Meraki Dashboard Review

Single pane of glass enables you to configure a monitor view, all from one dashboard

What is our primary use case?

The primary use is with the Managed Service Provider Dashboard. I work for an ISP, and we provide Meraki solutions to our customers.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of the operation side, the Meraki Dashboard has made it much easier to use and configure from one place. There are tools embedded in the dashboard to troubleshoot, instead of looking at various network elements, you just have the one dashboard to view everything.

What is most valuable?

The feature I find most valuable is the single pane of glass where you can configure a monitor view, all from one dashboard. For example, on the wireless side, you can configure it under the configuration panel, and then view statistics like location analytics, user analytics, etc.

What needs improvement?

The product can be improved around the captive portal portion. It may be helpful to have maybe some popups or blurbs that just guide you in terms of how to use it or explain what a certain input means. Also, for example, the summary dashboard is under Organization, instead of under Network and sometimes it gets confusing where to actually find the summary dashboard. 

For me, from a usability or user journey perspective, it can be a bit more intuitive. For example, I want to see the summary from my Network but I have to go to Organization. Also the guides: they are great, but it's very difficult to find user guides, specifically on how to use every single feature. If I have to draw up the user guide, it's quite difficult to find the content. And maybe something which is connected with the support, or the price, or something like that. Or functionality, like more features.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the Meraki Dashboard for 9 months now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I find the stability of the Meraki Dashboard very reliable and stable. It's got the built-in mechanisms like warm spares, automatic solar, from my side, it's been very reliable. I've always been able to connect to the dashboard. There haven't been any outages. We haven’t had any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, we are planning to roll it out to the rest of our 400 stores. We've only got one solution that's live right now, which is a combination of their security appliance, which is an access point. For the Wi-Fi, many of the guests who come through the store are using it. The internal staff is using the Wi-Fi and the LAN. It's the store that sells our product, and they're using the full stack of Meraki right now.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support that I've experienced so far has been very good. The guys used to literally log the ticket on the dashboard, and they answer us. It's normally back within a day or so, so they've been very helpful.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before Meraki Dashboard, we didn't previously use a different solution. From my side, I haven't used anything else. But the technical teams have used the traditional Cisco RSR's, and their Aironet Wi-Fi solution, and it's significantly more difficult to deploy those solutions.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very, very intuitive and easy to use, in terms of installation. We've mainly worked on the wireless access point, but there's education that's starting to happen within the NSP environment. You need to get the guys up to speed. And this is a very different way of configuring and doing things, that's the learning journey, but once we actually are up to speed on how to use it, it's much quicker than the traditional use cases. They defined all the test cases and use cases that they'd want to test after deploying. It was pretty successful from the Meraki side, but internally, it was the education side that was lacking because the guys didn't fully understand how to use it, at that stage. And that's why it took so long to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

For the implementation, we ourselves did the POC, but we did have a representative from Meraki here that was guiding us for about a week.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

From a pricing perspective, they are still expensive. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing we didn't really evaluate other options. The guys are used to using it, but in terms of troubleshooting, they have to access many different systems. The reason why we did a POC with Meraki is because the sales representative came down to visit MTN. There's a Cisco partnership that's in place. They gave us the solution of Meraki and the objective. There was a rationale behind why we should do this POC, and that's why they moved. It was more of a selling initiative. They sold the solution to MTN, so we didn't choose it because the other solutions were not working, it was a sale.

What other advice do I have?

Regarding this solution, there are a few additional comments: from my side, because I'm a managed service provider, and we sell and manage services to our customer, I feel what's lacking right now is the technical training to up skill and manage the service provider. In South Africa, a lot of training is not available. In terms of technical training, there's none of that, apart from the CMNO training.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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