Meraki Announces $1500 “N” Node



The new Meraki MR58 ($1,499) is their latest and most powerful mesh device. The three-radio, 802.11n device is designed to build high-capacity, fast, and secure networks that cover large areas.

Meraki says the weatherproof MR58 provides five times the capacity and speed of standard 802.11b/g wireless devices, delivers high bandwidth across multiple hops, and supports mesh links up to several kilometers long. The rugged Meraki MR58 is ideal for high-bandwidth content like voice and video and, as with all other Meraki products, includes access to our hosted services.

The hotspot is designed for high-performance outdoor networks across cities, campuses, apartment complexes, hotels, resorts and other large public spaces. Its’ also well-suited for indoor areas with high bandwidth needs such as classrooms, convention centers, arenas, student housing and manufacturing facilities.

With two radios dedicated to high-throughput mesh connections, the Meraki MR58 can create very large mesh networks with 10 or more hops, little bandwidth degradation, and using only a limited number of Internet connections. One, two, or all three radios can be equipped with optional directional antenna accessories to create long distance mesh links of up to 20 km with clear line of sight.

Meraki CEO Sanjit Biswas said, in an interview last week, that the external panel (using standard N-type connectors), supplied at extra 13 db of gain. The “n” radios also provide a form of “beamforming” and deliver close to double the range with far better speed (and capacity).

The unit supports 802.1af power over Ethernet, and uses less than 8 watts of power. Meraki uses three Atheros 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi radios. One radio is dedicated to 2.4 GHz, while the other two cover the lower 5GHz band and the higher 5.8 GHz band.

Meraki says the town of Babylon, NY is providing free wireless Internet service in all of its 38 town parks and beaches using Meraki MR58s. Meraki reseller Sky-Packets (photos) is leading the deployment, which will be completed this summer. The wireless network will serve 220,000 residents and their guests. Cablevision Systems already offers Wi-Fi access to parts of Long Island, but that service is only available to Optimum Online customers.

The Meraki team recently we enhanced their usage monitoring pages, greatly improved the customizability of splash pages, and added powerful new search features to the devices list and map pages.

Radio
Model
Description List
Price
Meraki MR58 Triple radio 11n/MIMO $1,499
Tropos
5320
Dual radio a/b/g $4,895
Cisco
Aironet 1524
Triple radio a/b/g $4,999

Meraki likes to compare its $1500 radio with $5000 Cisco and Tropos gear. Meraki embeds each product with their management services, but users must rely on its backend for configuration, access, and monitoring. Cisco and Tropos may not have 802.11n support (yet), but are highly regarded for their industrial strength and track record in municipal networks.

Meraki’s mesh technology uses a modified MIT Roofnet protocol to provide mesh connectivity between units, which self-configures. Meraki supports one of the largest Wi-Fi networks in the city of San Francisco, which has served more than 200,000 users.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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