For 2 decades I have worked at various companies from local, regional, national and international in various IT roles, but also have worked with friends, family, or some of their peers, colleagues etc as well to assist in their own IT issues. One of the most challenging to help are the smaller SMBs where they have a need for managed hardware, but the cost is normally well outside of their range so they end up with consumer grade hardware, that does not have the enterprise level tools that make life easier.
Cisco Meraki, has now made Meraki GO to help solve this problem. Enterprise level hardware and software, but for the SMB market. All managed simply through the cloud like Meraki, but from the Meraki GO app. It also has no extra licensing costs for the hardware like regular Meraki does, other than adding an extra software security layer which is licensed per year, but leverages Cisco Umbrella. This is an optional extra though and not necessary, but does add an extra later of protection.
I have a setup for an SMB that uses it to protect their infrastructure, connected between their local fiber and on prem client hardware.
Once you have the primary email address registered to manage the ‘networks’, you log in to the app on an internet connected mobile device and add the hardware as simply as scanning the QR codes using a mobile devices camera. As you connect them, they register and appear in the dashboard. This is the main place to see how the networks are performing, inc high use clients, overall use and then the other links to the specifics, like networks, hardware and settings.
Your networks tab shows the SSIDs you have created and connection brief details, we set up a main network for most devices, and then two other networks, one for ‘employee’ guest called _MerakiGO so it gets them connected, but lower priority speed over the main network, but they can use BYOD and access company shares, devices, etc. The last network is an actual guest network, that is in NAT mode, so it gets a lower priority, AND is not on the LAN, so no-one would be able to see devices on the network. The fact you can see which users are ‘connected’ vs ‘within proximity’ but not connected means you might be able to find ‘suspicious’ devices that are out there sniffing for your network and all this is available from within each network page as well.
The main dashboard page AND each networks pages also show usage of the network by application, so you can identify where any bottle necks are, or what type of traffic might need to be blocked, optimized or otherwise.
The hardware tab helps you verify connectivity and status of each GO device, and then clicking on each helps you manage each one, either with identifying connected devices, enabling or disabling PoE or using tools to troubleshoot the connections by testing cables, etc. Virtually all the main tools you have with Cisco Meraki, are included in the mobile app.
You can also use the Settings to manage even more, including the configuration of bandwidth limitations on the specific wireless networks you have configured.
At this point, Cisco Meraki has taken all their best features and packaged them into the Meraki GO platform. The hardware is a little more than consumer grade hardware, but all the features you get are the same premium advanced enterprise level you would with Meraki, at a fraction of the enterpise costs. This is a complete win for SMBs that want to get professional tools at the prices they can afford, with the ease of management from the mobile device interface!