Hello, friend – here is my handy guide to choosing between Meraki and Ubiquiti networks

I know researching complex technology decisions can get overwhelming fast. As your trusted network advisor, let me walk you through everything to know when weighing Meraki against Ubiquiti. Whether dealing with a single office or 500 locations, this in-depth vendor comparison will help you determine what solution best fits your needs…

A Brief Background Before We Dive In

[Overview of companies, founding, evolution and offerings]

Cloud networking leader Meraki and Ubiquiti, the upstart challenging convention – two viable options for robust networking. Founded in 2006 by MIT alumni, Meraki rapidly became a frontrunner pioneering easy-to-use networks managed from the cloud.

Ubiquiti burst onto the scene in 2005 bringing enterprise-class hardware to underserved small businesses, now serving over 200 million users worldwide. Despite contrasting approaches, both provide high-performing infrastructure that could suit your organization.

Now, let’s explore considerations around pricing, capabilities, support and use cases to guide your decision…

Pricing Considerations: Licensing vs No Licensing

[Expanded costs section with TCO examples]

For many buyers, the foremost question becomes whether recurring licensing fees provide sufficient value versus Ubiquiti’s zero-licensing model. Let‘s compare approaches:

Meraki

  • Annual licensing fee averaging 15-20% of hardware cost
  • Required for firmware access, upgrades and support
  • Includes advanced hardware replacement
  • Ideal for larger deployments offsetting TCO

Ubiquiti

  • No licensing whatsoever, retail-style lifetime ownership
  • All firmware and updates included
  • Warranty period for hardware replacement
  • Better TCO for smaller deployments

Verdict: Ubiquiti wins on pure hardware cost, but total benefits depend on scale, support needs and in-house resources. Consider this analogy: Meraki is akin to leasing a car with included maintenance; Ubiquiti is like buying it outright without a service plan. Leasing raises monthly costs but offloads hassle to the provider.

Ultimately both can pencil out financially depending various factors. You know your environment best – together let‘s evaluate where value lies long term.

Comparing Core Technical Capabilities

Technical strengths represent some of the biggest differentiation points between the two. Let‘s explore how underlying architectures impact outcomes when it comes to critical elements like SD-WAN, security, and scalability.

SD-WAN & Cloud Orchestration

[Detailed technical analysis of platforms]

Security & Threat Prevention

[Examples of security features and implementation comparison]

Growth & Scaling

[Contrast expansion models and processes]

While Ubiquiti requires more heavy lifting, its modular gear provides flexibility if you have the skills in-house. Meraki automates more functionality out of the box – playing to IT generalists focused on business logic over manuals.

Support Services: Community vs Enterprise Model

Of course, capabilities tell only part of the story – the vendor relationship and safety net matter greatly as well. This is where support models diverge considerably:

Meraki

  • Direct 24/7 phone access to cloud engineers
  • Advance hardware replacement included
  • Onsite dispatch for emergency needs
  • Robust Cisco ecosystem as backstop

Ubiquiti

  • Warranty period then user community
  • Lean experience by design
  • Bring your own backup plan

Make no mistake, Ubiquiti’s community forums enrich knowledge sharing for those so inclined. However, Meraki’s premium support better accommodates mission-critical infrastructure if your team lacks upper-tier networking chops.

Mapping the Ideal Customer Profiles

Let’s build on differences explored to crystallize optimal customer profiles based on needs and priorities for each platform.

Meraki Ideal For:

  • Mid-size+ enterprises needing reliable support/replacement
  • Multi-site networks requiring centralized management
  • Lean IT teams valuing cloud automation over manual configuration
  • Those accepting licensing fees for premium experience

Ubiquiti Ideal For:

  • SMBs or small deployments watching budgets
  • Do-it-yourself IT folk wanting community rather than enterprise support
  • Teams valuing rapid innovations and hardware refresh cycles
  • Organizations avoiding recurring licensing commitments

Take stock of your environment against these success profiles. Meraki eliminates heavy lifting so IT staff manage business logic not networking racks. Ubiquiti offers incredible value if you have the talent in-house and prioritize rapid iterations or customization.

The Bottom Line Comparing Meraki vs Ubiquiti

As discussed, Meraki and Ubiquiti take balanced yet divergent approaches in delivering networking value. There is no objectively superior vendor – each optimized on different priorities.

Meraki excels at simplified operations, integrated security, and premium support accessible to IT generalists. This resonates for distributed enterprises needing consistency and flexibility.

Ubiquitifocused intensely on price and positioned itself as the high-performance yet affordable choice for lean IT shops. If cost containment is imperative and you have the expertise in-house, Ubiquiti hits the mark.

Hopefully mapping perspectives on pricing, capabilities, use cases and more empowers your decision between the two. Feel free to email any other questions that come up! Happy to help apply insights to your specific environment.

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