Archive for December, 2012

2012 Year in Review

While there’s still some time left in December, here’s my entry for understatement of the year: 2012 was a big one for Meraki. The introduction of the MS family started us off with a bang, and joining the Cisco family will catapult us into 2013 and beyond. Before we wind down for the holidays and wind back up for the new year, let’s take a look back at some of the milestones for Meraki in 2012.

 

The MS line of cloud managed switches

We kicked off the year by launching the industry’s first cloud managed switches and announcing a considerable expansion to the MX line of security appliances.

January wrapped up with Wireless Field Day 2. Who could forget that moustache?

In March, we made Systems Manager a free product, providing simple and powerful mobile device management at a price any organization can afford.

At the start of summer, we unveiled a new, sleeker look for the dashboard

In the spirit of summer vacation, we made the trip down to sunny San Diego to participate in ISTE 2012. One of our biggest events of the year and, as always, a lot of fun.

CMNA Training

Next we launched the CMNA training program, giving partners hands-on training in locations across the country and the globe.

Later in the summer, CRN magazine named Meraki one of the Coolest Emerging Vendors of 2012.

As fall came around, we geared up for Wireless Field Day 3, hosting the who’s who of WiFi in our San Francisco office.

Just a few months after making Systems Manager free, we announced a major update including Android compatibility.

The MX60W

We kept the ball rolling with the introduction of two brand new wired/wireless products: the MX60W and the Z1

Next we hopped across the Atlantic for IP EXPO 2012 in London. Another huge event, and another smashing success!

Our Halloween was definitely more treat than trick. We started the Startup Kit program to provide free networking gear to up-and-coming startups.

Every zombie loves Thriller!

Meraki’s second best Halloween treat would have to be the zombie flashmob at our company party!

Finally, Meraki joining the Cisco family was certainly the biggest news of the year—we couldn’t let 2012 just fade quietly into 2013 now could we?

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Meraki shows its spirit

This year, Meraki celebrated the holidays by kicking off a new tradition: Spirit Week! Each day in the week leading up to our annual holiday party had a different theme, and we awarded prizes for whoever showed the most spirit. There were crazy hats, full-denim outfits, and all kinds of festive holiday apparel. Here’s a sample of some of the fun—head over to our Facebook page to see the full albums.

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Startup Kit State of the Union

To tide you over for the holidays, here’s a quick update on where we are with our #StartupKits.

To date, we’ve hand-delivered or shipped 19 Startup Kits to companies all over North America.

The feedback has been amazingly positive from the recipient companies. We’ve saved companies that were trying to function off a single AirPort Express. We’ve offered an easy solution to companies with lackluster internet connections that were affecting employee productivity. We’re reached companies who have lovely new office spaces but no networking equipment to furnish it. Some companies have heard of Meraki since the early MIT days, while (many) others were exposed to Meraki through TechCrunch.

We still have many more companies poised to receive Meraki gear, but the lucky companies to receive their Startup Kit so far are listed below (in no particular order):

In the coming weeks, we will delve into these companies to highlight their particular networking needs and how their Meraki Startup Kit arrived at the perfect time. It’s been extremely rewarding to connect with so many talented and promising startups. We’re excited to reach more and more folks in the new year!

It’s official – We’re part of Cisco!

We’re happy to announce that the acquisition is now completed and Meraki is officially part of Cisco! If you haven’t already seen it, we put together a customer FAQ, and the official press release is available here. We’re all excited to be part of Cisco and to continue to build great products for all of our customers.

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Sandy: Edison Township Schools kept the packets flowing

After Hurricane Sandy passed through the township of Edison, NJ, many people were left without power as electric companies scrambled to restore service disrupted by falling trees and high winds. With snow threatening in the hurricane’s wake, Edison Township Public Schools assisted by turning John P. Stevens High School into a community warming center where residents could warm up, recharge their devices, and use the libraries and internet.

Bill McSorley, Chief Technology Officer of Edison Public Schools, had installed Meraki MR24 access points in several of his schools over the summer, including John P. Stevens. Unsurprisingly, internet access proved to be very popular at the center, with residents communicating with family and friends and reading the news.

With rolling blackouts and roads that were often blocked with debris, Bill couldn’t count on being able to go into his office to maintain his network. ”Meraki’s cloud architecture was very helpful since it was so difficult to get into the office,” Bill said. “I would log in wherever I could find internet access — whether it was at home, a coffee shop with power, or somewhere else — and change configurations in response to usage patterns.”  With nearly 1000 people transferring hundreds of gigabytes, Bill worked to enhance residents’ internet experience – whether it was changing bandwidth limits or enabling services like Facebook that are normally blocked at schools.

We’d like to extend our thanks to Bill, who worked tirelessly to provide some comfort to everyone in his hometown that was affected by Sandy.

Take a deeper look with enhanced traffic visibility

In 2010, Meraki introduced the industry’s first Layer 7 application fingerprinting for wireless access points, and since then, we’ve integrated the technology into our security appliances and switches as well. Customers rely on this level of visibility every day to see beyond the size and rate of data transfers on their networks and gain insight into the actual behavior of their users. It’s useful for network administrators to see patterns in large spikes of traffic on the network, but it’s even better to know whether those spikes are coming from online backup or from BitTorrent.

Our latest upgrade to our wireless, switching, and security appliance product lines takes Layer 7 visibility to the next level. Prior to this upgrade, our fingerprinting engine reported in detail on hundreds of web applications like Dropbox, Facebook, Netflix, or Gmail, but portions of traffic were labeled as “Miscellaneous web” or “Miscellaneous secure web.”

Now, network administrators have the option to enable an even more granular view of application traffic on their network. Clicking on “Miscellaneous Web” will reveal a detailed list of the domains included in that category, along with statistics about the amount of data transferred to or from that host and an estimate of the amount of time that users spent browsing that site. With this level of detail, a quick glance at the dashboard can help network administrators figure out if they need to devote more resources to support business related activities or use the Traffic Shaper to throttle access to a popular distraction.

Enhanced traffic analysis on a test network

This is an incredible amount of information for network admins to have at their fingertips, but we understand that in some cases, it might be sensitive or simply unnecessary. As a result, we’ve made this feature opt-in only, so that network admins can decide whether or not this level of data transparency is right for their networks.

When they do choose to enable the new traffic analysis, only dashboard users with read-write access will be able to see individual domain names. To protect user privacy, users with read-only access to the dashboard will see an obfuscated list:

Expanded traffic visibility is just one of the new features rolling out to customers over the next several weeks, and we’ll be continuing to show them off right here on the blog. If you’re ready to try them out for yourself, you can schedule the update for your network by contacting support.

Supporting 1:1 at Avenues: The World School

When Avenues: The World School opened its doors in September 2012, the prestigious New York City private school was met with heightened media attention. The school’s unique vision to be one international school, operated in the cloud, with 20 or more campuses worldwide garnered over 5,000 applications for less than 1,000 available spots.

Dirk DeLo, CTO at Avenues, joined us on December 6, 2012 to share how the 1:1 private school uses Meraki cloud networking to support online classrooms equipped with Airplay, AirPrint, digital textbooks, and video for over 2,000 devices.

Meraki’s free MDM easily pushes textbooks and educational apps onto each student’s iPad and Macbook Air. Course management is conducted through apps like iTunes U and Evernote. And to increase participation for Avenues’ Spanish and Mandarin language immersion, teachers instruct with heavy video and wireless projection. To enable all this online technology, Dirk turned to Meraki for reliable WiFi and centralized management. He deployed hardware in mere minutes, and with just a few clicks in the dashboard, set up separate networks for students/staff and guests.

Check out the Avenues webinar ­­– learn how Dirk’s effortless management of Avenues’ network removes the need for a full-time Network Administrator and frees up time for technology innovation and integration.

You can also watch a quick video of technology in the classroom at Avenues here.

Startup Kit Spotlight: Maluuba

This week’s Startup Kit Spotlight features Canadian company Maluuba. Maluuba’s mission is to empower people with the ability to find exactly what they want by speaking to their smart phone. Maluuba is a “do-engine” that supports 18 different domain categories including movies, events, weather, finding businesses, and many more.

We actually received separate applications from two different employees at Maluuba. One of the applicants pleaded, “Our internet connection is terrible and slowing down productivity! Saaaaave usss!! :( ” and the other informed us, “We have serious wireless problems in our office, so this gear will be super helpful!”

Given that Maluuba is based in Waterloo, Ontario, we weren’t able to deliver the Kit in person, but we shipped it out quickly and the folks at Maluuba were so excited to get their Meraki Startup Kit (pictured below) that they set up their network the first night it was delivered. “Can’t wait to set it up tonight; Hoping this ends our networking woes.”

We got an update via Twitter when Maluuba announced, “Our #StartupKit setup went off without a hitch, and we’re seeing significantly improved performance. Thanks @Meraki!”

We’ll have another great company to feature in our #StartupKit spotlight next week.  Check back to find out who else is getting a Meraki #StartupKit.

 

Bringing BYOD to the Law Firm

Brian Clayton, CIO at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP, joined us on December 5th to share his experiences deploying Meraki at one of the nation’s largest law firms. Taft spans 7 distributed locations in Ohio, Arizona, Indiana, and Kentucky, as well as a US-based Japanese practice.

When employees began bringing in their personal mobile devices, there was an immediate demand for network access anytime, anywhere. The demand for BYOD materialized seemingly overnight. Brian and his team responded, but ended up with a hard-to-manage network consisting of consumer grade access points as well as controller-based APs that they quickly outgrew.

After hearing about Meraki, Brian trialed it in one of the offices, finding he could not only secure the entire network in a few mouse clicks, he could also centrally manage all of the offices from his dashboard.  In a matter of weeks he deployed Meraki throughout all of the offices and gained visibility into the users, devices, and applications on the network.

Check out the video and slides from the webinar – see how Brian transformed Taft into a mobile work environment and revolutionized the way attorneys and legal professionals collaborate, access information, and provide exceptional service to their clients.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E7nW5NLgSdc

You can also read Clayton’s article in the January 2012 edition of ILTA to see how Meraki can support mobile devices at your company.

Formal Friday at Meraki Support

Our support team works hard ensuring that our customers have a great experience when they contact us, but they also know how to have a good time. First Fridays of the month are Formal Friday, and they dress appropriately. Here are a few members of the team modeling their threads:

Now when you call support on Fridays, not only will you get the same great attention, you’ll be talking with someone on the other line that looks like a million bucks. And if you want to be part of this snazzy team, drop us a line.