CenturyLink Launches Cisco Meraki Network Management Solution For Partners, Business Customers

CenturyLink on Tuesday unveiled its Managed Enterprise solution that works with Cisco Meraki technology, making it possible for CenturyLink partners and customers to monitor and manage Cisco Meraki-powered networks.

The new offering gives CenturyLink partners who aren't Cisco-certified shops today, access to Cisco Meraki technology. "That's a good thing because it allows smaller IT shops like us to leverage [CenturyLink's] resources to manage customers outside of our managed services footprint," said Shane Stark, director of vendor and channel relations for Carrier Access, a CenturyLink Premier Partner.

The latest cloud-based solution pairs CenturyLink's networking, connectivity, and managed services expertise with the sought-after Cisco Meraki portfolio, which includes wireless and network switching hardware, as well as SD-WAN and analytics, according to CenturyLink. Multi-site businesses or their partners can use the offering to deploy and monitor Wi-Fi networks, security, wireless, voice systems, video surveillance and SD-WAN services, through a single interface.

[Related: CenturyLink Has Sold Its Data Centers, But Still Offers Cloud And Co-Location Services With The Help Of Partners]

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The Monroe, La.-based carrier said that the offering is immediately available through CenturyLink Channel Alliance Partners.

Managed Enterprise with Cisco Meraki can integrate with other CenturyLink offerings, including Managed Office, Fiber+, and the carrier's customer engagement product, Location-Based Analytics.

CenturyLink said that the managed solution comes with monthly per-device, subscription-based pricing. Customers can select their gear upon ordering, or when needed, like in the case of opening another remote location or branch office. The offering lets customers limit the number of devices on-site, according to the carrier.

"Service providers [are] continuing to advance beyond the telco point of demarcation to provide additional value and gain a greater share of wallet," said John Hudson, director of service provider solutions for Lumenate, an IT consulting firm and CenturyLink and Cisco partner.

"The VAR and MSP and carrier worlds are colliding, so it’s critical we are listening intently to our customers and focusing on measurable outcomes rather than a product sale," Hudson said.

Carrier Access' Stark said CenturyLink should next bundle its Managed Enterprise solution with its other services, such as high-speed internet, to make it a more attractive sell for partners, who could earn recurring revenue on the management piece. Such an offering would be attractive for business customers who want to offload network management.

"For example, at the retail level, they could offer internet [access] and, for an extra $20 a month, managed Wi-Fi," Stark said. "That would make it an interesting play."