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2009 Product Innovations

Network Management

Meraki Wireless LAN

Hardware, Software or Service: Hardware/ Service

Launched: December 2009 (Upgrade)

What it does? San Francisco-based Meraki provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable enterprise-class wireless networks to businesses and organizations of all sizes. Meraki's cloud-managed architecture combines intuitive, easy-to-install hardware with over-the-web centralized management to provide wireless networks at dramatically lower costs than traditional alternatives. In December 2009 Meraki expanded its wireless LAN offering by including a unique rogue detection service that locates unauthorized devices connected to the LAN as well as a comprehensive suite of network analytics tools that generate summary reports about the usage and reliability of a Meraki wireless network, including bandwidth trends, device popularity, mobility and more. This update has allowed Meraki customers to access unparalleled trend details about their network and as a result further inform strategic infrastructure decisions.

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2010 Product Innovations - Network Products Guide

What makes it Innovative? Meraki's Q4 2009 release features offer a number of differentiators:

  • Superior Rogue AP Detection: Not all wireless services support rogue AP detection and Meraki offers more than the standard solution by detecting not just which APs are spoofing network SSIDs but also which unauthorized APs are connecting to the wired network.
  • Unparalleled Network Analytics Visibility: Meraki goes one step further than traditional solutions by offering detailed insight into a company's network. Beyond high-level network information Meraki enables comprehensive monitoring of network reliability, bandwidth trends, device popularity, mobility and more. This allows administrators to track network activity and use that knowledge to inform strategic decisions. In addition IT administrators can share these hero reports with stakeholders outside of IT to showcase IT's accomplishments with the Meraki wireless network.
  • Simple Network Management With 16 SSIDs: Meraki's 16 SSIDs are easy to manage and 15 of them are self-configurable. This allows administrators to quickly set up and operate multiple fully isolated virtual wireless networks, each with its own policies and VLAN-tagged traffic on a single physical network.
  • Easy Troubleshooting Through Detailed Event Logging: Meraki creates incredibly detailed event logs that provide far more information than administrators typically see from a wireless solution. This makes troubleshooting a more straightforward process, allowing for quick problem detection without lengthy research required.

Meraki's product as a whole differentiates itself in the market in a number of ways as well. Meraki is the only company that offers completely cloud-controlled wireless access points. This highly differentiated approach results in a number of benefits unique to Meraki's solution:

  • Self Configuring APs: By automatically connecting to the Enterprise Cloud Controller over the web APs are self-configuring.
  • High Performance APs with Dynamic RF Planning: By sending performance and RF data to the Cloud Controller, the system automatically tunes RF performance to maintain high performance with no manual configuration or diagnostics, even in challenging or changing RF environments. Additionally, APs use top-of-the-line 802.11n for maximum performance, and range.
  • Reliability: Many controller-based solutions require the wireless LAN controller to be operational in order for the wireless network to be operational.  Vendors compensate for this shortcoming by requiring customers to purchase multiple controllers for redundancy and failover, significantly increasing the cost and complexity of deployment.  Meraki provides better reliability in 2 key ways.  First, the Meraki Cloud Controller is hosted in multiple, geographically distributed data centers around the world.  Failover within a data center (i.e., to a redundant system) occurs within seconds, while failover across data centers occurs within minutes.  Administrators do not need to worry about any of these systems; reliability is provided and managed by Meraki.  Second, Meraki wireless networks remain operational even if connectivity to the Meraki Cloud Controller goes down (e.g., due to a transient Internet routing issue).  When connectivity is restored, configuration and statistics are updated immediately.
  • Scalability: When an organization deploys multiple wireless networks (e.g., for remote offices), controller-based solutions typically require a wireless LAN controller for each site, significantly increasing the cost and complexity of managing a multi-site wireless network.  The Meraki Cloud Controller enables an administrator to manage multiple wireless networks through a single management interface without additional hardware.
  • Security: Meraki supports the latest wireless security standards, including AES encryption and WPA2-Enterprise with 802.1x authentication.  Wireless user traffic never flows back to the Meraki Cloud Controller so client data is secure.
  • Ease of use, No dedicated IT staff or specialized training required: The combination of the self-configuring APs, intuitive web-based management, and automatic 24x7 monitoring and self-healing allow networks of any size to be administered with a fraction of the IT resources required by typical enterprise-class wireless LANs.
  • Future-proof: Because Meraki's controller is a cloud-based software service, Meraki constantly makes new features available, with no software to manually install and no upgrades to purchase.  Customers deploy Meraki with the knowledge that their Meraki wireless solution will continue to provide them with more value and productivity over time, rather than becoming stale.
  • Mesh that works: Meraki has designed an intelligent mesh architecture that “just works”, without requiring the administrator to configure anything.  Meraki APs automatically configure themselves and discover each other in a network, and determine optimal mesh routes. This allows administrators to provide coverage in areas that are hard to reach with wired ethernet, and provides high availability, as APs will automatically fall back to a mesh configuration if some lose WAN connectivity (e.g. if a switch fails.)  Additionally, Meraki's mesh technology allows administrators to deploy a wireless LAN quickly and easily over a wide coverage area with minimal effort.

Targeted Users: Small- and medium-sized enterprise businesses with anywhere from 50 to 5,000 users. Meraki's target market includes offices educational institutions retailers industrial firms hotels and resorts residential developments and MDU cities and municipalities and airports. The company serves millions of users on over 13000 networks in more than 140 countries.

Satisfied Customers: Meraki’s satisfied customers include Stanford University, MIT, Westmont College and one of the major carriers in North America.

Company: Meraki Inc.
99 Rhode Island St,
San Francisco CA 94103 USA
Tel: (415) 632-5800

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