Goodbye Open Mesh, it was great until it lasted. This article was created for all those long standing Open Mesh customers looking for an Open Mesh alternative and replacement. The solution is here and is called Plasma Cloud. Interested? Then just read on.
At the beginning of 2017, Datto announced the acquisition of Open Mesh and the launch of the Datto Networking product line. Thus, Open Mesh wireless Access Points and Ethernet Switches were rebranded and exclusively distributed through Datto’s global network of Managed Service Provider partners.
Later, in October 2018, another announcement by Datto declared the end of the free Open Mesh model. Datto Networking officially adopted a new pricing model which required all new customers to pay a monthly recurring fee, contrary to the original Open Mesh model which provided a lifetime free CloudTrax license with the purchase of its products.
This change in the original business model left many long standing Open Mesh customers looking for an Open Mesh alternative and replacement. This is when some of them reached out to a group of former Open Mesh engineers, who had decided to leave the company during the time of the Datto acquisition, and called them back into action to keep the Open Mesh spirit alive. This group included, among others, Marek Lindner, ex-CTO of Open Mesh, who had worked with Open Mesh since the very early days of the first products, namely the OM1P. Over the following months other former Open Mesh veterans joined the effort: Plasma Cloud was born.
The future of Open Mesh and CloudTrax
Open Mesh hardware can still be bought with no recurring fees, but the leftover inventory is very limited and only available through selected distributors and resellers. Furthermore, the end of life (EOL) of even the most recent Open Mesh hardware products is edging closer and currently set to the end of December 2021. After this date, Open Mesh will stop providing technical support services, such as software or firmware bug fixes and hardware repair services.
As a matter of fact, even though no EOL is currently planned for the CloudTrax management platform, current Open Mesh customers will practically be forced to purchase Datto Networking products, move to the new “Datto Cloud” and pay the related monthly fees, leading to significant recurring costs. Another option would be to look for an Open Mesh replacement to upgrade current networks which in some cases may lead to a complete loss of the Open Mesh investment.
Luckily, Plasma Cloud was created to provide an alternative to Open Mesh and CloudTrax that delivers on all the main aspects everybody always loved about Open Mesh products, its ease of use and low cost, while protecting the Open Mesh investment. And best of all, the team behind Plasma Cloud is a strong believer in delivering a lifetime free cloud solution which is exactly what motivated them to continue the Open Mesh mission.
Plasma Cloud, the Open Mesh and CloudTrax alternative
Started by a team of former Open Mesh veterans who strived to build a low latency and clutter-free cloud management system, Plasma Cloud offers a smart and affordable turnkey solution to cover all your needs in and around your network. The company is a newcomer on the block (created in 2018) yet staffed with ex-Open Mesh employees with 10+ years experience in the cloud networking domain and who possess a good understanding of what Open Mesh customers expect.
Plasma Cloud’s product suite includes white labeled mesh capable WiFi Access Points and PoE Switches in various sizes that come with a lifetime free fully customizable cloud-based management platform. They can be deployed in virtually any situation, both indoor and outdoor, thanks to a wide range of mounting options. Our PA300, PA300E and PA1200 are even enclosed in a IP55 certified outdoor housing which is completely dust and water resistant.
The Plasma Cloud console is extremely scalable, allowing network providers and system integrators to service networks of all sizes from anywhere at any time, with a minimal learning curve. It is engineered to be so simple that there will be no need to spend countless hours configuring your network: just plug and play!
But how can Plasma Cloud protect my Open Mesh investment?
Thanks for asking! If you have an existing Open Mesh CloudTrax network you can easily migrate it to Plasma Cloud at no additional cost (conditions apply). The Plasma Cloud console integrates fully with your migrated Open Mesh Access Points and Switches, allowing you to manage them all under a single pane of glass without any recurring fees.
Plasma Cloud allows the use of most Open Mesh hardware (more details in this article). The following Open Mesh Access Point and Switch models are supported:
- OM2P, OM2P-HS, OM2P-LC, OM5P-AC,
- MR1750, A42, A62, A40, A60,
Migrating networks to Plasma Cloud allows Open Mesh customers to enjoy:
- Lifetime extension of Open Mesh purchased hardware (CloudTrax end-of-life is edging closer);
- Partial hardware upgrade or replacement of old Open Mesh models with Plasma Cloud hardware in a mixed Open Mesh / Plasma Cloud hardware setup, with no cloud recurring fees;
- Low entrance barrier to test & fall in love with Plasma Cloud.
Open Mesh customers also generally report better performance and stability using the Plasma Cloud firmware. Learn how to use your Open Mesh hardware with Plasma Cloud.
Plasma Cloud and Open Mesh comparison
Plasma Cloud is a very fast evolving company, constantly adding new functionalities. Open Mesh customers will surely appreciate:
- The completely automated import of CloudTrax networks with settings, Access Points, Switches and splash pages;
- The support of Open Mesh hardware after migration to Plasma Cloud;
- Grouping networks into organizations managed under the same account;
- The simplicity of Plasma Cloud’s network overview with detailed Access Point, Switch and client tables sorted by SSID and time period;
- Real-time Access Points and Switches online/offline status reporting;
- And many more additional features.
Please find below a comparison chart updated to today, 20 October 2020.
|– WiFi security/splash page/internet access mode per SSID||✓||✓|
|– Unlimited number of SSIDs||✓|
|– Per-device SSID assignment||✓|
|– WiFi client splash page bypass / block access||✓||✓|
|– Individual blocked message for each WiFi client||✓|
|– Per-device outage charts for the last day||✓||✓|
|– Per-device outage charts for the last week/month||✓|
|– Network-wide outage charts for the last day/week/month||✓|
|– Site-survey scan presented via table overview||✓|
|– Device placement overview with channel occupation per-radio||✓|
|– Visual site-survey channel interference analytics (RF topology)||✓|
|– Instant RF topology update via data streaming from device||✓|
|– Self-forming & self-healing mesh on 2.4 and 5 GHz built-in||✓||✓|
|– Ability to disable mesh for the entire network||✓||✓|
|– Ability to disable mesh per device||✓|
|– Switch port VLAN management||✓||✓|
|– Visual VLAN assignment overview & assignment||✓|
Automated WiFi Settings Optimization
|– Automated channel & ht-mode selection||✓||✓|
|– Automated mesh management||✓|
AP & Switch Integration
|– Connected device auto-discovery and visualization||✓|
|– Layer 2 network-wide topology visualization||✓|
|– VLAN topology visualizations||✓|
|– Permission sharing (organization/network sharing)||✓||✓|
|– Simple CloudTrax network migration||✓|
|– Per-device Ethernet port status view||✓|
|– Third party device auto-discovery via LLDP||✓|
|– Splash page sharing across multiple networks||✓|
|– Easy-to-use third party captive portal integration||✓|
The real deal: the Plasma Cloud marketplace
One of the biggest differences between Plasma Cloud and Open Mesh / CloudTrax is the addition of the marketplace, a novel ‘service store in the cloud‘. Similar to Google Play on Android devices, where everyone can browse and buy Apps, the Plasma Cloud marketplace offers a wide range of enterprise-level features from third party providers at a cost-effective price.
By subscribing to a third party offering, you can easily extend the functionality of your devices and cater towards use cases you haven’t yet imagined, enhancing your wireless network. Learn more about our marketplace and explore the unmatched possibilities and flexibility this platform can offer you.
Ready to try Plasma Cloud?
Explore the power of cloud management and try our console demo today. Browse and play freely with the demo to get a better understanding of the look & feel of the Plasma Cloud console – you will not be left disappointed.
If you are looking for an hardware upgrade which will work seamlessly with your Open Mesh deployments instead, you can check out the Plasma Cloud product suite. And I will even let you in a little secret… New Access Points are gonna hit the market soon, so follow us on our socials to keep posted!