The Open Mesh Video Review
Do you have a home or office that is particularly tricky to get covered with a WiFi network? Well, Open-Mesh to the rescue! The Open-Mesh WiFi system is the best I’ve ever experienced when it comes to coverage, ease of installation and price. Here’s a little video to give you a complete overview of a system I installed at home to cover a particularly difficult task.
A huge issue now too is monitoring work from home employees with so many employees now working from home so be sure to have a look at that solution if this is an issue for your company. You can read HKM’s advice here.
(Below is the Open-Mesh product video. One that actually doesn’t oversell the product!)
I did a complete overview of the system I installed for you guys, and walked you through a lot of the detail and selection process. Here it is.
Ok, I can’t tell you everything in the video review because it gets rather long… So here are a few other things you might want to know that I omitted.
- I have a 50mbps/7mbps cable connection at home. When connected to any of the WiFi access points I’ve achieved wireless speeds over 45Mbps/5mbps basically anywhere in the house. I can even get over 20Mbps at the far corner of my backyard – so being the pool is no problem.
- Open-Mesh is a cloud managed system. When you first set up your system you create an account on Open-Mesh.com, tell it a number off your Access Point, choose some options, then plug your AP into an ethernet cable on your network and VOILA! It reaches out to the cloud and gets its settings. Like magic!!!
- Because its a cloud managed system, if you do make any configuration changes to the network it can take 5 – 30 minutes for the changes to be implemented. So it’s not like a normal router where it reboots and changes are instantaneous. But then again, it’s also not like a normal router in that it doesn’t suck!
- EVERYTHING at Open-Mesh is white labeled. The Access Points, the install parts, they even use a generic website for management at CloudTrax.com. That’s so if you are a professional service provider you can brand the network with YOUR company and sell and service it that way!
- When you go to mount any of these, or anything else, to your wall or ceiling use THESE drywall anchors!!! Trust me. These are the absolute best anchors and they are very easy to install. I’ll do a little video soon just to demonstrate how they work. In the meantime, get some.
- If you don’t find answers to any of your questions, please drop a comment below. There are a million things that I could tell you about it, so its impossible to get everything down on the first try.
Configuration Screen Shots
As you can see, the options screen to set up the primary SSID (WiFi Network) has a series of blanks to fill in. Give your network a name and a password. Set bandwidth limits if you want. And a bunch of other things (which I obviously left blank).
One important note! The primary SSID is designed to be secure and not allow users to see any other users or devices on the network! So for example, if you have a Drobo or a Synology NAS on your network and you connect to the primary SSID you will NOT see it! You need to establish a secondary SSID. See below.
In addition to a primary WiFi network, you can establish a private secondary network! One that I highly recommend is to check the Bridge box. This is VERY IMPORTANT so that the Open-Mesh network doesn’t assign IP addresses to the devices that connect to it. That will allow them to connect to the network, but if they get a different set of IPs they won’t see other devices on the network. So, just check the BRIDGE option and you’re all good.
We Didn’t Even Talk About Commerce!
One thing I didn’t even mention in the video is the fact that the Open-Mesh system can be deployed and integrated with payment options to require people to actually pay to use your network!
That makes is a fantastic solution for any public place where you’d like to offer WiFi, either indoors or out, and you have the option to either give it away for free but still show people a welcome page and make them accept terms of service – or set any price you like and charge people by the hour, day, week, etc.
I haven’t actually tried that part of the system, but it looks so easy that anyone could do it. Plus based on how simple it was to set up the system in general, I can’t imagine it would be hard.
Open-Mesh Hardware Choices
There are a few options to consider when piecing your system together. Are you only going for coverage indoors? Do you want coverage outside as well? And do you want to mount your gear on ceilings or walls, or simply set it on a desk or shelf?
For outdoor access points you’re definitely going to need to purchase the outdoor enclosure, so that is a given. For indoor access points you can opt for a round ceiling/wall mount, a rectangular wall mount that also offers an additional ethernet port pass-through, or you can just leave your unit sitting on a surface.
- OM2P-HS 802.11g/n High Speed Access Point
- Indoor Ceiling Enclosure – $19. Attractive ceiling or wall mount that could be mistaken for a fire detector.
- Indoor Ethernet Jack Enclosure – $19. Allows you to pass through an ethernet port, so if you use one to create the hotspot, you can still have it available for a hard wired device.
- OM2P 802.11g/n High Power Access Point – $75
- Outdoor Pole/Wall Enclosure – $19. Secure outdoor cover that accommodates the flexible antenna for the hotspot.
Unlike normal WiFi routers, the Open-Mesh access points do NOT come with power supplies. This is because these devices are designed to work with either Power Over Ethernet, or a stand alone power supply. So you need to make a decision about how you want to power yours before you buy.
If you intend to have several Access Points mounted all over your premises and you don’t want to be constrained by electrical outlets your best bet is to get the 12 port or 8 port POE Injector. This allows you to simply run an ethernet cable to the Access Point, and you’re done! No electrical outlet needed!
If you only intend to have one or two Access Points that are powered using PoE you can purchase the individual PoE injectors, along with an 18v Power supply for each. You’ll plug the power supply into the Injector, and then run a single ethernet cable to your Access Point.
If you have an electrical outlet near where you want your Access Point, you can purchase just the 12 Volt power supply.
- 12 Port Rack Mount 18v POE Injector for OM2P series
- 8 Port, 18v POE Injector for OM2P series
- POE Injector for OM2P series + 18v Power Supply for OM2P series (110-240v, US Plug)
- 12v Power Supply for OM2P series (110v ONLY, US Plug)
Editor’s Choice Award
Open-Mesh is one of the greatest products I’ve ever tested or used. And I’m only taking advantage of a small fraction of its capabilities. Frankly, I can’t believe how cheap this system is, given how much it will do. And every home and business on the planet should absolutely have an Open-Mesh network installed.
Good job to the team behind Open-Mesh! And thanks for designing one of the most useful product lines in the modern world!
Why use this, over just i $20 router and set it up ad an AP?
Gary Brooks says
Did you even watch the video review? Hey John P. Given that Wi-Fi is a second-rate infrastructure at best, did they mention when/if they are releasing 802.11 AC equipment? I hardwire what I can when possible (and from looking at your network closet so do you) and I love how this works but would much prefer the higher speed of AC.
Jim D says
Great review. I picked up three. However, I’m learning that the Open Mesh gateways need a source for DHCP. I planned to plug them into a switch, but now it seems I need to keep my old Wifi router, for the DHCP server.
How do you handle DHCP in your home network?
John P. says
Sorry if I was unclear about that! You’re right, this is ONLY a wireless network and does not do routing or DHCP. I currently have a router still in my network at home, but that is temporary. Since we just switched to a mesh network at the office I was looking for a higher performance router to handle DHCP. One that could also switch faster. I ended up getting the TP Link TL-ER5120 which is $200.
In the office we were running a Linksys EA6500 and when we plugged in the TL-ER5120 there was an immediate and noticeable performance improvement. The fact that the 5120 also offers load balancing for additional connections is bonus. It’s also rack mountable which is important to us.
There is also a baby brother to that TP Link called the TL-R470T+ for $51 which everyone seems to love. It’s not going to offer enterprise performance, but it appears smaller and still with a rich feature set. So you could easily go with one of those.
For me, since we’ve had success at the office with the big router, I’m ordering one to use at home too. Having an actual rack in my closet has pretty much made me only interested in things that can be mounted because they are so much physically easier to manage that way.
Hope that helps!