MR36 vs. MR46: A Head-to-Head Comparison

MR36 vs. MR46: A Head-to-Head Comparison


Choosing the right access point (AP) for your needs can be a daunting task, especially when faced with options that have so many similarities, like the MR36 and MR46 from Meraki. While they share many features, key differences set them apart. This post delves into their unique characteristics and helps you decide which one reigns supreme for your specific requirements.

Performance Powerhouse: MR46

The MR46 boasts superior performance with its 4×4:4 radios in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, achieving a combined 2.98 Gbps aggregate frame rate. This translates to blazing-fast speeds, ideal for high-density environments like offices, schools, and public spaces with numerous connected devices. Additionally, its outdoor compatibility makes it suitable for covering larger areas or extending your network beyond the building walls. However, this power comes at a cost: the MR46 is larger, heavier, and requires higher power consumption (30W max).

Budget-Friendly Champion: MR36

The MR36 strikes a balance between affordability and performance. Its 2×2:2 radios in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands deliver a respectable 1.5 Gbps combined aggregate frame rate, making it suitable for medium-density environments like small offices or homes. Its smaller size and lower power consumption (15W max) also make it a more discreet and energy-efficient choice. However, its indoor-only limitation restricts its use to enclosed spaces.

Feature Frenzy: What They Share

Both APs boast an impressive array of shared features:

  • Dual-band radios for seamless coverage across both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.
  • Dedicated third radio delivers 24×7 wireless security and RF analytics
  • Integrated fourth bluetooth radio for deployment of BLE Beacon functionality and visibility of bluetooth devices.
  • Advanced technologies like MU-MIMO and OFDMA for efficient data distribution and improved user experience.
  • Layer 7 packet inspection for application-aware traffic shaping
  • QoS for optimizing business critical applications, like voice and video.
  • Robust security features like WPA3 and integrated firewall for enhanced network protection.
  • Comprehensive management capabilities through Meraki’s cloud-based platform.

The Verdict: It Depends

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific needs and priorities. If you require maximum performance and outdoor coverage, the MR46 is the clear winner. However, if you prioritize budget-friendliness, smaller size, and lower power consumption in a medium-density indoor environment, the MR36 is the more sensible option.

Additional Considerations:

  • Number of connected devices: If you expect a high volume of users, the MR46’s higher capacity will be more beneficial.
  • Budget constraints: The MR36’s lower price tag might be more attractive for cost-conscious users.
  • Environmental factors: If outdoor coverage is needed, the MR46 is your only choice.

By carefully considering these factors and comparing the highlighted features, you can make an informed decision and choose the AP that best suits your network requirements.

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