|Meraki's new MR30H 802.11ac Wave 2 hospitality AP |
Meraki's first hospitality AP - the MR30H
Landing on the "nice" list are two new AP models that IT departments (particularly in hospitality) would love to find under the Christmas tree. First, we'll look at the MR30H - a 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 access point, designed specifically for hospitality environments.
Like other hospitality APs, the MR30H features a non-obtrusive and pleasing aesthetic often sought after in hotel environments.
However, unlike competing models, it also comes with a built-in 4-port gigabit ethernet switch. While the Multi-User MIMO capabilities of wave 2 access points handle a heavier load of wireless devices than previous WiFi standards, the availability of ethernet ports to offload TVs, gaming counsels, desktop computers, etc via ethernet cable helps keep that growing WiFi demand in check - especially in college dorm settings. Oh, and it's got an integrated blue-tooth (BLE) radio, too, primed and ready to support location services and analytics.
|Built in 4-port switch for the MR30H|
Good things in small packages - the MR33
The MR30H isn't the only new arrival to Meraki's AP family, though, as the MR33 gives the gift of stretching IT budgets a little farther for those looking to migrate to the latest WiFi standard.
|New MR33 802.11ac Wave 2 AP|
But what really makes the MR33 stand out (or not stand out, rather) is its decreased physical profile. At only 8.5 x 4.3 x 1.3 inches in size, it's takes up nearly half the space of Meraki's other APs, and without sacrificing coverage range. As with all Meraki hardware, a software and support license is required, which gets you next business day replacement in the event of hardware failure, as well as 24x7 phone support.
|The MR18 will only be offered |
In considering the "naughty" side of Meraki's December announcement, their flagship 802.11n AP will no longer be available to order after March 31, 2017.
The "n" WiFi standard has been widely considered legacy since the emersion of 802.11ac in 2014. As WiFi devices continue to proliferate on the new 802.11ac standard, the need for APs that support a higher density of users has certainly risen. While 802.11n will continue to suffice in many low-density and residential environments, enterprise networks should take this as a sign to upgrade if plans aren't already in the works to do so. Given the MR18's price point of $649 per unit, the new MR33 serves as a direct substitution / replacement on the newest standard.
In our experience, we've seen some level of discord between 802.11n APs and 802.11ac APs serving clients in the same physical spaces on the same network. If upgrading to AC needs to happen in stages at your organization, we recommend keeping your older N access points grouped and separated from the new AC clusters for the best user experience.