All 4G Modems Certified by Meraki are EOL

MarcAEC
Getting noticed

All 4G Modems Certified by Meraki are EOL

I'm trying to set up cellular fail-over on the Meraki MX devices and I can't believe the ***tshow that this has become.  Meraki's documentation is very clear - in order to use the cellular fail-over, a USB modem from the certified list must be used. 

 

https://documentation.meraki.com/MX/Cellular/3G%2F%2F4G_Cellular_Failover_with_USB_Modems

 

My suppliers have told me that all of the certified modems are EOL.  Skydus DS is one of the modems on the list and Inseego had this comment:

 

"The Skyus DS platform is now EOL. ...the newer device is the Skyus DS2.... If connecting with a Meraki appliance, the DS2 will not work. Meraki has not / will not certify us on their platform any longer."

 

I opened a support case with Meraki and got the response that "Engineering is already working on adding more devices to the list of compatible USB modems."  Timeframe? - Nope. 

 

The support engineer, wanting to do something to help me, found some of the old modems on eBay.  Points to the rep for wanting to help, but that Meraki engineering and product management let it get to this point is disgraceful. 

14 REPLIES 14
KRobert
Head in the Cloud

@MarcAEC, are you using both ethernet internet uplinks and the cellular failover? While I agree that they should increase their list of 3rd party USB devices, I would say these are the "official devices." There are a couple options I have found to assist in the 4G backup space.

I have used Verizon's 730L on my Meraki MXs/Z3s.
https://www.verizon.com/internet-devices/verizon-global-modem-usb730l/

If you aren't using the secondary ethernet connection, on the MX appliances, we purchased the Skyus 140/160 modems. They provide a direct ethernet connection to 4G cellular and is, what I believe a better solution to cellular backup. It has immediate failover and a lot more features than the cellular back up setup.
https://inseego.com/products/enterprise/skyus-160/.

Honestly, Meraki has been digging deeper in the cellular connection space with the integrations of SIM cards in their MX and Z3 lines (MX67C and Z3C devices). Additionally they recently introduced the MG21 cellular gateway that is just like the Skyus 140/160, but much more ideal since it integrates with the dashboard.
https://meraki.cisco.com/product/security-sd-wan/teleworker/z3c/
https://meraki.cisco.com/product/cellular/integrated-antenna/mg21/

This doesn't make up for Meraki's lack of updating their list of devices, but they do offer a number of solutions.

CMNO, CCNA R+S

Some of the devices I'm looking to add 4G failover to do have both Ethernet connections in use (same carrier for both circuits), and others don't.  But I would like to set up cellular-specific rules and the MX has to know the circuit is cellular (e.g. be a supported USB modem) for that to be an option.

 

I'm guessing you're using the Verizon 730L with older MX devices as the compatibility list indicates support was dropped for MX deviecs released after 2017.

KRobert
Head in the Cloud

I've used it on the MX65(W), Z1 and Z3 appliance and they all have worked within the last year. If you are looking for cellular failover specifically, then down the road, I'd budget for the "C" options (if you are looking at the Z3, MX67, or MX68 appliances). Not ideal, but good to note so that the 4G is built-in rather than the USB. I'd say if you can, buy a few different USB 4G dongles and try them out. Skyus, Verizon, Sprint, or whatever provider you have. They might work. All-in-all I still agree the list needs to be updated.
CMNO, CCNA R+S

It's my general preference to prefer external modems.  In theory, that makes it easier to upgrade the modem in the future.

 

I have to operate as if the Meraki list is accurate.  It sounds like you might be thinking the list is out-of-date and that true modem support is really much larger.  But I don't have any confidence that is the situation.  All the evidence I've seen leads me to believe that support is as poor as the list indicates.  That the USB ID needs to match means there's more going on than just Meraki officially testing the equipment.  It indicates there is special code that activates only when the applicable USB IDs are detected, and the real problem is likely lack of engineering resources to write the code for the newer devices.

PhilipDAth
Kind of a big deal

Although not listed, most Huawei modems work.  I suspect this is because they mostly have the same interface.  I would get one to try and verify it works fine for you.

That's a good point as well @PilipDAth. Huawei will also work, unless you are in the following countries:
Sweden, United States, Australia, the U.K., and France. These countries have banned Huawei.
CMNO, CCNA R+S
MarcAEC
Getting noticed

The team ordered a modem from one of the eBay links Meraki support provided.  When it arrived, we noticed it was marked "engineering sample - not for resale".  But when connected to the MX, it was recognized.  So, we tried to activate service with Verizon and the sales rep could not do it.  He got an error "ESN IS NOT E911/NETWORK COMPLIANT".  Now this only happened because all of the Verizon modems on the Meraki compatibility list are EOL and can't be purchased new anywhere.  I would have rather bought new from a reliable vendor.  I keep having to tell myself that Meraki is a major brand owned by Cisco and that I didn't buy firewalls from some guy building them from open source software in his basement.  It is an embarrassment that the product team is content with being equivalent to that.

KRobert
Head in the Cloud

What modem did you purchase and what country are you in?
CMNO, CCNA R+S

I'm in the United States.  It was a Connect IO EM 1000T-VZ.

StevenJ
Conversationalist

Anyone heard anything new on this? 5 Months latter and there are still no supported modems listed in the documentation. Should Meraki stop advertising 4G cellular failover as an option until this is fixed?

PhilipDAth
Kind of a big deal

The problem is @StevenJ  that the capability varies by country - and mostly by countries that have banned certain vendors.  Outside of those vendors, there are very few manufactures.

 

I would say that in some countries like the USA, you probably can't get a 4G USB modem that will work anymore.  No-fault or Meraki's.  Just a political issue.

 

These markets will now be forced to use cellular routers with an Ethernet interface, and you'll have to devote one of the two WAN interfaces to it.  Or stick to using MXs with a built-in cellular modem.

 

 

It would be good if Meraki could update the compatible modems list to make this more clear.  Perhaps just state that this feature is no longer supported in certain countries.

Good reply @PhilipDAth , thanks for the info 👍

I can purchase a Connected IO CM4NA in the USA.  It won't work with the MX because Meraki doesn't support it.  To me, this looks like this situation is the fault of Meraki.

 

And they've added text to the compatibility page admitting as much:

"New USB modem approvals are currently on hold until further notice. All ongoing evaluations for USB modems will be updated on this page as soon as completed. We recommend to upgrade to the integrated/MG models for cellular connectivity and reach out to your sales contact."

MarcAEC
Getting noticed

The list of "Current Modems" that are "...are still actively being manufactured, distributed, and sold..." is now officially empty.  4G Modems 20220428.png

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