Peplink is a large and respected company in the high-end mobile networking space, particularly well known for providing cellular connectivity for everything from fleets of vehicles to cruise ships to dispersed corporate offices.
While Peplink's Pepwave cellular integrated routers are not specifically designed with individual mobile users in mind, Peplink does offer solid and well supported products that many advanced users have grown to rely on.
For an overview of the full Pepwave MAX product line (and a look at some of the software features in common across different devices), see our gear center entry:
Pepwave MAX Transit In Depth
The Pepwave MAX BR1 (read for our review) has been a top pick router for our audience - and the more expensive and capable MAX Transit builds on the solid foundation of the MAX BR1 and offers even more features.
The MAX Transit is also available with TWO built in LTE modems each with two antenna ports, for those who need more redundancy and reliability - or as a Cat 18 device that provides potential increases in peak speed and remote signal sensitivity from the single-modem Cat-18 model with four antenna ports. Externally, the two are nearly identical.
The Transit, as the name implies, is primarily geared towards creating public Wi-Fi networks on a transit bus or train to keep a whole load of passengers online. It should certainly have the capability to handle most mobile users.
But is the MAX Transit worth the cost and complexity, or is it overkill?
- Model: MAX Transit (Mid-2019, Early 2020 Versions)
- Router Specs:
- # of Connected Devices: Up to 150 (recommended)
- Wi-Fi Router: Yes
- Control Panel and Default Password: Not specified
- USB Tethering Support: No
- Etnernet Ports: 2x 1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet (WAN / LAN)
- Cellular Modem Specs:
- Supported Networks and Bands: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint
- LTE Bands (Cat-6 Version): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12/17, 13, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 41
- LTE Bands (Cat-12 Version): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12/17, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 26, 29, 30, 32, 41, 42, 43, 46, 48, 66
- LTE Bands (Cat-18 Version): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12/17, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 26, 29, 30, 32, 41, 42, 43, 46, 48, 66, 71
- 4G/3G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz - Global roaming supported.
- 2G: No
- LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: Yes (Cat-6 2x, Cat-12 3x, Cat-18 5x))
- MIMO Support:
- Cat-16/12 - 2X2 MIMO
- Cat-18 - 4x4 MIMO
- LTE Performance Category: Category 6, Category 12, Category 18
(Cat-6 Max Theoretical Speed: 300Mbps Down / 50Mbps Up)
(Cat-12 Max Theoretical Speed: 600Mbps Down / 150Mbps Up)
(Cat-18 Max Theoretical Speed: 1.2Gbps Down / 150Mbps Up)
- Cellular Antenna Ports: 2x or 4x SMA/Female Antenna Ports, Basic Indoor Paddle Antennas Included
- SIM Slots: Dual Mini-SIM or Quad Mini-SIM (Transit Duo)
- Dimensions: 3.8" x 7.3" x 1.3" - 1.3lbs
- Other Ports:
- Power Source: 10V - 48V Direct DC Input, 110V AC Adapter Included, Can Be USB Powered
- Outdoor Rated: No
- Special Features: Data Usage Tracking, Auto Failover, Integrated GPS, SpeedFusion Bonding
- Retail Price: $799 - $1,899
Models & Variations
The MAX Transit is available in several configurations - you can choose one or two integrated modems, Cat-6, 12 or 18 cellular, and with or without Peplink's PrimeCare support contract.
The underlying router and features are the same - but the price differences can be dramatic:
- Cat-6 Lineup
- Pepwave MAX Transit (Cat 6) ($999) - Single Cat-6 modem version of the MAX Transit. Price has not been dropped on the Cat-6 version yet, despite the Cat-12 model coming out.
- Pepwave MAX Transit Duo (Cat 6) ($1,899) - Dual Cat-6 modems. Now that the Cat-12 model has been launched at a lower price, Pepwave has told us that they may be dropping the price on this model in the future.
- Pepwave MAX Transit Duo (Cat-6) with PrimeCare ($799) - The same Transit Duo discussed above, but with an ongoing PrimeCare support contract (see our MAX Lineup for information on PrimeCare) required to enable all features.
- Cat-12 Lineup
- Pepwave MAX Transit (Cat 12) ($999) - Single Cat-12 modem version of the MAX Transit.
- Pepwave MAX Transit Duo (Cat 12) ($1,699) - Dual Cat-12 modems, designed for mobile installations.
- Pepwave MAX Transit Duo (Cat 12) with PrimeCare ($999) - The same Transit Duo with Dual Cat-12 modems as above, with an ongoing PrimeCare support contract (see our MAX Lineup for information on PrimeCare) required to enable all features.
- Cat-18 Lineup
- Pepwave MAX Transit (Cat 18) with PrimeCare ($749) - Externally nearly identical to the Cat-12 MAX Transit Duo, the Cat-18 model has one modem with four antennas instead of two modems with two antennas each. An ongoing $69/year PrimeCare support contract (see our MAX Lineup for information on PrimeCare) is required to enable certain advanced features, though the first year of PrimeCare is free.
The Pepwave MAX Transit lineup is getting crowded. Here are the models that are the most tempting:
- Cat-6 Lineup
- MAX Transit Duo (Cat-6) with PrimeCare ($799) - Two Cat-6 modems.
- Cat-12 Lineup
- MAX Transit Duo (Cat 12) with PrimeCare ($999) - Two Cat-12 modems.
- Cat-18 Lineup
- MAX Transit (Cat 18) with PrimeCare ($749) - Just a single Cat-18 modem.
Other than the modem modules - these are identical routers, with the same Wi-Fi and router capabilities.
The question comes down to deciding which is more important - the reliability of being able to be connected to two different cellular carriers at once with the dual-modem models, or the potential increases in peak speed and remote signal sensitivity from the single-modem Cat-18 model with support for four antennas?
We have been extremely impressed with the dual-modem Cat-12 MAX Transit Duo we have been testing for the past several months, and have recently awarded it our "Top Pick" status.
The flexibility that comes from being able to instantly switch between carriers in the Duo models is hard to beat.
But if you do not keep multiple active cellular plans in a router, the lower cost and potential for faster peak speeds of the Cat-18 model makes a ton of sense. Additionally, the Cat-18 model includes support for T-Mobile's Band 71, which could an important factor for T-Mobile users.
There is no one simple universal answer - it all depends on your needs.
And as you can see - PrimeCare makes a HUGE difference in price. Read more about PrimeCare in our Pepwave MAX Product Lineup Overview.
What is the Pepwave MAX Transit Mini?
Despite the name, the MAX Transit Mini has little in common with the Pepwave MAX Transit and is actually very closely related to the Pepwave MAX BR1 Mini. We cover these Mini products in this gear guide:
Review & Testing Status
We have many years of first-hand experience with the Transit's little brother, the MAX BR1 (our hands-on review).
The MAX Transit and MAX BR1 share the same software foundation and user interface.
Now that the PrimeCare MAX Transit Duo offers dual-cellular and bonding for less than $1,000 - we have decided to dive deep into the Transit line as well.
In September 2019, MobileMustHave sent us the new Cat-12 MAX Transit Duo w/ PrimeCare for evaluation. MobileMustHave also offers our premium members substantial discounts on this product line.
Here's our video first look:
As of early 2020 - we are granting this router a Top Pick status. We have been very impressed with the MAX Transit Duo overall - and have decided to keep it in extended testing as we continue to go deeper learning its capabilities. We are currently testing it with several different antenna options, an access point and actively exploring load balancing & bonding.
Our members-only review below will be kept updated with our ongoing observations and experiences.
Members can find additional more-raw details shared in these places:
- [Testing Lab Report] Pepwave MAX Transit Duo vs WiFiRanger Converge, MIMO Antennas (Fall/Winter 2019/2020)
- In Progress Testing Forum Notes (Includes several other members sharing their experiences as well)
Potential Alternatives to Consider:
For other popular mobile routers on the market we are tracking - here are our featured options:
This Review Contains Additional Member Exclusive Content
We are honored to be able to present the above overview for free without 3rd party advertising or sponsorships. We are not paid by the manufacturer of this product to provide this listing or review, and nor are we selling this equipment or plan (purchasing links are provided below as a courtesy and some may be affiliates).
Our members have funded this resource center and any extensive hands on time
we have spent with the product to review it.
The in-depth portions of this review are made available to them which might contain: hands on testing notes, field testing data, user interface tour, product analysis, comparison to alternatives, setup tips, video tutorial, insider tips, vendor discounts and fellow member experiences.
If you're a member, please log in to continue with this review.
If you're not a member.. please consider joining us!
Members - be sure to check the Member Discounts page for some potentially substantial savings on purchasing Pepwave routers (some that can exceed the cost of membership!).
- 5G Store
- SinglePoint - The SinglePoint 'WiFi in Motion' bundles are built around the Pepwave MAX routers, bundled with RV-friendly antennas, service plans, and support.
WARNING: Pepwave doesn't tend to give their products new model numbers when they refresh them, and they also tend to keep older models around for a while. Make sure that you know what you are getting by checked specs carefully and don't end up with a device that is incompatible with your preferred networks or that is lacking capabilities!