Notes on Pepwave Maxtransit Cat 18 Modem setup

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I just received my Pepwave Cat 18 Modem and thought I'd document some highlights of my experience for discussion and comments. I'll probably be needing some help on the physical installation in the days to come.

I ordered it along with a MobileMark 7-1 LTM Series antenna, both of which are now sitting on my desk at home for testing before installing in my rig. The antenna is smaller than I'd envisioned, which is great, I was pretty worried about mounting it on the roof, so smaller helps. The cable set has 7 leads of course, 4 for the 4x4MIMO modem, 2 for Wi-Fi, and 1 for GPS. I'd estimate the cables will require at least a 1/2" hole to make it to the roof, more on that later.

Currently the MaxTransit is running on my desk attached to the 7-1 antenna and I am THRILLED WITH THE PERFORMANCE. I'm currently using a Verizon SIM as primary, and ATT SIM as backup. Seeing around 60Mbps down and 25 up. Going in, I expected to get better signal quality using 4x4MIMO and knew additional speed was possible due to the CAT18 specs, but didn't expect this big a difference in performance, as Verizon was typically giving me 1/2 that on a good day. I'm cautious however, as many other factors are at play, such as Verizon just boosting their data cap by 15GB, my physical location, and what not. But optimistic nonetheless.

The setup using the Pepwave admin utility was pleasingly straightforward. I have basic networking skills and the Peplink people were kind enough to make this very usable for me. I configured the Cellular WAN first (before this it took me 20 min to figure out that the two SIM slots are different, the bottom slot requires the SIM be flipped over vs. the top). I then used the utility to ID both SIM's and got them online pretty quick and configured as primary and secondary. I had a bit of a delay figuring out the Wi-Fi as WAN config, but that turned out to be super easy. I then wanted to test a a wired WAN connection as well, (using my 815S ATT Hotspot), and that was also pretty straightforward. I then had to call 5G Store Tech Support for a few minutes, as I couldn't figure out how to do the load balancing across several connections, as the documentation said it was somewhere it wasn't. Turns out it was under the Advanced/Outbound Policies menu- so i configured an initial policy and retested my speeds, and it worked as expected first time. My ATT Hotspot setup as the WAN connection is very slow, (5 down 2 up), so i was able to easily see the difference in overall performance by shifting traffic to Verizon on the embedded modem vs the WAN Hotspot.

This is an exciting piece of hardware- and I'm looking forward to getting it installed on the roof soon and then getting some real world experience once we can all hit the road again.

I'm getting some help to install the Antenna. My initial plan is to install it in my Ventana LE in the front storage next to the AV Cabinet. My cabinet is currently physicall maxed out and battling heat issues as it is. I'm thinking I can drill a 1" hole from the center storage cabinet (where we normally keep snacks), where I will mount the Pepwave, and run the cables over there and access power. Then the cables can go to the roof... but the existing plate on the ceiling in the AV area is fully consumed by Satellite and other cabling. I may need to create a new hole to the roof? I have no idea what is between the ceiling and fiberglass roof there. I have an RV Technician scheduled to help me, as this is not my comfort zone. I plan to install the Antenna on top of the front AC unit. Any comments or suggestions on this aspect of the install are welcome.
 
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Congrats and I agree, Pepwave's are awesome. Thanks to @turbopilot for getting me on this bandwagon and off of what I was using previously. Sounds like you have a good plan on the antenna location, the Air Conditioner is my favorite location as it's highest and easiest.
 
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I was just stealing your idea Neal ;-)
 
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Tiffin
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2017 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
... the two SIM slots are different, the bottom slot requires the SIM be flipped over vs. the top).

Thanks for your info.

Can you post a picture of how the sims go into the unit?
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
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Location
Lakeside, CA
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2017
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Newmar
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Ford F150 King Ranch
Hopefully you can see from this picture that the top Sim slot has the business end facing down while the bottom slot has the contacts facing up. Both required SIM adapters sourced on Amazon ($5 ea)
 

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Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
3,876
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Notice the white icons to the right of the slots which show the orientation. Yeah, took me a while before I realized that!
 
Joined
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Ford F150 King Ranch
Of course I payed no attention to that!
 
Joined
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Notice the white icons to the right of the slots which show the orientation. Yeah, took me a while before I realized that!

I never noticed that!
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
159
Location
Lakeside, CA
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Ford F150 King Ranch
Neal, can you provide any detail with how you ran the antenna cables up to your roof for mounting on the front AC Shroud? Where did you run them? Did you drill a new hole or use existing or enlarge? How did you seal and did you use eternabond tape and what sealant? Did you use aluminum tape under the antenna as a ground plate?
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
3,876
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
I drilled a hole from the top down into my AV box which is over my driver's seat area. Newmar did the first hole when they installed WiFi Ranger for me at FPU so I knew the right area. Not hard to do, you can scope it if needed but that never really did much for me but I did buy a scope. Good to see if there are any cables in your path as the last hole I did drill I had an obstacle and there are lines in that head cap area. I used a long 3/4 inch bit. I used the cover plate that came with the WiFi ranger which is just a piece of plastic with a raised groove for the cable path. Dicor around that. To hold the cable in place on the roof I use zip ties with adhesive backing plates.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MYTHWK4/?tag=rvf01-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005V9UZE6/?tag=rvf01-20

endoscope.png
 
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
491
I drilled a hole from the top down into my AV box which is over my driver's seat area. Newmar did the first hole when they installed WiFi Ranger for me at FPU so I knew the right area. Not hard to do, you can scope it if needed but that never really did much for me but I did buy a scope. Good to see if there are any cables in your path as the last hole I did drill I had an obstacle and there are lines in that head cap area. I used a long 3/4 inch bit. I used the cover plate that came with the WiFi ranger which is just a piece of plastic with a raised groove for the cable path. Dicor around that. To hold the cable in place on the roof I use zip ties with adhesive backing plates.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MYTHWK4/?tag=rvf01-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005V9UZE6/?tag=rvf01-20

View attachment 1516
Did you have to arrange for the se additions ahead of your FPU? I want to change to a short Power cable at the transfer switch, so as to keep my Autoformer and power watchdog in the electrical bay, and a few other things.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
3,876
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
No, they will complete the FPU as that is their priority. If there is time remaining after in your "week" then you can pay them to do other things. I had SeeLevel installed, Progressive EMS internal surge protector installed and the WiFi Ranger antenna.

My autoformer fits in the bay next to the cord reel. I wouldn't shorten your 50A cable if that's what you're after. You're going to need it someday.
 
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