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A Comprehensive Guide to Meraki Access Points

A Comprehensive Guide to Meraki Access Points

When it comes to Wi-Fi networks, you have a lot of options — almost too many. Figuring out what hardware is correct for each application can require full-time research.

Fortunately, there’s always an easier answer, and in the case of wireless access points (APs), Cisco has created the simplest solution: Meraki. Meraki is a hardware suite that includes nine access points, all made from the same set of features and interfaces. They work well together, and when you narrow your selection to Meraki, it’s much easier to find the perfect device for any network.

Meraki Access Points for Every Level of Business

Cisco Meraki access points provide a wide range of hardware that all operate under the same set of controlling software, providing a set of universal features across the board. Naturally, devices on the higher end of the spectrum gain additional features, but you can expect a consistent operational experience across the board.

That’s the Meraki advantage; you can start from entry-level Wi-Fi devices and scale all the way up to stadium-quality equipment.

Meraki Features

The two factors that separate Meraki APs from other options are the range of devices in the suite and the standard features. There are more than a few of those features, but zooming in on some of the most significant highlights why Meraki is a strong choice for businesses of all sizes.

Zero-Touch Management

No matter which APs you choose, you get zero-touch management. Meraki utilizes cloud management features, so you can input your management options from a dashboard or mobile app, and all of the settings proliferate to every connected AP. This works for security and network settings, making management much easier, whether you have a single access point or thousands.

Full Scalability

All of the current Meraki APs can operate together in the same network. These APs range from low-capacity, starter devices all the way to the most advanced stadium Wi-Fi equipment you can get right now.

Meraki arguably provides the most robust and inclusive suite of hardware that can scale with you from a single user to tens of thousands.

Intelligent Guest Services

Meraki allows you to customize the guest experience. You can implement advanced features like contact tracing. You can automate your security features and access control. You can segregate guests, integrate them into specific services, and so much more.

And, these intelligent guest services benefit from the scalability baked into Meraki.

Professional Security

Again, from the starter equipment to the most advanced options, Meraki offers powerful security measures. When you automate policy enforcement, you make it easy to control who can access what across the entire wireless network. As a network grows and security needs more options, Meraki already provides the tools you need for the next step.

A few other security features that highlight Meraki’s capabilities include identity-based access control, built-in DNS protection, and automated firmware updates.

Keeping in mind that you can control multiple locations from a single cloud management dashboard, and you have one of the most efficient and comprehensive sets of security options on the market.

Meraki Hardware

While those features benefit all Meraki access points, it’s also worth noting the differences between hardware options. As said before, Meraki wireless covers the whole spectrum of AP applications, and that’s clear by looking at a select group of options. At the bottom of this section, you can check out the charts that overview every current Meraki access point.

GR10

The GR10 is the entry-level option for Meraki. It was engineered with small businesses and single-location networks in mind. In many cases, you will deploy a single GR10 to cover the whole wireless network.

As a result, it’s extremely affordable, and yet it still offers Meraki performance. The GR10 supports up to 15 active clients without stumbling with a maximum capacity of 1.3 Gbps. It provides 2.4 and 5 GHz access, and you can easily manage the AP from the included mobile app.

As stated before, the GR10 can mesh with more advanced Meraki APs, allowing you to keep this device in service as you upgrade your growing network with more capable hardware.

MR33

Moving up the tree a bit, the MR33 is the most capable among Meraki’s low-density APs. It’s designed to service up to 30 simultaneous clients, still operating at a maximum capacity of 1.3 Gbps. The MR33 also operates on 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.

This device aims to service hotel rooms, dorms, and similar levels of access. It can handle more clients than lower Meraki models, but it’s still not trying to take on entire airports, hospitals, or football stadiums.

MR42

The very next model on the Meraki list is the MR42, and Cisco calls this the general-purpose access point. It pushes the number of active clients up to 50, and it expands the capacity to 1.9 Gbps. Still running 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, this is halfway to Wi-Fi 6 territory among Meraki models.

Based on these stats, the MR42 is comfortable in a wide range of settings. It provides high-density performance and sits right in the middle of the Meraki AP product suite.

MR55

Skipping a few more options, the MR55 is the most advanced Meraki access point currently available. Running on Wi-Fi 6 with 8x8 performance, this access point exists to maintain the densest and most demanding networks.

Reliably supporting up to 150 users per AP and a capacity of 5.9 Gbps, it’s statistically superior to your other options. It works great in university lecture halls, sporting arenas, and any other network where you expect the densest levels of traffic.

For a complete list of Meraki access points, see the tables below.

Model GR10 MR20 MR30H MR33 MR42
Wi-Fi 4/5 4/5 4/5 4/5 4/5
Capacity 1.3 Gbps 1.3 Gbps 1.3 Gbps 1.3 Gbps 1.9 Gbps
Clients 15 15 30 30 50
Interface Mobile App Dashboard Dashboard Dashboard Dashboard
Model MR52 MR53 MR45 MR55
Wi-Fi 4/5 4/5 6 6
Capacity 2.5 Gbps 2.5 Gbps 3.5 Gbps 5.9 Gbps
Clients 100 100 100 150
Interface Dashboard Dashboard Dashboard Dashboard

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