Cisco Meraki Expands into Cloud Managed Communications

Technology platform originally built for managing WiFi devices continues to evolve under Cisco's ownership.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 24, 2016
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Cisco's Meraki division is expanding into new territory today with the announced of a new managed communication offering. Cisco acquired Meraki in a $1.2 billion deal in November of 2012 and has been incrementally expanding and improving the platform ever since.

The initial promise of Meraki's technology was cloud management of WiFi access points. It has expanded to a broader approach for cloud-managed networking. Now, the Meraki platform is going beyond just wired and wireless networks, into the communications realm.

"We’re extremely excited about entering this market with our first cloud-managed voice platform," Todd Nightingale, VP/GM at Cisco Meraki, wrote in a blog post. "This completes our transition from Cloud-Managed Wireless through Cloud-Managed Networking to Cloud-Managed IT."

At the core of the new Cisco Meraki voice approach is the MC74, which is essentially a cloud managed Voice-over-IP deskphone. Each MC74 has a list price of $599 for the hardware with additional costs for the Meraki cloud license and actual telephony service, which is delivered by service providers.

Beyond the new phone, Cisco Meraki is also announcing new 802.11ac Wave 2 cloud-managed wireless access points. The mR53 is a 4x4 antenna device with 4 spatial streams and has support for mutligigabit uplinks. The multigigabit uplinks make use of technology defined and advanced by the NBASE-T alliance, including 2.5 and 5 Gbps Ethernet. The MR52 has the same wireless options but is limited on the uplink side to a pair of 1 gigabit interfaces.

On the wired switching side, the new MS350-24X is a 24 port switch with 8 multigigabit ports that can support 1, 2.5, 5 and 10 Gbps Ethernet connections.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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