Planning home network with Meraki

DanielOdievich
Here to help

Planning home network with Meraki

Hi there,

 

I need some help understanding Meraki offerings that would help me get better WiFi performance and overall network security in my house.

 

Situation is as follows

- 2 story standard West USA construction (wood frame, drywall), medium size home with brick pipe in the middle for fireplaces

- Gigabit fiber connection in

- Cat5E gigabit wired networking throughout the house with 2 outlets each in 3 locations on the bottom floor and 5 locations on the top floor. Currently 1 outlet is for phone and 1 outlet is for network

- Office downstairs full of equipment like computers, printers (regular and 3D), NAS, and so on

- Entertainment room downstairs full of networked things like disk player, TV, receiver

- Children upstairs with their own rooms, ebook readers, computers and school issued Ipads, and probably soon phones (NOOOOO!!!)

- wired networking is courtesy of a couple of managed 8 port Netgear switches

- 2 wireless APs - one downstairs (ZyXEL C3000Z) right next to fiber entering the house, and one upstairs (Netgear WNDR37200 v2) in physical center of the house

- Fiber modem (ZyHEX C3000Z) is acting as my network's router

 

The kids are complaining that wireless is unreliable. I don't use it myself with my wired connection via docking, but it

appears a persistent issue. I messed around with channels and whatnot but I am not an expert in this stuff. 

There are a handful neighbor networks but not too much, I only have 2 houses next to me and the 

 

At the same time, I am concerned about content:

- I'd like to lock down the school ipads and prevent them from accessing things like youtube and junk. I'd

- also like some better advertisement filtering like pi-hole style, if possible

- Inappropriate content filtering would be another bonus

 

I work for Cisco and get a huge discount on Meraki gear via employee purchase plan.

 

Questions:

- All signs point at getting a security appliance from MX series to address content filtering. Which one?

- With security filtering, am I going to have to live with halving my gigabit to 450mbit?

- Routing to the internet - can the MX appliance act as my DHCP? Or am I keeping the the original router?

- Should I put a MR30H into each of children's rooms, or even each room that I have, covering the wireless needs and maybe offering wired access to more future devices?

- Or a single MR33 per floor?

- What is the purpose of the antennas - how do those work?

 

 

Thank you,

Daniel

 

 

 

8 REPLIES 8
PhilipDAth
Kind of a big deal

>- All signs point at getting a security appliance from MX series to address content filtering. Which one?

 

The MX67 or MX68 are the most popular.  The MX68 has a 10 port LAN switch with two of those ports being PoE.  There speed is software limited to 450Mb/s.

 

After that you might as well jump to an MX100, but this is a very serious price jump.  It gets you to around 750Mb/s.

 

>- With security filtering, am I going to have to live with halving my gigabit to 450mbit?

 

It's not the security filtering per-see.  Even if you don't have an advanced security licence the MX67 and MX68 are software limited to 450Mb/s.

 

>- Routing to the internet - can the MX appliance act as my DHCP? Or am I keeping the the original router?

 

It can act as your DHCP server.

https://documentation.meraki.com/zGeneral_Administration/Cross-Platform_Content/Configuring_DHCP_Ser... 

 

>- Should I put a MR30H into each of children's rooms, or even each room that I have, covering the wireless needs and maybe offering wired access to more future devices?

>- Or a single MR33 per floor?

 

I would personally go for an MR33 per floor.  I doubt your children will require wired access in the future.

 

>- What is the purpose of the antennas - how do those work?

 

Umm, they dissapate and focus RF energy ...

KRobert
Head in the Cloud

I think @PhilipDAth did a pretty good job explaining the features and i agree with him regarding the MX67/MX68 products. If you are going with the MR APs for each floor, then stick with the MX67/MX68 and don't go with the MX67W/MX68W. The difference is whether the MX has Wi-Fi capabilities or not (W for Wireless). If you go with the APs, its redundant.

Do your 8 port Netgear switches have PoE? If not, I would suggest replacing them with the MS120-8FP Switches for 8 ports with PoE.

I currently get use an MX65W for my home network and I can wireless signal out to the end of my drive way (75+ feet from the MX. An AP per floor would definitely provide enough coverage for you home wireless needs.

Regarding your 1 Gig Fiber...do you utilize the full 1GB fiber at any one point? The beauty of Meraki products is the dashboard can provide really good baselines and throughput data to see if you are utilizing all of that awesome bandwidth.
CMNO, CCNA R+S

Hi everyone,

 

Thank you so very much for responding, and with such deep insights.

 

Symmetric gigabit internet is hard to use up, for sure. In the house, I move VMs around, and it is nice to see 100+ Megabyte transfers between my NAS and my machine. There are just a handful of sites - let's say MSDN - where the download speed of some of the big ISO files is comparable to what I get locally. Most internet downloads are smaller and sure, even a quarter of this speed is plenty. Mostly I just really enjoy the low, low latency.

 

Regarding PoE, no, my switches don't have it. Right now, I don't have any devices in my house that use PoE. I am not sure I'd have any in the future, either, I don't plan on installing any cameras or phones, everything is pretty well wired already.

 

I don't think the aesthetics of the switch are going to matter. These devices look pretty good. The AP upstairs is going into centrally located closet with AV gear (unless that would interfere with signal ?), and will be invisible. The AP downstairs will be inside of wiring cabinet, so also invisible. 

 

My question about antennas was more driven by - how do they interact with an AP? Do they plug into AP and act as external antenna, presumably extending it's range?

 

 

> Right now, I don't have any devices in my house that use PoE. 

 

Meraki Access Points can use PoE to power them ...

 

That's why an MX68 is quite attractive.  It is two PoE LAN ports.

Brons2
Building a reputation

Even with a huge discount on Meraki gear, Ubiquiti is probably still going to be significantly cheaper and it will do the job just as well.  You'd have to get probably 75% or more off the Meraki gear to match it.  I have the full Ubiquiti stack - cloud key, USG, PoE switch and 2 AC-AP-Pro APs, the whole thing cost me less than $550.

 

Plus the Ubiquiti APs look way cleaner on the ceiling than Merakis do.  My wife loves the way they look, she says they are modern and sleek.  Maybe your wife doesn't care but I'm doubtful my wife would accept the look of Meraki APs on the ceiling.  She won't accept visible wires either, I had my builder put in the ceiling mounted drops and I'm glad I did.

 

I have fiber as well at my house but I don't pay the extra for the 1Gb service, I "settle" for 300/300 and I'm happy with the performance I get from the Ubiquiti gear.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love my Meraki stuff at work, but there's no way I would ever fork over that much more money on Meraki gear for the home.

 

For reference my house is a 2700 sq ft 1 story and I have one AP at the front and one at the back.  Coverage is amazing.

 

YMMV...

KRobert
Head in the Cloud

From a non-biased perspective, I agree. Meraki is more commercial SMB, and larger. Ubiquity is definitely the budget friendly version of Meraki for SOHO and Home networks.
CMNO, CCNA R+S
cmr
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

However Meraki management is so much easier than Ubiquiti, I did have full stack Meraki at home but when the demo licenses ran out I only kept the switch due to the license costs.  I replaced the AP with Ubiquiti and a year later am seriously thinking of buying a Meraki AP license just to make the SSID time setting adjustment (for the kid's SSIDs) easier.

KRobert
Head in the Cloud

Bite the bullet and do it @cmr!
CMNO, CCNA R+S
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