Service provider CenturyLink is building on its relationship with Cisco’s Meraki to offer enterprise customers managed WiFi networks, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), phone services, security, video cameras for surveillance, and monitoring capabilities through a single dashboard.
Prior to this announcement, CenturyLink offered its customers Meraki gear as an option for WiFi setups and network switches, but now that extends to Meraki’s entire product portfolio including WAN and LAN management and monitoring, said Eric Nowak, director of product management at CenturyLink.
Customers are able to pick and choose any combination of Meraki gear they want and also pick the level of management and configuration CenturyLink will provide. For example, if a customer wants access and control over its video surveillance cameras but not over its WiFi network, then CenturyLink will take over WiFi management. Customers can also add or remove any of these components on the fly.
Additionally, CenturyLink provides its customers with various connectivity options. In addition to its own connectivity choices, CenturyLink wholesales connectivity such as MPLS, broadband Internet, and cable from major providers such as Comcast, Charter, and Time Warner.
CenturyLink is targeting enterprise customers that are looking for simple networks and features. Retailers, for example, typically have straightforward configurations with WiFi, phones, and surveillance cameras, Nowak said.
Although CenturyLink already offers SD-WAN from Versa Networks, this Meraki offering doesn’t include as many capabilities and gives customers with less-demanding networks more options, Nowak said. Also, CenturyLink’s SD-WAN service from Versa is interoperable with the Meraki gear and can be deployed in conjunction with the new product suite.
With Meraki, CenturyLink is diversifying its customers’ options in SD-WAN, which may be a trend we start seeing from other service providers as well.