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Cisco Meraki MS120-8LP-HW: A Comprehensive Guide




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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the Cisco Meraki MS120-8LP-HW, a powerful and versatile Ethernet switch designed for businesses of all sizes. In this guide, we’ll delve into the key features, installation, management, use cases, and more to help you make an informed decision about whether this switch is right for you.


Brief overview of Cisco Meraki MS120-8LP-HW switch

The Cisco Meraki MS120-8LP-HW is a cloud-managed Layer 2 Ethernet switch, boasting 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports with PoE (Power over Ethernet) capabilities. This switch offers powerful features such as VLAN support, Quality of Service (QoS), and robust security options, all managed through the user-friendly Meraki Dashboard.

Purpose of the guide

This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the MS120-8LP-HW switch and its capabilities. It will walk you through the setup process, offer best practices for management, and show you how this switch can benefit your business.

What readers can expect to learn from the guide

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid grasp of the key features, installation steps, management, troubleshooting, and integrations available for the MS120-8LP-HW switch. You’ll also gain insight into how this switch compares to similar products on the market.

Key Features

Port and power specifications

  • 8 x Gigabit Ethernet ports with PoE
  • 67W total PoE power budget
  • Up to 124W with the optional PoE power injector
  • Non-blocking switching capacity of 20 Gbps

Layer 2 switching capabilities

  • VLAN support (802.1Q)
  • Link aggregation (802.3ad)
  • Virtual stacking
  • Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP), and Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol (MSTP)

Cloud-based management

  • Meraki Dashboard for easy configuration and monitoring
  • Automatic firmware updates
  • Remote troubleshooting and diagnostics

Quality of Service (QoS) settings

  • Traffic shaping and prioritization
  • Voice and video traffic optimization

Security features

  • DHCP snooping
  • Dynamic ARP Inspection (DAI)
  • IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS)
  • Secure Shell (SSH) Protocol and HTTPS
  • Access Control Lists (ACLs)

Installation and Setup

Preparing for installation

  1. Verify you have a Meraki Dashboard account
  2. Register the MS120-8LP-HW switch to your account
  3. Prepare your network environment (cabling, power, etc.)

Physical setup of the switch

  1. Connect the switch to a power source
  2. Connect your devices to the switch via Ethernet cables
  3. Optionally, connect the switch to an upstream router for Internet access

Configuring the switch through the Meraki dashboard

  1. Log in to the Meraki Dashboard
  2. Navigate to the “Switch” section
  3. Select the MS120-8LP-HW switch from the list
  4. Configure the switch settings (VLANs, QoS, etc.) as needed

Best practices for setting up VLANs and QoS

  • Create separate VLANs for different types of traffic (voice, data, etc.)
  • Enable QoS to prioritize latency-sensitive traffic like VoIP and video conferencing

Management and Monitoring

Navigating the Meraki dashboard

  • Use the left-hand navigation menu to access different sections (Switch, Wireless, Security, etc.)
  • View device status and performance metrics on the main dashboard page

Setting up alerts and notifications

  1. Navigate to “Alerts & administration” in the Meraki Dashboard
  2. Configure email and SMS notifications for specific events (switch offline, high utilization, etc.)

Monitoring network performance

  • Use the built-in “Live tools” to monitor switch performance in real-time
  • View historical data on network usage, device status, and event logs

Troubleshooting common issues

  • Utilize the “Packet capture” feature to diagnose network issues
  • Use the “Cable test” tool to check for cable faults and connectivity problems

Integrations and APIs

Overview of Meraki APIs

  • Cisco Meraki offers RESTful APIs for automating tasks and integrating with third-party software
  • Use the API to retrieve device information, manage configurations, monitor network performance, and more

Integrating with third-party software

  • Connect your MS120-8LP-HW switch to other platforms like network monitoring systems, ticketing systems, and more
  • Use the API to automate tasks and streamline your network management

Automating tasks with APIs

  • Create custom scripts to automate repetitive tasks (e.g., creating VLANs, applying QoS settings)
  • Use webhooks to trigger automated actions in response to specific events

Use Cases

Small business networks

  • The MS120-8LP-HW is an excellent choice for small businesses that require a reliable and easy-to-manage Ethernet switch
  • Its cloud-based management and PoE capabilities make it an ideal fit for businesses with limited IT resources

Retail environments

  • The switch’s robust security features and VLAN support make it suitable for retail environments that need to segregate traffic and protect sensitive data
  • PoE support simplifies the deployment of PoE-enabled devices like IP cameras and access points

Educational institutions

  • The MS120-8LP-HW’s QoS features and scalability make it a solid option for schools and universities that need to prioritize bandwidth for critical applications
  • Its cloud-based management simplifies network administration for large campuses

Healthcare organizations

  • The switch’s security features and compliance capabilities make it a fitting choice for healthcare organizations that handle sensitive patient data
  • VLAN support and QoS settings help ensure reliable network performance for critical applications like electronic health records

Comparison to Similar Products

Comparison to other Meraki switches

  • The MS120-8LP-HW offers a balance of performance, features, and affordability compared to other switches in the Meraki lineup
  • Higher-end models like the MS250 series offer more advanced features and greater PoE power budgets, but at a higher price point

Comparison to non-Meraki switches

  • The MS120-8LP-HW’s cloud-based management and seamless integration with other Meraki products set it apart from non-Meraki switches
  • Non-Meraki switches may offer similar performance, but may lack the ease of use and centralized management provided by the Meraki Dashboard


Summary of key takeaways

  • The Cisco Meraki MS120-8LP-HW is a versatile, cloud-managed Ethernet switch suitable for various use cases and industries
  • Its key features include PoE support, VLAN and QoS settings, and robust security options
  • The Meraki Dashboard offers simplified management and monitoring, making it an ideal choice for businesses with limited IT resources

Final thoughts and recommendations

The MS120-8LP-HW switch is an excellent option for businesses seeking a reliable, feature-rich, and easy-to-manage Ethernet switch. Its cloud-based management, PoE capabilities, and robust security features make it a strong choice for businesses of all sizes and industries.


What is the MS120-8LP-HW switch?

The MS120-8LP-HW is a cloud-managed Layer 2 Ethernet switch from Cisco Meraki, featuring 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports with PoE support. It offers a range of features such as VLAN, QoS, and robust security options, all managed through the user-friendly Meraki Dashboard.

What are the benefits of using the MS120-8LP-HW switch?

The main benefits of using the MS120-8LP-HW switch include simplified management through the Meraki Dashboard, PoE capabilities, robust security features, and support for VLANs and QoS settings.

How do I set up the MS120-8LP-HW switch?

Setting up the MS120-8LP-HW switch involves registering the device with your Meraki Dashboard account, physically connecting it to power and devices, and configuring settings through the Meraki Dashboard.

What are the key features of the MS120-8LP-HW switch?

The key features of the MS120-8LP-HW switch include 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports with PoE support, Layer 2 switching capabilities, cloud-based management, Quality of Service (QoS) settings, and various security features.

How do I troubleshoot the MS120-8LP-HW switch?

Troubleshooting the MS120-8LP-HW switch can be done through the Meraki Dashboard’s built-in “Live tools,” such as packet capture and cable test, as well as viewing historical data on network usage, device status, and event logs.

How do I manage the MS120-8LP-HW switch?

Managing the MS120-8LP-HW switch is done through the Meraki Dashboard, which allows you to configure settings, monitor performance, set up alerts and notifications, and access various troubleshooting tools.

What are the best practices for using the MS120-8LP-HW switch?

Best practices for using the MS120-8LP-HW switch include creating separate VLANs for different types of traffic, enabling QoS to prioritize latency-sensitive traffic, and following proper security protocols.

What are the use cases for the MS120-8LP-HW switch?

The MS120-8LP-HW switch is suitable for various use cases, including small business networks, retail environments, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations.

How does the MS120-8LP-HW compare to other Cisco switches?

The MS120-8LP-HW offers a balance of performance, features, and affordability compared to other switches in the Meraki lineup. Higher-end models like the MS250 series offer more advanced features and greater PoE power budgets but at a higher price point.

How does the MS120-8LP-HW integrate with other Cisco Meraki products?

The MS120-8LP-HW switch seamlessly integrates with other Cisco Meraki products, such as access points and security appliances, through the Meraki Dashboard, providing a unified management platform for your entire network infrastructure.

What are the deployment scenarios for Cisco Meraki MS250-48LP-HW?

The MS250-48LP-HW is a larger, more advanced switch suitable for mid-sized to large businesses that require higher port density, advanced Layer 3 features, and a greater PoE power budget. It can be deployed in various scenarios, including large-scale networks, data centers, and high-density environments.

What are the licensing options for Cisco Meraki MS250-48LP-HW?

Cisco Meraki offers various licensing options for the MS250-48LP-HW switch, including 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10-year licenses. These licenses cover access to the Meraki Dashboard, software updates, and technical support.

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