We performed a comparison between Meraki MX and pfSense based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.
Comparison Results: The main difference between the two solutions is that Meraki MX is expensive, while pfSense is an open-source solution and is free of charge. In addition, Meraki’s monitoring capabilities could use improvement.
"What I like best about Meraki MX is that it's easy to deploy remotely. The product works. It has automatic updates. I also like that Meraki MX is a brilliant device. You turn it on, stick the key in there, activate it, and then you're done. Meraki MX does what my customers need at the end of the day, so I also like that."
"Meraki makes it easy to be secure and know where the holes are to fix them. We have been fixing anything that we have ever found for 20 years. We keep up-to-date with firmware upgrades. We just try to stay on top of everything for security, like maintaining updates and getting rid of old systems. I feel like we're on top of it."
"The technical support people from Meraki are brilliant."
"The solution is easy to set up."
"MX is easy to manage, configure and install."
"I think cloud management is key. The cloud management and support are the two things that make the product great."
"To me, the analytics feature is one of the most valuable in Meraki MX. I also find that it has good usability as it's cloud-based. Another valuable feature of Meraki MX is that it's simple to use and it's user-friendly."
"Its ease of configuration and management is very useful for us and for other companies that don't have an onsite IT person. It is easy to configure and easy to manage. It is easy to configure the VPN with the Auto VPN feature."
"Sophos Intercept X is scalable. Currently, we have almost 30 people using it in our company."
"The most valuable features of pfSense are the reports, monitoring, filtration, and blocking incoming and outgoing traffic."
"It is very easy to use. The interface is quite understandable. There is a good community, and I can take over at any time I want. If there is anything wrong with it, I could just reinstall the whole thing and start all over again, and I'll be up again in less than a few minutes"
"The classic features such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important."
"I am happy with the EPLS, the radius, and I am happy with the captive portal."
"The flexibility of adding new kinds of services without spending any money can't be beaten."
"It is a very good solution for enterprises that need a VPN for their employees. It is the best way to provide a remote work facility to employees at a very low cost. Other solutions that I have had in the past were very expensive. Enterprises don't always have that kind of money to invest."
"I like pfSense's security features."
"An area for improvement in Meraki MX is that it needs some provision, as supplying the unit through Cisco can be tedious at times, but as far as the product itself and its offerings, Meraki MX is five-star all the way."
"MX can only be managed via a web interface, but I'm accustomed to using a CLI or a graphical interface. I would also like to see more reporting features. It doesn't provide enough information for me to know precisely about some clients."
"When we do API integrations with Meraki, they have always been hard as well as tedious to build. The data that we want out of the API integrations has been only recently available. Six months ago, it was hard to get someone to build something correctly or useful with Meraki APIs. Recently, they have made more data available on the API, but it is just a start. They need to do more."
"We have been having a problem with the VPN. When the energy goes down and is back again, the VPN link doesn't get established. We have to manually turn off the modems and other pieces of equipment and manually establish the VPN. It has been around one month since we have been having this problem, and we don't have enough support from Meraki to solve the problem."
"They need to improve the link between Meraki and Active Directory."
"It is very expensive."
"Meraki tech support staff have a lot more visibility into your network than you do, which is frustrating at times. I understand the approach is to keep the dashboard easier to understand. This will frustrate more advanced users at times."
"Meraki MX firewalls are great for small to medium-sized businesses, but other solutions are better for enterprise-sized companies."
"The integration could be improved."
"The solution could improve by having centralized management and API support online."
"The VPN feature of the solution could improve by adding better functionality and providing easier configure ability."
"It could use a little bit of improvement in the reporting."
"It's just not listed as FIPS compliant for where we're at now in government, which is an issue."
"The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall."
"The main problem with pfSense is that we have to use proxy solutions."
"Ultimately, we'd like something stronger, and something that can handle threats better in real-time."
Cisco Meraki MX appliances are next-generation firewalls with all the advanced security services needed for today’s IT security. The appliances are ideal for organizations considering a unified threat management (UTM) solution for branch offices, data centers, distributed sites, or campuses. Since Meraki MX is 100% cloud-managed, installation and remote management are simple and zero-touch.
Meraki MX’s hardware and virtual appliances are configurable in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform, and private cloud support is offered through Cisco NFVIS and Alibaba Cloud.
Organizations of all sizes and across all industries rely on Meraki MX to deliver secure connectivity to hub locations or multi-cloud environments, as well as application quality of experience (QoE) through advanced analytics with machine learning.
Cisco Meraki’s advanced QoE analytics offers:
Cisco Meraki’s SD-WAN offers:
The Meraki MX’s SD-WAN is unique in that it can be easily extended to deliver optimized access to resources in public and private cloud environments with virtual MX appliances. Its SD-WAN lowers operational costs and improves the performance of remotely-accessed resources. Users can ensure the availability of the apps and services their employees use most through dynamic path selection, policy-based routing, support for application-layer profiles, and VPN.
Meraki MX offers industry-leading cloud management that has template-based settings which can scale easily from small deployments to tens of thousands of devices. It features an intuitive web-based dashboard for managing mobile devices, united firewalls, switching, and wireless LAN. Users can also benefit from role-based administration, configurable email alerts for a variety of important events, and easily auditable change logs. Meraki MX is capable of producing summary reports with device, user, and application details archived in the cloud.
Meraki MX Key Features
MX has a robust suite of network services in an all-in-one device, which saves you money by eliminating the need for multiple appliances. These services include:
Reviews from Real Users
Meraki MX stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its easy management and its ability to be accessed remotely. Below is some feedback from PeerSpot users who are currently using Meraki MX as their firewall security solution.
Craig B., a central services engineer at Liberty Technology, writes, “The web console for managing everything keeps everything on Meraki and keeps us from going somewhere else. It is why I think a lot of people like Meraki. Comparing it to SonicWall or even a different Cisco firewall, like traditional ASAs, managing Meraki is a thousand times easier because of fluidity. You don't have to rebuild a table just to change one rule. It's much more readable for a human.”
Edgardo C., an IT director, notes,”By using the VPN, we can connect remotely. We have two offices, and we could connect them through the VPN. We could establish a network between two sites, and that has improved and increased communication and productivity. Our remote site is able to access the server remotely.”
pfSense is a free and open-source operating system for routers and firewalls, and is typically configured as DHCP server, DNS server, WiFi access point, VPN server, all running on the same hardware device. It is operated through a user-friendly web interface, making administration easy even for users with limited networking knowledge.
In addition, pfSense is feature-rich, has a mature platform, is customizable, is flexible by design, and can be used on a small home router as well as run the entire network of a large corporation. pfSense puts you in control of your networking, is regularly updated, and works to promptly patch security issues. pfSense has recently become the favored alternative to the industry leader, Cisco.
pfSense Key Features
pfSense has many key features and capabilities, including:
Reviews from Real Users
Below is some feedback from PeerSpot Users who are currently using the solution.
Bojan O., CEO at In.sist d.o.o., says, “The classic features, such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important."
Another PeerSpot user, a chef at a media company, explains what he finds most valuable about pfSense: "The plugins or add-ons are most valuable. Sometimes, they are free of charge, and sometimes, you have to pay for them, but you can purchase or download very valuable plugins or add-ons to perform internal testing of your network and simulate a denial-of-service attack or whichever attack you want to simulate. You can also remote and monitor your network and see where the gap is."
T.O., a VP of Business Development at a tech services company, mentions, "What I found most valuable is the cost of the platform, the flexibility of the platform, and the fact that the ongoing fees are not there as they are with the competitor."
Meraki MX is ranked 2nd in Unified Threat Management (UTM) with 11 reviews while pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 47 reviews. Meraki MX is rated 8.8, while pfSense is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Meraki MX writes "Makes it easy to stay on top of everything for security". On the other hand, the top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". Meraki MX is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Cisco Secure Firewall, Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls, Sophos XG and SonicWall NSa, whereas pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall and Juniper SRX. See our Meraki MX vs. pfSense report.
We monitor all Unified Threat Management (UTM) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.