Networking

Manage multiple mobile connections with PepWave Max


Today, we expect to be connected where ever we are. Many people have gone from having Internet at the office to having ultra-highspeed connections there as well as broadband Internet at home and mobile access via smartphones. The web is increasingly omnipresent in our lives.

Sometimes, there is a need to use multiple Internet connections to keep things moving. My organization has purchased a bonding router to bring two connections together; see my review of the Peplink Balance 380. I have been to several events recently where the most reliable connection was an air card or several air cards.

Pepwave produces mobile connectivity gear from routers to access points, but in this post, I will focus on the Pepwave Max 700 mobile router which can handle the following WAN connections:

  • Wired Internet connections x2
  • USB Air Card Mobile Internet connections x4
  • Wireless WAN Internet Access x1

Figure A

Available wireless connections

In addition to all of these WAN connections, the device also provides an access point for your devices with its own DHCP and DNS capabilities. The device also has the connections to support direct current, so yes it can be hooked up in a vehicle. Doing this would bring highspeed Internet wherever you might end up. Very cool.

In addition to all of the other features, the router can also handle QoS settings to ensure that some traffic, like VoIP and other data, is prioritized to ensure it takes priority over the general surfing traffic.

Figure B

The Pepwave 700 dashboard

Who is it for?

In general this device might be best for small businesses or an organization with a highly mobile workforce. Sure, there might be some hard core geeks who would consider this router, myself included, although the $1300 price tag made me pause and reconsider. [*See Update below]

What stands out?

Aside from the sheer number of mobile connections this device supports and the DC connection, the routing and VPN capabilities of the device are awesome.  You can use this router to create a Site to Site or IPSec VPN with other routers, including the PepLink.

The routing and NAT features of the device are similar to other Peplink devices in a more compact unit than the other devices I have looked at. In terms of using mobile broadband connections, the Wi-fi WAN capability is the coolest feature. Consider using this feature with a Mi-fi mobile broadband hotspot as it can improve the signal and the range of your Mi-fi card.

Bottom Line

This router is great for small offices where redundant Internet connections are needed.  Because it can use multiple hardwired connections and mobile connections, the failover and improved bandwidth of combined connections can make the cost very well worth it.

*[UPDATE TO POST: The pricing provided for the Pepwave Max 700 mobile router was incorrectly stated.  The unit actually carries a list price of $1995 rather than $1299 as previously mentioned.  With the higher cost to purchase this device, it may be priced too high for the market.  If the Pepwave Max was the only router a small business was deploying to pull in multiple links it would be something to consider, but might be too costly even then.  If it is being added to add multiple links and not replace existing infrastructure, it certainly seems to be at the high end for the category.]

About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

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