Certifications / Cisco

Cisco Meraki vs Aruba: Switches, Routers, Firewalls

by Erik Mikac
Cisco Meraki vs Aruba:  Switches, Routers, Firewalls picture: A
Published on July 20, 2022

The advent of the cloud has revolutionized every field it has interacted with — and network engineering is no exception. Many organizations have created new and exciting software to leverage the cloud. Yet in regards to network engineering, none have caused a stir as Cisco Meraki has.

With that being said, there are still viable alternatives to choose from, such as Aruba Networks. This article will delve into some of the differences between Cisco Meraki and Aruba Wireless Solutions. Then we'll discuss which of the two is most suitable for your business needs.

What is Cisco Meraki?

Cisco Meraki was founded in 2006 and focuses on wireless appliances. After operating independently for six years, they were purchased by Cisco in November of 2012. Cisco Meraki offers three key technologies: Access, WAN (Wide Area Network), and IoT (Internet of Things). Their Access-centric appliances focus on using the cloud to build globally accessible solutions. For example, Cisco Meraki allows users to manage the Meraki Wireless LAN from several Cisco Meraki Dashboards.

Normally, routers, servers, and everything that goes along with them are relegated to a server room. But not anymore. Cisco Meraki allows users to deploy their stack in minutes and monitor it from a laptop or phone anywhere around the world. Of course, this would not be possible without their SD-WAN.

One of the best solutions Meraki provides is software-defined WANs. SD-WANs are cloud-integrated networks that reduce latency by communicating directly with the cloud. Doing so removes the need to go through a central server. Eliminating these unneeded traffic hops reduces latency and increases security.

What is Aruba?

Aruba Network is a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Aruba is known for providing innovative and next-generation solutions. In fact, Aruba is a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Let's walk through a couple of different Aruba wireless solutions and whether or not they are right for you.

One of the best products Aruba offers is the Aruba EdgeConnect Enterprise. It is a fact that workforces are becoming more decentralized as workers continue to work from home. Aruba EdgeConnect provides secure and reliable packet routing through cloud-centric WAN.

If your organization does not have a demand for cloud solutions, Aruba still has you covered. They provide plenty of critically acclaimed switches, routers, and firewalls that will get your organization up and running in no time. Not to mention, their Ethernet switches have a lifetime warranty.

Also, all of their routing configurations can be accomplished from a convenient web interface. These switches also provide SSH and SNMP access. That means your network admin can easily configure and troubleshoot them remotely.

Meraki vs Aruba: Which Should You Use?

Aruba and Cisco Meraki are vying for the same customer: corporate organizations that require fast, reliable, and securenetworks. They both rate about equally in terms of scalability, as they both offer excellent SD-WAN solutions.

Aruba is an excellent decision if you need to get a cloud-centric network up quickly.  Similar to Meraki, it has a licensing structure based on the access point, switches, and gateways. Each one is priced differently, and it is pretty complex to determine which one your organization may actually need. With regards to SD-Branch Galways, there are seven different licenses. They span from Foundation to Virtual Gateway License. Use this link to help determine which one would be best for your organization.

Meraki, on the other hand, is extremely convenient and out of the box. It comes with loads of free tools such as Meraki Systems Manager. Many sysadmins have been extremely happy with the software provided, along with the Cisco Meraki Dashboards that are used to monitor the network.

Also, Cisco is ubiquitous with networking technology, so chances are your organization is already using it. So a huge plus for Meraki is that it will integrate seamlessly with many existing networking devices.

Cisco Meraki also offers a vast amount of IoT devices to secure your physical perimeter and bring boost productivity in the now commonplace work-from-home environments. So if you are looking for ways to secure your office, Meraki may be the way to go.

In the end, Cisco Meraki is great if you are looking for a complete network solution including IoT, cloud monitoring, and quick configuration. Aruba is good for cost-efficient solutions that are not as traffic heavy as Cisco Meraki.


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