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Pepwave Cellular Router Installation


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I recently installed a Pepwave MAX BR1 Pro 5G cellular router on our Oliver.  It was part of the ‘Speed Demon 5G Mobile Internet Bundle’ that we purchased from Mobile Must Have.  We’re just completing our first trip with it from Washington State to Minnesota and back.  So far, we’re very happy with its performance.  

 

This is a fairly expensive setup and definitely not for everyone (or the faint of heart with required hole drilling in the Oliver roof!)  However for us, with my wife’s need for a high speed and consistent connection to the internet for her work, it makes the difference between being able to travel or staying at home.   On this trip we spent 2 nights in a campground in North Dakota where my regular cellphone kept alternating between 1 bar and no service.  Using the Pepwave, my wife was able to work and have conference calls on both Zoom and Teams without any problem.  The Wi-Fi also works while driving. 

 

Until my recent retirement, I was captain on a ship that had both Cradlepoint and Pepwave equipment onboard.  Both companies make very good, professional grade equipment.  There were two reasons I went with the Pepwave over the Cradlepoint option that Oliver offers: 1) Cradlepoint no longer seems interested in supporting individual users.  Their focus seems to be almost exclusively geared toward enterprise solutions.  2) I wanted a router that was capable of utilizing 5G as it’s now being rolled out around the country.  The Cradlepoint option offered by Oliver does not have 5G capabilities. 

 

The MAX BR1 Pro 5G accepts two SIM cards so we have a Verizon as our main data plan and a T-Mobile card as a backup. 

 

The sloped area behind the air conditioner seemed like the only place I could go through the roof with the antenna wires and mount and have a clean installation in the upper back cabinet.  Because the antenna works best if it is above any metal obstructions, I fabricated the mount so it was just proud of the air conditioner and adding as little additional overall height as possible.

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Wow!  That’s a very nice installation and your antenna mount is exceptional.  I do love your creativity.  Does the PEPWAVE antenna require a ground plane or is it built in?  Thanks for posting your successful modification.

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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1 hour ago, Wildbrew said:

The MAX BR1 Pro 5G accepts two SIM cards so we have a Verizon as our main data plan and a T-Mobile card as a backup. 

I'd say good choices. 

Great info. We'll look forward to your updates as you continue your travels. North Dakota has so many dead zones! I'm really happy this worked for you. It's a gamechanger.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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Call me a cellular dummy, what is inside the gray box and why could it not mount inside the hull?

Your antenna mount is elegant but I think it needs some side bracing in case it gets whacked by a bird on the highway, or a tree limb. What is the material and thickness?  Did you consider a flexible or retractable mast mount (aka flagpole)?

Why the wingnuts?

Thanks.

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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The antenna dome actually has 7 separate antennas in it with 7 corresponding cables that have to enter the Oliver somewhere.  The gray box is just a junction box that I fed the 7 wires into through the pictured cable gland fitting.  Inside the junction box I have a marine thru hull fitting that goes through the Oliver's roof and into the cabinet that all 7 wires run through.  My reason for doing it this way is that I expect the Oliver to outlast the technology attached to it and I wanted to future proof as much as possible by allowing for upgrades without further modifications to the Oliver hull.  The cable gland fitting is similar to ones we successfully used on the ship in harsher conditions than I expect to encounter with the Oliver.  

As for the mount, it's fabricated out of 1/8" aluminum plate.  When bolted down, it's actually very rigid and sturdy.   When designing the mount, I considered putting some bracing on it but decided not to.  It would take a lot more than a bird strike to bend the mount.  That said, if hit hard enough, something will give.  I would rather the antenna mount gave than the fiberglass it's bolted to....  I didn't want a flagpole or any kind of retractable mast that had to be put up each time its used as we also use the router while driving. 

The SIM cards are on the back of the router and would be impossible to access with the router in place.  The wing nuts make it easy to take the router down for access as needed and also leave the option of removing the router and using it in the home if we want.  (We live in a rural area and home internet options are not always the best or most reliable) 

The antenna dome does have a built in ground plane so an external one is not required but I figured the flat aluminum mount can't hurt! 🙂

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Thank you for the additional details.  The more details you share, the more impressive your modification becomes!

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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A very impressive custom detailed install. I too look forward to your future posts on how this works out in your travels. 
Thanks for posting.

-Patriot 

2020 OLEII - Hull #634   TV -2021 F 350 6.7 liter Diesel Lariat Ultimate “Tremor”

 

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