Hi, I currently have an MX 84 with 5 MR 32 AP's supporting 1GB bandwidth in one location. It is time to upgrade internet and equipment. I'm bumping up to 3GB bandwidth. I have two companies quoting me different equipment and I need some unbiased advice to help choose best option.
Option 1) MX 105 with 5 Catalyst CW9166l AP's
Option 2) MX 105 with 3-MR36 & 2- MR 46 AP's
Please share your thoughts on the difference between the two. The environment has a lot of multimedia work, streaming and video conferencing. I'm looking for something that will carry me through the next five years.
Will you manage the catalyst aps with a controller c9800 ? In my opinion for a large scale environment the catalyst aps is the best option if you use a catalyst c9800 to manage, because c9800 is more flexible than MR aps.
In this case, I believe that using Meraki to manage the APs should meet your needs well (Option 1). I would recommend the C9800 for cases where you need greater flexibility regarding some configurations that are not possible with Meraki.
Are they quoting CW9166-MR or CW9166-(whatever your reg domain is)? The CW line is universal hardware that can be ordered as a Meraki persona or Catalyst (need WLC) persona.
It sounds like maybe they're quoting you WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E APs both Meraki? If they're quoting CW9166 Catalyst mode then obviously you'll need a WLC and have split management between dashboard and WLC/DNAC.
Just to clarify a specific detail of what @Ryan_Miles is pointing out regarding persona, as he says the Catalyst persona and the Meraki persona is the exact same hardware, yes.
It is possible to convert the AP between different personas, so incase you are shipped a Catalyst person CW9166, you can convert it to a Meraki persona. It is a bit of a hassle to convert, and the easiest would be of course to order it in the correct persona.
In terms of List Price the difference between the two options are about double. The price your retailers/partners has quoted, may differ.
So it really comes down to if you think Wifi6E is worth double the pricetag or not. WiFI6E (6GHz) is still rather new, so the mass of devices supporting 6GHz isn't really that big yet. However, Apple has just released their new Macbook M2 which supports 6 GHz, as well as their iPad Pro which also aupport 6GHz, so it is on it's way.
@PhillyKeith I'd go with the CW916x APs. We use 9166-MR, but they are a replacement for the MR56. The more direct replacement for the MR36 is the 9162 and the MR46 is the 9164. However like you, we found that the 9166 was a similar cost to the MR46 so it is a no-brainer to go for the 9166.
@Ryan_Miles and @rhbirkelund mention the fact that the 9166 supports WiFi 6E which is quite niche. However the default configuration sets the radios as 2.4 + 5 + 5GHz as opposed to 2.4 + 5 + 6Ghz, so you simply get a higher density of 5GHz clients. Do make sure you get the -MR model so you don't need to manage it separately.
Regarding the MX105, bear in mind that it will only sustain 3Gb/s of throughput with the Enterprise license feature set. If you want advanced features it drops to 1.5Gb/s. The MX250 is the next model up.
Agree with comments about going for thw CW916x-MR APs although a CW9166 vs MR36 is very different spec-wise, a CW9162 is more aligned with that and a CW9164 aligns with the MR46.
The main thing for me is future proofing with the 6E capability, depending on your reg domain you might be able to enable that from day 1 and marvel at the speedtest results 😉
Personally I prefer to manage everything through a single pane of glass. It affords us to allow the L1 Helpdesk to triage things before they are escalated. It also gives L2&3 a better overall picture of the situation.
I would opt for the MR56 in place of the MR36 also.
The Single Pane of Glass management is still possible with CW916x AP. As long as it's in the Meraki persona, it will function like any other Meraki MR Access Point.