Working while sailing in the adriatic. MAX Transit Cat 18 Versus The MAX Transit Duo cat 12

I will be working for the year on a sailboat . My work entails the use of both of VoIP and video conferencing So I need reliable fast internet. Should I buy the MAX Transit Cat 18 or the MAX Transit Duo cat 12?

Welcome to the forum!
Great question. Both options have merits. The CAT12 Duo lets you have up to 4 SIMs in the router and then use 2 cellular connections at the same time. The CAT18 is dual SIM and a single connection BUT, 4x4 MIMO and all the goodness CAT18 brings over CAT12 (eg improved modulation).

I would expect you be stationary (in a marina or at anchor) when you want the reliability for your calls and video conferencing. So you would have a moment to check both SIMs (assuming you have two SIMs installed) to see which one provides the best throughput. And you likely want to abuse marina WIFI when its available too?

Do you plan to sail along the coast or will you do a passage across the Adriatic? Juts wondering how many SIMs you really need and are likely to use.

If I had to choose I would likely go for the CAT18 purely because of the cellular performance improvement over a CAT12. I’d pair it with a Puma 401 (for cellular and gps) and a puma 020 (for wifi WAN) and stick both up nice and high. And I’d add a AP One Mini as an access point internally.

However I’d also be looking hard at the more expensive HD2 Dome in combination with a SIM injector because I am lazy and like the idea of a Dome up the mast and only running a single ethernet cable back down to below decks, and I’d like to have all my SIMs easily swappable from below decks too and fully loaded with all the SIMs I’d likely ever need.

Sorry - not sure I have brought much clarity here… what size yacht is it? That might help reduce the options - along with how many SIMs you’re prepared to pay for at any one time.

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How does a dome work when under way, in terms of antennas? There has been some chatter recently that a Poynting omni antenna may be better if the boat is rocking?

Thank you so much for your quick response. I thought the insight about anchorage was terrific, as you are probably right there won’t be a lot of work while under sail. That was the main concern between the two. Is the Cat-18 quite a bit faster? We will just be going down the coast from Croatia to Greece and then back so no trips across the sea. When you say put the antennas up high, how high. From what I have read I was thinking that as low as possible to keep the antenna cable as short as possible was my biggest concern. I was trying to keep the cable at under 15 ft. I was thinking about the HD1 dome but couldn’t decide if the gain was worth the cost. One of those things I won’t know until it is too late.

The four elements in the dome are all omnis. A Poynting 402 would have a bigger omni pattern than a dome antenna (its physically much bigger) so likely work a bit better underway but I doubt it would work so much better that I would be happy to run coax over ethernet on my own boat.

If Coax was already there then sure, bigger omnis and a Transit Duo - why not.

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Yeah it is. Side by side with a CAT12 it can be twice as fast, but more importantly it has more RF paths which make it more reliable from a cellular RF perspective.

I’d take a CAT18 Transit load it up with dual SIMs and use its wired WAN or WIFI wan to add another connection if I really needed to.

High as is sensible. Many go to the first set of spreaders - depends on your vessel size I guess.

You should be theoretically mindful when it comes to cable length to keep it as short as possible. Many suggest less than 10m of cable run.

My recommendation is to just use high quality cable, locate the antennas where it make sense and try and keep it as no longer than 10m of run and and don’t (re)terminate it yourself.

If you’re not sure about budget spend don’t do it. Do a CAT18 Transit and spend on good quality coax cable.

Also I expect you’ll have a good modern smartphone. Use that as a hotspot and connect the Transit to it using wifi WAN if you find you need more bandwidth or want to be more reliable during an important call.

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Hello Bryan @bjcaffrey,
@MartinLangmaid has given you some great guidance on the choices available. You may also like to ask your local authorised Peplink Partner for a copy of the Antenna Selection Guide available to them from the Partner section of this forum.

Your local Certified Peplink Partner can help you with a copy of the Antenna Selection Guide for Peplink Partners . The detailed guide is only available to the Peplink Partners to ensure that you get helped in working through it to get the most suitable antenna solution to your application. Even though we’ve not updated the article recently, it is still very relevant, and the fundamentals are still the same.

Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

What about the dome hd1 cat 18? The hd2 is probably to much. But is single worth the extra money over the Transit 18? Now I can put that up the mast down to a sim ejector. Then I don’t have to run 7 cables through the deck. But I do have to buy the ejector and router plus the dome is twice as much. So what I don’t know is how much faster and reliable would that setup be for the money.

That’s the crux of it. HD1 Dome is much faster and easier to install and with an injector has really easy SIM access. Is that worth the extra cost to you?

How much faster and more reliable than a MAX Transit CAT18 with big marine antennas do you mean?

A Max Transit with big antennas would likely let you connect with more available bandwidth when you are further away from the shore / cell towers. I don’t think you’d see enough of a difference within a few miles of shore to justify spending more on the HD1 Dome purely based on bandwidth alone. Don’t discount the cost of the antennas, cables and deck cable management either.

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Martin I cannot express how appreciative I am for you sharing your knowledge and expertise so readily and quickly. Thank you so much for your help you are a wonderful person. It’s the most clarity I have had on the subject matter since I started researching.

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