Rec: rugged LTE router for a sailboat?

Hey all,

I've just spent a month with tech support trying to unbrick my expensive "marine grade" LTE router / wifi extender combo on my little live-aboard sailboat, and I'm throwing in the towel on that company - I should have saved my money and just built it myself to begin with. Fool me once. argh.

I'm looking for a recommendation for a router that is rugged-ish, runs on 12v power, and has an LTE modem with at least one SIM slot and a SMA-male connector for the antenna. I'd also need a WAN port for a Ubiquiti Bullet extender, and I'd love it if there were at least two LAN ports for my Raspberry Pi's.

I'll be using a GoogleFi SIM and traveling through Mexico and the South Pacific this coming year - I'm comfortable with updating the bands on an LTE modem through an AT-command interface if needed.

I am looking at a ZBT WE-826, but I'm very open to recommendations on other similar (better?) hardware!!

Thanks in advance,

You should consider Teltonika RUT955.
It also got RS422/RS485 and RS232 ports and a bunch of GPIOs which could both come handy on a sailboat (to leverage NMEA-0138 from the built-in Quectel EC-25 modem to have mobile-assisted location in port areas surrounded by construction and hence only few GPS satellites in sight, for example; or to make NMEA-0183 data stream incl. AIS from ship instruments available online)

Make sure to get a recent version of the device, the one with the SIM cards accessible without having to open the case. The older version didn't have the accessible SIM slots.

I haven't tried their newer hardware which is based on IPQ40xx (and hence dual-band WiFi), got a a faster modem, Gigabit Ethernet, ...

The WE826-T is a reliable low-cost device. Of which all functionality works, because in very wide spread use. The RUT955 is mechanically more stable, but SD-card does not work under openwrt. The EC25 is a good modem, for both openwrt-devices. However, in case you consider using Verizon, better go with MC7455.
In summary, in case your main objective is mechanical stability, got for the RUT. In case you look for most reliable software, go for the WE826.

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I'd just get some kind of mifi device, like the Huawei e8372.
No need for additional hw, can run of an USB power bank, or any USB port, and have connectors for external antennas.

Hi.
Go for WE826-T as @reinerotto suggest. I made some testes with one unit, and was very satisfied with results.
A usb dongle, e3372s connected to any decent router with at least one usb port, supported by openwrt firmware, a easy solution and very efficient ( used one for several years as my backup access.
Another choice ( very popular here in europe, huawei B315s-22 with bridge mode firmware ) my current setting.
e3372 and B315s are fitted with external connectors for additional antennas.

I looked at your website. If you plan to sail to your birth antipod, you will either need to change out your card or get one that enables all channels. If you're going transoceanic, have you researched Satellite uplink's?

I just bought a Mikrotik LtAP
https://mikrotik.com/product/ltap_mini.

I think it comes with an older version of OpenWRT but it is currently not in the hardware database. It is rugged, has DC jack input Voltage=8-30 V and is passively cooled. It is easy to fit with antenna jacks for the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There is 1 ethernet port and wireless b/g. There are several youtube videos on the device:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysiSoglchg0
Mine did not come with antenna but I was able to find some 50ohm Antenna's and pigtail connectors at NewEgg.
Hardware wise, it looks similar to the Mikrotik RBwAPR-2nD which has a weatherproof housing.
I plan to ssh into mine to double check, but it looks like nearly the same board.

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@nomadeh nomadeh, post:5, topic:112690
Go for WE826-T as @reinerotto suggest. I made some testes....
:face_with_raised_eyebrow: I thought you only get 2 and no do-overs.

hey! I've been looking at satellite for years, but nothing short of Starlink is even remotely affordable... the router I'm replacing has two satellite ports that it will loadbalance between, it's a Redport Optimizer Premier... but the software on it is half-baked and apparently abandoned, and support is abysmal, and I'm not using the sat ports anyway. I have a Garmin Inreach for satellite texting, and I'm an avid ham radio operator and use that to retrieve weather data.

what was the price of the LtAP??

I think this is my answer right here - for the price, I will probably just get two of them and keep one in a cubby in a ziplock bag with some silica packets. :slight_smile:

I have an MC7455 in my current setup, I will probably just poach it and install it in the new device.

Ltap mini without LTE card as you already have a mc7455 is around $70 USD

Can have two SIM cards, powered via micro usb, PoE or DC jack.
Includes GPS, rs232 connection, 2.4ghz wireless if needed
Only has one ethernet port.