Archive for August, 2011

The Sleekest Rugged APs You’ve Ever Seen

It’s been a busy summer at Meraki, and today we’re excited to announce two new outdoor APs – the MR62 and MR66. They bring Meraki’s leading security, performance, and management to harsh outdoor and industrial indoor wireless networks. They’re rugged (IP67 rated) and sleek at the same time. See for yourself:

MR66 Cloud Managed AP

MR66 Cloud Managed AP

The MR66 includes dual-band, dual-concurrent radios, with speeds up to 600 Mbps for high performance in the most demanding environments. The single-radio MR62, with speeds up to 300 Mbps, is designed for value-oriented outdoor WLANs. They both have all the enterprise class features required for modern wireless networks, including:

  • Layer 7 application traffic shaping
  • Client fingerprinting
  • Stateful firewall
  • NAC
  • Band steering (for the MR66)
  • Auto RF
  • Mesh networking

The APs are designed to be deployed in harsh outdoor conditions and are able to survive temperature and precipitation extremes. They’re also ideal for harsh indoor environments, such as industrial and manufacturing applications, where dust or high particle content may be problematic. They weatherproof, dustproof, and powered by PoE 802.3af.

MR66 rear view

MR66 rear view

The new models won’t break the bank, either — the MR62 lists at $699 and the MR66 lists at $1299 and they’re available for order immediately. Our comparison table shows the Meraki outdoor AP specs side by side. Want to get your hands on one? Sign up online for a free evaluation.

5 Apps That Hog Bandwidth on Your Network

Does your wireless connection ever feel slow and sluggish? Below are five popular applications that can consume quite a bit of bandwidth. Don’t let them bog down your network!

  • Skype and VoIP / video conferencing
  • Dropbox and online backup
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pandora

Using Meraki’s built-in application visibility makes it easy to see which apps consume the most bandwidth. A look over the past month at the application categories running on Meraki’s network reveals the top three – VoIP and video conferencing, online backup, and email – and the applications that consume the most bandwidth of each of those categories. Figure 1 shows the summary.

Figure 1: Application traffic by category

Figure 1: Application traffic by category

Checking the 5 apps listed above reveals how much bandwidth each uses on the wireless network:

  • Skype and VoIP / video conferencing – 14%
  • Dropbox and online backup – 11%
  • Facebook – 0.8% (all social web adds up to 1.1%)
  • YouTube – 3.0% (all online video adds up to 8.9%)
  • Pandora 2.5% (music apps add up to 6.7%)

A deeper dive into the online backup category shows that Dropbox is the most popular online backup application, and within that, the dashboard shows the top client devices that contribute to Dropbox usage. This was eye opening – my laptop is #2 on the list in figure 2, consuming just over 32% of all the wireless network’s Dropbox usage.

Figure 2: Application details - Dropbox

Figure 2: Application details - Dropbox

Another application consuming large amounts of bandwidth is Windows file sharing. Like many organizations, Meraki uses some file servers that store and allow sharing of files. Note here that the client consuming the most Windows file sharing bandwidth uses 38% of all the Windows file sharing activity.

What should be done if these categories are out of line with expectations or business needs? The answer is simple – use application traffic shaping to throttle undesired applications by enforcing traffic policies at the network edge (at the AP). For example, figure 4 below shows how one rule can govern peer-to-peer and online backup applications, and another rule lets VoIP and video conferencing flow freely across the wireless network.

Figure 3: Traffic shaping rules

Figure 3: Traffic shaping rules

Have you looked at your wireless network recently to see what applications are using the most bandwidth? We’d love it if you share with us a little about the most popular applications on your network.

Swing into Security with the Two-Factor Two-Step

We recently introduced two-factor authentication for Meraki dashboard accounts. Administrators can add an extra layer of account security to their networks by requiring more than just a password to log in. Users continue to enter their regular username and password credentials to the dashboard login page, and then are required to enter a verification code which is sent to the user’s mobile phone via SMS. It’s secure, available at no charge for all Enterprise accounts, and setting it up is as easy as 1-2-3.

Using two-factor authentication ensures account security even in case someone writes down a password and leaves it visible to others. This is especially useful for larger organizations that have multiple network administrators.

Organization administrators can require two-factor authentication for their network administrators simply by checking a box in the organization settings page.

Force users to use two-fact authentication

Figure 1: Force users to use two-fact authentication

Users add their mobile phone number through the SMS setup page, found via the my profile page.

Setup two-factor authentication

Figure 2: Setup two-factor authentication

After enabling the two-factor authentication requirement, users logging in will be sent a verification code via text message, and will be required to enter it after entering their username and password credentials into the Meraki dashboard log in page. Logging in is straightforward:

1. Enter Meraki dashboard username and password

Dashboard login

Figure 3: Dashboard login

2. Receive SMS with verification code

Incoming SMS

Figure 4: Incoming SMS

3. Enter verification code into dashboard

Enter verification code

Figure 5: Enter verification code

That’s it! This provides another layer of protection for the dashboard account. After entering the verification code the user is sent to the dashboard page for his or her network.

We’ve also added some more account security features, including password strengthening and re-use policies, and account timeouts and lockouts (see figure 1). More information about security and reliability information of Meraki’s cloud services can be found at meraki.com/trust.