Design a Wireless LAN for outdoor area

Here to help

Design a Wireless LAN for outdoor area

My customer wants to implement a wireless LAN infrastructure in their mining Area (as the picture below). Their focus is wireless coverage in all outdoor areas. What is the best Meraki AP and antenna to accommodate that?

thank you


Screen Shot 2020-10-26 at 11.40.04.png

Kind of a big deal

We just bought MR74 for outdoor coverage, but didn´t install them so far. But regarding to the datasheet they don´t seem to be bad 😉

But will have a problem with the length of the cables. So we´ll need converters, keep this in mind.

Actually, I'm looking at the MR74 or MR84 for the access point.

And for my use case, in several areas, we have to use radio instead of cable because of distance and other considerations. the MR84 can have 2 different type of Antenna, can the one antenna configured as radio point to point and the other antenna configured to broadcast for the client connection?

Kind of a big deal

The MR84 is a 4x4 radio, so each antenna is both a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz radio. So with the MR84 there is really no way to use one radio for point to point and the other for client serving, since the antennas that you attach will do both.
With the MR74 however you have 2x2 radios with the top two antennas serving the 5GHz radio, and the bottom two the 2.4GHz (or vice versa, I can’t remember). In this scenario you can say attach a directional antenna to the 5GHz radio for backhaul (point-to-point using Meraki mesh) and then use omni-directional antennas for client serving on the 2.4Ghz radio.

There’s no way to specifically configure the radios specifically for backhaul (mesh) or client serving, it’s just how you design the network based on Meraki mesh and the antennas you choose..

Hi Bruce,


got it, and thank you for your explanation.

so if I used 2 antennas in MR84, those antennas should aim in the same direction, right?

and what if I attach the MA-ANT-23 and MA-ANT-25 to the MR84?

I still don't have any idea about the mesh configuration because I never configure the Meraki AP as a mesh and still not finding the guide to do that.


Kind of a big deal

@Brill I'm actually surprised that the MA-ANT-21 and MA-ANT-23 are listed on the MR84 datasheet. The MR84 antenna connectors are dual band ports, which means they should use a dual band antenna, otherwise you're leaving radios disconnected from an antenna (which is going to play well). If the data sheet is correct then maybe there is some 'smarts' that takes care of the radios when only single band antennas are connected to the ports (someone with more knowledge than me will need to clarify that one - I've only ever seen them with dual band antennas connected).


Definitely, if you attach dual band antennas to the ports (such as the MA-ANT-25) then they should cover the same areas as some of the features of Wifi 5 and Wifi 6 (e.g. MIMO, MRC) require that.


There is actually no configuration for Meraki Mesh. If the AP can't get and IP address on its LAN port then it will 'flip' to Mesh operations and start looking for an adjacent access point to connect to.

Building a reputation

Also take a look at the Mesh Deployment Guide:


Two things that really stand out in the Deployment Considerations section are:


Gateway-to-repeater ratio 

In general, it is desirable to have as many gateway access points as possible to maximize overall network performance and reliability. As a general guideline, it is recommended to plan for no more than two repeater access points attached to each gateway access point.

Maximum mesh hops 

There will be a throughput reduction (~50% reduction) with each “hop” in a mesh. It is recommended that a mesh network be designed for no more than one mesh hop from the gateway to client device.




Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

@Brill I'd look to get some cabling to at least some of the buildings, with the distance and the area it might be better to use fibre.  Even the MS120-8P switches support fibre uplinks and the PoE on them will power a couple of APs.  We have a resort with cabins spread out in wooded area and ended up running fibre to the poles with APs on as meshing, though usuable, isn't the best for reliability and performance.

Here to help

Hi @cmr ,


I also plan to use cabling in some areas. But I still confuse about the AP placement and the antenna direction. In Meraki, the mesh is done automatically, so the AP (repeater) has to in the gateway signal coverage, right?

and the antenna should be facing the gateway AP and the client area coverage will be that area as well, isn't it?


and, based on your experience, how many max AP can the MS120-8p accommodate for the power capacity?

Kind of a big deal

I’d think about the AP you need carefully. If you’re looking at low density coverage (maybe 10-20 devices with no high bandwidth applications) then you should be able to use the MR74 which is 2x2:2 and then you can use, for instance, an Omni-directional on the 2.4GHz to provide client coverage and a patch antenna on the 5GHz directed to the gateway so as to maximise performance on the backhaul. Or if the repeater and gateways are close enough to you could just use omnis. For the MR84 the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz are on both top and bottom ports, so you should use dual band antennas, and both the antennas should cover the same area (due to the way MRC, MIMO and beam-forming works) this means you need to pay attention to where your clients are (I.e. the client serving coverage) and also how you’re achieving your backhaul connectivity.


Cable wherever you can, that’s always best and just use the Meraki mesh where you get really stuck. 

You can workout how many APs you can support on a MS120-8FP relatively easily. Take the PoE budget for the switch (124W), and divide it by the power required for the AP, 21W for the MR84, 11W for the MR74. So it could comfortably support 5x MR84, or 8x MR74 (it ends up being limited by ports).

Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

In experience I have found the MA-ANT-25 to NOT have significant distance gain over a simple MA-ANT-20.
If I was surveying this I'd be using a combination of MR74's with MA-ANT-27 sectors.


But you'd really need to do this predictively first and after playing with the coverage patterns look for best placement in combination with as few of IDF's as possible to reduce fiber and switching costs.


It's a puzzle for sure.


The buildings would simply be high loss attenuation zones in the survey software.

Hi @Bruce

So, it is better to use the dual-band antenna for the MR84, right?

and, what happens if I set the antenna (MA-ANT-25) to a different area? so I can cover a large area with only 1 AP. is that possible?

Head in the Cloud

Hi @Brill 

MX 84 is a solid BOX.

However for Mining Area - I guess we shall look towards Industrial Wireless Units.


I am not sure how suitable Meraki could be for such an environment?

I have not deployed - May be we shall seek feedback from a member who has already installed Meraki in such conditions.


Getting noticed

Where are your MDF/IDF's on this map?

on the n shape building with the light blue roof color in the bottom right of the map

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