InfoWorld review: Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller

Meraki's friendly, cloud-managed wireless LAN solution is a fantastic option for small businesses, distributed networks, and overworked admins

Every business is on the lookout for ways to simplify life and positively impact the bottom line. The Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller has the potential to do both by eliminating almost all the IT overhead required to run an enterprise wireless network. A one-man IT team could handle all of the administration duties for multiple wireless LANs across multiple locations, along with other daily chores, due to Meraki's placement of the management functions not in controllers that must be wired into your network but in the cloud.

For our review, Meraki provided us with three of its MR-14 802.11n wireless access points (WAP) and one additional MR-16 WAP. We deployed them in a large residential complex located in downtown San Diego. The deployment went smoothly and quickly.

After testing the Meraki system, our team felt it would be a great solution for educational institutions, libraries, and nonprofits due to the easy installation process, great management interface, and low cost. Another potential market would be businesses with several different store or office locations that would benefit from placing scattered workers on the same network. Large university campuses could make use of this technology as well.

A large enterprise that wants a global view of far-flung networks, without paying the immense costs typically required, would also do well to consider Meraki. The essential question for these organizations is whether to place the ultimate control of their wireless LAN management system in the hands of a third party. Meraki is a clearer win for small businesses or educational institutions because there is less of concern with security and more focus on ease of deployment, low cost, and manageability.

Meraki installation and management
We liked many aspects of the Meraki 802.11n WAP solution. The installation was straightforward and simple -- it definitely did not require a doctoral degree and a CCNA or even a technical background to deploy. It would not be a stretch to say that anyone who can read directions could set up the Meraki WAP, though having set up a wireless router before would help. Simply plug the Meraki 802.11 WAPs into your network, and they automatically connect to the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller for their instructions. Our total installation time for four WAPs in a residential complex took just 10 minutes and (apart from physically connecting the WAPs to our LAN) required stepping through only a few WAP configuration screens on the Meraki website. Not having to configure the controller itself was a great timesaver.

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Test Center Scorecard
 
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Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller871010910

8.9

Very Good

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