FortiSwitch vs Meraki MS – The gloves come off!


A switch is a device that takes in packets (of data) from other devices connected to its physical ports. Then, it sends those packets out again. However, it sends them only to the devices the packets are intended for. In other words, switches connect Ethernet IP devices and forward information between them. In it’s simplest form, a switch is a glorified ethernet hub. They can be had quite cheaply. As such, an unmanaged switch requires no configuring. They are typically for basic connectivity. However, managed switches like FortiSwitch and Meraki MS switches are far more robust.

A switch like FortiSwitch or Meraki MS communicates across multiple networks. And, it simultaneously provides built-in network security. It even improves the network’s bandwidth by prioritizing packet requests. A good switch should be simple to set up and manage. Fortinet and Meraki produce some of our most popular switches. So at this time we’re going to do a (hopefully) helpful side-by-side of these two very good brands.

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 managed switch.

The FortiSwitch 108E from $187, FortiSwitch 124E from $299, and the FortiSwitch 148F from $640, as well as the Meraki MS120-8 from $521, MS120-24 from $1677, and MS120-48 from $1759, are some of our most successful models in this category.

FortiSwitch according to real users

A good switch should be simple to set up and manage. And, FortiSwitch is tightly integrated into the Fortinet Security Fabric via FortiLink. FortiLink is an innovative proprietary management tool. As a result, any FortiGate firewall can seamlessly manage any FortiSwitch. Basically, it becomes a logical extension of the FortiGate. At that point, it can be managed directly from the familiar, easy-to-grasp FortiGate interface. The nice thing is, it’s a “single pane of glass” interface. And it provides complete visibility and control of users and devices on the network no matter how they connect. This is one of the most popular features about the FortiSwitch line.

The integration between the FortiGate and FortiSwitch — the reporting and monitoring — is superb. One of the most valuable (and popular) features is that you can completely isolate devices that are compromising the network.

Installation is very easy. Plus, Fortinet has made a lot of videos available to understand the configuration. Even with no experience at all, you might be able to do it yourself. But there is plenty of help available.

Meraki MS according to real users

The Meraki MS series are state of the art switches with the excellent Meraki usability, you would expect. The clean, simple interface is quite powerful. The MS series has a full toolset for diagnosing network problems remotely. For example, it can fully capture live packets streaming through the switch for analysis. And, it can push out new rules and configurations automatically or on schedule. Plus, being cloud-managed, they’re always ready for the latest firmware updates.

Meraki MS is no more difficult to set up than a simple hub. And, multiple units can be managed from one location or by remote administrators.

A Meraki switch can be set up before you even receive it. Once you purchase it you will get an email with a code to add to your dashboard. Then, you can start setting up your switch. When it arrives, it will download its configuration and be all setup. It is practically zero-touch. Firmware upgrades on devices are pushed from the cloud and typically only bring the appliance down for a minute or two.

In a nutshell

Meraki’s interface allows you to drill down to users that are on the network and see what they are using the network for. It is very valuable to have that capability. It’s nice to be able to easily push out policies from a single location to wherever my Meraki devices are. If you have sites globally, Meraki is a perfect fit. You can reach devices that are overseas without having to touch them, which is fantastic. And, when changes and new features come out, I don’t have to worry about doing software upgrades. It’s all done in the cloud. It just loads up and on you go.

On the other hand, With FortiSwitch you get very secure access switches that deliver superior security, performance, and manageability. In addition, they help increase productivity for next generation applications through faster network access. Fortinet=Fast.

Networks today are essential. For supporting businesses, providing communication, or delivering entertainment, they are indispensible. And they have to run seamlessly.

Building a small business network is not possible without switches to tie devices together. If you have any questions, just give Corporate Armor a call at 877-449-0458 or email us at [email protected]. Thanks for reading!