Is Meraki GO a viable alternative to Unifi?

The Meraki Go line are a family of access points, security appliances, and a switches. It is an “entry level” line perfect for startups, home offices, and other small businesses with little or no IT expertise. It is not really a part of the main line of Meraki products, but rather is marketed completely separately. And, it is truly a consumer-class solution.

Meraki GO exists alongside Ubiquiti’s UniFi line, and Aruba Instant On as very affordable and easy-to-set up networking gear. It’s predominantly access points, but Meraki GO also features switches and router/firewalls.

Differences between Meraki and Meraki Go

First, a little explanation about the difference between Meraki GO and the rest of Meraki’s product line. In short, Meraki Go is a “plug and play” solution allowing small businesses to deploy very workable, but basic networking on a budget. Everything from setting it up, to managing it, to sticking it on a wall are a breeze. And these appliances can be had for well under $150.

So who will LOVE the Meraki GO?

Meraki GO is designed for small cafes, bookstores, boutique shops and such. Even homes would be ideal. If you have under 50 employees/people with just one or a few independent sites, Meraki Go might be a great fit. That is to say, anyone who anticipates standard use and a need to provide guest Wi-Fi access.

Did you say “Easy to use?”

Yes. Absolutely everything you need to set the Meraki GO up is in the box, including the power cable, networking cable, mounting hardware and even screws to attach it somewhere. A very simple instruction booklet that includes both text descriptions and easy-to-understand pictures covers everything.

Setup involves just downloading the Go app onto your phone, from where you control everything. The app itself is highly intuitive and graphical. And, of course, it’s easy to use.

It simplifies control of your network with slide buttons choices that make sense to non-IT types. Knowing a little about how wireless technology works is always helpful, but not necessary. And, if you do get stuck there’s technical support personnel available through the monthly subscription.

About that subscription

Meraki GO devices do not require a license or subscription in order to function. This makes them different from the rest of the Meraki line. There are subscriptions available, however.

The Meraki GO line consists of the following:

GS110 switch – These come in8, 24, and 48-port options. They have PoE and PoE++ options, as well. They have up to 20 Gbps switching capacity for the 8 port. The 24 port switch pushes 56 Gbps, and the 48 port version 104 Gbps.

The access points are the GR10 indoor, and GR60 outdoor devices. There are Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 versions of each. They are all 2×2 MU-MIMO. They offer both PoE and DC power options.

The GX20 security gateway is a firewall/router. There are two, the Router Firewall and the Router Firewall Plus. The difference is that the Plus model has built-in VPN. So it can be used for remote work. They both support up to 50 clients. Stateful firewall throughput is up to 250 Mbps, and over 500 Mbps for the Plus model.

In a nutshell

The Meraki GO appliances are set up and managed entirely from your phone. It’s easy, you can legitimately be done in ten minutes. This is very convenient, but some people might prefer to do initial configs on a desktop monitor.

As for whether the Meraki GO series, as a whole, is a viable alternative to Unifi, it is. Differences are, broadly speaking, the prices are a little lower for Meraki GO (hardware), but your options are a bit more limited. It isn’t obvious where to set firewall rules, for example, or site-to-site VPNs. The GX20 comes with a robust set of built-in security features, and it also has a subscription service for additional ones. It just depends on what you need.

For home or small business use, either are a very good choice. Meraki GO is easier to configure than Ubiquiti. However, Unifi has a larger portfolio of access points in this price range than to Meraki GO. You will probably find Meraki support to be better.

Lastly, if you would like to know more about the Meraki Go family of switches, access points, and security gateways, just call Corporate Armor at 877-449-0458. You can also email us at [email protected] Thanks for reading!

Meraki GO highlights

Affordable, fast hotspot supporting multiple simultaneous client
Guest control through a Captive portal
Directs WiFi signal directly to the client, and increases the quality of the signal
Managed in the cloud on your phone

Ubiquiti UniFi highlights

SUPER affordable
Unifi controller is powerful yet simple to administrate
Good community support
Remote management of entire networks through a single pane of glass