LTE Success and Looking Forward

November 12, 2019

It’s been a week since I returned from AWA, and while this won’t be a full con report post, it is a report that we had smashingly good success with the LTE solution. In fact, it was pretty flawless all things considered. The highest speed was 35 Mbps, and as long as nobody wanted to play online games while we were streaming off one of my friend’s Plex server we were just dandy. We didn’t experience deprioritization too badly despite hitting the 22 GB soft cap after the first day. Total data used over the weekend: 94 GB. We need to lay off the streaming media, I suppose… I’ll make sure there’s a con report on the main blog in the next few days.

Moving on… Once again I’m working on reconfiguring the stack as while I do like RouterOS, I’m not entirely sure of the remaining support lifetime of the hAP ac Lite, plus it’s a little slow on the IPsec front, and its PoE delivery is slightly subject. The plan, pending delivery of a shipment from EU, is to build another APU-based pfSense machine, this time on an apu2d0. It will have two WLE200NX 802.11n cards in it with the 5 GHz channel set up on two antennas and the 2.4 GHz channel on one antenna. This should give significantly better, if slightly slower, coverage over the hAP, reducing the need for the wireless extenders. This doesn’t output PoE, which leads to this pretty amazing solution: Tycon Systems’ 2x USB to 24V at 12W passive PoE injector. I picked this up as it’s pretty cheap and tested it with my old apu1c with the MR1100 and it actually booted without a battery. Happy day, I solved that issue! I was testing with the hAP and a 1.5′ Ethernet cable worked but apparently there was massive voltage drop at 7′, which is a little worrisome. Anyway, with the PoE issue solved, and the APU2’s arrival within the next couple of weeks, I can begin the next test phase. If all goes well I’ll spend some time in Visio to get the Pelican case planned out and get some replacement foam for it. I don’t plan to do any trips that would require this until spring at the earliest, so I have time to make sure I’ve got pfSense’s WiFi issues wrangled and have done sufficient tests of the MR1100 sans battery.

I am giving thought to leaving the Groove WiFi CPE and its antennas out of the case with how well this LTE solution is working, but AT&T could change this plan at any time or disable “tethering” entirely on it, which would bring us back to square one. I hope that doesn’t happen for a long while, but at the very least I have a Ting SIM active and installed in the old Huawei card we could bring out of retirement for a weekend if needed. If anything I can tell my friends “we’ll split this month’s bill x ways” if we go as insane as we did this year.

Meanwhile, I grabbed a prepaid SIM at the local Wal-Mart and now have a second of these lines as my home backup connection for when Comcast goes down. So far it’s not been needed.

Until next time!

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