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Old 10-30-2022, 09:52 AM   #1
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Solved! Connectivity Issues with Pepwave BR1 Mini and T-Mobile

We discovered in June 2022 that we were not able to connect to the internet through our Pepwave Max BR1 Mini router. Prior to that time, we had really only used the router to remotely connect to our Airstream. We had not used our trailer in a few months and were surprised to learn at that time that Airstream had replaced the IoT card that goes in slot A with an updated card and we could not use our router until we got the new card. It took several weeks to get it, and once we got it connecting to and remotely controlling our Airstream seemed to be working again.

However, during this time we also subscribed to T-Mobil's 5G 100GB data only plan. We put the T-Mobile card in slot B of our router and quickly discovered that we lost all functionality of the router, including connecting to and controlling the trailer remotely. Sometimes we could get it working for a couple of days, and then it would stop working again. We worked with Airstream's tech department as well as a local tech guru with no luck. We received several different possible explanations from Airstream for the problems including, your T-Mobile plan is not a data only plan (it was), your T-Mobile SIM card is bad (we replaced it three times), your T-Mobile card is conflicting with the IoT card (we tried using the system with just one card to no avail), the whole system is down and we don't know when it will be back up (but others were not having this problem), and your router is bad. They did send us a refurbished router, however while they said it worked fine in their shop, it had even less functionality in our trailer in that we couldn't even connect to it online when connected to it with an ethernet cable.

After four months of trying to solve the problem, I finally connected with Kittmaster on this forum. He was a life saver! He shared with me that the only T-Mobile plans that work with this router are 4G plans. T-Mobile does currently have a 4G 50GB plan which should work with this router, however, as we are currently living and working full-time in our Airstream we needed a higher data plan. Kittmaster informed me that there is a discontinued 4G 100GB plan, and that I could get access to this plan if I called T-Mobile and told them I need to speak to a "specialized tech care" person. I did that and it was confirmed that is the plan I needed. In order to get access to the plan, I then had to speak to a customer service rep, who was able to give me access to the plan. Once that plan was active, we were able to access the internet!

We continued to have problems with connecting and controlling our trailer remotely and with accessing the internet when connecting the router to local wifi (such as campground wifi). Kittmaster provided support with the router settings, and connectivity became available intermittently. Airstream tech support checked all of my settings and said they showed everything was working on their end. Through continued problem-solving, we were able to get everything working most of the time. I believe at this point the intermittent connectivity is due to problems with the Airstream Smart app (as well as the Airstream Connected app), as others are also experiencing issues with the app.
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Old 10-30-2022, 04:23 PM   #2
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It was a pleasure to meet you and glad I could provide some assistance with all the trouble that I went through trying to get it up and running.

Anyone reading this, while it specifically applies to T-Mobile and the experience provided here, it "may" also apply to Verizon, Consumer Cellular, Cricket Wireless and god knows who else.

Those of us that use AS Connected were all in because initially the AT&T plan was a killer deal yearly and truly unlimited. In our case, it was converted to Sprint pre T-Mobile merger and it was "satisfactory". When T-Mobile finally took it over that is when we had to dig deep with their support group to figure out what was really going on.

Sure enough, T-Mobile's default position is to move EVERYONE to the 5G plans and that certainly makes sense, however, this is a 4G only device. For T-Mobile specific, the "specialized tech care" group is a real thing within T-Mobile and who you need to ask for when you call the support people. The support people are good but can't solve this issue, the tech care group where the ones to fix the problem when they realized what the core issue was. The operator I spoke to in that group flat out told me: "Regular support could never have solved this problem as they don't have access to this grandfathered plan"....very telling. They deal with everything NOT phone related but cellular linked...i.e. BR1-Mini and all the devices like it that are not a true phone.

I stumbled into that department by accident when speaking to a 1st tier support person who did RVing themselves and realized that my issue was what that group specializes in. The main support people have no data on PepWave and other devices like it which is their charter. The ROOT CAUSE of the T-Mobile issue I ran into as well as hjc320 is at the tower router level. Because the BR1-Mini does not support 5G in any way, the tower will allow access for 5-7 days but eventually it is trying to apply a protocol for a 5G plan to a 4G only device. There must be some preamble that the towers look for and if it never sees it, removes the device from the network even though everything should just "work". From a customer service standpoint, they don't have any of that information so they can't help you, only that special department can.

One would think that even though a 5G device will fall back to 4G as needed, the device will most likely revert to 5G at some point when the signal gets better...how that works in the middle of now where if there is no 5G support, I don't know, it must be something in a whitelist of devices??...best guess there.

Either way, the true fix as mentioned by hjc320 is that T-Mobile has a specific 4G grandfathered plan that solves this specific issue. The price is the same, the data allotment is the same (100GB)....everything is the same...except 4G support only....and the device doesn't get kicked off the network as the plan tells the tower...support this device this way, and this way only.

In the end, we both hope that this helps others in some way if they stumble across this thread or the one that I created a while back. I used it all summer after getting this setup late 2021 and fully operational all of 2022....so I know it works and works well.

Some spots I was seeing up to 50Mbps downstream and 35Mbps upstream, so the antenna, br1-mini with external LAN router, and trailer configuration all work very well....with the correct plan.

This "may" apply to other carriers...if you are having issues, you'll need to find a "similar" department for that carrier, explain what has been described here, and see if their system operates the same way. A lot of carriers share services/towers...so if you're having issues, this info may help you to sort it out.

@hjc320, thanks for writing this up, glad you folks have it worked out!

Happy Streaming (pun intended)

Chris
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Old 12-17-2022, 08:00 PM   #3
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Chris.... I just wanted to thank you! I just called T-Mobile and after an hour on the phone getting nowhere I decided to come on here and search for this issue. I called and get connected to a person that knew exactly what I needed. I recently retired after programming networks for years and it can be very frustrating trying to talk tech details to people that don't understand it. All I had to tell the guy is I just bought a new Airstream Classic and it took it from there. Soooo refreshing.

Thanks again!
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Old 12-19-2022, 08:53 AM   #4
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KCurtis,

I'm late to the discussion. Are you going with T-Mobile vice AT&T for your data port? My AT&T SIM and account expired, I will have to get the router up and running for our spring trip. Curious.
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Old 12-19-2022, 11:41 AM   #5
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Chris.... I just wanted to thank you! I just called T-Mobile and after an hour on the phone getting nowhere I decided to come on here and search for this issue. I called and get connected to a person that knew exactly what I needed. I recently retired after programming networks for years and it can be very frustrating trying to talk tech details to people that don't understand it. All I had to tell the guy is I just bought a new Airstream Classic and it took it from there. Soooo refreshing.

Thanks again!
Glad to help... Happy Streaming..
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Old 12-25-2022, 12:27 PM   #6
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I’m also having these same issues. Just purchased a 2022 classic. My router came with a T mobile sim is slot A and a att sim in slob. I activated the att sim in slot b by purchasing a data plan but I’m not getting any cellular. Do I need to activate the other sim in slot A?
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Old 12-26-2022, 07:02 AM   #7
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Iím also having these same issues. Just purchased a 2022 classic. My router came with a T mobile sim is slot A and a att sim in slob. I activated the att sim in slot b by purchasing a data plan but Iím not getting any cellular. Do I need to activate the other sim in slot A?
No, if the AT&T is activated, then it will connect and provide data. The question is what TYPE of plan for AT&T did you activate? Is it a pre-pay hotspot plan or something else? The plan makes the difference with the device and you have to ensure that it is a 4G only plan and not 5G as the unit does NOT support 5G at all and could be kicked off the tower.

Also, since you don't have access to the admin area of the router and both cards are in, the T-mobile may be taking precendence while unactivated and connected to the tower with its configuration but no plan activated to transfer data. So remove the T-Mobile SIM card, unplug the router for 15 seconds, plug back in and WAIT for at least 4-5 minutes....the BR1-Mini has a VERY long reboot time and not kidding....can be up to 4-5 minutes.

Wait until the LEDs are all green (should be red since there is an issue) to try connecting to it and doing a data test/connection.

See if that solves your connection issue.
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Old 04-11-2023, 08:30 AM   #8
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Kittmaster, this is all super helpful, thank you! I am taking delivery of a trailed with AS connected, and I am on t-mobile and suspect I will run headlong into this. I was planning on taking the SIM out of my existing hotspot and popping it in, but based on all that I've read, it won't work and I need to get a 4G sim instead.

That being said, is another option (albeit $$$) be to replace the br1 mini with a 5g equivalent pepwave? Wouldn't that ultimately be better in that I would get better performance and be able to use existing SIM (at the additional cost, of course).

Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2023, 08:31 AM   #9
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Also, what do the 50GB / 100GB t-mobile 4g plans cost? Can't find them on their site...
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Old 04-11-2023, 09:14 AM   #10
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Kittmaster, this is all super helpful, thank you! I am taking delivery of a trailed with AS connected, and I am on t-mobile and suspect I will run headlong into this. I was planning on taking the SIM out of my existing hotspot and popping it in, but based on all that I've read, it won't work and I need to get a 4G sim instead.

That being said, is another option (albeit $$$) be to replace the br1 mini with a 5g equivalent pepwave? Wouldn't that ultimately be better in that I would get better performance and be able to use existing SIM (at the additional cost, of course).

Thanks!
Yes, if you were to buy a 5G version router/pepwave, and have a 5G plan, all will be right with the world.

However, if you look at the FOOTPRINT of the device, the BR1-mini was selected by AS mostly by 1: Cost 2: Size 3: 2 Ethernet ports, one for user, one for CZone on the bigger trailers (I imagine it would be hard to find a single Ethernet port on a device like these > pure speculation).

Their pricing is silly, but I am paying $55 or very close to that for the 100GB/month plan. We use about 20GB on any given weekend on the times we are out, at most 3 times a month...we have never gone over, but 50GB in a months time but it is a bit to close for me and the difference of like 3 bucks a month between the two plans......100GB wins every time.

Let us know how you make out.

Chris
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Old 04-12-2023, 10:26 AM   #11
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Sorry for my late response. I went with T-Mobile. Right now it is the 50 Gig. I will be calling to get the 100 Meg one before we hit the road for a multi-month trips in June.

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KCurtis,

I'm late to the discussion. Are you going with T-Mobile vice AT&T for your data port? My AT&T SIM and account expired, I will have to get the router up and running for our spring trip. Curious.
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Old 04-12-2023, 11:24 AM   #12
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Chris, I talked to t-mobile and just like you said asked for the "specialized tech care" person. I had to go through two layers of people first but if you explain with enough jargon, you won't have any trouble getting through.

That person then looked through all the grandfathered 4G plans and had me pick one. Most of them were terrible prices and he didn't initially find the 50G or 100G ones. When I mentioned that I thought there was a 50G for $50 he found it (it was actually $55 but with auto-pay down to $50). So I went with that one (50G is plenty for me).

I already had a data plan with them for my inseego 5G hotspot, so I replaced that plan with this 4G one. The tech assured me that my inseego would continue to work (albeit on 4G) and that I would be able to swap it between my inseego and my peplink in the RV. I haven't had a chance to try it out in the RV yet, but I will let you know how it goes when I do. For the time being all seems well. The only red flag I have is that my inseego seems to still be getting 5G which I thought it would not since this is supposedly a 4G plan. So my concern is that the plan I switched to is actually not 4G only and that it won't work in the peplink. I'll just have to wait to find out...

For reference, the plan is called "50GB Mobile Internet" and the description says "50GB LTE High Speed Data"
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Old 04-12-2023, 04:06 PM   #13
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Chris, I talked to t-mobile and just like you said asked for the "specialized tech care" person. I had to go through two layers of people first but if you explain with enough jargon, you won't have any trouble getting through.

That person then looked through all the grandfathered 4G plans and had me pick one. Most of them were terrible prices and he didn't initially find the 50G or 100G ones. When I mentioned that I thought there was a 50G for $50 he found it (it was actually $55 but with auto-pay down to $50). So I went with that one (50G is plenty for me).

I already had a data plan with them for my inseego 5G hotspot, so I replaced that plan with this 4G one. The tech assured me that my inseego would continue to work (albeit on 4G) and that I would be able to swap it between my inseego and my peplink in the RV. I haven't had a chance to try it out in the RV yet, but I will let you know how it goes when I do. For the time being all seems well. The only red flag I have is that my inseego seems to still be getting 5G which I thought it would not since this is supposedly a 4G plan. So my concern is that the plan I switched to is actually not 4G only and that it won't work in the peplink. I'll just have to wait to find out...

For reference, the plan is called "50GB Mobile Internet" and the description says "50GB LTE High Speed Data"
Thx for the feedback, now go into your T-Mobile account and look at the available plans, the 100GB plan should be there for the same price if memory serves. The person did it for me over the phone, but you should be able to get the same.....if you use it or not.

I have redacted the phone number and details that are private.

See screenshot below:
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Old 04-21-2023, 10:58 AM   #14
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Chris, got my trailer and popped in my SIM card from tmobile. At first, nothing . Did a bunch of fiddling and nothing seemed to help.

Then this morning, I installed the "Airstream Smart" app and when I went to the network tab, it showed the sim slot as t-mobile with a high number of bars. So I tried connecting again and I was able to get 10mbps down and 10mbps up. Not great, but better than nothing.

I go back out later, and I get a trickle down (1mbps and 5-10mbps up). Something still seems wrong. Also, the Airstream Smart app says "Trailer not connected" which I don't put much credence in, but just providing as information.

At this point I will probably call T-Mobile to find out what they are seeing on their end. The other thing that is confusing me is that I can't access the peplink admin console. I wanted to check everything in there and see if there were some settings I could mess with to improve my lot, but I wonder if the admin console is turned off or something. I'm using the route IP / gateway IP, tried every IP to access it, but no dice. Any ideas on that?

Thanks!
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Old 04-21-2023, 11:52 AM   #15
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Chris, got my trailer and popped in my SIM card from tmobile. At first, nothing . Did a bunch of fiddling and nothing seemed to help.

Then this morning, I installed the "Airstream Smart" app and when I went to the network tab, it showed the sim slot as t-mobile with a high number of bars. So I tried connecting again and I was able to get 10mbps down and 10mbps up. Not great, but better than nothing.

I go back out later, and I get a trickle down (1mbps and 5-10mbps up). Something still seems wrong. Also, the Airstream Smart app says "Trailer not connected" which I don't put much credence in, but just providing as information.

At this point I will probably call T-Mobile to find out what they are seeing on their end. The other thing that is confusing me is that I can't access the peplink admin console. I wanted to check everything in there and see if there were some settings I could mess with to improve my lot, but I wonder if the admin console is turned off or something. I'm using the route IP / gateway IP, tried every IP to access it, but no dice. Any ideas on that?

Thanks!
In the app, verify that the "Wi-Fi" is turned OFF. If it isn't, turn it off. The BR1-mini versions 1 and 2 only have 1 radio to use between Wi-Fi and cellular...it is a design issue in the router itself that you can't control. The revision level 3 is a total redesign of the same device and it has two radios where you can have cellular and Wi-Fi on at the same time... but that is another topic which I documented here:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f45...nk-236790.html

This was discovered by Turk123 if I recall who worked with pepwave on it after he discovered disconnection issues.

The BR1-mini takes almost 5-6 minutes to fully boot from power on, so be sure you wait if you power cycle it in any way.

Because of the radio issue, the part of the user experience has been an issue and the 10Mbps you are seeing I recall as being "normal" in this mode.

There is a sloppy fix if you're willing to spends under $30 for it. The CPU inside the unit is not super robust....so a solution was found by Turk123 and it involves an external router, be it, N, AC, or AX... avoid anything G or A (too slow).

If you use the Ethernet port and connect it to the external router setup up as an ACCESS POINT... the BR1-Mini will handle all of the DHCP requests and assign the requisite IP addresses for all of your devices. The bandwidth will jump to approximately 20Mbps to 50Mbps based on what I've seen here and tower locations and proximity to the external router inside the Airstream.

To be honest about the app, I've always thought it was the biggest pile of garbage I've ever seen... it is slow, clunky, and as of late, very unreliable.... but YMMV.

The last item, this is where it will infuriate you.....

It sounds to me like you have AS connected and that Airstream installed or it came with the BR1-Mini...if that is the case.... here comes the hammer:

If/when you decide to sell the unit, or need assistance from Pepwave, or any variation where you are not getting support directly from Airstream.... guess what, you don't own that router. No matter how much you paid for it.... addon or not..... yeah... let that sink in for a bit.

The serial number of the unit and in control software that resides in the unit are registered to Airstream and as far as I've been told, will never release it to you.... ever.... has that changed recently? Not sure... but last I heard...that is the answer you will get. No one who early adopted was told any of this... and it is infuriating to think that you paid for something you will never own....even though it is YOUR property.

Airstream controls all aspects of the router via in control which is a fleet remote package... Pepwave will tell you to go pound sand if you try to get any support or help from them... they will tell you to go back to Airstream and there is nothing they can do to support you Ö even if they have a solution to whatever issue.

Since Airstream is the "owner" of the router, they have custom coded the admin panel to unique usernames and passwords to access the admin panel via ethernet/Wi-Fi.... locking out the user entirely. Consider it a true black box.

It will probably require a class action suit to break that chain... but that is another issue topic all together.

There are two options: buy another router or a new 5G version that matches the antenna connections and pop in your SIM card and live life happy....

OR (with a big caveat)

You can force a full hardware reset to nuke all of the Airstream information and control aspects.... but remember, if anything goes wrong, even blowing away the Airstream access and login info back to the defaults, the serial number it has negates any support from Pepwave and you are basically on your own.... people have done it, but certainly is not recommended.

Being cellular Wi-Fi, 20Mbps up and down is pretty good for a 4G device (remember there is 0 support for 5G in any way). Even for Netflix 1080p, that only requires 5Mbps and if you're crazy enough to stream 4K, that is 15Mbps...which means a single TV stream and basic internet browsing will have more than enough to do the job...

If your expected 30-40Mbps sustained, you need to be within hundreds of feet from the tower... or run some coax to it instead...

I think I covered all you asked, if I missed anything or have other questions, please feel free.

Chris
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Old 05-08-2023, 06:19 PM   #16
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Anybody just re-up the existing TMobile Plan

I only want to run the PepLink router for its connectivity to CZone and the app. Has anyone contacted to have Tmobile continue to provide the same service as purchased by Airstream? I have alternatives to allow WiFi access for me and mine at the trailer.
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Old 06-15-2023, 06:42 PM   #17
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I am battling this issue for the third time. I get it to work for a while then something breaks. The last time, according to t-mobile level 1 support, my phone number for the sim card was re-assigned to some other person and left me hanging.



Short version and a question:



I have a brand new sim that is supposed to be 5G. The T-Mobile support guys in OKC (second level I believe) tell me that the sim is provisioned and ready to connect. The BR1 does nothing even close to connecting. The Cellular light never lights and the box never connects.


I am going to call AS tech support tomorrow to find out if they can see it.



In the meantime, if I were to replace the BR1 Max Mini (does that sound like an oxymoron to you?) with something that would work on the t-mobile 5G net, what would it be? Anyone know?


Thanks!


David
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Old 06-16-2023, 06:03 AM   #18
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I am battling this issue for the third time. I get it to work for a while then something breaks. The last time, according to t-mobile level 1 support, my phone number for the sim card was re-assigned to some other person and left me hanging.



Short version and a question:



I have a brand new sim that is supposed to be 5G. The T-Mobile support guys in OKC (second level I believe) tell me that the sim is provisioned and ready to connect. The BR1 does nothing even close to connecting. The Cellular light never lights and the box never connects.


I am going to call AS tech support tomorrow to find out if they can see it.



In the meantime, if I were to replace the BR1 Max Mini (does that sound like an oxymoron to you?) with something that would work on the t-mobile 5G net, what would it be? Anyone know?


Thanks!


David
You need to read my first post in this thread carefully. You need to get to the group I SPECIFICALLY called out in post 2. DO NOT accept any other department.... THEY CAN'T HELP YOU. Do not take NO for an answer, the department I listed is who you want to talk to and force any over happy to help support personnel to transfer you to that department listed above to resolve your connection issues... as much as tier 1 2 3 and anyone else who will listen would love to help you, they don't have the tools to get you what is required to make this work.

I can't say this STRONG ENOUGH..... 5G will NOT work with the BR1-mini on T-Mobile's system. That group and grandfathered plan that runs SPECIFICALLY on 4G ONLY will make it work exactly and as reliably as it did when on AT&T. I'm in my Airstream now using the system typing this and have had zero interruptions or problems (going on almost 2+ years now I think?).

I know it feels like you may be acting "rude" by saying "you can't help me" to their face... but facts are facts... take it from people who already went through this meat grinder and are trying to save you the heartache you are dealing with now and just further making your experience with the system sour in your mind... and believe me... it is... nothing worse than second guessing if "was this was a mistake" or not when a straight line solution is in place... you just have to walk the path... in the end, you'll feel better and you can move on and enjoy your experience and have one less thing to worry about.

We use this system for our security system and other critical infrastructure... and it hasn't failed us... so if that says anything for you.

To answer your other question, yes, there are other devices that Pepwave supports for fleet vehicles. But if you are reliant on Airstream for ANY OF THIS... then you are out of luck unless you are an IT expert who can replace the hardware, reconnect, and reconfigure proper WAN/LAN configurations that won't make you vulnerable to hackers by improper setup etc. including firmware updates which are critical to these systems. Will the 5G device be faster?.... Depends, are you 20 meters from the tower? If so, then sure, 5G sounds great, but overall, you will be bursting 4G speeds to 5G limits depending on conditions and connection channels and tower congestion.

So in the end, is it worth it for all that BS? Only you can decide, or just make a phone call, swing the hammer, and get setup with the correct plan and carry on.



Enjoy,
Chris
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Old 06-17-2023, 10:09 PM   #19
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I really appreciate your passion and experience in this area!



While I know the BR1 mini will work on the t-mobile 4g net, I have been there and done that, I also know that T-mobile can at any second disconnect you and disable that path and never have to give you an explanation. So, my question went to "What's next?"


That is why I am asking, if i elect to leave the BR1 behind, what is the next device I should look at? The t-mobile hot spots don't have the connectivity (internal or external) to support the trailer's automation. So, there has to be a next gen device that I can use (with or without AS support); and without might be better than relying on 2 people who may or may not be around when I need them.


With 40 years in systems and net design and support, providing my own support won't be a problem. If I cannot fix it, I can go online to a support site and most likely find an answer - which AS does not even dream of doing.


So, does anyone know what the next gen router for an AS trailer might be? Is it the Transit or is there something else better/less expensive?


And, this time, i will own my own gear!



Thanks!
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David Briggs

Ebb - 2015 F-150 3.5L Ecoboost
Flo - 2012 30' International Serenity
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Old 06-20-2023, 06:26 AM   #20
Rivet Master
 
2019 25' International
Providence , Senior Electrical Engineer
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 1,149
I see your point about the plan. To be honest, with the mess that AS and AT&T have created for early adopters like myself and many others who opted in for the unlimited data thing, the scramble to other carriers has caused the debacle you see now.

In terms of what other hardware is there, I've looked previously and what I have found are devices that will clearly support 5G, but all come with various trade-offs. The biggest trade off is clearly size, the 5G units are huge width or depth wise. Other trade offs are antenna mismatching, compatibility with existing external mounted AS connected antenna and a myriad of other lesser important things.

I did a fast 5G search on Peplink:

https://www.peplink.com/technology/w...-with-peplink/

The answer on hardware replacement to get out of the possible grandfather plan loss at any time is from one of the devices listed on that link on Peplink. You would select what you think makes sense based on those dimensions of those devices, which are significantly larger than the BR1-Mini.

The whole AS connected thing is a cluster to say the least, and since you have the skills you'll find what you need for your requirements. I'm in the same boat as you, I don't need them to support me and at some point I will probably upgrade to a 5G device as well.

That time will occur when as you mentioned, if the plan suddenly vanishes and I know longer have service, then a new piece of hardware will be purchased, plan converted back to 5G, and then carry on and leave the AS connected mess behind.

If you do ever buy a new device, let us know what you got, how it went... etc... I find many are silent on this but have followed the threads and have had much success, so it will be helpful to all if they can follow the footprints. I will do the same when/if that time ever comes.

Cheers.
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