Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller vs. Cisco Meraki MR

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Score 7.6 out of 10
N/A
The Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller is a highly scalable, service-rich, resilient, and flexible platform. It provides centralized control, management, and troubleshooting for high-scale deployments in service provide, enterprise, and large campus deployments.N/A
Meraki MR
Score 9.0 out of 10
N/A
Cisco's Meraki MR Series is a wireless LAN solution.N/A
Pricing
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Meraki MR
Editions & Modules
No answers on this topic
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerMeraki MR
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Meraki MR
Top Pros
Top Cons
Best Alternatives
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Meraki MR
Small Businesses
Ubiquiti WLAN
Ubiquiti WLAN
Score 9.3 out of 10
Ubiquiti WLAN
Ubiquiti WLAN
Score 9.3 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.8 out of 10
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.8 out of 10
Enterprises
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.8 out of 10
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.8 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Meraki MR
Likelihood to Recommend
7.4
(26 ratings)
9.0
(63 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
-
(0 ratings)
8.7
(3 ratings)
Usability
8.2
(1 ratings)
8.7
(4 ratings)
Support Rating
9.0
(1 ratings)
8.7
(16 ratings)
Product Scalability
-
(0 ratings)
9.6
(30 ratings)
User Testimonials
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Meraki MR
Likelihood to Recommend
Cisco
[Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller's] software quality has been shed in recent years. The only problem I have with it is its inability to work with older Cisco Access Points. However, that's to be expected for any deployment. While the controller's UI works well, some areas could be improved. API integrations lack flexibility. [I feel] it's time for policy redesign. It can be a little difficult to determine coding quality.
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Cisco
I came from several years of the managed services space before transitioning to an internal IT role. We have found that the ease of use and deployment combined with the bulletproof reliability of the Cisco Meraki MR platform makes it an easy sell for many types of organizations. I still recommend Cisco Meraki MR to anyone looking for an enterprise networking solution.
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Pros
Cisco
  • The GUI on the Cisco 8540 WLC is much better designed than other Cisco products. Its easy to navigate between the different settings to find what is needed.
  • The AP groups allows touching multiple APs at one time.
  • It also allows us to create standard SSIDs that can be used at all sites that connect back to it, this saves a lot of time instead of hitting each site with a local controller.
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Cisco
  • Provides real-time and historic data right in the dashboard, allowing my team to troubleshoot user issues and identify larger problems much easier.
  • Meraki APs are known as "loud talkers", and have really improved coverage on the edges of our spaces. Our users live and die by Zoom, and stability has been greatly enhanced. We did have an issue with significant packet drops, and their support team was able to quickly help us figure out the cause.
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Cons
Cisco
  • Code quality is a bit hit and miss. This will be great for a while, then things will be bad for a while, then we'll do it again. The UI of the controller works, but could do with a refresh, and I would like to see some improvement on layout and organization.
  • The constant code/firmware upgrades and the QA of new code could be better.
  • Maybe the compatibility with old Cisco Access Points could be improved, but it's normal in all kinds of deployments.
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Cisco
  • You have to have license to use them, otherwise they effectively they become trash! It would be good to see a one off standalone license where they don't have any support or access to Meraki dash, but could be reused as a simple standalone AP with limited features.
  • (Much like I see people reflashing with OpenWRT)
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Likelihood to Renew
Cisco
No answers on this topic
Cisco
Cause its intuitive, very clear and easy of use (no brainer) interface. It's whole portfolio in one portal aproach. Also cause the new features cycle release and the cisco Meraki comprehension of WiFi market. Also cause the fastest deployment available on the market that also comes with a easy to scale platform adding features and services in the same interface thats unique and awesome.
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Usability
Cisco
Very well made product. Very stable. We have had no issues administering the 8540.
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Cisco
To get basic functionality doesn't take long. Set up a new Meraki Dashboard activate the licenses and get internet connection for the APs and you are more or less done. The Dashboard will find your items and you're good to go.
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Support Rating
Cisco
It is a better product. The evolution is positive.
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Cisco
Meraki support is usually top notch. The are quick to respond and stick with an issue until it is resolved. One of the difficulties I've had with Meraki MRs is the limited ability the customer has in troubleshooting. Much of the more technical aspects of resolution can only be accessed by the Meraki support team, meaning dedicated IT teams are reliant on them when more complicated issues arise.
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Alternatives Considered
Cisco
We have [done] some work before with the Cisco 3504 product, but the more recent Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller provides a wider range of capabilities for managing the wireless network and each individual device [and] also being able to handle more users. Unfortunately, we didn't test and deploy equivalent products from other concurrent companies.
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Cisco
When considering a solution you need you really need to take into account the environments that you are deploying into. If you request something that is fully configurable, then you are more likely to deploy the Cisco Catalyst controller. With the Meraki solution, one of the major selling points is the dashboard and how easy it is to manage. In most cases, the features available in a Meraki solution are sufficient for 80% of customers.
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Scalability
Cisco
No answers on this topic
Cisco
Cisco Meraki MR is made to be scalable and flexible. We can scale up or down as needed and deploy devices without configuring them. We can add the devices to the portal and then not have to touch them before they reach a location. We love that it can scale as we need it.
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Return on Investment
Cisco
  • The Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller allows you to reduce your hardware footprint of wireless controllers deployed in your environment. Instead of having a controller per site deployed, you can have a couple of 8540 controllers in your data center that can handle up 6000 Access Points.
  • Some of the savings on hardware cost is offset by the cost of redundant WAN circuits. The access points will continue to function when connectivity to the Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller is unreachable, but it will not allow any new connections in that wireless environment.
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Cisco
  • Since they are easy to setup, you save a lot on manpower hours.
  • First you configure an SSID in the Meraki Dashboard and associate it to a tag name(s). Then, when you add a new access point to the network, you just have to associate the tags to it and it will start working. Super easy and time saving when provisioning new access points in the network.
  • Since the access points report back to the Merak Dashboard, you can easily rule out any network connectivity issues when they are successfully reporting back, which also saves troubleshooting time.
  • You can also save time by looking at the Meraki mobile App, which also gives you availability and statistical information.
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ScreenShots