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Cisco Meraki Switching
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Virtual Stacking:

Virtual Stacking

Cisco Meraki switches are configured via the cloud, ensuring management isn't a laborious task, even when switches are geographically dispersed. Bulk configuration changes, software updates, and troubleshooting are done seamlessly through a single dashboard, even for large groups of switches.

Scalable management architecture

Rather than separately managing each switch, or each physical stack of switches, Cisco Meraki enables the administrator to group switches together using tags, or even manage all the switches at once. An organization may wish to group switches by floor or building within a campus, or perhaps by department. In this way a virtual stack of switches is created which can then be managed as a single logical entity, regardless of how physically dispersed those switches may be.

Flexible deployment configurations

Managing switches is an essential part of network administration, so there are no stacking licenses to pay for and no expensive stacking cables, either. With the majority of access layer traffic being client-server, physical switch stacking is often not required. If higher bandwidth is required between groups of switches, this can be achieved using aggregatable fiber interfaces on every switch, with loops prevented by Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP).

Zero-touch deployments

Leverage the power of centralized cloud management to pre-stage switches and virtual stacks before they are even deployed. Using this approach, switch deployment becomes a zero-touch, ‘plug-and-play’ exercise, even by non-technical staff. Bulk changes and software updates are straightforward to push out, eliminating the requirement to be physically present at each switch or stack.

Voice Optimization:

Voice Optimization

Even with all the new forms of communication at our fingertips today, the telephone remains as critical to business as ever. Cisco Meraki switches include all the features needed to easily deploy business-grade voice over IP telephony in next to no time.

Performance for voice and video

Delays beyond 150 msec are often unacceptable for supporting voice and video traffic. Cisco Meraki switches support layer 2 and layer 3 quality of service (QoS), ensuring these real-time traffic flows are given priority as they enter and traverse the network. Set switch ports to accept ingress prioritization labels, or force certain ports or VLANs to a chosen priority level. Six queues with full QoS settings support flexible policy implementations.

Intelligent power management

Cisco Meraki switches intelligently allocate power based on device requirements, ensuring optimum use of the available budget. A total power budget of 380W allows the Cisco Meraki PoE switch models to support a phone in every port. For those few devices that require more, PoE+ (25.5W per port) is also supported. The budgeted and actual power draw of every PoE device — phone, access point, or security camera — are displayed in the Cisco Meraki dashboard in real-time, uncovering leftover power budget for additional devices.

Optimized for rapid VoIP deployments

Cisco Meraki switches support link layer discovery protocol (LLDP) and adaptively assign devices to their corresponding VLAN, for example placing phones into the voice VLAN and leaving any connected PC in its original VLAN. Changing the voice VLAN is done with a single-click, enabling rapid configuration changes across thousands of ports. In this way the process of VLAN selection is automated, streamlining deployment and minimizing manual configuration.

Layer 7 Visibility:

Layer 7 Visibility

Layer 7 visibility, previously available only through costly overlay appliances, is included in Cisco Meraki switches at no additional cost. Hundreds of applications are automatically identified and reported, from business apps to BitTorrent and YouTube.

Packet processing engine

A modular and flexible packet processing engine delivers consistent, high-performance application traffic analysis within product families and across product lines. Based on the same custom-built Layer 7 technology featured in Cisco Meraki wireless APs and Security Appliances, MS Switches use a variety of techniques to identify, classify, and report hundreds of applications.

Deep packet inspection

Going far beyond IP addresses, hostnames, and ports, Layer 7 deep packet inspection uses heuristics-based identification to classify traffic based on application, even identifying evasive, dynamic, and encapsulated apps. High performance hardware enables inspection and classification at line-rate within Cisco Meraki switches. Application utilization is displayed graphically, with additional detail available, making it simple to see what is happening on your network at a glance. Reporting ensures you can track trends in application use over time so you can plan your network’s evolution and ensure it supports the organization's needs.

Cloud-based application signatures

The Cisco Meraki cloud-based application signature database is constantly updated to identify new and changing applications, without requiring the administrator to download and install software updates. The Cisco Meraki cloud-based architecture continually learns based on activity from Cisco Meraki's thousands of customers and millions of users, increasing the accuracy and precision of application fingerprints.

Layer 3 Scalability:

Layer 3 Scalability

Networks need flexibility to grow without sacrificing security or performance. Cisco Meraki layer 3 switches simplify expansion, reduce congestion, and provide redundancy for mission critical environments.

Scalable Routing Architecture

Support for Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) dynamic routing offers greater design flexibility, better routing resilience, and improved traffic flow. Our graphical implementation of OSPF reduces the chance of error due to manual setup since there is no need to remember complex command lines or fret about a mistype. OSPF-enabled Layer 3 switches automatically learn and monitor your routing landscape, adjust for link failures, and optimize flow by computing the most efficient traffic pathways—critical functionality for rapidly growing networks.

Optimized, Secure Traffic Flow

OSPF’s routing algorithm automatically factors link costs (such as link bandwidth and availability) to calculate optimal pathways for routing packets from point A to point B. This efficiency translates into improved network performance, since delays across slow links are minimized. Additionally, IPv4 Access control lists (ACLs) secure subnet boundaries while limiting broadcast and undesirable protocol traffic, reducing congestion.

High Availability

Redundancy is a key component of the Meraki MS layer 3 implementation. First, OSPF’s native routing resilience automatically adapts to detected link failures—preventing vital resources from becoming unreachable if alternative pathways to it exist. Second, built-in warm spare redundancy ensures that downtime and disruption are minimized in the event of physical switch failure. Finally, integrated DHCP service and relay can be enabled on layer 3 Meraki switches, ensuring that if the only accessible DHCP server on a network segment becomes unavailable, addressing service can be restored. In fact, if an MS switch hosting DHCP service fails over to a warm spare, DHCP service will seamlessly transition to the backup switch.