advice needed - newbie

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dan.ciprus
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advice needed - newbie

Post by dan.ciprus » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:18 pm

Hello,

we are moving to rural area and I am planning wireless connection to the closest tower. Options are: Verizon, ATT and T-Mob in order from strongest signal down to lightest. I had tried Netgear Nighthawk M1 recently which seems to be apparently the best on the market considering circumstances. But without talking about the pros and cons of the hotspot I did not find it "appealing" as a router which will go to the attic and will be serving as a router.

My next option which I was considering, was Mofi4500. Fully equipped machine with everything needed to just plug in SIM card and hope for the best signal from the air. Price tag was a bit breathtaking but I think I could manage.

At the same level I found routers from Cradlepoint - simple machines with preinstalled/preconfigured stuff which would keep my brain safe from frying while figuring the signal levels etc.

Lastly I found this forum, where people were talking about machines like WE826. I like concept of "opensource" and this fulfills this bucket perfectly.

Questions:
  • is we826 "production ready" machine (software and hardware) ? Can I use it for my daily work which require voip related stuff ? Is it stable enough to provide a good pipe for junk data like netflix and other digital trash which flows through internet veins in these days ?
  • I understood from the spec that we826-go comes with motherboard + few basic antennas only and modem is listed as an "accessory" and has to be bought separately. With this in mind, what would be the recommended modem to get ? CAT12 is in doable price range and I know that there are more expensive pieces on the market.
  • considering the fact that this is a new world for me, would it be advisable to get mofi4500 and then later get something which can be upgraded/tweaked (we826) ? I am an engineer after all ... :-)
Requirements:
  • house is roughly 3.500sqft with 2 stories + basement. I will need to cover large area with wifi signal so I will need to run copper through the floors and distribute wireless signal. This is the reason why I was targeting routers instead of hotspots.
  • good upgrade-ability
  • minimum maintenance - this being openwrt project, I think I should be good here with either option
  • support

I know, those questions sound odd but I am dealing with a lot now (house buying process, moving from house to house, trying to rent existing property etc) so having a device which will create another unnecessary hassle in my life would not be a good option at this point. But I do need to solve this question asap since I work from home and reliable connection is what pays my mortgage/s now. Next set of questions will be related to the data plans so stay tuned :-).

Apologies if my questions are very broad. I just need to start somewhere ... I promise I will do my best to learn as quickly as I can :-).

Thank you for all your responses/hints in advance !

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Didneywhorl
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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by Didneywhorl » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:26 am

Hey there, welcome.

The Mofi4500 IS a WE826 with a Sierra MC7455 inside. Except the firmware is customized. The Wifix WE826 is great. I have one with a Sierra MC7455 inside, on ATT.
The wifi is 2.4Ghz only and I feel like its pretty strong, but some complain its lacking. You can always add wifi extenders or a mesh network for wifi. Mofi4500 has the same wifi.
The Antenna connectors are SMA. There are tons of options from there. I always recommend a high gain wide band antenna, unless you know specific application for bands and frequencies.
I run all my streaming TV and wifi access for my whole house on mine. I didnt put any high power antennae on mine, just the little rubber sticks it comes with. I have another higher powered rig for video gaming.

Before I changed my setup to a we826 AND my other unit, I ran the WHOLE house on the MC7455 modem and one mimo panel antenna pointed at the tower. It does Plenty.
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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by dan.ciprus » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:58 am

Didneywhorl wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:26 am
Hey there, welcome.

The Mofi4500 IS a WE826 with a Sierra MC7455 inside. Except the firmware is customized. The Wifix WE826 is great. I have one with a Sierra MC7455 inside, on ATT.
The wifi is 2.4Ghz only and I feel like its pretty strong, but some complain its lacking. You can always add wifi extenders or a mesh network for wifi. Mofi4500 has the same wifi.
The Antenna connectors are SMA. There are tons of options from there. I always recommend a high gain wide band antenna, unless you know specific application for bands and frequencies.
I run all my streaming TV and wifi access for my whole house on mine. I didnt put any high power antennae on mine, just the little rubber sticks it comes with. I have another higher powered rig for video gaming.

Before I changed my setup to a we826 AND my other unit, I ran the WHOLE house on the MC7455 modem and one mimo panel antenna pointed at the tower. It does Plenty.
Thanks for your reply ...

wifi on the router is not that big deal. Like I said: there is quite a space I need to cover so there will be whole chain of routers/hotspots throughout the house anyway so there is likely that I will turn 2.4ghz off completely.

My current connection is FIOS so I am assuming that my speed and amount of data transferred over the router will be rapidly reduced in new place. Before moving in I need to figure out wireless connection so I can set up my office and be ready to work from home again. This is why I asked those questions.

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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by Didneywhorl » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:26 am

Ten four.

I think your go to is the WE826 with a Sierra Wireless mc7455 and an ATT ipad plan if that is the provider of your choice.

Its easy to put together, yet easily upgradeable. Its completely open for firmware, no weird modem firmware lockdown.

The mc7455 is a great modem that has run my whole houses needs for nearly 2 years. It does have issues disconnecting once or twice a day if its on Sprints network, no idea why, but I've never seen that issue being reported on any other network. Mine is currently running on ATTs network and had zero disconnects since putting it into service.

You can go with a newer modem that's more robust if you want to spend a few more pennies, all generally equally simple to install and use.

You can also order the unit as the we826-GO which has a few things already done for you, details on the ltefix site, and you can choose to get upgraded starter antennae if you like, etc, etc, etc.

I bought the WE826-GO and just popped in the moddem, clipped in the antennae jumpers (pigtails), reloaded the newest firmware from Jim (on this site) and was up and running. Super easy.
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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by Didneywhorl » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:43 am

I guess to directly answer your OP questions...


The WE826GO does not have a modem, you must buy one separate and install it inside.
The we826 takes a pcie style modem, but there are pcie to m.2 key b adapters that is as simple to install as just the modem.

Any modem Cat6 and above can handle your streaming and voip loads on it, as long as you have a decent signal strength, as one does.

I would avoid the mofi and cradlepoints, especially as an engineer who likes open source, and not wasting money, in favor of the we826.

The core part of this unit is the modem, and can use modem speeds of atleast 500Mbps, I think the pcie bus maxes out there, but Ill have to dbl check. That said you can customize and upgrade all over the place with it. Its only limitation is its size, therefore if you wanted to add another pair of antennae for a 4x mimo configuration you would have to get creative with the space given; not impossible.

As far as maintenance.. once its on and running, you dont have to do anything. You can always play with settings and routing, VPN and proxies, etc, etc. If it works though, it just works.
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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by dan.ciprus » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:50 pm

Thank you guys for all helpful tips !

Cart has we826go and mc7455 in it. Are there any recommendations for antennas ? Verizon has very strong signal there .. measured 74mbps on the cellphone for download and 25mbps upload. But with my luck in my life I bet I will end up with something very crappy on new device.

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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by gscheb » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:00 pm

Hello,
With the WE826 if it didn't serve you as a router you can disable it and use an access point inside the home. This what I ended up doing after allot of changes. It is the way to go in my opinion. Reason why is once you start down this road you will find yourself turning it into a hobby and always trying to fine tune it and make it better. And every time you upgrade the unit every device in the house just lost its connection. With a dedicated access point this eliminates this.
So if you try the nighthawk apposed to the WE826 and etc no change in WiFi access.
Hope this makes sense.

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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by BillA » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:38 pm

gscheb wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:00 pm
Hello,
With the WE826 if it didn't serve you as a router you can disable it and use an access point inside the home. This what I ended up doing after allot of changes. It is the way to go in my opinion. Reason why is once you start down this road you will find yourself turning it into a hobby and always trying to fine tune it and make it better. And every time you upgrade the unit every device in the house just lost its connection. With a dedicated access point this eliminates this.
So if you try the nighthawk apposed to the WE826 and etc no change in WiFi access.
Hope this makes sense.

Not sure I understand the advantage of the Nighthawk vs. the WE826. Do you mean its better to have both in case you're upgrading the WE826 while it's down?

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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by gscheb » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:24 pm

Advantage of having an access point and not router connected to your modem every time you decide to change something.

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Re: advice needed - newbie

Post by Didneywhorl » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:51 am

And a backup device
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