Wi-Fi 6 Showdown: Cisco Meraki MR46 vs. HPE Aruba 550 Series

Cisco Meraki MR46 vs. HPE Aruba 550 Series

Choosing the right Wi-Fi 6 access point for your business can be a daunting task. Two popular options are the Cisco Meraki MR46 and the HPE Aruba 555. Both offer cutting-edge features and cater to demanding environments, but they have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Let’s delve into their key features to help you make an informed decision.

Speed and Capacity:

  • Meraki MR46: Offers a maximum combined speed of 2.98 Gbps with concurrent 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios. It utilizes 4×4:4 MU-MIMO technology for efficient multi-user handling.
  • Aruba AP-555: Boasts a combined peak data rate of 5.37 Gbps, exceeding the Meraki MR46. This is achieved through its optional tri-radio mode with two 5 GHz radios and an additional 2.4 GHz radio. It also employs bi-directional MU-MIMO for improved efficiency.


  • Meraki MR46: Shines in cloud-based management with automatic configuration, updates, and cloud-based RF optimization. The MR46 is also self-configuring and managed over the web, so it can be deployed remotely without technical expertise.
  • Aruba AP-555: HPE Aruba APs boast flexible deployment options. Choose controllerless (instant) mode for quick setups or opt for a central controller for advanced features like roaming and security. Manage your network with either cloud-based or on-premises solutions, and even automate large deployments with Zero Touch Provisioning.


  • Meraki MR46: Can be powered by either Power over Ethernet (42.5 – 57 V, 802.3at compliant) or an optional 12 V DC input, with a maximum power consumption of 30W. 
  • Aruba AP-555: Supports Power over Ethernet on port E0 and/or E1 and direct DC power, with a maximum power consumption of 38.2W. 

Other Interfaces:

  • Meraki MR46: 
    • 1x 100/1,000/2.5G BASE-T Ethernet (RJ45) 
    • 1x DC power connector
  • Aruba AP-555:
    • 2x 100/1000/2500/5000 BASE-T Ethernet (RJ45) 
    • 1x USB 2.0 host interface capable of sourcing 1A/5W to an attached device
    • 1x Serial Console: micro-B USB physical jack
    • 1x DC power connector

Additional Features:

  • Meraki MR46: Uniquely offers a dedicated third radio for WIDS/WIPS and spectrum analysis, providing real-time security monitoring without impacting performance. Additionally, it includes an integrated Bluetooth Low Energy radio for beacon functionality and device visibility.
  • Aruba AP-555: Stands out with its embedded GPS receivers for accurate indoor location services and its support for various IoT protocols like Bluetooth 5, Zigbee, and NFC, making it a strong contender for IoT deployments.

Choosing the Right Fit:

  • For cloud-managed simplicity and strong security, the Meraki MR46 excels, especially for businesses already invested in the Meraki ecosystem.
  • For superior speed, capacity, and built-in location services, the Aruba AP-555 takes the lead, particularly for organizations requiring robust IoT integration.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific needs and priorities. Consider factors like the number of connected devices, budget, desired management style, and any existing infrastructure before making your decision.

Additional Notes:

  • Both access points offer comprehensive warranty and support options.
  • Pricing varies depending on model and configuration.
  • It’s always recommended to conduct a site survey and consult with a networking professional to determine the optimal solution for your unique environment.

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