As a Cisco Meraki customer, you already know how cloud managed IT can simplify your wired networking, but that’s only part of the story. Read on to learn how you can get more value out of the Meraki platform by extending the benefits of cloud management to wireless.
Extend the detailed network visibility of the Cisco Meraki dashboard down into your wireless LAN
Traditional IT management systems have taught us to think of the different layers as different solutions — wireless is separate from switching, which is separate from security, and so on. In reality, however, these layers of IT are really components of the same solution: the network, which at its core is a delivery vehicle for content and services. Combining analytics data from wireless access points and wired network infrastructure provides a holistic view of client and traffic activity across the network, regardless of whether the devices involved are connected wirelessly or via an ethernet cable.
This not only offers a clearer picture of activity and usage, it also makes it much easier to troubleshoot potential issues. With the network topology feature included in Meraki MS switches, tracing a client’s path to the internet or a local service is easy. Administrators can drill down into any Cisco Meraki device along the path in order to view traffic flow data, retrieve interface statistics, run cable tests, or even take a packet capture — all without ever leaving the dashboard interface.
Control more than just the wired network
It’s always important to police what goes in and out of your network, but with BYOD and guest wireless becoming increasingly common, it’s just as important to control what’s occurring within the network. Cisco Meraki access points have several built-in traffic control features, such as an application aware firewall, bandwidth shaping engine, and QoS capabilities. These features make it easy to manage what users are able to do with the wireless network and ensure that a few users or applications aren’t compromising your security or consuming all of your bandwidth.
By applying these policies at the wireless layer rather than at the perimeter, organizations are able to address issues that might otherwise be difficult to detect. This might include a user accessing internal applications from an unsecured device, or affecting the wireless experience of other users on the same access point by running multiple bandwidth hungry (and non-business critical) applications.
Easily configure robust WiFi
High quality wireless connectivity is the bedrock of most modern network operations, whether it’s to ensure that employees are able to be productive or to ensure that guests have a positive on-site experience. That’s why Cisco Meraki access points are designed to make seamless, reliable connectivity easily achievable without compromising security.
In addition to the considerable deployment and monitoring benefits of the cloud managed IT model, our access points also have auto RF functionality to improve performance in high interference environments. RF troubleshooting is also made easier by RF spectrum monitoring in the dashboard and the new wireless troubleshooting pane available for all access points, which combines several different types of RF data to provide an all-in-one view to help troubleshoot wireless connectivity or environment issues.
A prebuilt SSID mode automatically segments clients from the core network and isolates them from each other, removing many of the headaches of a traditional guest wireless deployment. Without the ability to communicate with other guests, and with no need for devices to communicate with a DHCP server or even be on one of your wired VLANs, it’s easy to protect your infrastructure and your guests from anyone with malicious intent. All of this is accomplished by simply selecting “NAT mode” for the guest SSID. Wireless intrusion prevention (WIPS) features prevent anyone from spoofing your access points or your SSIDs, or even from plugging in an unauthorized wireless access point in your network.
These capabilities are improved by our three-radio hardware design, which allows for one radio to be constantly scanning for RF and WIPS events while the other two serve clients full time.
Take advantage of continued product evolution and rich APIs
One of the greatest benefits of a cloud-enabled platform is that it continues to evolve to meet the needs of its users. With Cisco Meraki, both the products and the cloud management dashboard are updated constantly to add more value for new and existing users. The addition of such developments as physically stackable switches, wall plate and multigigabit access points, built in SD-WAN capabilities on the MX Security Appliance, and wireless location analytics with integrated bluetooth low energy beacons have drastically increased the reach of Meraki solutions by allowing IT organizations to deploy them in an increasingly wide array of environments.
We’ve also invested heavily in our APIs to make the solution even more flexible. With technology becoming increasingly central to many of our customers’ day-to-day operations, IT infrastructure has become the foundation of an array of services tailored specifically to their needs. Provisioning, analytics, and monitoring APIs provide customers with a simple way to bring those services to bear, whether they are developed in-house or offered by a partner.
Want to try out these capabilities and see how Cisco Meraki can simplify your networking needs? Begin an evaluation to try any Meraki product for yourself!