Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point
If you read my other reviews of Cisco Meraki products, you will know I am an unabashed lover of Meraki cloud-managed networking. Just like the switches and firewall products I use, the Meraki access points (AP) offer incredible ease of installation, configuration, management, and monitoring. I use two of these to blanket our office in WiFi, and users are always ensured of the best WiFi experience as they move around the office because the APs automatically switch devices to the AP with the strongest signal for their locations. Users are presented with a single SSID regardless of the number of APs present, solving the issue of the user having to move their device to a new AP when the old one is out of range as they move. Just like all the Meraki products on my account, I can configure and monitor them from a single dashboard.
- You can advertise up to 15 SSIDs, enabling different networks for different audiences and purposes, each with their own splash pages, if desired. Used in concert with a Meraki firewall, you can apply traffic shaping rules independently for each network. For example, devices I issue to my employees enjoy unlimited WiFi bandwidth, while guest users access a network with bandwidth restrictions.
- You can channel SSIDs to use different WANs, too. So my employees get WiFi access through our fiber connection, while guest traffic is shuttled through a separate copper connection. Not only is this good from a security perspective, but it means employees don't have to compete with guests for network bandwidth (and vice versa).
- Meraki allows you to build maps of your locations in the dashboard using an uploaded floor plan, upon which you can precisely place your Meraki hardware. From this map, you can see how many devices are on each AP and then drill down to see which devices these are—how cool is that? With the location heatmap, you actually see where devices are physically located on the floor plans.
- There are eight different authentication options available, including paid access, which allow you various control mechanisms for each network you create. So you can offer a free tier for one network and a paid tier for another, offering paying users a higher-performing option, for instance.
- You can choose to make certain networks a part of your LAN, getting DHCP leases from domain controllers and allowing WiFi clients to seamlessly interact with wired clients. Other clients, such as guests, can get leases through Meraki DHCP. In NAT mode, you can also conduct content filtering.
- You can also track and monitor Bluetooth clients on your network. In short, you can see just about any wireless device, which makes these APs really useful for security monitoring.
- One of my favorite features is being able to monitor network health by bandwidth type, such as distinguishing between video and voice. Meraki is constantly adding features to the dashboard, and this recent addition is much appreciated.
- I honestly can't think of a single thing I don't like about these APs or the Meraki software. Note that the capabilities of these APs will be diminished if you are not using them in concert with a Meraki Firewall, so keep that in mind when making your purchasing decision.
- Also, note that the hardware becomes uses without product licenses. Since these are cloud-managed devices, you have to have a license to continue to use them. If you don't want to get locked into annual renewal costs, these are not the products for you.
- Meraki products are not cheap, but you get premium hardware and a premium architecture for the money. The flexibility these APs offer mean I'm set for any configuration I may need to make, such as bringing a new SSID online or reshaping traffic flow, all without buying new hardware.
- Wireless is an afterthought for my users now, as it should be. We are also able to offer our guests a premium wireless experience.
- Security is unmatched, as I am able to now monitor all wireless devices on my network, see what they are doing, how much bandwidth they are consuming, etc. I can segment traffic by VLAN and even route networks through different WANs. I have unprecedented control and monitoring of my network, all from a single, browser-based dashboard. The experience for the system admin is just as polished and premium as the experience for the user.
- Meraki frequently adds features and tools to its products, meaning your ROI is constantly advancing.
I used Netgear APs in the past and while capable, they are completely outclassed by the Meraki experience. Granted, you pay a premium for the Meraki gear, but the cost premium does truly buy a significant step up in features and functionality.
Support for all my Meraki products has been outstanding. While I've never had to contact support for an issue with these APs, I expect support to fall in line with the experience I've had getting help with my other Meraki products.
Do you think Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point's feature set?
Did Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point go as expected?
Would you buy Cisco Meraki Wireless Access Point again?
Flexible mounting options and a scalable architecture mean you can use them anywhere and for any size coverage area, whether it is a small office with a single AP or a large campus with dozens. I have mine mounted above a drop ceiling, so they are completely hidden from view but still offer excellent coverage. Meraki offers a range of APs and firewalls to meet various sizes of installations and budgets. The broad range of settings and configuration options allows for a simple setup to the incredibly complex, and everything in between.