With the ever-accelerating pace of change in the device and application environment, keeping track of how the network is being used is vital to ensure an excellent experience for all. A modern network benefits from regular oversight and tweaking, and Cisco Meraki networks excel in this area with simple, accessible controls for networks. To assist with oversight, the dashboard provides an excellent summary reporting tool, which can be triggered manually or scheduled for delivery to the network owner via email, daily, weekly or monthly. Here’s a snippet of a typical emailed report:
Armed with the information in reports like these, the IT admin can log onto the dashboard and make tweaks to network configuration, perhaps shaping some types of traffic, blocking some others, or applying a group policy to a particular type of user or device.
This approach works fine in a relatively small network where all network activity is performed in the same location and on a known set of client devices. But until now summary reporting has been network-wide, and in some cases those organizations may be very large, containing 10,000 or more network devices. Cisco Meraki networks are the perfect fit for organizations operating across multiple geographic locations, and consequently there are many businesses for whom a single network-wide summary will be simply too broad, making them difficult to decipher.
Another wish has been granted, and Meraki customers can now customize their summary reports by reporting against specific tags. Tagging is used extensively across the Meraki dashboard to help make sense of a networking environment which could contain an overwhelming number of network or client devices across many locations. These tags can be searched against, so searching for ‘AP’ would filter and show all APs regardless of location. Tags are simply friendly names and could be applied, for example, to all the APs on a specific site, or all the switch ports to which APs are connected.
Now a summary report can be created around a tag, depicting location, building, floor, all switches, certain applications or users – whatever can be logically grouped together. A hospitality business may wish to look at all its restaurants or hotels on the east coast, a provider of office space across many states may like to look at VoIP ports across all locations, or perhaps an IT admin wants to zone-in on buildings 10, 11 and 12 on the HQ campus. Here’s a sample view of the tag selection the admin would use. They can also be created for a custom time range covering up to 2 months.
Summary reports are a super-useful tool for concisely depicting how valuable network resources are being used, especially for those who don’t have the time to pay daily visits to the dashboard. They are also easily digestible, making them ideal for emailing to an IT manager or managed customer. With the addition of tagging, these reports can now be tailored to more accurately reflect real-world network deployments, logically grouped in a way which makes sense.