Meraki and Ubiquiti Price Comparison



  • I was just doing this for someone and thought that it was worth sharing here. If we compare the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite and eight port units ($93 and $300) up against a Meraki MX60, MX80 and MX100 to see how they compare on price, it gets pretty interesting. The Ubiquiti is a one time purchase, the Meraki requires an annual fee and the moment you stop paying, your device turns off. Firewalls tend to last for a while, five years at minimum, eight years is not uncommon, especially in the SMB space. So what is the TCO on these solutions?

    The TCO on the Ubiquiti is easy.... $93 or $300, depending on model, until you decide to replace it. That's it. Use it as long as you like. It's yours.

    Meraki MX60 for five years is $3,725
    Meraki MX80 for eight years is $23,960
    Meraki MX100 for eight years is $60,000

    That's a pretty substantial price difference considering the Ubiquiti devices are faster and more modern. The Merakis do have some extra features that the Ubiquiti do not have, like more advanced UTM functionality, but overall they are very close competitors. But one is affordable by any home or business, the other is for only those with exceptionally deep pockets in comparison.



  • Doesn't the Meraki setup come with some MDM thrown in? That might account for some of the price difference.

    On the Ubiquiti front, I've been loving the unit I got for home use.



  • @Nic said:

    Doesn't the Meraki setup come with some MDM thrown in? That might account for some of the price difference.

    On the Ubiquiti front, I've been loving the unit I got for home use.

    That's from the system manager product, not the MX product, AFAIK.



  • oh gotcha, didn't realize they were separate products. Yeah it seems like more of a rental setup with the Meraki, if you have to keep paying for service. Similar to what Cisco does where if you don't have a service contract then you can't update your devices with new firmware.



  • @Nic said:

    oh gotcha, didn't realize they were separate products. Yeah it seems like more of a rental setup with the Meraki, if you have to keep paying for service. Similar to what Cisco does where if you don't have a service contract then you can't update your devices with new firmware.

    Yes, it is a lease where you pay an up front fee and then an annual fee. The prices that I quoted are the heavily discounted "pay up front" ones. If you pay as you go, it gets higher.

    So the time value of money kills you on these too. Spending huge money today for support eight years from now.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Nic said:

    oh gotcha, didn't realize they were separate products. Yeah it seems like more of a rental setup with the Meraki, if you have to keep paying for service. Similar to what Cisco does where if you don't have a service contract then you can't update your devices with new firmware.

    Yes, it is a lease where you pay an up front fee and then an annual fee. The prices that I quoted are the heavily discounted "pay up front" ones. If you pay as you go, it gets higher.

    So the time value of money kills you on these too. Spending huge money today for support eight years from now.

    But, let's not leave out the fact that you can watch a webinar and get a free Meraki access point for 3 years. The first taste is free until you move to get a second.



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    But, let's not leave out the fact that you can watch a webinar and get a free Meraki access point for 3 years. The first taste is free until you move to get a second.

    Only for a super cheap access point, though. Not their real gear, the stuff that you would want. And a Ubiquiti AP is only $65 that bests that one by a lot. The fourth year of that free access point costs more than a decade with the Ubiquiti.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @NetworkNerd said:

    But, let's not leave out the fact that you can watch a webinar and get a free Meraki access point for 3 years. The first taste is free until you move to get a second.

    Only for a super cheap access point, though. Not their real gear, the stuff that you would want. And a Ubiquiti AP is only $65 that bests that one by a lot. The fourth year of that free access point costs more than a decade with the Ubiquiti.

    I agree Ubiquiti is far superior for the money, and I did not actually realize you don't get a true taste when getting the freebie.



  • Agreed, their web interface and tools rarely make sense for the SMB - those prices are way out of line!



  • @Dashrender said:

    Agreed, their web interface and tools rarely make sense for the SMB - those prices are way out of line!

    And in the enterprise space they don't make sense. Their equipment is positioned squarely for the mid-range SMB market where SMB class devices work but big enough that you want more management. If you get very large, the price is insane while not delivering the value of mainline Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, etc.



  • They are an odd niche. Before players like Ubiquiti came along they made sense in very specific circumstances. But now, it's very hard to figure out when or where to deploy them. And they only really get their value when you go whole hog and have Meraki switches, firewalls and access points. The moment you start using anyone else, their value falls apart. But when you do all of that, that price is insane.

    I can do a competitive solution to a full Meraki office for ~$800 total. It will last most of a decade. Meraki is a minimum of $4K just for one of the three pieces!



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    They are an odd niche. Before players like Ubiquiti came along they made sense in very specific circumstances. But now, it's very hard to figure out when or where to deploy them. And they only really get their value when you go whole hog and have Meraki switches, firewalls and access points. The moment you start using anyone else, their value falls apart. But when you do all of that, that price is insane.

    I can do a competitive solution to a full Meraki office for ~$800 total. It will last most of a decade. Meraki is a minimum of $4K just for one of the three pieces!

    We went the "whole hog" at a school I worked for a few years ago. Meraki was a new-ish player then and hadn't been bought by Cisco yet. The pricing we got was very competitive when looking at the whole solution, we deployed 75 access points and 30 switches, they were testing their MX series at the time and wanted us to be a test case but we never got around to meeting up with their engineer again. I liked their solution and many of the features/functionality at the time couldn't be had in the price range that we bought the equipment for.

    I also installed two MX appliances at my current position after looking at the field and seeing some of the competition was around the same price. I didn't look at Ubiquiti at the time although I did install their access points. If I were to do our infrastructure all over again I would have installed a different firewall then what I had chosen.



  • It's only recently-ish that a lot of the solid competition has sprung up. They were good for a while.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    It's only recently-ish that a lot of the solid competition has sprung up. They were good for a while.

    They do have a really nice product and the interface made it very simple to troubleshoot issues and find devices that were doing inappropriate things on our WLAN. Although now that I've played with their security appliances there are some key reporting and troubleshooting features that I really wish they would add.

    I really want to test out one of the EdgeRouters to see how it works. I'm debating picking one up for the house.



  • Hard to go wrong using one for home. So nice and so cheap.



  • @coliver said:

    I really want to test out one of the EdgeRouters to see how it works. I'm debating picking one up for the house.

    There's really not much to it, once you get it up and running it just sits there - You'll have to use another tool for anything beyond the basic charts from what I've seen.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    They are an odd niche. Before players like Ubiquiti came along they made sense in very specific circumstances. But now, it's very hard to figure out when or where to deploy them. And they only really get their value when you go whole hog and have Meraki switches, firewalls and access points. The moment you start using anyone else, their value falls apart. But when you do all of that, that price is insane.

    I can do a competitive solution to a full Meraki office for ~$800 total. It will last most of a decade. Meraki is a minimum of $4K just for one of the three pieces!

    At what point would it be worth installing a Meraki? 100 users? 200 users? The costs never seem to really justify it.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    I really want to test out one of the EdgeRouters to see how it works. I'm debating picking one up for the house.

    There's really not much to it, once you get it up and running it just sits there - You'll have to use another tool for anything beyond the basic charts from what I've seen.

    One would hope so. Routers are not something you want to have to touch very often.



  • @Dashrender said:

    At what point would it be worth installing a Meraki? 100 users? 200 users? The costs never seem to really justify it.

    It's only when you really need their special features, probably have to handle many medium sized offsites without local IT staff and have exuberant amounts of funds but lack any networking skills in house. It is not a matter of scale. It is a matter of special circumstance.

    But for the cost of a little bit of Meraki gear, you can retain serious networking skills to handle things for you in a much better way.



  • Scott - what do you think of firewall appliances that include web filtering, etc?

    I know you don't like sonicwall, but what about others?

    Clearly EdgeMax Lite doesn't offer any of these features.



  • It does not. Generally what you are referring to are UTMs rather than firewalls. It's an option and it can make sense. It is when you need a true UTM that you move past the Ubiquiti market or you get a separate web filter. Either is fine. Separates make a lot of sense, you can control when you purchase far more easily that way.

    If you are buying a real UTM, Palo Alto is the leaser, no question. And Sophos is the SMB player. I'd look almost exclusively at those two. Spend any less and you are not getting all that much for your money and going to just a firewall makes sense.

    Often I would do separates, though. Untangle or just Squid for web filtering is pretty good. And free.



  • @Dashrender said:

    You'll have to use another tool for anything beyond the basic charts from what I've seen.

    If anyone has any recommendations for this, I really need a good solution for this.



  • @Dashrender said:

    There's really not much to it, once you get it up and running it just sits there - You'll have to use another tool for anything beyond the basic charts from what I've seen.

    Should be able to send SNMP to something to make better charts. We should play with Solarwinds' product for that. At least as a starting point. Probably lots of good options.



  • MRTG might be a good starting point.

    http://oss.oetiker.ch/mrtg/doc/mrtg.en.html



  • The Solarwinds Real Time Bandwidth Monitor is what I was thinking of.


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