Cisco Meraki Switch Review

August 14, 2014
by Al Yong

It’s been an exciting time for Meraki in recent months. Since the aquisition by Cisco, the technology and it’s direction have been thrust into the limelight. If you’re new to Meraki or as it’s now known, Cisco-Meraki, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. It would be easy to jump straight into the technical aspects piece by piece but its appeal is simpler than that.

Put simply, Meraki’s technology provides Wi-Fi, switching, security and mobile device management via a centralized cloud platform. Meraki appeals to customers because they don’t have to deploy more IT personnel to build out their networks.

In this blog, we’re just focusing on a Meraki switches product review of the forgotten hero of the network. The switch. Look out for future posts on the Cisco Meraki security appliances and wireless APs.

As of the date of this article, Meraki are selling 7 switch models that drop into 3 distinct categories. The categories are:

  • Layer 2 Access Switches
    • MS220, 8/24/48 port models (PoE and non-PoE)
  • Layer 3 Access Switches
    • MS320, 24/48 port models  (PoE and non-PoE)
  • Aggregation Switches
    • MS420, 24/48 port models  (non-PoE)

Layer 2 Access Switches

These devices come in 8, 24, and 48 port flavours with each model also having an 802.3af PoE option. The PoE implementation provides for 15.4 Watts on each port with no shortfall of power if you want to light up all ports with a PoE hair dryer. With regards to additional connectivity and uplink options, all switches support SFP modules with 2 on the MS220-8, 8 port model and 4 on both the 24 port and 48 port models.

Layer 3 Access Switches

The layer 3 devices come in 24 and 48 port flavours, with the option of having 802.3af (15.4W) on the LP model or 802.3at (25.5W) PoE on the FP model. Got an IP camera with Pan/Tilt/Zoom functionality or high-performance access points that need more juice? The FP model Meraki switch will power them with no problem.

Aggregation Switches

The Cisco Meraki aggregation switches come in two non-PoE models, the 24 port and 48 port. With 24 and 48 SFP+ ports having 480/960Gbps non-blocking switching capacity respectively, you are guaranteed speed from your Meraki switches.

In Summary

The pros certainly lie with what the cloud can give in terms of keeping the devices up to date, secure, and functional. It makes configuring, maintaining and troubleshooting the network a breeze. There are some really cool features like line testing and granular monitoring data, which can be done remotely. Another bonus to using Meraki switches is the lifetime warranty that comes as standard along with next day advanced replacement. Cisco Meraki hardware lets you worry about your business rather than the infrastructure it runs on. Get in contact with us to see how Cisco Meraki can benefit you!