Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spotlight - Cisco Meraki MR34 (video)

For our second video blog, John and Meeka return to spotlight the Cisco Meraki MR34.  We're excited to get one of these in the office and try it out in our Proof of Concept Lab.  Before we can turn it on, we have to unpack it, which gives us our first blog about this device.

The MR34 is Cisco Meraki's first (and at this point, only) 802.11ac access point.  The big news is that the MR34 has three radios, a 5GHz and a 2.4GHz radio as well as a dedicated radio for dual-band WIPS (wireless intrusion prevention system) and spectrum analysis.  All three radios function concurrently for uninterrupted security and client service.

As with all Cisco Meraki access points, the MR34 is managed from the cloud, eliminating the need for wireless controllers.

Tech Specs
  • One 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n radio, One 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac radio, One dedicated WIPS & spectrum analysis radio
  • Max data rate: 1.75Gbps
  • 3x3 MIMO in both operating bands
  • Fully functional using 802.3at PoE power or DC adapter
  • Reduced functionality using 802.3af PoE power
  • One Ethernet port
  • One LED indicator

In The Box

Included with the MR34 is all of the mounting hardware.  Including all the hardware is consistent with Meraki's ease-of-use principle, eliminating the need to track down additional mounting kits.  The MR34 can be mounted on a wall or the T-rail frame of a drop ceiling.

Also included is a handy foam holder for all the small bits and tools.  There's even a bubble level on the mounting plate.

The only other thing in the box is a pamphlet of regulatory compliance information.  Meaning, there is not an included power supply.  We elected to go with Meraki's 802.3at PoE injector.  There is also a 12v 1.5amp A/C adapter available.  Cisco Meraki no longer sells the 802.3af PoE injector.  The MR34 can run on 802.3af PoE but with limited functionality.

That's all for this time.  Keep watching this blog and our YouTube channel for more on the MR34 as well as more network equipment available from CopperWiFi.com.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spotlight - Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC (video)

You may have noticed that we haven’t been posting any new blogs for the past few weeks.  No, we’re not going away and we certainly haven’t material to write about.  Quite the opposite, actually.  We’ve taken some time off from writing to get our video blogs up and going.

Our first video blog is a showcase for the Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC.  Our goal for this one was to make an "unboxing" video with a little more meat. I think we've accomplished that.  In addition to seeing what's in the box, you'll learn a little about the AP AC and you'll meet John and his dog Meeka.

Ubiquiti has a built it’s customer base by offering high-performance wireless gear with market disruptive pricing.  The AP AC is no exception.  This unit offers gigabit wifi (802.11ac) in an access point priced at only $299.

Tech Specs

  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac radio
  • Operating band: 2.4GHz, 5GHz
  • Max throughput: 1300Mbps in 5GHz, 450Mbps in 2.4GHz
  • 3x3 MIMO in both operating bands
  • Up to 4 BSSIDs per radio
  • Advanced traffic management, including:
    • Per-User Rate Limiting
    • Guest Traffic Isolation
  • 2 Ethernet ports - both ports accept PoE to power the unit or bridging
  • Front LED provisioning ring

In The Box

Included with the AP AC are a few useful bits that many other, higher priced manufacturers leave out.  Ubiquiti includes a passive 48V, 0.5A Gigabit PoE injector as a power supply.  Many manufacturers don’t include a power supply at all.  PoE is the only power option on the AP AC, it does not have a plug for an AC adapter.  It also supports PoE (802.3af) and PoE+ (802.3at) from a PoE switch.

They also include the hardware to mount the AP AC to the wall or a drop ceiling panel.  Some in our office have wondered about the wisdom of mounting an AP to the ceiling panel rather than directly to the T-rail.  The AP AC weighs in at only 1lb 1oz so there shouldn’t be any problem with a sagging ceiling tile. If you're worried about cutting holes in the panels, the hole doesn't have to be any larger than the one you'd cut for a T-rail mount.

Easily The Best For The Price

Let’s be honest, it’s the only thing for the price.  $299 for an 802.11ac access point?  It’s true.  Other manufacturers have recently released 11ac APs that are priced lower in an attempt to make the switch to 11ac a little more palatable for those with tighter IT budgets. Those APs are all nearly double the AP AC’s price.  And if you want 3x3 MIMO, like the AP AC, get ready for triple the price.

The UniFi 3.0 software can be downloaded here and installed on a number of different operating systems, OS X, Windows Vista, 7, or 8. More on the controller software in upcoming videos and blog posts.

Keep an eye on this blog for more info about our video blogs. Go subscribe to the CopperWiFi.com YouTube channel! If you have any questions about the material covered, feel free to post them in the comments section.