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.