Cisco Meraki AP's, The Pot 'O Gold at the end of a rainbow
September 12, 2018

Cisco Meraki AP's, The Pot 'O Gold at the end of a rainbow

Joe Spradlin | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point

We are using Cisco Meraki Wireless Access points throughout our entire enterprise. We primarily utilize it for fast and secure wireless access for our mobile workstations on our manufacturing floor. Additionally, we leverage the built in Cisco Meraki Mobile Device Manager to monitor and maintain comprehensive control over our corporate owned cellphones and laptops.

Business Problems Addressed:
1. Maintaining Compliance with NIST 800-171. We must maintain compliance due to the nature of our business with the government. The MDM (Mobile Device Management) capabilities enable us to comply with the requirements driven by the NIST 800-171 of being able to remotely wipe cellphones and laptop devices in event of misplacement or theft.
2. Provides a level of scalability that enables us to expand our Wi-Fi coverage quickly and easily.
3. Allows us to create policies that let us know whether or not the device(s) are in compliance.
4. Allows IT personnel to fully manage the AP's and devices from one pane of glass. The Meraki dashboard is cloud based and enables us to manage our mobile devices as well as our wireless infrastructure from any internet connected computer.
  • Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point, when set up properly in a large environment does a great job creating a seamless Wi-Fi enterprise class environment. The AP's mesh very well and with proper a design layout they can create a very robust and reliable Wi-Fi network capable of handling all your network needs.
  • Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Points come with the cloud enabled Meraki Dashboard. The dashboard enables your IT Department to manage all Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Points from one pane of glass (one interface) as well as any other Cisco Meraki device; switches, firewalls, cameras, etc...
  • The Cisco Meraki Dashboard provides an interface that makes troubleshooting and problem resolution more intuitive by providing seamless integration with all Cisco Meraki devices. If a Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point goes offline, you can set up email alerts to stay proactive in providing rapid response solutions. Swapping out a device in most cases takes only minutes due to the cloud based configuration transfer to the new device.
  • Visibility and control over your Wi-Fi bandwidth is intuitive and easy to manage. the Firewall and traffic shaping feature allows you use layer 7 firewall rules to block unwanted applications such as peer-to-peer (P2P), Advertising, Web File Sharing, Gaming, Blogging, Online Backups, etc...many categories to choose from. You can eve block HTTP hostnames, ports, and remote IP addresses ranges and port ranges. Other traffic shaping rules include per client bandwidth limits and per SSID bandwidth limits. If you want to separate your corporate LAN from your guest networks, it as simple as setting up the included layer 3 firewall rules.
  • Depending on your business size and budget, the cloud based subscription model may not acceptable to upper management.
  • Must maintain subscription to utilize Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Points.
  • Additional functionality and support for Mobile Device Management (MDM) comes with an additional cost if you want telephone support, otherwise it is limited to a certain number of devices and tech support via email only.
  • Positive impact #1: Deployment of AP's are as easy as entering a serial number to your existing configuration and mounting the AP. The configuration automatically downloads to the AP as soon as it is plugged into the network. Huge time saver.
  • Positive impact #2: Creating a seamless Wi-Fi infrastructure enables our mobile workstations to move around the manufacturing floor without loosing connectivity to our corporate network. Enables us to provide services to our manufacturing operations instantly. End users can access engineering data from anywhere on the operations floor without being tied down geographically.
  • Positive impact #3: Managing all of my AP's from one console is a significant time savings. We can make global changes as well as update our firmware with a few clicks of the mouse. Adding new SSID's and making configuration changes deploy instantly to all affected AP's quickly.
  • The only negative (from my perspective) is the annual cost and the fact that if your subscription runs out so does your access. However, Cisco, won't just turn you off immediately...they give you a grace period :). Additionally, when you add an AP, the time of your subscription is amortized across the quantity of AP's. So, if you have 10 AP's and are on a 3 year contract and then add an AP, the contract time left will be adjusted accordingly. Not a big deal to us, but something to think about before making a decision.
  • I needed to have layer 7 traffic shaping and Aerohive didn't offer that at the time I went with Meraki AP's.
  • The interface for Aerohive was not appealing to me or my network administrator.
  • The Aerohive did not have an integrated MD solution that we needed to maintain our NIST 800-171 compliance.
  • Basically, everything that Aerohive did, Meraki did much better and had a more feature rich environment.
In a nutshell, if you are looking into a Wi-Fi infrastructure and are vision oriented, you want to make sure that the solution is scalable. The Aerohive devices to me were just not in the same league as the Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point devices.
I have been a Cisco Meraki fan for many years. I love the cloud based model and the feature rich environment Cisco continually develops. Our business is considered a small business, however, with our facility size and square footage when discussing Wi-Fi coverage we are probably considered more along the lines of a medium / large enterprise. For us it made sense because of the direction we are taking with the Meraki devices such as AP's, switched and firewalls. The Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point along with the dashboard will enable us to manage all from one dashboard and for a small IT department like ours, that means more efficient deployment and troubleshooting. If you only need a couple AP's, I would recommend taking a more economical approach, however, if you need a meshed / redundant Wi-Fi network that is easy to scale out, Meraki AP's are suited perfectly.