BR-200LTE-VZ vs BR-200WP+USB

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So... Background...

I'm looking to order-up either the BR-200LTE or the BR-200WP (and subsequently use the Novatel 551L with an external antenna - 'cause... why not...).

I'd be using the unit both for testing, in-home, and meandering around usage.  Specifically, I'd be using it on installations where otherwise wired usage is, shall we say... frowned upon.  As well as deployable in support of a number of activities where network is limited, in general.

I'm a fan of the all-in-one idea, and for testing, that may work better.  My question would ultimately be, does Aerohive have a technical specification regarding antenna gain for the BR-200LTE's VZW portion?  I see the frequency listed on the spec sheet, but nothing about it's antenna.  Ultimately, I'm trying to see if it's reception is better than the off-the-shelf LTE antenna, or if it'd be good enough.

The obvious advantage to the separate USB is A.) price and B.) it can be used elsewhere when not in-use in the router.  But, again, I'm more concerned with performance and ability than I am with price.

The real test would come next weekend, potentially, when I'll be in the middle of BF, WI for training.  Reception is meh at-best, and worse in some of the shielded areas.

Thanks,
Matt
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Matt Kopp

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  • nerdy...

Posted 3 years ago

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Vik

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If price is your concern, then the external adapter is your best bet. However, overall performance will be best with the built-in radio / antenna combination. It is purpose built and the antenna combo is going to give you far better reception than you will find with your typical consumer external for those little adapters.

I think you should just weigh performance vs. cost and go from there. I looked through a bunch of our internal docs, but was unable to find anything on the antennas specifically.
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Matt Kopp

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Hi Vik,
Thanks for the heads-up.  Price isn't too much of an issue (NFR); I'm definitely looking for performance at this point in the game.  I'd rather have quality and usability then skimp because it costs a few bucks more.

If you manage to stumble upon something, I'm all ears.  Elsewise, I think I'll get the PO rollin' today.


Thanks Again,
Matt
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Matt Kopp

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So here's a bump for this guy... I finally provisioned the BR200-LTE-VZ (replaced a BR200-WP I had there to begin with).

I felt like the story needed to be told, mainly for entertainment value, but perhaps for assistance.

I received the BR200-LTE-VZ a couple months back; right before heading up to WI for some training.  I stopped-off at Verizon on Thursday evening before I left; the perplexed looks should have been the first sign that something was about to go awry.  First, we had to track down the part number in the VZW system; which is BR-200-LTE-VZ (note the extra hyphen).

Next came activation... Well, should have come activation, anyways.  I had initially tried online to no end, that's why I'd ended-up in the store.  They tried - didn't work, they tried a different way - didn't work.  By this time, they were wrapping-up, well after closing; I felt guilty and they'd made some calls, we'd agreed to reconvene Friday.

So, along comes Friday.  I'm in some sort of fantastic mood, no doubt the intake of coffee to prepare to make the drive successfully through Indiana.  So, upon arriving and meeting the same smiling faces from the evening before, sharing some laughs at the whole ordeal, we found out the technical limitations of the device.

The BR200-LTE-VZ has only a single cellular card installed.  While it is officially supported by Verizon, one cannot activate it on the consumer side as there's no E911.  You see, Verizon's cellular network is divided into two separate networks: one for voice, one for data.  And while this device would almost certainly NEVER be used to make a 911 call; because there is no GPS there is subsequently no E911. (Of note, I promised to duct tape a GPS receiver to it, but that made no difference...)

So, at this point, I still had pizazz left; still on a coffee buzz and leaving to Northern WI, I figured, hey... I'll call; I've got 8-hours of boring to be bounced between departments - let's do this.  I called Verizon, spoke with tech support, who routed me to activation, who routed me to customer service, who passed me to tech support - tier 2 this time.  After 2 calls, and 4-hours I figured I'd beat the system.  I spoke with a nice lady who actually understood the issue.  The device would never need GPS / E911 as it's not a voice device, only a data device (it's worth noting that the USB modems support both networks - voice and data).  So, she made contact with an account rep in business to discuss the issue - we discussed the issue for about another hour.  Verizon is able to make explicit exemptions in their database for activations, bypasses, if you will.  This nice lady did indeed request the exemption knowing full well the objective of the device.

I received an email back from the VZW business rep, and I quote, "Matt, I apologize. The technician that was assisting us advised me that we will not be able to use this device for our service."  Now, admittedly, I let this drop and will pick it back up at sometime because, I can't just let lay the non-technical, bureaucratic [non-]answer.

It is worth noting that businesses can request through their account manager to have the exemptions made for activations for devices without voice service (read: BR200-LTE-VZ).  So, there's no issue; only consumers are limited to the voice network nonsense.

So, after having collected some dust, every SIM card Verizon has, and no service; the BR200-LTE-VZ now setting in my demarc at home is doing the same thing as the original router that was there; it just happens to look like Pikachu.


So, if there's anyone out there who knows a way around the limitations that Verizon has placed, I'm open - sans filing myself as a business.  We as technologists differentiate the requirements, and even the FCC has no rulings for what's needed (they only require that phones capable of making calls to 911 be E911 capable).