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Can Cisco Meraki and Cisco Wireless work in the same environment?

I work as a Network Engineer for the government.

We are researching Cisco Meraki and Cisco Wireless. Can they work together or are they independent from one another?

Thanks! I appreciate the help. 

ITCS user
1313 Answers

author avatar
Top 10MSP

The two solutions are different from each other. Very briefly, you cannot have Meraki APs via a Cisco WLC and vice versa.

Meraki is a cloud managed solution, while Cisco has both cloud and on- prem offerings.

They both have different positionings depending on customer requirements.

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

Based on IEEE standard, different technology can work together. For instance: You can connect a Non Meraki Wireless AP with Meraki switch and it works fine.
However when its comes to integrity and single dashboard management Approach, Meraki Dashboard do not allow any Non Meraki appliances to get managed and monitored from their dashboard.

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

Based on the IEEE standard, different technology can work together. For instance: You can connect a non-Meraki Wireless AP with Meraki switch and it works fine.

However, when it comes to integrity and a single dashboard management approach, Meraki dashboards do not allow any non-Meraki appliances to get managed and monitored from their dashboard.

author avatar
Real User

They can't be integrated today. I saw that because as time passes I would believe you would see these technologies begin to converge. But today it is for sure independent of each other.

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Top 5LeaderboardReal User

They should work well together. We have set up Meraki so as to include both the desktop computers and the wireless system. I can access both through the same Meraki page.

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Meraki wireless is a cloud based solution and CISCO is hardware based solution. Both are independent and cannot be integrated with each other.

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Top 5Real User

As I can see, many answers refer to different parts of the solution. and the answers are correct: you can integrate Meraki or cisco switches with meraki or Cisco APs or any other model of APs (Huawei, Aruba, Ruckus).

Nut, if you're asking specifically for wireless solutions: Meraki APs, with Cisco (Aironet) APs and WLCs. then no, they are not compatible. Each works in its own area and can't cover the same space without causing interference for each other.

You could cover 2 separate buildings with one solution for each as a test to compare solutions (short-term) or integrate them into DNA Center (long-term) to monitor and maintain them. But integrating Wireless APs from both solutions into 1 area can't be done for now.

author avatar

Hi Gilberto,

All answers are correct.
Adding a new point, currently through the Cisco SDN platform (DNA Center), it is possible to have visibility of the Cisco platforms (Aironet / Catalyst) and Meraki Cloud Managed Solutions.
Documentation: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/cloud-systems-management/dna-center/nb-06-dna-center-data-sheet-cte-en.html#MerakiVisibilityinCiscoDNACenter

Last but not least, Meraki have several API commands available to use.


-- Urik

author avatar
Top 10MSP

Having said this, just wanted to add that they could work in the same environment but that would not be an ideal situation.

author avatar

Meraki is cloud-managed. Cisco WLC is on-premise managed. Both are independent and cannot be integrated with each other.

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Generally speaking, yes. Is it the best solution, no. The control of the RF environment will be made by two independent controllers, who leave spaces for the interference and over-the-air protocol conflicts which lead to poor performance and poor user experience. This also depends on how critical the scenario is. If you are talking about a 20 people office, you will have no problem. If you're talking about an auditorium for 500 people, you will have problems.

In terms of management and reporting, you can integrate both solutions. This is valid for Cisco Meraki and Cisco Wireless, or Cisco Meraki and any other wireless vendor. For example, you can achieve the same integration results with Meraki and Huawei or Cisco Wireless and Aruba HPE.

author avatar

You cannot use them together if you want central management.

This is because they are independent products.

author avatar
Top 5User

Me voy a tomar la libertad de responder en español, ya que el colega Gilberto es latino;

Cual es la razón de tomar en cuenta estas 2 líneas de productos de la misma marca? , estas a tiempo de revisar otras opciones ? 

si es así te recomiendo la marca Unifi , Router, switches y AP´s en el mismo dashboard, fácil de configurar, mismo rendimiento y a mitad del costo, sin licenciamientos extras y por si fuera poco con una mejor comunidad de soporte, la misma plataforma la puedes administrar en forma local y/o en la nube

pero entrando en materia de Cisco, cual es el requerimiento actual? la red wifi por que ya tienen los switches cisco y quieres convergencia, o al revés, quieres los switches por que ya tienes los AP´s ?

en el primer caso no te quedan muchas opciones, con la marca, pero tienes la ventaja de poder ver otras marcas y separar el control de AP´s del de switches y con el tiempo cuando se tengan que renovar los switches entonces podrás retomar la idea de que todo este en el mismo ecosistema

en el segundo caso, te recomiendo mejor mantener la marca siempre y cuando el manejo de los equipos pueda realizarse con el mismo tipo de administración aunque no puedas mantener la misma línea de producto

siempre la administración del wifi lleva mas inversión de tiempo que el de la LAN, entonces la recomendación en general es priorizar la facilidad de gestión en los AP´s


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