nice meeting you!
This is my first post and I write to have a little support.
I will soon open a small Wine Dining Bar.
Unfortunately I don't have much IT knowledge. I just need a simple solution that allows me to create wifi for customers (no more than 10-20 people connected at the same time), but limit their data usage and bandwidth. I would have picked Google Nest wifi like I have at home, but it does not allow to limit data usage for guest wifi.
At this point I am looking at professional solutions.
Since I am going professional and invest a little more money, I would expect my network to support multiple locations to future proof my solution in case I later open new venues for my business.
I would go for Cisco Meraki Go for its promoted simplicity, but I've read in the FAQ it does not support multiple locations as of now (just multiple networks and only one Security Appliance).
Can you please suggest, trying to keep it simple, what I would need (considering I will replace the poor quality router the internet provider will give me)?
If you have one security appliance you can set up a VPN tunnel with an MR33.
Doing this all your locations will be connected and would not require a MX at each location.. your "Corporate" traffic could be tunneled back to your MX and your guest traffic will be just sent straight to the internet. I can dive more into this if this is something you are looking for.
You really just need a Meraki MR (a WiFi access point) and you can plug that into any ISP router. You can limit bandwidth, but you can not limit the volume of data.
In retail Splash Access is really popular.
They are a splash page service that work with Meraki MR access points. Apart from providing the portal, they can do things like automatically send the email addresses to an online marketing company, allowing automatic feedback surveys, following marketing, etc to be done. You can also get a "white label" app (this means you can put your own branding on it), and create targetted promos for clients. They also have links into digital signage. They can also limit the volume of data customers can get.
I wouldn't take on too much at once. I'd get something basic going with a Meraki MR (specifically, an MR33). And then once you get things going you can look to extend and improve it with things like Splash Access.
What @PhilipDAth says is correct. You only need an MR access point, perhaps placed above or near the cashier.
If you plan on wanting to do something that can scale, and you're not that IT knowledgeable I'd suggest you get in contact with a local network integration company, that specialises in installing and configuring network devices.
This will make sure you have some one to call, incase there are any problems, and not being "on your own" when something goes south. 🙂
That being said, it doesn't neccesarily need to be some large network installation. Just an MR ap would probably suffice. More, if you need a larger coverage, and perhaps a small MS120-8P switch.
I would actually like to replace the provider's router as well, so I believe a simple access point would not do it.
I would like to keep things simple and cheap, but scalable.
Currently I just need the opportunity to be able to scale to multiple locations and customize customers'wifi at the cheapest price possible. I would use a consumer solution like the google nest wifi I use at home, but it does not have the above two features.
To keep things cheap and simple, I would have gone with the Cisco Meraki Go Security Gateway and the Cisco Meraki Go access point, but I've read in the FAQ that one account does not support multiple locations, just multiple networks in the same location (please correct me if I am wrong!).
At this point I am thinking about the Unifi Dream Machine, but I wonder if there are valid alternatives from Cisco, and how much it would turn out to be including the yearly subscription.
If you want to replace the ISPs router, you'll need to ensure that whatever you replace it with is supported. And that the ISP supports you putting your own device. That is not always the case!
If you want to replace the router, an MX68W would perhaps be a good replacement. Builtin wireless capabilities, and two PoE+ ports, allow you to add 2 MR APs directly to the MX. Roaming between APs and MX wouldn't be good though, but it'll work (assuming the correct configuration..!).
There are alternatives to Cisco Meraki, such as Ubiquity. It also has a cloud management solution, for its network devices, and afair, cheaper. However, I can't speak for how it is, since I have never really had the opportunity to work with it.
The builtin wifi in an MX isn't an AP, yes. It lacks many of the functionalities that you have in an MR.
But if the MX is placed in some wiring close in the centre of a concrete building, with absolutely no cellular coverage, it's nice to have some Wifi connectivity.
I've been in enough situations where I needed to call someone while installing an MX, with no cellular coverage, and still needed connectivity to the MX. Mainly because of troubleshooting the CPE with the ISP.
@rbnielsen Thank you for the heads up, I might actually use a different ISP than the one I use at home, so I'd better check again with the new provide
@PhilipDAth can I ask you what are the wifi functionalities I would lose with the builtin wifi in an MX?
I care mostly about collecting data about customers (how long they are using wifi; are they new customers or returns; people counting; etc), be able to scale and have all this data from different locations and display it nicely in charts.
Also I am interested in connecting one camera for security purposes.
>can I ask you what are the wifi functionalities I would lose with the builtin wifi in an MX?
Reflecting back on it, you'll be able to achieve most of the same things, it'll just be more complicated.
With the MR you can do the splash page handling directly on it.
With an MX you'll need to create an additional VLAN. Bridge the SSID through to that. And then configure the splash page on the MX. You'll need to attach a group policy to the VLAN to implement bandwidth limits as well.
You'll need a higher level of skill to pull off something similar.
@PhilipDAth Yes, I'd like to keep it simple, I guess I'll need an MR then (by the way, thank you for the splashaccess webpage, I am taking a look).
Just as recap, my best solution for now is to get an MR33. Is it the cheapest access point?
I was thinking also to get the MX64, which should be the least expensive; but do I miss something if I don't get it and just try and use the router of the ISP?
One of the limitations would be not being able to limit the amount of data for guests, limitation that I can overcome with services such as splashaccess. Any other limitation?