Thursday, May 19, 2016

Meraki's Massive May Product Announcement

Development teams at Cisco Meraki have been busy this year, as new releases for WLAN, switching, and now an IP phone product family hit the presses today. Here's the breakdown of what's new.

4x4 Wave 2 and Multigigabit Access Points

MR52 & MR53 Access Point
The MR52 and MR53 are gracing Meraki's WLAN portfolio. While Meraki announced a 3x3 radio chain wave 2 802.11ac AP earlier this year in the MR42, these 52 & 53 models are faster yet, with 4x4 chains capable of operating with 160 MHz channels. With the use of these larger channels, these APs are now capable of delivering data rates in excess of 1 Gbps. This now means the wired infrastructure of networks sporting 1 Gigabit ethernet lines (most of them) has turned into the new bottleneck for data transfers in a world shifting more and more toward mobile connectivity. The MR52 features dual 1-gig ethernet ports to support link aggregation so wired networks can open up a 2 Gigabit pipeline to these APs over two ethernet lines.

The MR53 also offers two ethernet ports for link aggregation, but one of those ports introduces a new concept we'll be hearing a lot about in the coming years: Multigigabit.

Multigigabit 802.3at PoE Injector
The Multigigabit port on the MR53 can deliver data rates of 1, 2.5, 5, or 10 Gbps. The AP autodetects the capacity of the ethernet line connected to that port, and delivers rates accordingly. The MR52 MSRPs for $1,399, and the MR53 for $1,699 - standard MR licensing also applies ($150 for 1 year, $300 for 3-year, and $450 for 5-year).

To complement the MR53, Meraki also announced a new Multigigabit 802.3at PoE injector, capable of handling the variable data rates while still providing 30W of power. It MSRPs for $399.

Multigigabit and New Fiber Aggregation Switches
MS350-24X Multigagibit Switch

With Multigigabit APs, so to comes a like-minded switch in the new MS350-24X, a 24 port rack-mountable unit with 8 Multigigabit ports. It also features UPoE as an option an any port, which provides up to 60W of power. The remaining 16 ports are 1 Gigabit, and there are 4 SFP uplinks allowing for fiber. Available now for $7,495 MSRP for the hardware.

MS425-32 Fiber Aggregation Swtich
Meraki also announces the MS425 product line - expanding on their fiber aggregation switching family. MS425 comes in 16 port and 32 port flavors, and includes QSFP+ uplinks for up to 40 Gbps data rates. The 16 port version goes for $14,000 MSRP, and the 32 port for $22,000.

Ringing in Summer with IP Phones

Finally, Meraki has released the MC74 - the first model of Cloud Managed Phone managed in the same Dashboard interface users have come to know and love from Meraki products. Not only that, end-users can configure their personal preferences and settings via a web portal, and with this model, teleworkers no longer need to configure a complex VPN design to utilize their phones from off-site locations. Plug them in via ethernet, and they're ready to go.
MC74 Cloud Managed Phone

Meraki's IP phone solution comes with a 7" touch screen, two USB ports, and integrates with Salesforce and Google Aps. The phone itself MSRPs for $599, and the software license is $150 per year. Additionally, the SIP service is required for $8.95 per year. Meraki's warranty on the hardware is good for 2-years - a plus, as most other brands only offer one year.

Meraki Meets New Infrastructure Demands

Meraki products have always set themselves apart from the competition with their ultra-user-friendly layer-7 Dashboard management software. Where other brands require confusing command-line interfaces to create VLANs, VPNs, security policies, etc, Meraki makes simple with a handful of clicks.

Meraki is continues to build on that superior interface foundation with hardware infrastructure that supports new highs in terms of capacity. Releasing APs that can transmit over 1 Gbps doesn't mean much if your switch ports are stuck at that 1 Gigabit limit. So far this year, Meraki is proving that they have thought through these bottlenecks, and provide users with a full-stack solution to keep pace with the data demands of tomorrow.