Do you think Cisco Meraki is a controller-less solution?

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If you read our blog or if you're on Social Media, you have probably seen the conversation about the death of the WLAN controller. Conversations on this topic are welcome here in the community, and here is a topic to get you started. Please feel free to chime in on this one, or start your own. Be sure to tag the Death of WLAN Controllers category when you post, and follow this category in order to stay up to date on the latest.
Question: Do you think Cisco Meraki is a controller-less solution? 
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Posted 4 years ago

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Photo of Robert Haviland

Robert Haviland

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Absolutely is. When I tested that solution back at my old school system the first thing I did was to unplug it from a web connection. It lost most of its functions. So yes, it needs something to control it's functions.
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Nick Lowe, Official Rep

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Cisco-Meraki's APs do have a controller and it is in the cloud, hosted in their data centres.

However, to be fair what continues to work in a WAN failure scenario is most of what you need to keep a relatively smooth operation, certainly enough to maintain critical service in many deployments... not all though.

The huge deal breaker for me, however, is that if you forget to or consciously choose not to renew your subscription, your network goes down:

With Aerohive, you will only lose access to HiveManager. This means that while you can no longer practically manage, update and monitor your devices (you are subsequently limited to CLI access only), it is a fair and expected restriction that is far less likely to get you fired if you screw up.
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Joel V

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Thanks for these responses. This question is an earnest request not trying to be snarky or sarcastic. We seriously want to understand the perception of their solution from the people who have used and/or tested it.

So thanks for these responses!
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Aaron Kern

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We utilize Meraki and a mix of others solutions in our business & we are able to do the layer 3 roaming on the APs. However, utilizing the Meraki Security Appliance (MX) does take the work load off the APs which will provide maximum performance. I agree, the Aerohive APs have the ability to do Layer 3 roaming automatically and better. The on-site Meraki security appliance has a plethora of features other than Layer 3 roaming, but this article sounds like it's only used for one feature. 

Lastly, I agree the licensing is kind of a pain and sometimes can be expensive. Although, it does cover the Support and the new features that gets pushed out quite frequently. Usually, it's pretty easy to purchase a renewal since they spam you with multiple emails that the licenses are about to expire.