A new hope, or Cisco Meraki MX60W strikes back

I have an office neighbor who is a voluntary recipient and enthusiastic user of some of my experiments in applied network archeology. About six months ago, when his office was still on a DSL connection, I installed a Cisco Meraki MX60W (with OpenWrt, of course) to replace an ancient Netgear device. It was perfectly adequate for basic office stuff such as network printing, file sharing across the LAN, occasional video watching, etc. Transfers across the LAN (on wired connections) measured about 200 Mbps.

Last month, my neighbor upgraded to a 500/500 fiber connection. Out of sheer curiosity, I tested the Internet connection speed via the MX60W and got the same 200 Mbps. And then I thought, let's see what enabling offloading on the MX60W gets us... Well, it got us the whole 500 Mbps. This got me even more curious, so I fired up iperf3 on two local machines (both wired) and tested transfer rates across the LAN with a few other devices, wired and wireless, idling in the background. That got me, consistently, about 900 Mbps.

Wireless, of course, wasn't nearly as beautiful (many close neighbors, myself included, so a fair bit of congestion). The test results (2.4 GHz, abgn mode) were all over the map, from a low of 30 Mbps all the way up to the occasional 120.

All in all, I think the MX60W still has some life left in it... :smile:


Before anything else, I just have to say well done on the title. I suspect I'm one of the few (around here) who saw both of those in the theatre, and you minged them into the subject very well. :wink:

I'd never seen that device, and as I like to do, looked it up on wiki-devi to learn more. What I saw made me exclaim out lout - good heavens, it has a minii PCIe slot!!! :scream_cat:

It makes me wonder if you couldn't open it up and get a modern WiFi card in there. At least a more modern one. That should be eminently doable with OpenWrt. Some of the newer cards require a hefty 3.3v line, but I bet you could at least get away with an mt7612, maybe even a 7615. The mt7915/7916 cards tend to need a hefty 3.3v supply, and I have no idea how much current that device can source at 3.3v. But that said, even if it can't already supply all the power you need at 3.3v, with just a little tinkering and a 3.3v buck convertor, I am 90% certain it could be made to.

EDIT: I just looked at the date, it came out in 2012. Think of the coolness factor in getting AX wifi working on it. :wink:

Thank you! Nice to know people appreciate language arts! :smile:

The MX60(W) is an interesting device. It was designed to be a branch router: the stock firmware supported remote management, site-to-site VPN, the works... So it's pretty muscular for its time.

The stock Wi-Fi card is Atheros AR93xx, so I think upgrading it to a newer Atheros model (if not AX, then AC for sure) would be easy. In fact, I recently did exactly that on a Sophos device (transplanted the entire AC wireless subsystem from a defunct SG 125w into an unsuspecting SG 115 Rev 1, which is wired-only, but shares the motherboard, including the slot for a Wi-Fi card, with the SG 115w). I worry about thermals though. The stock N card is enclosed in a heat spreader. It dissipates heat into the air inside the case, and the case is basically a sealed aluminum dome. It seems to be adequate for an N card, but I have no idea what would happen with an AC or AX card...

1 Like

Try to put mt7921 or qcn f765 or similiar card, those card are m.2 so You need an adapter from mini pcie and two pigtails for m.2 cards. I think that speed of 600Mbps are in range even with this semi antique cpu.

i am glad you find this particular device so great but could you please elaborate why the lan-to-lan switched speed reaching the advertised 1Gbps is a surprising news?

Long story, that... :smile: But since you asked...

The MX60 with stock firmware was a branch router that prioritized features (remote management, site-to-site VPN, etc.) over speed. Its stated VPN throughput was 200 Mbps. So when I measured the "normal" LAN speed at 200 Mbps, I somehow got it into my thick skull that this was all I could get, period, end of story (never mind the difference between VPN traffic and basic routing/switching). Then I tried offloading and was surprised by the magnitude of the gain. So this is not so much about the device as it is about me having (and then dispelling) unfounded opinions... :smile:

1 Like

i am not familiar with the internals of this model, but to reach ~1Gbps as lan-to-lan requires offloading it certainly has some really strange architecture, as normally switching does not require cpu and hence offloading. anyhow, good to hear just a simple turning of knob could allow to utilize full potential.

The WAN and LAN ports are connected to an AR8227 switch chip. LAN-LAN is switched by hardware which achieves full line speed.

Since WAN and LAN share the single 1Gb eth0 port, there is a potential bottleneck between the switch and the CPU.

This model was one of the lower ones in the MX series and it was never intended for full gigabit even with stock firmware.


This topic was automatically closed 10 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.