Not really, says Sascha Meinrath, Research Director for the New America Foundation’s Wireless Future Program and a founder of the Champaign-Urbana Wireless Network. Sascha agrees that Meraki is a good option for people who want to create a wireless network quickly, but they don’t understand that although the hardware seems inexpensive ($49 for the indoor repeater, $149 for the outdoor solar-powered mesh access point), Meraki users could wind up paying much more than they expected:
“Hundreds of projects, organizations, and municipalities are rolling out Meraki-based networks, yet few seem to understand that they’re buying a service not a piece of hardware. Over time, these initiatives will end up paying an unknown amount of money to Meraki just to keep their system running. It is, in fact, the ultimate bait-and-switch paradigm — you think you have a one-time hardware cost, instead you get vendor lock-in, recurring charges, and path dependencies.”
Read more about Meraki on Sascha’s blog.