Apple@Work: T-Mobile's Meraki rollout highlights missed opportunity for Apple

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Back at the end of January, T-Mobile made an announcement that caught the attention of our team. The company announced the “Connected Workplace”; to provide a complete business solution that includes high performance, Cisco Meraki devices, a cloud-managed network platform, 24/7 support and more. When I read this news, all I could think was that this was a huge missed opportunity for Apple in terms of hardware and services.

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers managed the enterprise IT network from 2009 to 2021. With his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, mobile device management, enterprise Wi-Fi, thousands of Macs, and thousands of iPads, Bradley will share how Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, tell stories from the trenches of IT management and ways Apple can improve its products for IT departments.

Let's take a look at what's going on here:

Here's what T-Mobile says about the new business -5G plan:

  • Unlimited business Internet across the country based on the most awarded 5G network in America.
  • Managed services including:
    • On-site design and installation included.
    • 5G gateway and Wi-Fi hotspot upgrades and software license renewals included.
    • 24×7 proactive monitoring of network performance and connected devices.
    • Unlimited same-day configuration changes.
    • 24/7 on-site hardware repair or replacement support.
  • Cisco Meraki cloud-managed network solutions including 5G gateways, access points, switches, IoT sensors and smart devices. cameras.
  • Cloud security based on the Cisco Meraki firewall.
  • Access to the Cisco Meraki dashboard for comprehensive cloud network management.

This is truly a fantastic tool for remote companies.

“Every time we introduce a new solution, we create it to solve critical business problems, simplify work and bring maximum value to our customers,” – he said. Mishka Degan, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Products and Solutions, T-Mobile Business Group. “With Connected Workplace, we combine best-in-class Cisco Meraki network technologies with our award-winning 5G network to make it easier for businesses to optimize their network infrastructure, ease IT burdens, and improve operations.”

One of the biggest challenges for IT teams supporting remote workers is dealing with a network environment over which you have no control. You'll get a notification that says, “Everything is slow on my Mac and Zoom is laggy when I'm filming a video.” These are nightmare tickets for help desk people. There are a million variables here. Let's say even the computer is working fine, so you determine that it is something on the network. Where to start troubleshooting the problem?

  • Is this their ISP?
  • Is this their Wi-Fi?
  • Is it something in the radio frequency environment?

How to proceed even if you determine that it is an RF/Wi-Fi/ISP problem? This is where Cisco and T-Mobile solutions come into play. Enterprises can deploy a Meraki firewall/hotspot for every employee connected to T-Mobile's 5G network. Business IT managers can then gain insight into the overall network environment of the users they support.

Where is Apple?

This solution from T-Mobile and Cisco highlights an area where I need to think Apple is missing an opportunity. “Once upon a time” Apple AirPort products were among the best solutions for home networks. Before simple products like Amazon eero, Apple was the most convenient solution on the market. Apple pulled out of the market at a time when users were starting to see the value in premium home networking equipment.

I challenge Apple to create a modern home Wi-Fi router that has the capabilities of traditional wired Internet, but also includes the ability use AT&T/Verizon/T-Mobile. Business IT leaders can enter into multiple agreements with different vendors to have options when Internet connectivity becomes an issue. I'm guessing this would work because someone could be using a traditional ISP with a backup 5G connection (or even a primary 5G connection). Users could sign into their Managed Apple ID on the device to create a business-only connection for business purposes only, while providing the IT team with reliable telemetry data to evaluate service quality.

Apple could benefit from selling the router in large quantities to IT teams, and then enter into revenue sharing agreements with cellular operators. This would be a win-win for Apple, cellular carriers, end users and IT teams.

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