Meraki MS Switches Room for Improvement
A complaint that I might have about the services is the compliance risk response. If I or our clients put too many devices on a network, threatening emails get triggered by Meraki saying that we are out of compliance. It can put unnecessary fear into the customer of the product that their services will be curtailed or that they will have to pay escalated fees. The customer in turn then pushes the problem on to the reseller — us — which can create an awkward situation. We are seen as a less-trusted advisor because what we provided was poorly planned. I think there is a major problem with warning clients in that way. I've started hearing customers wishing that they had not gotten into a subscription just because of that policy. It is all well good having a subscription policy but making customers edgy is making some consider switching away from Meraki. Losing customers due to the means of enforcement of the subscription service is pretty ill-advised.
I think one of the things that Meraki started to develop and then held back on is unified communications. Meraki started beating the drum about using Meraki for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and then they suddenly stopped it. It would be nice to actually see that coming to the market, especially in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa). With Cisco's acquisitions such as Broadsoft, Meraki could potentially invest in that technology, so they would be able to provide a voice platform backed by Cisco. It could be an excellent situation and fulfill their promises at the same time.
In terms of what could be improved, there's API. For example, we recently implemented Microsoft Azure. We have it integrated now into the dashboard for authentication. Dashboard authentication includes local users which we are creating in the dashboard itself. We integrated Azure with our local active directory. As the administrator in IT, I can log into the dashboard with my AD credentials only, so we used Xero and SAML with the Microsoft Azure. It's working fine. Similarly in the camera. Generally, the camera is in the cloud. In the camera, every field requires you to enter some information. If you have a cloud archive, it will be directed towards your Meraki cloud based on whatever storage license you have, 90 days or 30 days. But we worked on a different approach. We developed some more internal applications with other partners. We are pitching data from the Meraki camera, and we are putting into our internal storage with the Python script in the back-end.
Another thing is CMX. There is a location tracking for the employees who are inside, and with Meraki there is a Bluetooth option with a separate radio. They have a separate Bluetooth radio, Air Marshal radio, 2.4 and 5 GHz, for all the different radios, but it's all ELM mode in the old access points. It serves the clients as well as monitors the rogue access points. But in Meraki, we have a separate radio for it to monitor all the Bluetooth clients who are coming and who are identified from the dashboard. We will send it through the API to the location-scanning API to a third-party application and it gives you greater visibility. We can customize our own application of the dashboard. For example if you have a retail shop, you can put your store map on there and you can track the clients, like how many clients have visited. We can customize it. We worked on that customization pack.
In terms of troubleshooting, if we get more tools there is an issue. Our pack has some internal access, right? In traditional solutions we can go to the CLI and we can see whatever you want to change and you can play around with it. But in Meraki, if they got additional tools maybe it would help. In terms of MS I see some complications. There are some voice-related services that some customers are expecting, so they want to put an MS firewall in Azure or AWS, and they want to ship the traffic from that firewall. For example, I am at different branches, so the initial firewall will make the decision. They are looking at that kind of scenario. I hear from some of the customers with MS, that there are some voice-related, SIP services. So it's a limitation. If you have a voice service with AmEx, I saw something that SIP ALG will not support AmEx. So that's one limitation here.
Meraki MS switches are great for pretty much all SMB networks and most enterprise networks. However, there are some higher-end functions that larger enterprise networks with full access, distribution, and core switch stack may find limiting.
One of the most challenging things to get used to is the delay in the time it takes for changes to be implemented. With a locally managed switch, you make a change and it is pretty much immediate. With the nature of cloud management, you make a change and it may take 1-3 minutes before that change makes its way to the device and takes effect. It's not a problem once you get used to it but when we first started working with Meraki I found myself making a change and immediately assuming it didn't work so I would change it again. Patience is your friend when making changes. They have a field on the dashboard that lets you know when the config is up to date. I'm not sure if this delay could be reduced or not by prioritizing communications but it is by no means a show stopper.View full review »
We had some dashboard licensing issues, maybe because their method of collecting data from the user needs to be more streamlined. It seems that they have collected information from the vendor, but perhaps there is not a proper SOP regarding this.
They collected some vague information that was registered and when it came to us, we found out that they didn't use our proper email address. As a result, licensing became an issue. It was only resolved after we contacted them and changed the details of the registration. Consequently, there was a long delay before we started using it.
When I registered the system in India, there was no problem. However, in the UAE, the vendors were not collecting and properly verifying the details. The need to streamline the licensing data collection process to fix this.
As a manufacturer, or OEM, they might be doing their part correctly, but the vendors might be losing the data. So, they need to be strict on their vendors to collect the information properly. Or, they need to at least contact the people, the end-users, and verify that it is correct. As it is now, they just depend on the vendors' data. Before they register it, they need to contact the customer directly with the data and verify it. Ideally, some kind of SOP should be there.
With no SOP in place, the question becomes one of what happens when Cisco takes the data from the vendor and registers the product, but doesn't verify it by contacting the customer. This can happen in cases where the vendor is in a hurry to sell the product. In fact, they might fill in bogus data and give it to Cisco. Then, once the customer gets the product and starts to configure it, they get the licensing issue like we did, which is the first step in the process. The fails only because the data given by the vendor is wrong, and it's not the fault of the customer.
If instead, Cisco verified the details with the customer again, once they receive the data, it would be better. As I suggest this, it might seem like a slow process, but in today's world, it is not. They can contact the customer directly, using the provided email or mobile number. They can call them, verify the details, and it will be good for both Cisco and the customer.
One simple way to improve the product is to reconsider the price. They are more expensive than their competitors. You have to take into account that it is Meraki by Cisco and they know they are the best and that if you need a less expensive solution you can buy other products. If you want the best, you have to pay for it. But certainly they are a bit more expensive than the competitors.View full review »
Technical Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
The problem that we saw with some customers is that it's very hard to train them to manage everything on the cloud, and some customers don't want this.
The firewall is not very powerful. The other week, one of the switches only gave one gigabit of output. It's become a concern for our customers.
It is very difficult to know what we should do. There should be a queue available to connect over the VPN. However, there was a lack of an image in the other queue. Once, when a customer wanted to tour the system, there were issues with connectivity to the VPN, which was offputting.
Consulting Engineer at IV4
It would be good to include the command-line access someday.View full review »
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.View full review »
It would be great if they can get the price down for small businesses.View full review »
Personally, I don't like the product because I don't like the idea of losing all functionality if your license for the cloud is not current and paid or if the cloud cannot be accessed. I wouldn't recommend these switches for most organizations because the cloud-based deployment is restrictive and comes with problems. The only reason I can see choosing this product is if your organization is totally non-IT, on-premises and you are comfortable leaving IT services in the hands of somebody else.
Realistically, the pricing should be improved to match the services and features provided. This also should be enhanced so that you are able to use the product when there is no cloud connectivity.
Because of dependence on the cloud, my strongest advice to people considering this solution is to make sure you have a reliable internet connection.
As far as future improvements to the product, it is not a concern for us as we are not doing additional installations at this point and would probably hope, instead, to phase out the use of the product.
Director of Institutional Technology at a non-tech company with 51-200 employees
I'm an old CLI guy from Cisco so I've had to give up some of the granularity that I'm used to having. With Cisco I could narrow things down but now I'm stuck to exactly what Meraki gives me. I don't have any options. Previously I used to be able to look at light levels on an object but I can't do that now. Those are a couple of little issues, but I do get it right out of the box whereas with Cisco it requires spending thousands of dollars and buying extra equipment to get the knowledge of what's going on in your network.
They've already released some new things on their flagship model. I'd like to see the price come down a little bit, but you've got to pay for what you get like the 38 series switch. With Cisco you can stack them for command and control whereas with Meraki, you can stack them with power, but each individual switch is still controlled as an individual switch. You don't see them as one switch. They're stacked with stacking cables, it's multiple switches. It's little stuff, nothing serious.View full review »
It can have better security. It needs more security enhancements, and in particular, a zero-trust element. If we could have external and internal users vetted in the same way as a zero-trust network, that will be handy.View full review »
Clients are very confused by technical support. They seem to have trouble reaching Meraki to get the assistance they need.
I'd prefer if they'd go for Layer 3 features. We do not have access to these yet. Aruba, for example, offers full Layer 3 features.
Lead Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
In this solution, you are lacking a feature that Cisco Classic has that allows you to save your configuration with a serial cable.
In some deployments, I would like stacking to act like RAID 1 but not if you are updating the firmware of one switch in a stack. Stacking and switches with Meraki, they need to improve on this. I had a different experience with Extreme Networks which behave completely different.
Performance is an area in need of improvement. Other systems, such as Juniper switches, perform better for the same or less money. For consistency and ease of use, Cisco is definitely better, but performance is where things fall short.
Price to performance value when compared with competitors is a feature that should be addressed in the next release.View full review »
Senior IT Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
A while back, there were some update problems.
Pricing is higher than other options.
Technical support hold times seem to be getting longer.View full review »
The throughputs, especially the throughput path, can be improved on the core switches. I think they should improve the throughput in the core switches to enable higher throughputs. A little bit of training for customers like online training would definitely help us.View full review »
Mandatory maintenance is an area that needs improvement.View full review »
In terms of the switches, generally, we have some stability problems. There are general stability issues with them. It's been inconsistent for a couple of years. It's not really based on any firmware.
Switches that are in production and running will stop responding. And so we have to reboot the switches.View full review »
Vice President of Information Technology at a non-profit with 51-200 employees
The licensing model needs to be improved. The way they license their products, I'd rather just pay for a device by the device, and not have to pay annual subscription fees.View full review »
Senior Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Better alerting capabilities are needed because they do not provide enough notification or detail about events. For example, it doesn't tell me if I have lost an access point, or I'm getting packet drops, or somebody is using excessive bandwidth because of a download they are doing. It is very hard to drill down on these problems and sometimes, you might have to use a third-party solution to pull the reports out.
Technical support is in need of improvement.View full review »
The quote-building process is challenging and it needs to be simplified.
It is difficult to create a bill of materials and there should be a bundled solution. You still have to select different items from certain locations to build the solution. You can end up leaving out certain items that are needed unless you understand how everything works. Examples are the power supply and the power cable, which are not on the list by default. There should be a top-level part number that allows you to put all of the options that are available, rather than selecting each and every item separately and putting them together.View full review »
The pricing could be cheaper.
There should be a focus on the emerging markets to offer better pricing. In India, they are offering it at better pricing for the emerging markets.View full review »
The price of this solution should be improved.
This solution is too simple for some cases, and there should be more configuration options.View full review »
The pain point for our customers is the pricing and it should be reduced to make it more competitive.View full review »
Security & ICT Product Manager at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees
The solution doesn't offer anything different from any other solution. It's not a unique product.
Sometimes there's a problem with the pricing model they use. They should work to fix this.View full review »
Senior Consultant at a consultancy with 10,001+ employees
Technical support can be faster to respond to non-telephone originated inquiries.View full review »
IT Engineer at a printing company with 201-500 employees
It would be great if the switch can identify the IP address connected to the network port. It seems most of the switches cannot identify the IP address. They can identify the MAC address but not the IP address.View full review »
Assistant Manager -Enterprise Networking Solutions at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Their subscription model could be better. Some of our customers prefer a one-time payment to a monthly or yearly subscription model, so they don't buy the product. Technical support could also be better.
Delivery Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
The solution needs to improve its ability to back up the auto-configuration.View full review »
Network Administrator at a leisure / travel company with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like to see some automation and better integration with the editing tool.View full review »
Head of IT at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
The pricing of the product needs to be improved. I find that Cisco products are usually priced quite high.
The solution needs to improve its scalability.View full review »
Syed Masood A.
Sr. Presales Consultant at a integrator with 501-1,000 employees
The licensing would be improved if shorter terms were offered.
There is not much training available for this solution.
Better online and remote support is needed.
I would like to see support for IoT.
We need to be able to add an access point without requiring an additional controller.View full review »
I don't think that the cost is a problem, but sometimes the price requires convincing the customer of the value.View full review »
The solution could be simplified a bit.View full review »
I think the cameras should be better integrated so that clients can review real time images on the dashboard. That's a basic feature.
This is quite an expensive solution so I'd like to see the cost reduced. The complete installation can be very expensive because the switch doesn't have an option to perform fiber connectivity.View full review »
This product doesn't enable a local configuration without internet access. If you compare this product to Fortinet the granularity of blocks that you can do related to the firewall and reports that you can deliver and control about blocking all access on Fortinet is more than Meraki. And when you talk about number of WANs that you can put on the device, Meraki can have only two WANs and when you have Fortinet you can have at least six sources of WAN.