Cisco Meraki MX60 features retained in OpenWrt

Hi all, I am planning on revamping my home network with some prosumer gear instead of regular wifi routers. I was originally planning on getting an EdgeRouter with a UniFi AP and some sort of switch that works with VLANs, but ran across a post talking about flashing OpenWRT to Meraki devices.

I reviewed information on MX60, and features include: next-generation firewall, content filtering, web search filtering, intrusion detection, web caching, WAN optimization, IPS, content filtering, web search filtering, anti-virus / anti-phishing, and IPsec VPN connectivity, etc. Realistically, I just need VLAN, firewall, and the usual port-forwarding. If I were to do mesh, I would use APs from one manufacturer, either UniFi or OpenWRT Meraki devices. Nothing high-throughput from the Internet required, since my downlink is 100Mbps anyway. Intrusion detection would be nice to have but not essential. The EdgeRouter doesn't do this, but the regular Meraki does.

Ultimately, my question is what features do the OpenWRT have on this particular device? The documentation is vast, and I see mention of VLAN, firewalls, and Snort for intrusion detection.

As an aside note, can I place this between Internet and EdgeRouter? And can I use an MX60 as a regular switch on the network? These are cheaper than Ubiquti switch ($100). Thanks.

What you're listing there, reads like Cisco's marketing blurb, which is totally irrelevant once you have OpenWrt installed on the device. Then it will behave like any other OpenWrt device, the only Cisco/ Meraki unique features that remain result out of the hardware (and potentially bootloader specific features, like recovery methods, dual-booting, etc.). The main reasons to use OpenWrt on this hardware would include:

  • having OpenWrt running
  • not having to pay Cisco's subscription model
  • re-using cheap (at least in the US, used prices in Europe are not reasonable) devices that would otherwise go to the landfill (lapsed subscription)
  • professional/ high quality hardware
  • form factor/ PoE, etc.

Looking at the hardware specifications of the MX60, I can't see a reason why anyone would buy this stuff in 2020. Yes, the SOC is fast, but it's also neither common nor popular among OpenWrt users/ developers, so you might be the first to notice any arising issues in the future and might be the only one who can/ will have to fix them. While the SOC is rare and fast, the wireless side of the MX60 is not interesting at all, yes a 3x3 AR9380 is a good wireless chipset with good OpenWrt support, but it's 'just' an abgn (ath9k) chipset and only a single radio in the device (so no concurrent dual-band). Likewise there aren't really any distinguising features (aside from the fast, but exotic/ rare SOC and decent amounts of flash/ RAM) in this hardware (normal router case, no PoE, no concurrent dual-band, no 802.11ac).

If you already own the device, go for it, but I wouldn't pay a tenner for these features in 2020 (there are other Meraki models that are still very interesting today, this however is not among them) - you can get more useful (802.11ac concurrent dual-band) hardware (especially in used condition) for your money.

1 Like

Thanks for the information. I didn't see any other Meraki models supported by OpenWRT besides MX60 for router support (https://openwrt.org/toh/meraki/start) and the rest appeared to be access points. I was planning on getting a separate access for the wifi portion ultimately.

What other cheap enterprise-style models do you recommend? My alternative was to have to invest in some sort of EdgeRouter/USG and UniFi AP. I'm not doing anything too fancy but wanted something more durable and flexible.