Last week, we released a new Systems Manager feature called Backpack. Organizations that manage mobile devices not only need to enforce security, deploy network settings, and track inventory — they also need to manage content on those devices.
Backpack lets you push content to your mobile devices and keep it up to date. Content can include PDF files, Office docs, images, or text-based files. Configuration in Systems Manager is quite straightforward:
Select a name for the file — this will be used as the description
Enter the URL where the file is hosted. This should be accessible to your devices (if you’re using an app like Dropbox, be sure to share the content and use that URL).
Let Systems Manager automatically detect the file type, or you can optionally specify it.
Optionally, let Systems Manager keep the content up to date on the device
Once you’re done, you’ll have something like this:
Backpack configuration in Systems Manager
That’s it! If your managed devices are online, they’ll receive the content shortly after you click the save button. If not, they’ll receive the content after they come back online. The content will appear in the device’s Backpack, in the Systems Manager app. Here’s a look at Backpack on a Nexus 7.
Backpack content on Nexus 7
Note: Backpack is available now for Android devices. iOS support is coming.
The 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival brought hundreds of artists and thousands of jazz lovers to the Monterey Fairgrounds this past weekend, and Meraki, together with our partners at Alvarez Technology Group, was there with for every single show. It’s always great to partner with events like this because we make it easy to deliver fast and reliable WiFi so they can focus on delivering a great show. And that’s exactly what they did—see for yourself in our shots from the weekend:
Meraki takes the headache out of providing wireless networks for events. If you’re planning an event and want to offer WiFi for your guests, contact us to learn about our solutions.
In this latest video demonstration, our VP of Marketing Kiren Sekar demonstrates Meraki’s Dashboard and features available to manage enterprise networks. Let us know if you’d like to see anything else!
In the third video from our series of customer visits to Meraki HQ, we sit down with Anthony Jackson, Director of IT at Safety-Kleen, manufacturer and distributor of industrial supplies focused on minimizing waste and environmental footprint. Anthony uses Meraki solutions to simplify and manage the challenges associated with the influx of mobile devices on his network.
Thanks to all the Systems Manager customers that have been using it to manage their devices, and to everyone who has given us their feedback on what they’d like to see in the product. Today, we’re proud to release an exciting update to Systems Manager. This release is jam-packed with new features, including:
Backpack: content management
Network access control
Simplified device enrollment via apps
Improved location accuracy
We’re super excited to release Android support! Systems Manager now supports Android from version 2.2 and up (Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean) and enables the complete visibility and control that helps you manage all of your Android devices. Whether you’re looking to Android for your entire device deployment, or if you have a mix of Android with iOS, PCs, and Macs, you can now manage all of them using Systems Manager.
Android device details
Backpack: Content delivery and management
A new feature called Backpack lets you deliver and manage documents, images, apps, and other files on Android devices. Bundle documents and files into a virtual backpack and send them over the air to any number of devices, right from the dashboard. Built-in file synchronization keeps the content on the device up-to-date with the latest version in the administrator’s backpack.
Security is one of the most important aspects of mobile device management, and we’ve greatly expanded our enterprise security features for devices to include configuration and deployment of wireless network settings (including WPA2-Enterprise), digital certificates, and client VPN settings.
New privacy settings limit the information reported in the dashboard about sensitive devices. Use simple checkboxes to disable device location services or the reporting of wireless networks to which a device connects (available in Q4).
Network access control
We’ve continued to integrate Systems Manager with our network infrastructure. Administrators using Meraki wireless APs can prohibit access to devices not currently enrolled in Systems Manager, ensuring unmanaged devices are forced to install Systems Manager before being allowed on the network. By enforcing the device management at the network edge, administrators also have an additional, scalable way to enroll large numbers of devices. This enhancement will be available through an upgrade in Q4 2012.
Simplified enrollment with Systems Manager apps
Enroll iOS and Android devices to Systems Manager by downloading the Systems Manager app from Google Play and Amazon Appstore for Android. The iOS app will be available from the Apple App Store in Q4 2012.
Improved location accuracy
Systems Manager provides enhanced iOS and Android device location information. Systems Manager gathers available information from the device’s WiFi connection, IP address, and/or GPS to provide device location that is as accurate as possible (GPS-level accuracy requires the Android app).
Street-level device location
Systems Manager is free for any organizations and to get started, just fill out a short form on our signup page. You’ll then be redirected to your new Systems Manager network, and you’ll immediately be able to start adding managed devices. All the new Systems Manager features are available at no cost to all current System Manager users. Stay tuned to the blog for more information about our new features!
Last Thursday, Meraki hosted a part of Wireless Field Day 3 at our San Francisco headquarters, and we had a fantastic time meeting the delegates, engaging in discussions about networking, and welcoming the delegates into our office. Those of you who missed the event and weren’t able to tune in for the live feed can find the video clips archived online, thanks to the superb filming and production work of the Wireless Field Day video crew.
Meraki Overview with Sanjit Biswas
Ben Calderon discusses Meraki’s hardware engineering
Kiren Sekar discusses product development and wireless features
Pablo Estrada and Todd Nightingale demo large customer deployments
Once again, we really enjoyed meeting the delegates in person. Thanks to all who came and those who tuned in online and participated on Twitter. Until next time, delegates!
After months of rumors, leaks, and speculation, Apple’s product announcements today were impossible to miss. The clear star of the show was the iPhone 5 with its bigger screen, LTE, and upgraded camera. If you’ve been following the hype as closely as we were, not much of this was a surprise, but we did find one upgrade particularly interesting: dual-band 802.11n WiFi.
While we aren’t sure what chip the iPhone 5 is going to use, current speculation is that it’s a new version of the venerable Broadcom BCM4330.The 5GHz capability means faster speed connections, but it also brings a few more benefits for your wireless network and the other devices connected to it. First, the 5 GHz band is less crowded than 2.4 GHz. A lot of other devices like cordless phones and microwaves use the lower band and create interference that gets in the way of WiFi signals. On top of that, the 2.4 GHz band has only three channels that don’t overlap with each other. The 5 GHz band is much roomier with many more available channels and less interference. Overall, 5 GHz WiFi means faster speeds on a much more stable connection. As device density increases, 5 GHz capability will lead to much a more efficient network that can pack more users onto a finite number of radio channels.
The 2.4 GHz band does beat 5 GHz, however, when it comes to distance. The lower frequency band is able to transmit over much longer distances, but you might start to notice the range limitation of 5 GHz just by moving from one room to the next. That’s why the ability to use both bands is so important: that flexibility can select the right band to maintain the best connection under different circumstances.
Meraki wireless APs have cloud-based channel optimization to optimize channel assignment. Until now, the iPhone had no choice but to use the 2.4 GHz band, but its latest iteration is now equipped to take advantage of the flexible technology in the access points it conects to.
According to Apple, the iPhone 5 will deliver a much faster browsing experience than its predecessors, but it will also make use of more of the available spectrum and avoid crowding bands for other wireless devices. If you need an excuse to make the upgrade, don’t do it for yourself. Do it for the greater good of everyone else on your network.
Wireless Field Day 3 is about to start, and we’re really excited to once again take part in this event by hosting a session at Meraki’s San Francisco headquarters on Thursday, January 26 at 4PM Pacific Time. We’re looking forward to another lively and interactive session with some of the thought leaders of the wireless networking industry. Most importantly, we can’t wait to meet the new delegates that were selected for this year’s Wireless Field Day, and say hello to our friends from WFD2:
There are several ways you can join in online. Follow @TechFieldDay and @meraki for updates, and use the hashtag #WFD3 to participate on Twitter. We’ll also be showing the live video stream of the event right here on our blog. We look forward to meeting everyone, both in person and online!