Step-by-step instructions for doing a first-time setup of a Peplink router

  1. The first thing to do is take a picture of the label on the bottom of your router. This has important information such as the Wi-Fi password, IMEI, serial number and more which you will need later.
  2. Attach the bundled antennas. On the BR1 Mini and CAT12 or lower LTE routers, there are two LTE antennas, two Wi-Fi antennas and one GPS antenna. 5G and LTE CAT18 or higher routers have four cellular antennas, two Wi-Fi and one GPS antenna connector. If you have optional external antennas, you can attach those later.
  3. Insert your data SIM card in the top SIM card slot A. This goes in with the chip or shiny side face down and with the notch end into the slot first. You can add a second SIM card which can be configured to be used in case the primary connection is not available. For the lower slot B, the chip or shiny side is face up. Note older Peplink routers use Mini SIM cards (25x15mm) so you will need an adapter if you are planning on using a Micro or Nano SIM. Newer routers take Nano SIMs.
  4. For testing plug the router into AC power using the included power adapter. For a permanent boat or RV install, you can use a DC power cable or a DC terminal block if your router has one to connect the router to a 12-24 volt DC power breaker. The optional Peplink ACW-634 Power Cable is required on many new Peplink routers if you want to connect the router to a DC power supply.
  5. Once the router is powered up, you can configure the router by connecting to its Wi-Fi access point. The SSID name is PEPWAVE_xxxx, and the default network password is printed on the product label. Or you can connect to the router with an ethernet cable connected to the LAN port and a computer.
  6. With your computer or tablet connected to the router network, open a browser and enter the IP address of in the address bar. If you get a security error in your browser bypass that to get to the login page. Login using the defaults of “admin” for the username and “admin” as the password.
  7. The first thing you will be asked to do is change the default password for the admin account. You will also be asked to change the default Wi-Fi password.
  8. You will then be taken to the Dashboard page.

    From there you can:
    • Setup the cellular connection. Note if you are using a SIM card from one of the three big US carriers, the connection should automatically happen. If you use a Google Fi or another MVNO SIM, you may need to enter a custom APN. To get to the "WAN Connection Settings" for the cellular modem, click on the "Cellular" item in the "WAN Connection Status" area. Once there, you can set up the SIM cards if needed as well as change other settings. For example, Google Fi requires you to enter a custom APN “h2g2” allowing it to connect via the T-Mobile network. Most of the other settings don't need to be changed for initial testing. If your modem won't connect, check with your carrier to ensure you have the correct APN and that your data plan supports connecting a router device. For more information, see my article here.
    • Setup a Wi-Fi WAN connection if you want to connect for example to your marina Wi-Fi. To get to the "WAN Connection Settings" for the Wi-Fi WAN connections, click on the "Wi-Fi WAN on 2.4 GHz" (or the 5 GHz row) item in the "WAN Connection Status" area. You can set up multiple profiles for different public Wi-Fi networks at the bottom of this page, for example one for your home marina and one for a remote marina you often visit.
    • Setup your internal boat Wi-Fi network and set up security for that network. This is done using the "AP" menu item and click on "New SSID" to create your own custom Wi-Fi network name and to set the security and password for the new network. For instructions on setting up a custom SSID and access point, see my article here.
    • With modern Peplink routers, you can choose 2.4 GHz and/or 5 GHz bands for your Wi-Fi WAN and internal Wi-Fi LAN networks. In my case I chose 2.4Ghz for the WAN connection to my marina Wi-Fi and 5 GHz for my boat Wi-Fi network. Generally speaking, 2.4 GHz will work better for longer distances and 5 GHz will be faster but does not have as much range as 2.4 GHz. Also note that the two Wi-Fi antennas work for both the WAN connection and the internal boat network. 
    • Finally, you will want to drag your WAN connections on the main Dashboard page to set your priorities for each connection. This establishes how your router will connect to the internet. Drag the connection you want to use by default to the “Priority 1” panel. This could have more than one connection type if you like. Then drag your back up connections to the “Priority 2” or “Priority 3” panels.
      In my case, I have my marina Wi-Fi under “Priority 1” and my Cellular connection under “Priority 2”. This means that the router will use the marina Wi-Fi whenever it is available but as soon as I leave the dock and am out of range of the marina, the router will automatically switch to use the cellular connection. That way I am not consuming cellular data while at the dock.
    • As a final step, connect your mobile devices and computers to the internal boat Wi-Fi network you have set up. You can also connect a wired client to the ethernet LAN port.
  9. Once you have connectivity to the internet, it is recommended to download and install the latest firmware for your router. Do this from the Dashboard by going to System -> Firmware and click on "Check for Firmware". You can also download firmware images by going to the Peplink firmware page, going to the page for your router, downloading the firmware file, uploading it to your router and doing a "Manual Upgrade". The latest product manuals can also be accessed from this site.

That’s it to get a basic setup working that will provide full-time internet access for your boat while you are in Wi-Fi or cell range.

If you decide you want maximum range for cellular and / or Wi-Fi WAN, consider purchasing an external antenna. See my article "Choosing antennas for your connectivity solution" for detailed information on selecting and installing an external antenna.

There are numerous other features and configurations with the Pepwave routers – a way more than most boaters will use – but it is good to have these available in case your needs change in the future. Some of these more exotic features include VPN support, firewall, captive portal, remote monitoring and alerts, cell network prioritization and rules, dynamic DNS, outbound policies and more.

For example, you can install two SIM cards. It is important to note, that only one SIM card is used at a time on a single modem router and the second SIM card is used for failover or redundancy. You can setup rules to switch from one card to the other based on exhausting the data on a card or if the signal is poor or other conditions. If you want to use more than one cellular connection at the same time, then we offer other Peplink routers with two modems here.

This article is designed to provide the steps for a fairly basic setup. If you need further customization or assistance, feel free to Contact Us.

And as always, feel free to provide feedback or ask questions in the comment area below.

Safe travels!

Doug Miller

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