the host country where the datacenter is located.”

Netflix appears to know when the public IP is coming out of a data center and thus they block the connection. I guess there is no substitute for just setting up a rig in ones own office and hoping for the best?

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We used the OMNI 402 MIMO antenna too with the HD2. Admittedly the antenna were installed 20m above sea level and we brought the HD2 up as far as possible (installed the router into a IP67 case with 10mm glands for the LMR 400 cable to go though). We achieved 4G speeds 40 NM South of the Italian coast. The Captain sent me a whatsapp. He couldnt belive it!

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Thats the kind of results we have seen from short cable runs!
Short cable runs and locating the router as close to the antennas as possible is worth it.
Much easier to run network cable rather than multiple coaxial cables.

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I really hope so.

Indeed Yes. Although, I have had a lot success bringing a SpeedFusion session back to a datacentre then forwarding that traffic onto a VPN service (like NordVPN, GhostVPN etc).

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what was the length of cable used?

As the router was physically installed in a STBD locker up on the sundeck, the two sets of cable lengths varied a bit. Using the given spacial diversity of the two 402´s we crossed them, connecting the first modem´s primary antenna to stbd side & the aux to the port side. The second modem was connected in the same way using the other two cables. To answer your question 12m and 10m respectively.
One more thing: no pig tails! LMR 400 solder & crimp to SMA .
NOTE: Lots of love needed to make that possible :slight_smile:
I´ll send a pic of our handywork when next onboard

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I am looking to buy the Transit with LTE A Pro (Global) for my yacht. My questions are:

  1. How often is the radio able to negotiate the use of MIMO with the base stations in marine situations using omnidirectional outdoor antennas? Would using only one antenna attached to the MAIN socket decrease the range and the datarate or just the datarate? I’m wondering if I can get away with installing only one antenna and how much my range and datarate would suffer?

  2. Should height of antenna (LOS) or cable run be prioritised? My options are a 25m cable run of LMR400 to the top of the mast or mount the antenna on an arch at a height 4m above sea level with a shorter 8m cable run?

  3. I have a data plan / sim where bundled data cannot be used for tethering and data sharing. Would using the Peplink router with Peplink VPN tunnel allow the bundled data to be used when sharing to multiple devices via wifi?

It will search continuously.

Likely just the datarate.

Really hard to say as there are so many variables, but I would expect significant datarate degradation when using a single antenna compared to dual at longer ranges.

What I would say is that marina wifi networks tend to either be poorly designed or over subscribed and cellular is normally a faster option.

Cable run. Unless you want coverage at 40km + from coast then you need to prioritise both.

No. The use of tethering is detected at a cellular network level, vpns can’t hide that usage type. You should post your SIM data requirements pm here, there are loads of Peplink partners who can organise suitable SIMs for you and recommend / supply suitable antennas.

Peplink also have @Sam_Norris who is their Marine specialist who can assist I’m sure.

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Thank you for your reply Martin.

You are right. So far, we have avoided marina wifis because they are so slow that they are unusable opting for cellular instead. However, our current YachtSpot setup only has 2.4Ghz and I’m wondering if the less congested 5Ghz band will change that.

When using a single antenna, you are suggesting a significant data rate decrease. To quantify this, would I expect a lower data rate from a single antenna setup in a well serviced anchorage compared to my iPhone XS MIMO internal antenna when standing on deck?

Regarding MIMO antennas, would you recommend a single unit MIMO (Poynting Omni - 402 is an example) or two separate antennas (like 2x Wilson 4G as an example)? The latter would be a more difficult install and if the datarate would not be dramatically different, I would prefer a single unit.

One additional question - what is the GPS used for and is it necessary for my situation?

I’m not sure I can quantify this, as with most wifi related questions the answer is ‘it depends’ (on the environment, your location, the infrastructure etc). Perhaps the community here can share their experience. However when you get the cellular data pricing right you wouldn’t want or need to use wifi I think.

The Poynting Omni - 402, I have never met as big a bunch of antenna geeks as the guys at Poynting - which always feels me with confidence, and we have had very good customer experiences on vessels using the 402.

For location tracking - nothing more or less, only if you want to track your vessel remotely.

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Thank you Martin for you reply.

There is confusion on the first question which is my fault. My question is Peplink Transit LTE using single MAIN antenna (AUX terminated) vs iphone XS using internal LTE MIMO antenna (whilst standing on deck) - which would have a data rate?

You can use the GPS for many things.

  • tracking the vessel
  • if they are calling you with some problems, you can see where they are and what is the signalquality in the moment
  • you can see the country and maybe issues with your provider
  • many more

Regards
Dennis

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Ah so which would have a higher datarate, and by datarate we mean when the owner runs a speedtest on the Transit and then compares against the iPhone XS right?

In a marina? Likely the iPhone XS would outperform the Transit. Out at sea, the Transit would outperform the iPhone.

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