Choosing the Right Cisco Meraki Product for Your Network

In partnering with Cisco, Meraki has greatly expanded their line of network management products, from the tried and true wireless access points to new router and switch product lines. Whatever the size of your network, choosing the right Meraki to manage it is key.

While all Meraki products provide outstanding firewalling and protection, there is a wide range in the amount of control and options available to your network administrator, as well as the amount of traffic, requests, or filtering the devices can handle at once. To that end Meraki has developed two specific product lines, the MR and the MX.

MR Routers and Access Points

The two most popular MR routers, marketed to small offices and home users, are the MR16 and MR18 wireless access points, both of which offer access to Meraki’s custom Cloud dashboard, allowing you to manage your entire network from one centralized place.

Both routers boast dual 801.11n radios, providing up to 600 Mbps transmission speeds, even in highly-congested or areas of interference. In addition the MR18 provides a third antenna that provides an additional layer of wireless security and tracking data regarding interference that can lower your effective signal range.

Not content with just monitoring the area for interference, both the MR16 and MR18 automatically use their twin radios to optimize their broadcast stream, tuning and adjusting the frequency to provide the best possible wireless signal, no matter how many other devices are in range.

Connecting multiple access points to expand wireless coverage has never been easier than with the MR18, which seamlessly meshes with other like units to broaden your reach without confusing mobile devices or requiring custom, often messy, configurations to handle the handshakes.

Always with an eye on security and protection, the MR16 and MR18 units both connect to the Meraki cloud, automatically downloading and updating its configuration not only to meet your changing needs but also to take advantage of the latest security patches and firmware updates available.

MX Routers and Switches

Meraki’s MX line is specifically tailored for security and network protection. All classified as Unified Threat Management (UTM) products, they provide a variety of specific security features that can provide a truly impressive amount of security for your network.

Unlike the two MR devices we are covering, the MX series has six primary offerings, from the MX60 up to the truly impressive MX600. While the same security suites are available on all devices, the hardware capabilities of each can vary, and should be evaluated individually to determine the right product for your environment.

Whereas the MR series are primarily wireless access points first and security control points second, only the MX60W has wireless capability. All of the MX series however provides 3G/4G failover in the event of a primary line being disconnected, to ensure your devices are never without connectivity, regardless of local Internet access. In all cases the devices are dual-WAN capable, meaning you can configure a bridged or failover redundancy for your external network connections.

As you increase in model number, from the MX80 to 100, 400, and finally 600, many additional levels of redundancy, configuration, and functionality are explored. Each of these devices, most of which are specially-designed to be mounted in a server rack, contain a hard drive up to 4TB in size, able to maintain your custom code and settings, and even provide revision history. Each of them also provides WAN opt caching, greatly expediting the routing of your packets, lowering latency and providing the smoothest and stutter-free video and audio transmission.

Not stopping there, Meraki has also chosen to implement some of the most powerful features of modern rackmount servers, that of having two power supplies. In both the MX400 and MX600 series of devices, a single hardware or circuit failure will not bring your network down, these security appliances able to be connected to multiple connections, providing a degree of redundancy that was once only offered by expensive data centers.

Which Meraki is Right for You?

As important as price point, knowing the specific capabilities of each of these devices and how they could integrate with your network is key to making an informed decision about how to move forward with securing and augmenting your existing infrastructure.

Take into consideration the number of Internet connections you hope to utilize, whether or not you require wireless connectivity or fiber channels, and your max expected user load—with all available security features enabled, these routers can vary a great deal in their total throughput, from 10Mbps up to 160Mbps or more. Being able to identify your needs is a key step in choosing the right Meraki.

Team One Solutions can help you choose the right router, switch, access point, or security firewall for your applications, ensuring that you have the perfect device for your needs

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* To be eligible for a free access point, participants must be an IT professional. Existing Meraki customers are not eligible. Limit of one free AP per company. For more details, click here.

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