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ITCS user
Supervisor of IT Infrastructure & Cybersecurity at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
Simplifies the management process and allows the granular control of devices
Pros and Cons
  • "Setting up a switch can be performed prior to having your hands on the device. Once you purchase a Meraki switch you will get an email from Meraki with a code to add to your dashboard and then you can start setting up your switch so when it arrives it will download its configuration and be all setup."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

These switches are best used in mid-size businesses for access and collapsed distribution/core switching. They offer both layer 2 and layer 3 models and have a well-rounded switch feature set for a switch line. Overall, we have found them to meet just about every need we want in a switch. We have them as 10-GB solutions for high-speed SAN connectivity all the way down to 8 port solutions in some high-end homes. They offer ACLs, LACP, port security, access policies, and DHCP security, to name a few options. The methods that Meraki has chosen to implement some of these features via the cloud is amazing compared to locally managed solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

For MSPs, a cloud-managed solution is so much more efficient than a locally managed solution and having a single pane of glass with Meraki's dashboard is an easy to use solution. It is simple to switch between managing wireless, security appliances, and switches on the dashboard if all three Meraki solutions are implemented. This simplifies the management process and allows the granular control of the devices or in some cases global control of all ports. Change management is built-in (who did what) and sorely missing on locally managed solutions.

What is most valuable?

Setting up a switch can be performed prior to having your hands on the device. Once you purchase a Meraki switch you will get an email from Meraki with a code to add to your dashboard and then you can start setting up your switch so when it arrives it will download its configuration and be all setup. It is practically zero-touch deployment. Firmware upgrades on devices are pushed from the cloud and typically only bring the device down for a minute or two while applied. The built-in packet capture on them allows easier troubleshooting even when you are not onsite.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Meraki MS Switches for six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

MS switches have proven very reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not as scalable as Cisco Nexus but not as expensive either. I think Meraki has hit the sweet spot on scaling.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is about 8 on a scale of 10. Meraki techs have additional capability beyond what the dashboard admin has so they can make some adjustments that you can't. Which is probably a good thing overall, but can be frustrating. They use packet tracing rather effectively to troubleshoot.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Cisco switches were used previously. The main reason I switched was the cloud management. Ironically, after I switched, Cisco purchased Meraki. I was concerned Cisco would mismanage Meraki when that happened but they seem to have stayed out of the Meraki business model for the most part. Cisco and Meraki are starting to share some backend functions (Umbrella for example).

How was the initial setup?

The dashboard is easy to setup and manage.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

What was our ROI?

2-3 yrs.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing model is hard for some to wrap their heads around and I understand their concerns. Meraki, like numerous other vendors, is too expensive for a lot of small businesses. However, if uptime is critical to your organization, the cloud management, great stability, and performance of the MS line is a powerful combination. Yes, there are other cheaper solutions out there and some of them are quite good. I really like the Meraki solution overall. Their license requirement means you always have support and next day replacement on all your Meraki equipment. 

They co-terminate the licenses so each license you purchase has a prorated impact on the co-termination date. You can choose to not use the co-termination date if you wish. The nice feature about the co-termination date is you don't have to micromanage each device's license. This is across all Meraki devices (security appliances, switches, APs, etc.). Purchase your switch with a 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10-year license depending on your planned use and you might never need to think about a license again as you will be likely replacing the device with something newer at the end of that period. Purchasing the longer license protects from future price increases and also saves money vs adding on to the term later. Meraki is an ecosystem that works best if you are "all in" across your device lineup.

I find that Meraki licensing is a polarizing solution as you are either happy with it or have an allergic reaction to it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

NETGEAR, Ubiquiti, Aruba.

What other advice do I have?

Meraki offers some free equipment if you participate in their webinars. You can get a free security appliance, switch, and AP after watching three webinars and try them out for yourself. The free equipment comes with a 3-year license. Obviously, it will be their lowest end equipment but it still gives you the Meraki dashboard experience.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Chief Technology Officer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Reseller
High Bandwidth AV-over-IP is fantastic, especially in leaf-and-spine, and the setup is very easy
Pros and Cons
  • "The High Bandwidth AV-over-IP functionality of these switches has been fantastic, especially in leaf-and-spine. We've been able to build redundancy and they seem to outperform even the Cisco Catalyst, which is about twice as expensive as the M-series switches are."
  • "If they could come up with ways to look at metrics on it while the video is capping through the system, that would be nice. There could be some interesting uses for that, but it's a long way off."

What is our primary use case?

We use them for AV-over-IP, meaning devices that transport multimedia bits and packages across the network. We use about 5,000 switches a year and we use them all over the place. We'll use them on a video wall. We don't use a matrix router anymore. We'll run and operate AV through switches for distribution.

We're using the ProSAFE and we're using the M4300's and the M4500's.

How has it helped my organization?

We're seeing a 35 to 40 percent cost drop and, so far, we don't have any returns or any RMAs. No flaws.

What is most valuable?

The High Bandwidth AV-over-IP functionality of these switches has been fantastic, especially in leaf-and-spine. We've been able to build redundancy and they seem to outperform even the Cisco Catalyst, which is about twice as expensive as the M-series switches are.

The price-to-performance for the M4300s is phenomenal. It's the best-on-market.

We also like the ease of set up. The setup on them takes less than 15 minutes. They're fantastic. On a scale of one to five, the ease of use is a five.

The warranty rates a four or five out of five. It's a good warranty. We don't have any problems with the product, so we don't think about it.

What needs improvement?

It looks like they're going to come up with an auto-config, so if it's a slightly different switch, when you plug them together they will auto-recognize each other.

Also, if they could come up with ways to look at metrics on it while the video is capping through the system, that would be nice. There could be some interesting uses for that, but it's a long way off.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started transitioning to NETGEAR Switches seriously about seven months ago. It's gone really well. We're very limited in what we'll recommend and choose for our clients to build their systems with.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had one failure.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability? Love it. It was very cleverly designed in terms of the output ports and being able to plug it into a 10 Gb and be able to leaf-and-spine a system. I have not run out of capacity for any of the stuff I've been building.

When customers want to add on to their systems, to add on a switch, we can definitely add one on because the system is expandable.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've used technical support a couple of times and they're very helpful to our guys in getting things set up.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our customers primarily switch from Cisco to NETGEAR. It's just a better switch for the same cost for small business: the 350s and 550s. I would even say that NETGEAR can now outperform a Catalyst on an AV transport.

How was the initial setup?

It's very straightforward to set them up. You put them into a system and you connect all your devices to them. Every system has a switch.

You don't need to be an IT expert to deploy and support your networks. We're plugging in devices on pre-configured switches. The switches are pre-configured to work within the environment that we're putting them in. Because of the low maintenance in setup, it's really easy to send our technician-level out for installation. As a matter of fact, we can install most of the items directly out-of-box, without even setting them up.

For deployment and maintenance we require one person per job, usually a technician.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is great. The cost of the hardware is low. I think it would be bad for NETGEAR to start going down the road of a licensing model. We want a one-time, upfront cost.

They're not the lowest cost. There are a few solutions that have a lower cost, but NETGEAR is very value-oriented. If you're not considering NETGEAR switches, you're throwing money out the window right now. There's nothing on the market like it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I'm familiar with many other solutions: Extreme, Luxul, Cisco, Aruba, and Dell, and none of them even come close to NETGEAR.

The others don't have IGMP Plus, that's exclusive in NETGEAR. And balancing PIM nodes and all that other stuff on a large network is a pain. It doesn't work that well. NETGEAR even has functions that the other switches just don't have.

With IGMP the querier is not necessarily equal on all switches. And the amount of buffer that NETGEAR has feels like it could take on twice the amount of the bandwidth that we're placing on it. It just feels like the NETGEAR switch was made to do AV multicasting, instead of trying to fit AV multicasting on a network switch. It feels like it was designed the other way around.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
Senior Project Manager / Systems Engineer at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
Real User
Multicast is a great feature, critical for access to video systems
Pros and Cons
  • "Multicast is a great feature of this product."
  • "Network setup is quite complicated, particularly if you're implementing in a non-technical environment."

What is our primary use case?

Our main use case of ethernet switches is for security networks for digital video, digital access control, and digital inter-communications. Most of our work is for public institutions, including hospitals and universities when they need upgrades to POE switches. We're consultants in the security industry and I'm the senior project manager/systems engineer.

What is most valuable?

One of the prime features of this product is Multicast which is critical for video systems, ensuring you don't take down the network during an event where everybody needs video access. It generally requires layer 3 switches so that we cut up VLANs and separate different aspects of the systems. 

What needs improvement?

Network setup and Multicast are critical components for us and when you're also programming for video streams it can become quite complicated. It's more of an issue when you're dealing with public institutions and there might be a lack of tech-savvy people. When it comes to the video streams, if you're sending real-time video in a security system, and you drop packets, the information is lost and you can't get it back. That's a critical aspect for us. One of the issues we have is that the guy doing the video system knows how that works, and the network people know how the network works, but they don't know how to communicate with each other. The industry is trying to adapt to sort out that problem.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for over 30 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution covers it all. I've done everything from simple 12-port switches for a small facility to a wide area network with core switches and multiple redundant communication lines and there haven't been any scalability issues. There's no one-size-fits-all in terms of maintenance required, it depends on the size of the organization. 

How are customer service and support?

On one of our recent large projects where we used core switches, I worked in-depth with technical support to help determine how to configure the switches, which hardware was required, and how to get the redundant communication paths. We don't use support much but when we do they're very helpful. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex. We've found that a lot of people don't know how to configure Multicast properly on a network, particularly in government agencies. It's one of the key components, especially when you're in the security industry, and it's a big issue for us. There's a steep learning curve in terms of properly setting up the network to manage the Multicast traffic, and then programming, especially on the IP video systems. Because they're managing video streams both systems have to be set up properly, and there seems to be a lack of knowledge around that. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our clients purchase the license so we're not involved in that aspect. Cisco doesn't like to give out information unless you're a dealer. For smaller projects, the cost is an issue and organizations will often look for less expensive options. Cisco is the major player in the network environment, but there are numerous alternative products that may be less feature-rich but fit the bill from a cost perspective. In addition to licensing, there is likely to be an annual fee to enable access to support. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We previously looked at Extreme Networks, Fortinet, Aruba and NETGEAR. When we're dealing with harsh environments, we tend to look at companies like ComNet, EtherWAN, GarrettCom, who make hardened switches for harsh or difficult environments. A lot of the main players only make switches that go in data centers and IDF rooms.

What other advice do I have?

When configured properly, the solution works. I rate this solution nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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System Engineer at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Reliable, high capacity switches but the pricing for support needs improvement
Pros and Cons
  • "The virtual Chassis feature for stacking is good in general, with high bandwidth for the link, which is good."
  • "The management platforms for the network need improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We are solution providers. We offer many solutions to customers and the Juniper Ethernet Switches are part of our offering.

What is most valuable?

For switching, it's stable compared to others. 

The switching capacity is very high, and the virtual Chassis feature for stacking is good in general, with high bandwidth for the link, which is also good.

Recently, they are offering cloud-ready switches for the same series. When you have decided to go for the cloud, there are switches that are ready for that.

What needs improvement?

The management platforms for the network need improvement.

The pricing for support needs to be reduced, and the lead time for the switches should be lower.

They may already be working on this but I would like to see improvements with visibility, analysis of the traffic, and similar features. When you compare with other manufacturers, they have to work in these areas more.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using these switches since 2014, it's been for six years.

We offer the latest technology but sometimes from three to five years, and we are offering refreshment, and whatever has been announced by the industry.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

These switches are stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to scale. They have a stacking feature so you can scale up, for certain series, up to 12 switches per rack. Also, in terms of distribution or core switches, they have modular devices so they can add cards and modules to scale up.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not contacted technical support directly. We have a different team who handle the technical requirements.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Because we are solution providers, we use many different versions.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is somewhat straightforward.

The time it takes for deployment depends on the site by the situation, the customer requirements, and the size of the network. Normally, it doesn't take very long.

When you compare with others, it's almost the same thing.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing for the support is very high.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend these switches, but what I would also highly recommend along with this new trend or new experience is to at least get training for Juniper configuration, at least the basics.

Training will help you be more familiar with it. You will at least have the basics in case of maintenance or troubleshooting.

Juniper has good documentation for its ethernet switches.

I would rate Juniper switches a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Kannan Venkatraman
Team Leader at Dyarco Technology W.L.L
Real User
Top 20
Feature-rich and customizable with excellent technical support and a lifetime warranty
Pros and Cons
  • "We are able to customize this solution based on the customer's requirements."
  • "In future versions, I would like to see improvements in networking speed."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and we implement this solution for our customers.

Our customers are in the hospital and hotel industries, as well as schools. This makes up part of the network solution.

What is most valuable?

We are able to customize this solution based on the customer's requirements.

There is a world-wide R&D team that collects feature requests that they use to enhance the product.

What needs improvement?

The price should be lowered so that we can capture more of the market for Ethernet switches.

In future versions, I would like to see improvements in networking speed.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with Alcatel-Lucent Ethernet switches for the past 13 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable solution. We don't normally face problems but if we do, there is a lifetime warranty on the switches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable product that we can either stack or expand.

We have customers of all sizes including small, medium, and enterprise-level organizations.

In the customers that are hotels, there are 400 to 500 guest rooms.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is excellent. If we are facing a problem then they are available online.

If we have a request for a special feature then we will give them the requirements and they will customize it for us.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I also have experience with Ethernet switches from Aruba, HPE, and Cisco.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup and configuration are very simple. The length of time required for deployment depends on the customer's site and the physical location of the equipment. On average, it takes about one week to install and deploy for a company in the hospitality sector.

For small to medium-sized companies, the configuration is quicker.

What about the implementation team?

We have a few different teams. The implementation team will decide on the customer's requirements. There is also a design team and I am part of the service team.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is reasonable compared to Aruba and HPE. Cisco switches are more expensive but the others are almost equal in price. That said, if the price were lower then we could capture more of the market.

What other advice do I have?

All of the features in these switches are good. In most cases, everything that our customers need is already inbuilt.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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