Archive for February, 2010

7 years after RoofNet, MIT and CSAIL choose Meraki for wireless LAN

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Starting in 2003, I led the RoofNet project with Sanjit Biswas, Dan Aguayo and Prof. Robert Morris at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, MA.  We spent a huge amount of our time in the lab building prototypes, deploying networks ourselves, and working on technology to make wireless more reliable, accessible, and simpler. This work and technology served as the catalyst for Meraki’s formation, and 7 years later we’re proud to have the technology and product deployed across tens of thousands of networks and be the backbone of a company with incredible momentum.

Because CSAIL is the birthplace of Meraki and MIT is the alma mater of myself and Meraki’s two other co-founders, we have always felt a special connection to the university.

The future of networking is in wireless – it’s a requirement in the workplace and something everyone needs to be effective. Given this fact, and our strong ties to the MIT community, you can imagine our excitement in sharing that today, MIT’s CSAIL is now officially a customer of Meraki.  CSAIL made the decision to switch from its primary networking vendor, a well-known provider, because of a growing number of complaints about reliability, performance and manageability. MIT will deploy 80 Meraki MR14 access points to improve reliability and performance throughout the building for more than 800 faculty, staff, and students.

We are incredibly pleased to have partnered with MIT and CSAIL on this project, and look forward to supporting their initiatives with Meraki.

Starting in 2003, I led the RoofNet project with Sanjit Biswas, Dan
Aguayo and Prof. Robert Morris at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology’s (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence
Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, MA.  We spent a huge amount of our time in
the lab building prototypes, deploying networks ourselves, and working on
technology to make wireless more reliable, accessible, and simpler.
This work and technology served as the catalyst for Meraki’s
formation, and 7 years later we’re proud to have the technology and
product deployed across tens of thousands of networks and be the
backbone of a company with incredible momentum.
Because CSAIL is the birthplace of Meraki and MIT is the alma mater of
myself and Meraki’s two other co-founders, we have always felt a
special connection to the university.
The future of networking is in wireless – it’s a requirement in the
workplace and something everyone needs to be effective. Given this fact,
and our strong ties to the MIT community, you can imagine our
excitement in sharing that today, MIT’s CSAIL is now officially a
customer of Meraki.  CSAIL made the decision to switch from its
primary networking vendor, a well-known provider, because of a growing
number of complaints about reliability, performance and manageability.
MIT will deploy 80 Meraki MR14 access points to improve reliability
and performance throughout the building for more than 800 faculty,
staff, and students.
We are incredibly pleased to have partnered with MIT and CSAIL on this
project, and look forward to supporting their initiatives with Meraki.

– Posted by John Bicket

Presenting the Meraki WiFi Stumbler, a new free tool for troubleshooting, optimizing and planning wireless deployments

Note: This post has been archived for historical purposes and no longer contains accurate information about our current products. If you would like to learn more about Cisco Meraki and our cloud-managed IT solutions, including wireless APs, switches, security appliances, security cameras, and unified endpoint management, please check out the Meraki products page.


Update: the Cisco Meraki WiFi Stumbler is now available only for Android devices. Find it on Google Play.

Today we are very excited to announce the release of a new free tool for the IT community: the Meraki WiFi Stumbler, the first browser-based wireless scanner.  WiFi Stumbler provides detailed, real-time and continuously updated information about nearby wireless networks (even those with hidden SSIDs), including the type of access point, MAC address, wireless channel, signal strength, encryption type and more.  It also features built-in search, sorting and filtering capabilities to make it easy to quickly find the data that you need when in the field troubleshooting networks.

So what is cool about the fact that it runs in a browser?  This means that there is no need to download and install software, making it a very convenient tool that can you can quickly have up and running whenever you need it.  WiFi Stumbler will run in most browsers on either a PC or a Mac, and it can even be used when you are not connected to the Internet if your browser supports HTML5 offline mode (currently only Firefox 3.5, but Safari and Chrome support should follow soon as well).

You can use WiFi Stumbler to optimize coverage and performance of existing networks, troubleshoot wireless performance issues, find rogue APs and perform basic site surveys when planning deployments.

The Stumbler web page has the same clean, intuitive feel as the Meraki Dashboard that our customers have come to expect from our products.  Here is a screenshot:

Stumbler screen shot

We will be adding new features and functionality to Stumbler on an ongoing basis – these features will be available to all users as soon as they are released.  And since the tool is browser-based, there is no need to download and install the latest version of software, or add patches or software updates to get these features.  Just reload the tool in your browser and the updates will “magically” appear.

Check out http://meraki.com/tools/stumbler for more details and to try it out.  WiFi Stumbler is still in beta release, so if you find any bugs or have any suggestions for new features please let us know using the Wish box in the tool.

We hope you find this to be a useful addition to your toolkit!

-Posted by Greg Williams

Try out Meraki for free, instantly, with the new Meraki Network Simulator

We’re happy to share that we’ve launched the Meraki Network Simulator: a free demo version of the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller that allows you to try out all of our web-based tools without purchasing or setting up physical access points.  For a long time, we’ve wanted to enable potential customers to test out the Meraki Dashboard without physical hardware.  The Meraki Cloud Controller is the most unique piece of our wireless LAN offering, providing simple centralized management to network administrators any time and any place over the web.  You really have to experience it personally to understand why it’s such a revolutionary way to manage your network.

The Meraki Network Simulator contains several sample networks that allow you to see how Meraki could work for you.  We’ve even populated the Cloud Controller with real-life data that we’ve captured and anonymized, so you can get a realistic picture of how the Meraki Dashboard looks on a live network.  Here’s a taste of what you can do with the simulator:
Test-drive the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller for free, without purchasing hardware
Experience the complete Cloud Controller configuration UI
Test-drive Meraki’s network monitoring features
Try out sample networks for office, university, and conference use cases
Create your own blank network simulation and set it up from scratch, configuring simulated access points

We’re happy to share that we’ve launched the Meraki Network Simulator: a free demo version of the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller that allows you to try out all of our web-based tools without purchasing or setting up physical access points.  For a long time, we’ve wanted to enable potential customers to test out the Meraki Dashboard without physical hardware.  The Meraki Cloud Controller is the most unique piece of our wireless LAN offering, providing simple centralized management to network administrators any time and any place over the web.  You really have to experience it personally to understand why it’s such a revolutionary way to manage your network.

The Meraki Network Simulator contains several sample networks that allow you to see how Meraki could work for you.  We’ve even populated the Cloud Controller with real-life data that we’ve captured and anonymized, so you can get a realistic picture of how the Meraki Dashboard looks on a live network.  Here’s a taste of what you can do with the simulator:

  • Test-drive the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller for free, without purchasing hardware
  • Experience the complete Cloud Controller configuration UI

Network_Overview_640x360_1

  • Test-drive Meraki’s network monitoring features

Network_Overview_640x360_2

  • Try out sample networks for office, university, and conference use cases

Network_Overview_640x360_3

  • Create your own blank network simulation and set it up from scratch, configuring simulated access points

Try it out and let us know what you think!

– Marie Williams

Who’s my neighbor? How to better understand your mesh in Dashboard

When you’re investigating mesh wireless issues, it’s important to know which mesh neighbors are seen by each access point (AP).  Here is a quick tutorial of how to best utilize the built-in features in Dashboard that allow you to check out who is talking to whom in the mesh and what the quality of the links are:

1. In the Dashboard, go to Monitor -> Access points.
2. Click an AP in the list.

3. Scroll down to the section Neighbors. (See screen shot below).

1-12-2010 5-20-22 PM_Neighbors
The Neighbors section reveals the mesh APs seen by the AP you’re currently looking at. Using the example above, the AP is directly communicating with four mesh neighbors: Outdoor, Indoor, MR14, and MR58. The other columns in the table provide useful information for troubleshooting wireless problems:

Dist (m)
Shows the distance from the AP to each neighbor in meters (Make sure to place the APs on the map accurately in order for these distances to be meaningful).

Radio
Describes which radio (if neighbor is a multi-radio device) of the neighbor is communicating with the AP.

Signal (dB)
Measures the received signal strength indication (RSSI) of the RF signal from the neighbor. This measurement correlates to a value in decibels (dB). For example, an RSSI of 10 is considered a very weak signal. To improve the signal: move APs closer to each other; create a better line-of-sight; consider using a more powerful antenna; eliminate RF interference; or try a different RF channel.

Fwd
Reports the percentage of packets successfully delivered from the AP to its neighbor. For example, 75% means that 3 out of every 4 packets made it to the neighbor from the AP; in other words, there’s 25% loss.  Good quality links typically will show no more than 10-15% packet loss.

Rev
Reports the percentage of packets successfully delivered from the neighbor to the AP. Good quality links will typically have no more than 10-15% packet loss.
If you don’t see a particular mesh AP in the list, that means the AP you’re looking at can’t see it. If it could, that mesh AP would be present in the Neighbors list.

Can you think of other information you’d like to see reported in the Dashboard? Let us know by entering your feedback in the “make a wish” field.

-Posted by Ahmed Akhtar

Who's my neighbor? How to better understand your mesh in Dashboard

When you’re investigating mesh wireless issues, it’s important to know which mesh neighbors are seen by each access point (AP).  Here is a quick tutorial of how to best utilize the built-in features in Dashboard that allow you to check out who is talking to whom in the mesh and what the quality of the links are:

1. In the Dashboard, go to Monitor -> Access points.
2. Click an AP in the list.

3. Scroll down to the section Neighbors. (See screen shot below).

1-12-2010 5-20-22 PM_Neighbors
The Neighbors section reveals the mesh APs seen by the AP you’re currently looking at. Using the example above, the AP is directly communicating with four mesh neighbors: Outdoor, Indoor, MR14, and MR58. The other columns in the table provide useful information for troubleshooting wireless problems:

Dist (m)
Shows the distance from the AP to each neighbor in meters (Make sure to place the APs on the map accurately in order for these distances to be meaningful).

Radio
Describes which radio (if neighbor is a multi-radio device) of the neighbor is communicating with the AP.

Signal (dB)
Measures the received signal strength indication (RSSI) of the RF signal from the neighbor. This measurement correlates to a value in decibels (dB). For example, an RSSI of 10 is considered a very weak signal. To improve the signal: move APs closer to each other; create a better line-of-sight; consider using a more powerful antenna; eliminate RF interference; or try a different RF channel.

Fwd
Reports the percentage of packets successfully delivered from the AP to its neighbor. For example, 75% means that 3 out of every 4 packets made it to the neighbor from the AP; in other words, there’s 25% loss.  Good quality links typically will show no more than 10-15% packet loss.

Rev
Reports the percentage of packets successfully delivered from the neighbor to the AP. Good quality links will typically have no more than 10-15% packet loss.
If you don’t see a particular mesh AP in the list, that means the AP you’re looking at can’t see it. If it could, that mesh AP would be present in the Neighbors list.

Can you think of other information you’d like to see reported in the Dashboard? Let us know by entering your feedback in the “make a wish” field.

-Posted by Ahmed Akhtar

“More Responsive than a Sports Car”

Our engineers are pretty busy and pretty humble, so a lot of what they do flies below the radar.
I’ve worked closely with rockstar engineers from Google, Apple, and the like, but the way our folks
operate blows my mind.

As those of you who use our product know, we have a “Make a Wish” widget at the bottom of every page in our app.
This lets users provide product feedback quickly and easily, which goes straight to our engineering and PM teams.

Below is a recent message received through Make a Wish, and the response from engineering. Take a close look at the timestamps.

On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 8:42 AM, [email protected] wrote:

wish: I wish this page would…not make selection changes without actually clicking on a radio button. Clicking on
white space next the text portion of a selection shouldn’t change options on a configuration page. It’s kind of scary,
and makes me review every option before saving changes.
page: https://dashboard.meraki.com/xxxx/manage/configure/access_control

From: Brian Tobin [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:06 PM
To: Mitch Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Re: A wish to Meraki from Mitch

Hi Mitch. My name is Brian and I’m an engineer at Meraki. Thanks for your wish. Our UI team met and we agree with your suggestion. If you refresh the page you’ll notice that the options will only change if you click the radio button or
the text directly adjacent to the radio button. It is no longer the case that clicking on whitespace near the button
will select that option.

Thanks for your feedback and thanks for being a Meraki customer!

Brian

From: Mitch XXXX [[email protected]]
Date: Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 2:08 PM
Subject: RE: A wish to Meraki from Mitch
To: Brian Tobin [[email protected]]
Cc: “[email protected]” [[email protected]]

Thanks! You guys are more responsive than a sports car!

Mitch

A lot of the improvements our engineers make to the product happen without press releases, parties, and fanfare, so I wanted to shed some light on the kind of improvements that happen every day. Exchanges like this also reveal how helpful our customers are. The product wouldn’t be what it is without their feedback.

Lastly, it would be impossible to move this quickly while maintaining the reliability that our enterprise customers
expect without the big investment that our engineers have made in robust automated testing systems. This takes a lot of time and dicipline. While this work goes unseen outside of Meraki, the constant stream of new features and improvements, year after year, would be impossible without it.

Hats off!

"More Responsive than a Sports Car"

Our engineers are pretty busy and pretty humble, so a lot of what they do flies below the radar.
I’ve worked closely with rockstar engineers from Google, Apple, and the like, but the way our folks
operate blows my mind.

As those of you who use our product know, we have a “Make a Wish” widget at the bottom of every page in our app.
This lets users provide product feedback quickly and easily, which goes straight to our engineering and PM teams.

Below is a recent message received through Make a Wish, and the response from engineering. Take a close look at the timestamps.

On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 8:42 AM, [email protected] wrote:

wish: I wish this page would…not make selection changes without actually clicking on a radio button. Clicking on
white space next the text portion of a selection shouldn’t change options on a configuration page. It’s kind of scary,
and makes me review every option before saving changes.
page: https://dashboard.meraki.com/xxxx/manage/configure/access_control

From: Brian Tobin [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 2:06 PM
To: Mitch Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Re: A wish to Meraki from Mitch

Hi Mitch. My name is Brian and I’m an engineer at Meraki. Thanks for your wish. Our UI team met and we agree with your suggestion. If you refresh the page you’ll notice that the options will only change if you click the radio button or
the text directly adjacent to the radio button. It is no longer the case that clicking on whitespace near the button
will select that option.

Thanks for your feedback and thanks for being a Meraki customer!

Brian

From: Mitch XXXX [[email protected]]
Date: Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 2:08 PM
Subject: RE: A wish to Meraki from Mitch
To: Brian Tobin [[email protected]]
Cc: “[email protected]” [[email protected]]

Thanks! You guys are more responsive than a sports car!

Mitch

A lot of the improvements our engineers make to the product happen without press releases, parties, and fanfare, so I wanted to shed some light on the kind of improvements that happen every day. Exchanges like this also reveal how helpful our customers are. The product wouldn’t be what it is without their feedback.

Lastly, it would be impossible to move this quickly while maintaining the reliability that our enterprise customers
expect without the big investment that our engineers have made in robust automated testing systems. This takes a lot of time and dicipline. While this work goes unseen outside of Meraki, the constant stream of new features and improvements, year after year, would be impossible without it.

Hats off!

We’ve upgraded all Standard networks to Pro

Last week we upgraded all Standard networks to Pro at no charge. We did this because we were no longer selling and improving the Standard product and wanted to provide our established Standard customers with the best and most up-to-date features Meraki has to offer.
This upgrade means Standard network operators will have the exact same features as Pro, including billing features, captive portal control, and our recently expanded Pro features such as splash pages and encryption on both SSIDs.
We everyone enjoys the new features!

Last week we upgraded all Standard networks to Pro at no charge. We thought we could provide the best service to our Standard customers by consolidating Standard and Pro to offer the same feature set.

This upgrade means Standard network operators will have the exact same features as Pro, including captive portal control, and our recently expanded Pro features such as splash pages and encryption on both SSIDs.

We hope everyone enjoys the new features!