Meraki is a new entrant in the Wi-Fi router market with a very unique service differentiator around the Cloud network management. The most interesting feature of the Meraki series of Wi-Fi routers is that they are practically self-configuring and the remote cloud management means that they can be deployed anywhere without having to dedicate administrators to manage and configure them.
Speed: The Meraki MR16 router is a dual radio wireless N router. With a dual band support, this router can theoretically support double the throughput of any regular wireless N router. When most other competitors are boasting of high wireless speeds of 300Mbps with 802.11n technology, Meraki MR16 can reach up to 600Mbps which much more significant than almost everything else in the market. The two radio bands are designed in a manner that one of the circuits is dedicated for wireless N while the second circuit supports 802.11 b/g/n.
Connectivity: Like most other wireless N routers in the market, the MR16 also supports spatial diversity with the help of two antennas. The use of 2×2 multiple input multiple output (MIMO) technology ensures efficient use of the frequency and maximising the throughputs in any environmental condition. All these features ensure better coverage and enhanced wireless network performance – regardless of whether it is used for enterprise activity or just domestic use.
Aesthetics: This is a true wireless router so it does not have any ports to connect wired devices over Ethernet. It has a single Ethernet port which is used to connect to the broadband modem. The only other port on the router is the power input. Another important aspect of this model is that the antennas are integrated into the device. As a result they do not stick out of the unit. This makes the entire unit slim and sleek, and very easy to affix anywhere. This is very important in enterprises where the right positioning of the router could be the difference between great network performance and poor performance.
The rounded edges and the smooth white finish add to its aesthetic appeal.
Security: Meraki MR16 is a wireless router clearly designed for enterprise use. The security features in the model are commensurate with the other aspects of this router. It supports standard security protocols like WEP, WPA and WPA2-PSK. Typically, most users and network administrators prefer to use WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) over WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). Though WPA2-PSK is a lot more secure than WPA, not all wireless adapters support it which can lead to compatibility problems. The router also supports WPA-Enterprise with 802.1x version which relies on enterprise authentication server for the user and device authentication.
The router not only ensures secured access to the wireless network, but also protects the wireless network with the use of TKIP and AES encryption of the data being transmitted. Lastly, the router also supports VLAN tagging (802.1q) which allows the administrator to segregate the traffic between different set of users and ensuring that users do not have access to restricted groups.
Where to Purchase?
Meraki does not have a well-entrenched distribution network like other more popular wireless router makers. However, contacting Meraki sales is probably a great idea, especially if the request involves getting the entire wireless network setup. The Meraki routers can be purchased online from retailers like TigerDirect.com, PCConnection, PC Mall and Zones. Each access point costs around $649. The real savings in Meraki solutions is its management and recurring costs which are heavily discounted as compared to other competitors due to the cloud management concept.
Configuring Meraki Wireless Network
As stated earlier, the Meraki USP is its cloud based configuration and management. Given below are the steps to configure the wireless network
a) Buy the cloud license from Meraki and secure a licence key.
b) Make a note of all the wireless router serial numbers to be added to the network
c) Access the Meraki Online Dashboard at the following link http://dashboard.meraki.com
d) Create a new account by clicking on “Create an account” and provide the necessary details