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I'm looking for advice on how to implement our office Wifi network. If possible we'd like to have cloud managed tools and also minimize costs.

Desired Features

Mainly we want to be able to easily manage and troubleshoot the network while keeping costs down. We are currently using Meraki access points with the cloud controller. This works well for us since it is very easy to setup and use. The cloud controller also provides a lot of functionality and very detailed network information on users and devices. The main issue with their service is the high cost.

Office Characteristics:

  • 60-90 Users
  • Users are densely located over 2 floors
  • Almost all users connect over wifi
  • Moderate-heavy internet use
  • Streaming video, online backups and syncing, local file transfers

Current Implementation:

Currently we have 3 Meraki AP (1 of the 1st floor, 2 on the 5th floor). Although the price is a bit high, this setup has been working adequately for us. All Merakis and wired users connect to either a 1gbit or 100mbit switch.

Notes

I've tried researching the issue myself and one that caught my eye was 'Open Mesh', however I'm not sure about the quality of their service or products.

The final solution does not have to be cloud based. We are just looking for a good set of access points/routers that will maximize speed, allow us to easily view the data going across the network, as well as keep costs down.

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Seems like, if you're already invested in Meraki, and it's working for you, you should stick with it. –  Bill Weiss Dec 16 '11 at 21:14
    
The bulk of our networking costs consist of the monthly fees we have to pay for the Meraki cloud controller licenses. I'm looking for alternatives because of the increasing monthly charge, as well as the fact that our 1-year contract is about to expire. –  Umar Dec 16 '11 at 21:32
    
I think that the cloud controller license (+ support) costs for 3 APs are pretty reasonable, compared to what building out a new wifi net will cost. Have you looked at the multi-year contracts? We went with the 3 year and it wasn't horrible. –  Bill Weiss Dec 17 '11 at 2:46
    
Yeah, $100/ap/year at list (assuming a 3 year contract) isn't bad. Is your budget really lower than $300/year? –  Bill Weiss Dec 17 '11 at 2:47
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