Meraki MS Switches Review

A great console that provides high levels of flexibility

What is our primary use case?

The use case is small to mid-sized offices, under 500 ports.

How has it helped my organization?

The upgrades to the portal made it easier to manage the switches. The flexibility of the configurations is great — there are multiple configuration styles relating to deployment. If you're going to do Layer 3 at the edge, you're going to do Layer 3 at the core. The flexibility of the devices is very good.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature about Meraki is the console. The second most valuable feature, to me, is the technical support and the infrastructure behind the console.

I think their feature set is far better than most

What needs improvement?

The biggest area that they fall short on is comparing the performance. I don't have the articles in front of me, but the performance of a Cisco Meraki Switch versus some of the other devices that are more expensive or are equally as expensive as Meraki, they're falling short on the performance, because you're paying so much more money and they're not performing better.

That is a big problem when you talk to clients who've researched this. If ease of use and flexibility is important, I usually forego the high-end performance for the money. The performance is not bad, but let's say I bought one of the other Cisco switches or Juniper switches — they perform better for the same amount or even less money. That's a big drawback.

They need to work on the performance. Maybe the chipset that they're using is not as good as Juniper, for example. But their goal is not performance, it's consistency. If you're about consistency and ease of use, Cisco is definitely better. If you're about performance, that's where they fall short.

Keep in mind, that's my opinion; someone may argue differently with me — that Meraki is not better. It's not slower or less performance-optimized, but it's something I come up against when I discuss it and offer it as a solution versus Juniper or some other devices.

I want to use Meraki because I want to be able to plug it in and set it up in 15 minutes. Then when I have to troubleshoot something, it's easy. When I have a problem with the network, I call them up and they help. They actually help. You call up some of these other vendors, they're like, "Huh? Oh, you got to do all this stuff." I'm like, "No, no, no. Let's look at the logs together. Then you tell me what you see. And then I'll fix, or I'll adjust, or we'll replace." I don't want to go through this whole story and song and dance as I did with HP. So it's a problem.

Cisco overcomes that, but performance is where they get hurt. When you talk to any of the other guys that do network architecture, they're like, "Well, we're not going to pick Cisco Meraki. We're going to pick the other Cisco switches, or we're going to pick Juniper, or we're going to pick something else, but we're not going to go with Meraki." I'm like, "Okay." But in a small to medium-sized business, you can't beat them. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Meraki MS Switches for four to five years.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give Meraki MS Switches a rating of nine. The only drawback is the cost — that's what kills them.

I am not paying for the equipment; someone else is paying for it. Someone has to be willing to pay the premium for that and they have to see the value. I'm not a salesman, but if I want to go with Cisco, I have to show the client that if they buy Cisco Meraki versus Ubiquiti, they're going to do better.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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