You have smartphones, smart thermostats, smart cities – why not smart switches? While you may think a switch, is a switch, is a switch, think again. Have you ever needed to run cable tests remotely, or see what’s happening on a specific switch port? How about customizing access settings on a per-port basis, for any location?
A normal switch will remain shrouded in secrecy on these matters, but a Meraki MS switch, now that’s another story.
Meraki switches are managed through the same cloud dashboard as all other Meraki products, enabling easy plug-and-play deployment and centralized control over distributed locations. With cloud management, all of your switch ports can be configured and monitored with built-in virtual stacking. This allows tens, hundreds, or even thousands of switches to be managed as one logical entity, no matter how physically dispersed they may be.
What does it mean to “manage” a switch port? You can configure ports for specific access devices (such as printers or desktop devices), assign voice VLANs, control PoE, apply tags to help with filtering and pushing settings, and more. Importantly, the Meraki dashboard gives you up-to-date and real time information as to the current state of the network, negating the need for often outdated documentation referenced when making configuration changes.
Deep network visibility
As the industry’s only switches with integrated Layer 7 application and client fingerprinting, Meraki MS switches provide intelligent network insight and analysis as to the types of traffic traversing your network. Black box no more! Now you can identify, classify, and report hundreds of applications, and by whom they are being used.
In addition to analyzing traffic, switches also unlock the network topology feature (shown below), which automatically maps the equipment in your entire network. Instantly gain a hierarchical overview of how your network physically interconnects and the health status of each device. Again, continuously up-to-date and dynamically adjusted depending on changes to the topology, manual network diagrams are a thing of the past.
The troubleshooting tools available for switches make it easy to manage any location. Run a remote Ethernet cable test, conduct a packet capture, ping a device, and more – the time and effort to resolution just became a lot faster. As with all Meraki gear, you can also set up automatic email alerts to notify you of any potential network issues, so you can practice proactive network management.
Scalability and failover
MS Layer 3 Switches support Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) dynamic routing, offering greater design flexibility, better routing resilience, and improved 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.
Redundancy is also a key component of the Meraki MS layer 3 implementation. First, OSPF’s native routing resilience automatically adapts to identified 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 services can be enabled on layer 3 Meraki switches, if an MS switch hosting DHCP service fails over to a warm spare, DHCP service will seamlessly transition to the backup switch and retain state.
Convinced? Join us for a switching webinar or sign up for a free switch trial to switch on the lights and see what’s really going on in the heart of your network.