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Meraki MX vs FortiGate in our first Firewall Roundup!

FortiGate vs Meraki MX image

We are going to take a side-by-side look at two of our extremely successful firewall families, Fortinet FortiGate and Meraki’s MX series.

This is not intended as an exhaustive, winner-take-all contest. Rather, we hope to helpfully compare two very good choices. The goal is to provide clarity on what distinguishes these two product families.

Corporate Armor is very well-versed with both Fortinet and Meraki. We can happily recommend both in a broad way, but knowing what delineates them might be helpful when it comes time for you to shop for a firewall. Many of our top-selling models come from these two companies. The FortiGate FG40F, from $362, the FG60F, from $508, the Meraki MX64, from $350, and the Meraki MX68, from $586, are hugely popular.

FortiGate according to real users

FortiGate’s SSL-VPN is generally highly regarded and reliable. Plus, Fortinet Secure SD-WAN delivered comparably total cost of ownership per Mbps among other vendors. This dollar-value is often cited in customer reviews of FortiGates. And, being Fortinet, the actual security features will be about the best you’ll see.

Meraki MX according to real users

Meraki’s automatic firmware updates are a big hit. And ease-of-setup is a Meraki strength matched by few, if any competitors. They are famously easy to manage, as well.

Internet traffic shaping is a popular feature, as well as point-to-point VPNs that can dynamically follow IP changes. These are a great choice for those who have no dedicated IT staff.

In FortiGate’s column

It’s a complete solution. For example, if you buy switches, just put in the FortiGate firewall. The switches get all the policies and rules that you already have in the firewall. Unlike other vendors, FortiGate just connects the FortiSwitch to the Fortinet and that’s it.

FortiGate has good VPN, both IPSEC and SSL. Device ID is very flexible. This enables the creation of rules to regulate all sorts of devices that might show up on a network, especially via WiFi. And, the IPsec tunnels are very easily created,and play nicely with devices from other vendors.

Fortigate requires a current license for advanced features and firmware upgrades only. On the other hand, Meraki equipment requires a current license in order to operate. However, this also gets you hardware replacement and tech support while the license is current.

Fortinet has a deeper security legacy than Meraki, with more specialists. Plus, FortiGates tend to have higher throughputs than comparable Meraki MX firewalls.

In Meraki’s column

The dashboard for Meraki to be a huge plus. It tends to be simpler to train new people on it, since it’s a 100% GUI solution. Either FortiGate or MX are quite capable a security appliances. But, if you have a complete Meraki stack, Meraki allows you to manage it all on the same dashboard.

Meraki is just a great, friendly, intuitive end to end solution. It’s like firewall-switch-access point as one continuous solution.

Oh yeah… complete cloud management! Remarkably easy to deploy and control. Fortinet has local management (FortiGate + FortiManager). This give a degree of greater security and control. However, Meraki is backed by Cisco Umbrella, so HUGE intel, HUGE amount of data.

In summary

Honestly, it just depends on your requirements. Are you looking for the most secure all-in-one solution? Then look for a solution that has many security features. Things like firewall, VPN, AV, IPS, Anti-Spam, APT blocking, Threat detection & Response, and so on. But, be sure they do those things well, too. Or at least in your critical categories.

On the other hand, are you looking for the easiest to manage solution? How are all the features managed? One console or multiple? One step or 10 steps to manage a feature? Do you need VPNs? How easy are they to setup? How important is centralized logging and monitoring?

Do you need multiple units? Can the config be copied from one to the other? Can policies be created and pushed to multiple devices? Do you need Networking features like SD-WAN?

A few more considerations

What is included in the base price vs what add-ons do you require? What are the renewal costs? Sometimes products are offered at a great price but then the revenue is made up in renewals. Meraki is known for being super-easy to set up, and operate with little or no IT expertise. In other words, it’s an elegant everyday people’s appliance. Sophisticatedly simple. Reassuring and approachable. On the other hand, Fortinet is sort of the IT guy’s firewall; fast, feature-rich, and in all it’s products, SECURITY FIRST. After all, that’s where Fortinet cut their teeth. And they sell more security appliances than anyone. Period.

So remember, these are two excellent choices that simply have different strengths. Corporate Armor is here to help you make the very best decision for your networking and security needs, and we are happy to answer all of your questions. So email us, or call 877-449-0458. Thanks for reading!

ComparablesFortiGate 100EMeraki MX100
Firewall Throughput7.4 Gbps750 Mbps
VPN Throughput(SSL VPN) 250 Mbps500
IPS500 Mbps750 Mbps
Users500500