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March Madness: Let the games begin!

Keep the madness on the basketball court and out of your network during this year’s NCAA tournament.

Now that the 2014 March Madness bracket has been revealed and the games are underway, the cyber mayhem of live streaming and fan activity is sure to ensue. This could be a fantastic time to experiment with some useful dashboard features. Monitor which users are most invested in the tournament by utilizing the traffic analytics tool on the client details page, create a customized March Madness splash page, and perhaps consider taking some precautionary measures on the back-end to ensure the smooth functioning of your network during this exciting time.

One way to protect your network is to create layer 7 firewall rules and traffic shaping policies in dashboard. Made possible by the layer 7 fingerprinting and application QoS within Cisco Meraki APs and Security Appliances, our custom-built packet processing engine enables inspection, classification, and traffic-shaping inside Cisco Meraki devices. Our products use layer 7 firewall rules to deny certain types of traffic within your network. Policies can be as granular as you wish, from network-wide settings to per client specifications, and can vary between different SSIDs.

To make a Layer 7 firewall rule in dashboard :

Go to Configure > Firewall and traffic shaping.

Under the Firewall section, select “Add a layer 7 firewall rule.”

Select the type of traffic you would like to control (e.g., peer-to-peer, sports, video & music, etc).

Some organizations may choose to completely block certain types of traffic.

For those who do not wish to completely block a specific traffic category, traffic shaping rules may be more up your alley. Traffic shaping rules limit the amount of bandwidth dedicated to certain applications and traffic types.

Use traffic shaping rules for granular control over your network.

Global bandwidth limits apply to inter VLAN traffic on an MX security appliance, as well as outbound traffic, so we recommend taking a look at our Knowledge Base article on global bandwidth limit considerations before making changes to your network.

Another option for further customized control over your network is to create a group policy in dashboard that includes any bandwidth limits or traffic shaping rules you desire. You can decide which clients the policy will affect, and even enable scheduling on the policy to keep the limits in place for certain hours of the day but off for others.

Throughout the tournament, you can keep an eye on the status of your network with the live tools section in dashboard. Features such as spectrum analysis, throughput, and ping provide a real-time picture of your network’s health, allowing you to make changes to your settings if necessary. For quick check-ins, you can always monitor traffic from the client details page or schedule summary report emails to be sent on a weekly (or even daily) basis.

Use the throughput test to find bottlenecks in your network and to see the maximum throughput from a Cisco Meraki device to the Internet.

Now that you’ve prepped your network, let the Madness begin!