The WEP SSIDs are the AP to AP communication for the meshing. It uses a 1mbps/6mbps per band (2.4/5) signal, which is kind of a bummer because that takes up a LOT of airtime. If you have meshing turned off, it is supposed to disable the SSID from being broadcast, but for a while it wasn't. It may have been fixed by a firmware upgrade, I haven't looked in a while. Even though the communication is just some basic info about the mesh, WPA2 should really be used and not WEP. It's possible there is an attack vector in there yet to be undiscovered, but with such a weak keyspace, it would be pretty easy to start looking. Edit: I'm pretty sure the data within the mesh communication is encrypted, but, still.
TLDR; It's the meshing communication between access points.
As a side note, there really isn't much different in range between access points (even between vendors). They are all locked to a maximum output RF strength. The difference is probably in the antennas - the MX65W whip antennas probably work a bit better in your environment than the integrated radio on the MR32. You can view the RF coverage charts from the documentation to show how each AP/antenna type distributes the signal. The mounting plate also has a 5% or so reduction in signal going that way, so YMMV.
This goes back to the early days when Meraki was born as a zero-touch cloud-managed wifi company over a decade ago, and is related to the automatic meshing algorithm that runs in the background, which is both proprietary and pretty much undocumented. It was all about the self-configuring and auto-healing properties of Roofnet at MIT.
In the latest versions of 25.x firmware, Meraki Support should be able to enable (unlock) a feature on your dashboard to disable meshing (on the Network Wide > Configure > General page) and you should hopefully see those unwanted SSIDs go away when you disable meshing. If you need meshing, you may be stuck with this, but if all APs are gateway APs, turn it off. And if you did have a small one-off need for mesh, you could perhaps do that in a separate wireless Dashboard network for a small pocket of your deployment. Check with Support to scrub your configuration and firmware version for your best options.
As for the range, the minor difference could just be internal antennas on the MR32 versus external dipole antennas on the MX65W, as well as the physical placement and RF environment. You'd very likely get better range results with the higher end APs like MR42 and MR52/53 since they are 3x3:3 and 4x4:4 and you'll generally get better SNR and perhaps better range, before having to deploy an additional AP.
Please tell us that the WEP key is different for each client ...
Ha, funny timing, @BHC_RESORTS and I just overlapped pretty much the same feedback which I did not see before giving mine. Anyway, keep us posted on this thread if/when you get with Support!
How are you identifying that these are coming from the MX and MR devices and not another AP? Are you sure this isn't just a Hidden WEP SSID by another device in your area?
I recently raised a support ticket as I was seeing these WEP encrypted networks used for meshing all over my network (each AP was broadcasting these hidden mesh networks on both 2.4 and 5 ghz band)
I asked support to enable the dashboard feature to turn off meshing as we don't or have any plans to use it, which they did. I then turned off meshing, but I was still seeing these hidden networks still broadcasting. When I enquired further, and after about 3 weeks back and forth, support informed me that " Unfortunately, it is not possible to stop broadcasting the mesh SSID channels due to technical/design limitations "
Pretty unimpressed to be honest
This explains the issue further, however, certainly current stable version 24.12 does not stop the networks broadcasting
@pjc What firmware version are you on? I'm not seeing it on my networks right now. But like that article, it could be possible when turned off the beacons only go out sometimes.
Great! Thanks for the feedback. I believe there is an existing FR I’ll make sure it gets attached to.
@DCooper, The support engineer responded: "Unfortunately, the disable mesh feature simply stops the APs from meshing, but will not stop the broadcasted traffic. This is not a bug but would actually be a feature request. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us again. " I'm actually okay with this response (in *my* case) as long as these wireless interfaces with WEP are not attack surfaces from which a malefactor can snoop, do something malicious or cause a denial-of-service to either the data plane or command-and-control. I don't want an attacker to pivot. I really love my Meraki products, hence, I'd love for them to be as secure as possible, too! I'll also PM you. Most sincere thanks! -Mike
It is a problem though because 1mbps/6mbps SSIDs take up a HUGE amount of airtime. In a dense environment, that's a bummer.