New Cisco Meraki MR72 and MR32 Access Points Hit the Street

December 09, 2014
by Al Yong

What’s the big deal?

Today, Cisco Meraki announced the release of 2 new wireless access points, the MR72 and MR32. These devices fill some important gaps in their portfolio but shouldn’t be viewed simply as a gap filler. Both the Meraki MR72 and Meraki MR32 sport some exciting new capabilities. First of all, let’s talk about the new models and what improvements they bring to the Cisco Meraki Portfolio.

Just to differentiate the models, both support 802.11ac which was something Meraki needed to address in terms of their lack of an outside 802.11ac access point. The MR72 is this external device and like the MR32 supports 802.11ac. Furthermore, both devices support 1.2 Gbps throughput which although lower than the MR34 that supports 1.75 Gbps, make the devices more competitive in terms of price against the main rivals. The main talking point is the arrival of a Meraki 802.11ac external access point. The introduction of this device should be the trigger for many a smart city deployment. 802.11ac is a relatively newly ratified standard and it had made sense for many to hold off until this capability had been introduced.

It is also worth pointing out that there are a number of antennas which are supported on the MR72 such as the omnidirectional, directional sector and semi-directional sector patch.

Location engagement with beacons

Both the MR72 and MR32 now support Bluetooth beaconing. Bluetooth I hear you say? Yes Bluetooth. This is an awesome capability to add, especially in terms of technology developments in the retail sector and again a real call to action for the Smart City lobbyists. We all know the excellent reporting capabilities of Meraki. Now combine this with Bluetooth and we can create some unique customer experiences. Think better consumer experience with opt-in mobile app integration, seamless deployment integrating beacons into the AP and increased customer visibility with both WiFi and Bluetooth analytics built in.

As with CMX from Meraki, Beacon aware SDKs are available for developers to create the next generation of retail apps and more. Yes more. Track beacon-tagged assets with Bluetooth scanning and location estimation, seamless site-wide deployment with Bluetooth integrated into the AP. This all lends itself to increased administrative visibility with both WiFi and Bluetooth inventory built-in, unlike Aruba who need to use a Bluetooth dongle to achieve the integration, we think this is pretty neat.

What else is new?

Well, Meraki had to address some privacy concerns in terms of regional compliance. So with the launch of the new APs comes an EU cloud. During setup the EU cloud can be selected. This means that this configuration specifies that the infrastructure is managed within and compliant with EU regulation. So, the systems and data that are within the EU are not transferred out of the EU zone.

Another of the main features to be introduced is enhanced RF performance. With the new feature, client load-balancing means intelligent higher density adoption can be achieved.

Finally, another interesting revelation is the ability to house local RADIUS in every AP. When internet connectivity is lost, clients can still authenticate due to local RADIUS running on each AP. This eliminates single point of failure authentication and provides resilience for mission critical networks.

What now?

With the introduction of these great new APs, comes the End of Sale of an old favorite. The MR12 will be EOS as of April 2015 but from what we understand, support has been extended to 2022 which seems quite generous in terms of product lifecycles.

The new access points are expected to be generally available from around mid-January. If you’re interested and would like a trial click here to find out more about how you can get one.

If you’re interested in finding out how Rymote can help you with Smart City projects, please contact us.