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Wireless networking provider Meraki has launched a breakthrough
Enterprise Wireless local area network (LAN) product line that pushes
wireless LAN capabilities into the cloud, allowing solution providers
to offer wireless as a service to businesses of any size.

The line consists of Meraki’s Enterprise Cloud Controller and two
new high-performance 802.11n wireless access points (APs), the single
radio MR11 and the dual radio MR14, says Meraki CEO Sanjit Biswas. The
new APs offer performance much greater than many standard 100 Mbps
wired networks – the MR11 can provide up to 300 Mbps throughput and the
MR14 up to 600 Mbps, according to Biswas.

Meraki hosts all backend infrastructure required via a number of
globally distributed data centers, and solution providers only pay for
the AP hardware, then pay a monthly fee to access the wireless
capabilities, he says.

“Yes, partners must invest in the AP hardware, but we provide all
the backend functionality and bill on a yearly basis,” he says. “It’s
much more cost-efficient than purchasing traditional network hardware,”
Biswas says. This recurring revenue model allows solution providers and
MSPs to set their own margins, depending on how extensive a customers’
deployment is.

By pushing all backend networking infrastructure into the cloud,
Meraki’s WAAS solution can cut by half the cost of deploying an
enterprise 802.11n wireless network, while at the same time increasing
revenue opportunities for both managed service providers and
traditional networking VARs, Biswas says.

“This becomes a managed service,” he says. “Since the solution
offers remote deployment, monitoring and management, solution providers
can troubleshoot, manage, monitor and configure off-site, further
reducing complexity for them,” he says.

The solution also removes some of the barriers to entry faced by
many traditional networking solution providers, says Biswas. Setting up
Meraki’s solution requires only that customers place and turn on the
APs; Meraki’s Enterprise Cloud Controller discovers the APs and
configures them automatically via an Internet connection, Biswas says.

Meraki’s Enterprise Cloud Controller and APs include all the
standard enterprise-class bells and whistles, says Biswas, including
centralized management, integrated security features and seamless
integration for Microsoft Active Directory to ensure secure user
log-ins. VLANs and VPN features are supported as well, and Meraki also
has introduced in the solution the ability to manage multiple
geographically distributed networks from a central location.

In addition, Biswas says the solution allows for the creation of a
virtual voice network that can be configured to give priority to voice
packets for customers with VOIP deployments.

“We build wireless voice into the product to prioritize voice
packets, which can eliminate common problems like jitters or delays,”
he says.

A Meraki Enterprise Wireless LAN system that can cover approximately
20,000 square feet starts at less than $3,000 while a large system that
can cover as much as 500,000 square feet starts below $75,000, Biswas
says, and support and maintenance are included in that pricing.

The Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller will ship starting June 2,
and Biswas says he believes the solution will completely shift the
enterprise wireless world.

"Cloud computing definitely disrupted the CRM and enterprise
software world, and now we see an even bigger opportunity to do the
same for enterprise networking," says Biswas.