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Mangement Consultant at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Top 5
Rock solid stability with adjustable voltage configuration for PoE
Pros and Cons
  • "For the world where you have to balance traffic and traffic loads and bandwidth, their GUI makes it really easy because the switches, though they are enterprise grade level two or level three switches, the GUI is designed so that it's easy to set up VLANs where you need to control your traffic so that your phones don't break up and get choppy because of other people loading the network down too heavily."
  • "Most configuration can be done on the GUI but sometimes you have to go under the hood and tweak on the CLI."

What is our primary use case?

I use Ubiquiti UniFi Switches. I like the Ubiquiti PoE EdgeSwitches, but I have to use their switches in certain cases because I have 24-volt and 48-volt PoE. Ubiquiti runs 24-volt PoE in a lot of their radios. We use our switches to have programmable voltages. Our day-to-day use cases with Ubiquiti UniFi Switches is basically internal LAN switches for routing WiFi by normal LAN traffic and telephony. We also have to worry about load balancing, because of our telephony in cameras on the same networks.

What is most valuable?

For the world where you have to balance traffic and traffic loads and bandwidth, their GUI makes it really easy because the switches, though they are enterprise grade level two or level three switches, the GUI is designed so that it's easy to set up VLANs where you need to control your traffic so that your phones don't break up and get choppy because of other people loading the network down too heavily. Telephony is pretty tricky to get right on a heavily loaded network.

What needs improvement?

When working with doing pedals and things like that, you have to go down underneath the hood, into the Linux occasionally, which is unfortunate. They have great papers on how to do it and the documentation online is wonderful. They've got lots of guides. Plus, these guys that do videos all the time, they have tons and tons of videos on Ubiquiti that are excellent guides. But, you do have to once in a while go under the hood and people don't like that. If you have Cisco, you don't care. You're always underneath the hood of the Cisco. They have a GUI but no one uses it. With newer stuff nowadays, everybody tries to stay in the GUI. 50% of the time, after I once set the unit app fixed for the time, I'm probably down in the GUI, in the CLI. Like setting up a VPN, instead of a VPN, there's a point-to-point VPN. You can get most of it in the GUI, but there's always a little tweak here, a tweak there in a VPN to a client. In your own system it always matches up. But going to a class, there's always a tweak. You have to go underneath the hood and tweak it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the Ubiquity UniFi Switches for about eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Ubiquiti is a rock and that's why we use them. It's the same as their WiFi equipment. The Ubiquiti hardware, though they're software, they don't bill you for it and their software is not as pretty as others. Their Iron is our rock which is more important than anything else to me. I can remotely fix software. I've got to go on site to fix hardware.

How are customer service and technical support?

Ubiquiti has had a bad rep for the support. I don't see that the best because I work with lots of people. I am a guy that gets up in the middle of the night to contact support. So, I'm working with a support guy that I know works at a particular shift. I know when to get ahold of them and we talk. I think the Ubiquiti service is actually pretty darn good. Some people complain that they're hard to get ahold of. They're a little busy in the daytime. I have learned to work with them. I think it's fabulous. Sometimes, they get a new guy. I have to take a little bit of time to get past him, but they're pretty good at filtering entry level guys and upper level guys through their support structure. Their chat's pretty good. So, I don't have any problems at all with them as far as support. But, I've read lots of complaints that in the daytime, it takes 15, 20 minutes. I've adjusted my ways to work well with Ubiquiti because it's a partnership. I know they're 24 hours. And so, I just grab them when it's a little bit slower in the evenings. Their support is good. But in the daytime, it could be a little sluggish to get to them. But, I haven't experienced that problem because I've adjusted my ways. The answers are accurate, which is a big deal.

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

Before using Ubiquiti UniFi Switches we were kind of a Netgear house. I'm Cisco licensed, but I don't like Cisco. I don't like Cisco engineers. They're kind of uppity. And so, I'm kind of an anti-Cisco guy. So, it was Netgear. And then, it was basically Ubiquiti. 

How was the initial setup?

I've been using Ubiquiti UniFi Switches for a long time, so I just slap them in. I would say they're a little bit harder than most for the initial install if you are a pro-consumer. For an IT guy that has at least a little bit of background in networking and things like that, they slap right in. But if you are faint of heart, I would have to say that they're a little trickier than just buying a Netgear and slapping it in. It is a level two, level three switch. So, you can't just expect to slap it in. It's smart.

What was our ROI?

Like I said, it's a rock. The big deal is that a lot of the other companies charge you for software and Ubiquiti doesn't. You buy the gear. You don't ever pay for software. When it comes to software, it comes with updates and it made a huge difference in our ROI because of that. Now, I'm infringing other areas because the real expenses for the software like is in the WiFi and the access points and things like that. With Cisco, you pay money for all that. Cisco is a rip off. I'm sorry, I'm so down with Cisco.

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

The price performance is amazing, but it's a little bit of faint of heart for somebody who's brand new. But, they can get past it. The videos are really great with it. Physically, they use this turnkey. But for experienced person, if they're doing networking and don't know Linux, I don't know what they're doing in the IT business. So, I think they're doing just fine. I like them to continue to focus on great hardware. If the software's a little bit harder, I can live with that because, to me, it's all about the Iron, high-performance Iron, that this runs.

What other advice do I have?

I would give Ubiquiti UniFi Switches a rate of Nine on a scale of ten. I just really do like them. Having programmable voltages is fabulous on the ports. Nobody's got programmable voltages on the ports. Ubiquiti have to be because of the gear, but it makes it really slick. That's one place where the GUI is kind of cool, is that you can toggle a port on and off. You can toggle a group of ports off. You can say, "Hey, kill my cameras." It toggles all my cameras for me and bring them back online.

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.
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.
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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Security & Infrastructure Architect at a consumer goods company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
Reasonably-priced and easy to manage from a central location
Pros and Cons
  • "All of the networking products that we use are Aruba, so we use Aruba Central to manage them."
  • "It would be good if I could get a 24-port, 10 gig module."

What is our primary use case?

The 5400 series is a modular chassis-based switch and it allows us to buy parts for different needs, such as 10 gigs, or a one gig ethernet over copper for workstations. It's really our core switch and we actually have a couple of different models.

That's in our headquarters, and then we have some other sites that use Aruba. I think they're the 2600 series or 2700 series, the smaller, modular ones, and stackable ones. Not the chassis-based.

How has it helped my organization?

When I first started two years ago, we didn't have these centralized modular switches and we had a bunch of stackable switches and there were many loops in the network.

We had different brands too. HP, Cisco, Linksys, Aruba, we had NETGEAR. There was not a common type of interface. We had network issues almost weekly.

We were able to get it organized and centrally managed, with a spanning tree to detect loops and more.

What is most valuable?

All of the networking products that we use are Aruba, so we use Aruba Central to manage them. This gives us a single place to look at land switches, wireless switches, and switches in other offices. It makes management a little easier.

It's the same type CLI commands to manage these.

What needs improvement?

There are many options with the modular switch and you buy cards for it. If you want 48 ports of one gig, you can buy a card for that, but more options would be better.

Right now, there's only eight, an eight-port, 10 gig module and sometimes we need a little denser than eight ports. It would be good if I could get a 24-port, 10 gig module.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Aruba Switches for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Aruba Switches are very stable. We keep it up to date.

We update the firmware and software annually, as needed. We haven't had any issues. They are relatively new.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Aruba Switches scale well, because of the modularity of it and to be able to buy different modules and interchange modules. We have a pair of them and they are linked together with 40 gig connections, so all of the cards are interchangeable between the two switches and some of that is just by design.

These are the core switches in our organization and everybody in the office uses them. This includes our remote offices. Everybody passes data through them, albeit this is somewhat less at the moment because of the COVID quarantine.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had to contact technical support.

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

We had a mix of modular switches at this company. We had some HP, Cisco, NETGEAR, and Linksys. We looked at the switches that can provide us the port density that we needed, in one or two chassis-type units, and was also affordable.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

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

The price point was a big consideration for us and it is reasonable enough that we're able to standardize on Aruba for the networking pieces in our organization. This also includes Wi-Fi and access points.

Generally speaking, the price is good.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, this is a good, solid tool. It doesn't do anything fancy but it does what we need it to do. We don't do any routing through it. We have other routers to do all of that work. Again, the modular flexibility was a big attraction for us.

I've used Switches forever, so I knew what to expect. There was no installation really needed. We knew how to set up VLAN and set up the interfaces. We're happy with it.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Chief Solutions Architect at Tech2go Strategic IT Solutions
Real User
Top 10
A cheaper solution that delivers the same performance and capabilities as the top brands
Pros and Cons
  • "They are very good at providing the bandwidth for multi-tenants and multi-dwelling units. We're managing WiFi hotspots for hundreds of locations, and the speed and performance are quite there. They also have very cheap 10G products that come with really good and flexible software. They are way cheaper than the top brands, and they're able to deliver the same performance and capabilities."
  • "They lack the extended warranty for the equipment. They only provide a warranty for one year as compared to the other vendors who offer a warranty for three years, five years, and lifetime, etc."

What is our primary use case?

We manage wide area networks for our clients nationwide. We run a data center and provide internet services. We use MikroTik for our network operation centers. We also manage WiFi for hospitalities and a lot of multi-dwelling units. 

We have experience in deploying MikroTik, NETGEAR, and HP products.

What is most valuable?

They are very good at providing the bandwidth for multi-tenants and multi-dwelling units. We're managing WiFi hotspots for hundreds of locations, and the speed and performance are quite there. They also have very cheap 10G products that come with really good and flexible software.  

They are way cheaper than the top brands, and they're able to deliver the same performance and capabilities.

What needs improvement?

They lack the extended warranty for the equipment. They only provide a warranty for one year as compared to the other vendors who offer a warranty for three years, five years, and lifetime, etc.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for about eight years. 

How was the initial setup?

You need to learn how to use the software and run MikroTik Router OS or Switch OS. You have to be familiar with all these. If you're a network person, it's very easy for you to set it up. It is pretty much similar to setting up HPE, Juniper, Cisco, or NETGEAR. It's not for novice users. There's a learning curve.

Our team has to get trained and certified in MikroTik.

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

MikroTik is very cost-effective and quite good for the price. It performs very well.

For one of our customers, the existing setup comprises Cisco Catalyst switches, and it is about 10 to 15 years old. We're looking into upgrading in a cost-effective way to get the performance and yet still be at par with the quality and expectations that customers have from Cisco.

Price-wise, Cisco is really expensive, and customers are expecting something different than Cisco so that they can save on IT costs. They don't have the same budget that they had before when they installed Cisco products. That's why they're looking for a solution that can provide performance and features without too much money or investment. We're looking at some alternative brands, such as NETGEAR and MikroTik, to support our proposal.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten for the reliability and the performance that you get out of it. I wouldn't rate it a ten because of the warranty limitation. 

There is also a learning curve to be able to successfully manage it, but once you do that, it's going to work wonders. It's also not that expensive.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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