The Cisco Meraki ROI: Is Meraki Hardware Worth the Investment?

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August 3, 2022

While Meraki started as a humble pilot project, it rose to frame in record time. Cisco Systems, under Cisco’s Cloud Networking Group (CNG), acquired this wireless connectivity solution in 2012. Cisco Meraki is now an industry leader in solutions such as switching security, wireless devices, mobility management services, and security cameras.

Their impressive lineup doesn’t stop there. Cisco Meraki has an elaborate product range, including Meraki Insight, WLAN, Security and SD-WAN, Wireless WAN, Endpoint Management, Smart Cameras, Mobile Device Managers, and more. Their products are available to all—from small businesses to major enterprises. 

Meraki products are widely considered the best in the industry, but you may wonder if their price tag makes them a worthwhile addition to your organization. We’re here to explore that question further, so you can decide for yourself if you should invest in Meraki.

So, does the Cisco Meraki ROI make these devices worth it? Let’s find out. 

What Is the Difference Between Traditional and Meraki Switching?

There are several vital components to installing and maintaining a healthy switching network, and each of them requires dedicated resources. Traditional switching hardware gives you a straightforward experience when it comes to configuration. Meraki switching kicks things up a notch, granting you even more control through cloud management. 

Cloud networking can drastically reduce the time and resources you put into managing a modern network without compromising a secure, reliable, and efficient solution. That’s what Meraki switching can provide in terms of ROI. 

Here are six cost differentiators when it comes to traditional vs. Meraki switching:

1. Staging and Development

With the traditional command-based configuration of switches, more expertise and labor hours are required. Though various overlay platforms are available to streamline the process, there is still a significant time investment for training and initial setup. 

Meraki cloud-managed switches make the entire process easier. It’s no longer necessary to pre-stage hardware, even if you have thousands of switches or ports. This factor alone offers substantial savings and less complexity in the deployment stages of a network refresh. 

The average cost savings in this stage is 60–80%.

2. Networking Monitoring and Maintenance

Network monitoring and maintenance are both integral parts of your team’s operations. Via the traditional route, changes are made to your network by connecting to a switch via IP, authenticating, and then triggering command-line changes to the ports and/or settings. Monitoring is a manual process as well, meaning you’ll need sophisticated add-on systems and lots of dedicated resources.

Meraki’s intuitive, streamlined dashboard has features like Network Topology to easily locate devices and troubleshoot spots on your network. You can even get summary reports delivered via email for an overview of how your network is being used. These reports offer insight into how much energy is consumed by PoE devices, which can help guide reductions in operational costs. 

The average cost savings in this stage is 40–60%. 

3. Support

Through traditional switching, supporting end users is a complex process of narrowing down root causes. This support is a substantial part of any network team’s daily tasks—especially in remote locations, where it can be difficult to accomplish with traditional switches. 

Meraki’s Dashboard includes the powerful remote troubleshooting tools you need to make things easy and accessible. No more stressful days spent trying to locate hard-to-reach issues. Instead, use Meraki’s suite, such as dynamic network topology, cable testing, remote packet captures, and many more. Enhance multi-site troubleshooting, even in remote locations.

The average cost savings in this stage is 60%. 

4. Revision Management

You know the countless software updates, security patches, and revision management for switches your network sees regularly? Those all fall under the category of revision management. This crucial part of your network is time-consuming and often requires manual upgrade processes. You might even need additional servers for software image hosting and log collection. 

Using Meraki switches, you’ll see they securely upgrade via the cloud during a convenient timeframe. So they’re always running the latest software and saving considerable time while being safe and secure. Automatic change logs keep track of every change and make reverting your device’s configurations a breeze.

The average cost savings in this stage is 60%. 

5. Security

Few things are more daunting than implementing and managing a wired security system. It requires a per-switch configuration of access servers and an intensive training process for each new hire. 

Meraki switches make it easier than ever to manage your wired security system. You can configure and manage network-wide access policies that automatically apply to thousands of switches and ports. You can even extend security to your endpoints using Meraki Systems Manager, an MDM option that integrates seamlessly with MS Switches.

6. Energy Consumption

Energy and power costs are on the rise everywhere. The costs associated with networking hardware and peripherals add up quickly and are often an underestimated expense in operational budgets. Through traditional switching, you can set up additional platforms that offer reporting and further control. However, these solutions take time and require expertise to implement.

Meraki switches reduce power consumption through intelligent PoE energy budgeting and port scheduling features. These reduce the annual energy costs of running your network, including switches and devices such as access ports and phones.

The average cost savings in this stage is 60%. 

Can Cloud Networking Save Time and Money?

The big question remains: how much time and money can you save by using Meraki? Many networking solutions claim substantial ROI, but few include the features that provide such healthy returns. At least not without extra overlay platforms and expensive software to maintain. 

Meraki switches feature a myriad of built-in, easy-to-configure tools that reduce a company’s operation expenses quickly and painlessly.

In today’s world, networks are increasingly modern and complex. Switches must be highly reliable, easily manageable at scale, and always compatible with the latest technological updates. Upfront hardware costs can seem extravagant to growing networks, but as your organization expands in size and complexity, you have to look beyond upfront costs and calculate operational expenses. Your operational costs can become significant and recurring. We refer to this as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). 

Meraki switches and cloud networking can save a company substantial time and money by reducing TCO. 

How Much Does Meraki Reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?

Don’t worry, TCO isn’t a complicated concept. It’s the sum of the upfront cost of your new implementation (be that a product or a service) and the costs (direct and indirect) incurred during its lifetime. 

The formula looks like this: 

TCO = CapEx (Capital Expenditure) + OpEx (Operating Expenditure)

You’ve already thought about this formula before regarding any large purchase in your life. If you’re in the market for a new car, you’re going to factor in the cost to run the vehicle into consideration. Hybrid cars, for example, allow you to spend less on gas. That decreases the TCO of the vehicles.

While you can save 20% upfront in CapEx with traditional switches, you can save up to 90% in OpEx with Meraki.

What Are the Most Common Meraki Myths?

Meraki isn’t the best fit for every organization, but for most companies, it can save considerable time and money in the long run. These products are the perfect example of ROI for that reason. We’re here to clear up some common myths about Meraki to ease your hesitations:

1. The TCO Isn’t Worth It Long-Term

Nothing could be further from the truth. Since Meraki products do rely on licenses, people believe they drive up the costs and aren’t competitive as a result. However, this claim does not take the whole picture into account. 

With a Meraki license, you get:

  • A lifetime hardware warranty with next-business-day replacements
  • A lifetime of unlimited 24×7 tech support through various channels
  • A lifetime of software, OS, and malware/intrusion/antivirus updates

As long as you keep your license current, Meraki will fully support the hardware, no matter its age. 

2. Meraki Doesn’t Provide a Scalable Solution

This is also incorrect. Other brands have a difficult time scaling beyond hundreds of devices. Meraki is the only mesh-based network that has unlimited scalability. That’s why so many companies—from small businesses to global enterprises—trust Meraki to run their networks. 

3. Meraki’s Licensing Is a Scam

Again, this simply isn’t the case. Because Meraki is a cloud-based system, it must be kept running 24/7. This means Meraki invests consistent time and resources to keep things running without interruption around the clock. You benefit from fast, reliable, and secure network support. No one is trying to lock you into a payment plan.

When you invest in Meraki, you’re investing in the next generation of network services and solutions. It’s unique, innovative, and more efficient than ever. 

Learn How Stratus Information Systems Can Increase the ROI of Your Meraki Hardware

If you’ve been wondering if Meraki equipment is worth the investment, now you know. For many companies, these products and services reduce operational costs and modernize their networks. 

As with any system implementation, there are ways to optimize your ROI. Stratus Information Systems provides you with as much or little support as needed to increase the ROI of your Meraki hardware. 

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you grow your network.