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Pepwave Max BR1 Full Review

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Monday, 03 June 2013

Pepwave Max BR1 Full Review

 

 

Wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T are rapidly expanding 4G LTE service throughout the country and it has really changed the way companies look at redundant back up connectivity. Businesses have been using 3G as backup for years, but with 4G LTE you can run an office full of data hungry employees without a hiccup and often receive speeds rivaling high end cable packages. This has increased the demand for ruggedized routers that can either quickly be integrated into an existing firewall, or as a stand alone failover router with embedded 3G/4G LTE connectivity.

The Pepwave Max BR1 has a compact form factor (5.8” x 5.0” x 1.6”) making it ideal for backup Internet, ATM/POS (Point of Sale), Surveillance, Kiosk, Digital Signage applications and more! Unlike some other router manufactures the Pepwave Max BR1 only comes in 4 SKU’s and specific Pepwave Max BR1 models are cross carrier compatible, made possible by the Gobi 3000 chipset. This means your company can purchase one specific Max BR1 SKU and easily switch between wireless providers without purchasing new hardware (Globally unlocked units only).

Pepwave Max BR1 Versions:

  • Pepwave Max BR1 Global 3G GSM + Verizon 3G - In the U.S. this version is compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile 3G/4G HSPA+, Verizon CDMA 3G and any international UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA provider running on (800/850/900/1900/2100Mhz).
  • Pepwave Max BR1 Verizon 3G/4G - This version is specifically designed for Verizon’s network and will operate on their 2G, 3G or 4G LTE network.
  • Pepwave Max BR1 AT&T 3G/4G - This version is specifically designed for the AT&T 2G, 3G or 4G LTE network.
  • Pepwave Max BR1 Global 3G GSM & European 4G HSPA/LTE - This model is ideal for international users that want to take advantage of 4G LTE on european carriers in addition to 2G/3G and 4G HSPA+. This model supports 4G LTE on (800/900/1800/2100/2600Mhz), UMTS/WCDMA/HSPA+ on (900/2100Mhz) and Edge/GPRS/GSM on (900/1800/1900Mhz).

 

What advantages does the Pepwave Max BR1 offer your company?

Like most embedded routers the Max BR1 units include high-gain cellular antennas via an SMA connector. This gives you enhanced cellular reception over traditional USB modems and also allows you to add higher gain M2M antennas for specific applications. Unlike most embedded solutions the LTE versions have a “Cell Main” and “Cell Aux” antenna connector. This allows you to only use one antenna, or you can opt to use two if you’d like dual diversity MiMo. This can lower your accessory costs if you don’t want dual diversity, where other embedded products require dual antennas to function.



In addition to the cellular antennas there is an active GPS connector on the back of the unit. This makes the Max BR1 ideal for Fleet deployment and commercial applications that want to track vehicles across the country. In fact, a lot of our customers like to pair the Max BR1 units with our Low-Profile NMO 3G/4G antenna that includes dual SMA connectors for cellular and GPS in one antenna design! If you’d like to take advantage of GPS functionality on your BR1 units you’ll need to make sure your carrier supports GPS and also purchase the BR1 GPS add-on pack.


(Dual SIM slots)

The Max BR1 units also offer dual SIM slots giving you more flexibility in your deployment. Take the globally unlocked or European version of the BR1 for example, you can add two different GSM providers to have redundant backup in the event the primary carrier goes down. For customers that opt to use the Verizon or AT&T versions you can add a second SIM in the event you have a SIM failure, or want to have two separate data packages to save on overage costs. It’s also important to understand that the BR1 is a single radio, which means it won’t load balance or use multiple cellular carriers at the same time. If you want a solution that does multiple embedded devices together you want to look at the dual radio Max HD2 LTE.  


(No central portal management fees!)

Trying to manage multiple sites can be a daunting task unless you have a central management portal that allows you to quickly access all of the devices on your network. Most manufactures charge for management services like Cradlepoint ($24/yr per device - $500 setup fee) or Sierra Wireless Airlink Ravens ($12/yr per device) as a few examples. With the Pepwave Max BR1 there are ZERO setup costs and ZERO annual fees associated with their InControl management console! This service will allow you to see which devices are up running, down or apply new firmware updates to all devices with the click of a button.



This is huge for any company doing a large scale deployment or government agencies that don’t have recurring costs set up within their budget. Pricing on the Max BR1 products are already very competitive with other manufactures, but add in the free portal management and it could save your company thousands in recurring management costs. In addition to InControl there is an application called “Router Utility” that is available for iOS/Android devices (pictured above) to get push notification on the fly to your smartphone or tablets.



In addition to central management all Pepwave Max BR1 units feature SpeedFusion technology, which allows you to easily create a secure 256bit AES encrypted tunnel between different site locations (Supports traditional IPSec VPN & PPTP VPN too). This means that if you’ve got Peplink Balance routers deployed at your corporate and branch offices the Max BR1’s can connect back from remote job sites or vehicles. Additionally, if you’re using the Max BR1 in your office SpeedFusion also provides seamless failover from Cable/DSL to cellular when your T-1, MPLS or Cable link goes down. SpeedFusion technology makes it easy for your company to transmit secure data with a simple, intuitive and easy to use interface.

Who is the Pepwave Max BR1 for?

The easiest way to describe the Max BR1 is the “swiss army knife” of embedded routers. With multiple SKU’s available the unlocked 3G/4G HSPA+ models are very popular for ATM, Kiosk or retail POS applications, while the units that support 4G LTE too are great for Digital Signage, Transit and firewall integration where more speed is typically needed. If you have a tight deployment schedule the cross carrier Gobi 300 enabled BR1 units allow you to purchase one SKU and activate on all of the popular carriers to conduct a rapid deployment into new markets. The seamless failover capability makes it a popular choice for telecommuters that depend on Internet access to maintain connectivity from their home office too.

Max BR1 Specifications:

  • 4G LTE for either Verizon, AT&T or European access
  • 3G supporting GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA/CDMA/1xRtt/EVDO
  • Bandwidth usage monitoring
  • FusionHub Central Management
  • IPSec VPN support
  • PPTP VPN Server capability
  • SpeedFusion & PepVPN support
  • QoS for Voip and E-Commerce
  • Terminal Block - Directly wire to battery for mobile applications
  • Built in GPS with active connection for external GPS antenna
  • Automatic Seamless Failover
  • 1 WAN port and 2 LAN ports
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi AP
  • WiFi as WAN support

Conclusion:

The Pepwave Max BR1 units are designed for rugged environments to handle the abuse they may find in a commercial vehicle, server rooms or out in the field running remote IP cameras. With high temperature thresholds you don’t have to worry about unit failing under extreme heat or cold and can obtain reliable 24/7 connectivity. IP Passthrough capability makes it easier than ever to click one checkbox and pass the cellular IP into your firewall, or use at remote office sites as a stand alone routing solution. The bottom line is the Pepwave Max BR1 raises the bar in the embedded cellular space by providing free cloud management and offering a product that integrates with their Peplink Balance and Pepwave Surf SOHO product line. The provides an unparalleled user experience across their entire product line for your main office and remote sites where cellular connections are needed.


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