How to Choose a Cisco Meraki Firewall for your Small Business

Shopping for Cisco Meraki MX Firewalls

Cisco Meraki MX Security & SD-WAN Appliances (or as we affectionately call them: firewalls) provide Unified Threat Management for small businesses, branch offices, datacenters, and distributed enterprise environments. 100% cloud managed and filled to the brim with comprehensive security features, Cisco Meraki firewalls reduce complexity and save money by eliminating the need for multiple appliances.

Why Meraki Firewalls?

As small businesses explore digital transformation and all the advanced security and networking that it offers, automated services become more important. Cisco Meraki MX firewalls make intelligent site-to-site VPN easy with Auto VPN. Auto VPN automatically generates VPN routes using IKE/IPSec that can connect with all IPSec VPN devices and services. Automated MPLS to VPN failover in case of a connection failure is resolved in a matter of seconds, minimizing downtime over remote access.

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SD-WAN is another key aspect of digital transformation and Cisco Meraki includes SD-WAN capabilities with each firewall. Software-defined WAN lowers operational costs and improves performance of remotely-accessed resources. Policy-based routing, support for application-layer profiles, active/active VPN, and dynamic path selection ensure the apps and services your employees use most are always available.

Cisco Meraki MX firewalls include all the advanced security services you expect out of a next generation firewall: intrusion prevention powered by Cisco-developed SNORT, content filtering, anti-malware, geo-based firewalling, remote access connectivity, and advanced malware protection. Layer 7 fingerprinting allows small businesses to identify PUAs and unproductive content so that company bandwidth isn’t wasted on time-wasters like BitTorrent.

Choosing a Cisco Meraki MX Firewall

It can be a challenge to spot the difference between two similar firewalls, but the devil is always in the details. Here are a few key differentiators between Cisco Meraki firewalls to help you decide which device is right for your network.

Power of Ethernet

The Cisco Meraki MX68 includes Power-over-Ethernet capabilities. The rear of these MX firewall models feature a pair of 802.3at (PoE+) ports. With them, you get built-in power supply capabilities for tricky installations where outlets may be unavailable. These two 802.3at ports provide a total of 60W power. In other words, you can leave the AC adapters at home.

Integrated 802.11ac Wave 2 Wireless

The MX67W and MX68W provide wireless firewalling capabilities, integrating Cisco Meraki’s industry-recognized wireless technology in an SMB-friendly compact form factor. Enjoy unified central management of all network security and wireless devices.

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Meraki vMX100 Virtual Firewall

Virtual firewalls provide the benefit of simple configurations and appliance-less deployment. The Meraki vMX100 is added via Amazon Web Services or Azure and configured directly in the Meraki dashboard, just as you would manage any other MX firewall appliance. Licensing only–no on-premise equipment required!

Cisco Meraki MX64 vs MX65

At first glance, these two models look pretty similar. Both clock in at 200 Mbps of Advanced Security Throughput (when the full range of intelligent security services are operating). They also offer 100 Mbps of VPN Throughput. The MX64 can be converted to support WAN and includes 3 dedicated GbE RJ45 interfaces. Why aren’t we talking more about the MX65? Because it reached end of sale in 2019 and is no longer available. If you’re looking for something comparable – the MX68 is your best bet.

Cisco Meraki MX67 and MX68

Meraki MX67 and MX68 firewalls are designed with built-in cellular modems that simplify deployments requiring a cellular uplink backup. This kind of cellular uplink infrastructure is ideal for remote locations that rely on continuous WAN circuits. That is to say, where you need high availability and redundancy, the cellular uplink provides a valuable backup.

The MX68 includes the Power of Ethernet capabilities described in the section above as well as dual WAN interfaces and 10 LAN RJ45 interfaces. On the other hand, the MX67 includes only one dedicated WAN interface and three LAN RJ45 interfaces.

Meraki MX84, MX100, MX250, & MX450

The Cisco Meraki MX84 and above appliances pack a bit more punch behind their security performance.

    • MX84 Recommended Users & VPN Throughput: 200 users, 250 Mbps
    • MX100 Recommended Users & VPN Throughput: 500 users, 500 Mbps
    • MX250 Recommended Users & VPN Throughput: 2,000 users, 1.0 Gbps
    • MX450 Recommended Users & VPN Throughput: 10,000 users, 2.0 Gbps

In sum, it’s clear these models are designed for medium branches and enterprise networks. With top-end speeds up to 6.0 Gbps of stateful firewall inspection, the advanced security technology behind Cisco Meraki MX firewalls bring serious security and performance.

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Advanced Security Licenses and Support

Check out our Renewals & Licensing wizard to find advanced security licenses for Cisco Meraki MX firewalls like Cisco Meraki Advanced Security Licensing.