Archive for August, 2014

Meraki Support is just a click or call away

Although the Cisco Meraki platform is incredibly intuitive, IT admins sometimes have the occasional question, so whether you’re the proud new owner of Cisco Meraki gear or are just curious about how to handle real-world scenarios, the Cisco Meraki Support team has you covered. Over the years, the Support team has handled a tremendously wide variety of cases and has grown rapidly, with in-house Meraki network engineers staffing offices in San Francisco, London, and Sydney.

Their goal is to provide customers with the best answers to their queries and to be as transparent as possible, sharing knowledge freely through a carefully crafted (and extensive) knowledge base. Not too long ago, we even compiled a Greatest Hits list of the most visited topics within the knowledge base, including configuring VPN settings and installing Systems Manager, our free mobile device management platform.

Common Support Queries

Recently, we took a look at actual support cases, identified a few trending topics and the content the Support team created to help customers:

The Support team is dedicated to continually adding new and useful information to the knowledge base, which makes it a great place to begin your investigations.

The knowledge base can answer many questions and provide step-by-step instructions on how to configure various aspects of a Cisco Meraki network. However, it’s sometimes helpful to talk through your questions, so don’t hesitate to give the Support team a call. By simply having an active license for a Cisco Meraki product, customers are given full phone and email access to our world-class Support team.

How to contact the Cisco Meraki Support Team

There are numerous ways to get in touch with the Support team. Whether you’re sitting in your home or at your office, standing on a ladder mounting a device, or relaxing on your vacation, talking to the Meraki Support team is just a call or click away:

Logged into your dashboard from a computer?

Click on “Help” and “Get Help” and gain access to the Knowledge Base, Support phone numbers, and the option to open an online case. Or click on “Help” and “Cases” to track the status of any existing cases or open an online case.

Dashboard Help

On the meraki.cisco.com webpage?

Navigate to the “Support” page in the top toolbar. From here, you’ll have the option to browse the Knowledge Base, Documentation library, Support Policies, and Support Processes. You’ll also see Support phone numbers to call in and the option to login to your dashboard to open a case.

Support Webpage

Monitoring your network using the Meraki Mobile App?

Click on the “More” tab at the bottom. Choose “Support Cases” to track the status of any existing cases or select one of the Support phone numbers to call. Give your phone a shake to activate the “Make a Wish” option, or choose “Wish”, and either make a wish or choose “Call support” to get in touch with the team.

Cases MobileWish Mobile

No matter what your questions are, don’t hesitate to start browsing the extensive Knowledge Base and Documentation Library or simply get in touch with the Meraki Support team via phone, dashboard, or email.

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DHCP server and failover for layer 3 switches

As part of our summer MS feature release, DHCP server and failover functionality has arrived for our layer 3 Cisco Meraki MS switches. This means MS320 and MS420 switches can can host DHCP service or support multiple DHCP relay (aka DHCP Helper) addresses. Additionally, layer 3 Meraki switches support full DHCP failover in the event a hosting switch goes offline.

 

Why DHCP is important

 

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is a service that allows client devices joining a network to receive an IP address and other necessary information—such as the default gateway and DNS servers—required for the client to successfully send and receive packets with other hosts on the network and beyond. Without DHCP, an IT admin would need to manually configure each client device with this information while keeping track of the pool of available IP addresses: rescinding addresses of clients who have left the network to ensure new clients can receive IPs—a daunting (and time-consuming) task!

 

Configuring DHCP server

 

To configure a layer 3 Meraki switch as a DHCP server, navigate to the switch’s local status page by selecting the switch in the Monitor > Switches page. In the local status page’s “Layer 3 routing” section, initialize Layer 3 and click to “add a Layer 3 interface.”

Next, configure the Layer 3 interface with the IP subnet and VLAN designation of your choosing—this creates an IP addressing pool (and associated VLAN) owned by the MS switch. Under “DHCP settings,” you can decide whether to run a DHCP server for this subnet, relay addressing requests elsewhere, or skip dynamic addressing entirely:

DHCP-1

Creating a layer 3 interface and subnet on an MS320 switch, and enabling DHCP service.

 

Once a Layer 3 interface (in our example, named “VLAN 23”) has been defined on a Meraki MS switch, you can view it in the switch’s local status page:

DHCP-2

Defined Layer 3 interfaces and DHCP servers can be viewed from a switch’s local status page.

 

At this point, a Layer 3 subnet, interface IP, VLAN, and DHCP server have been defined and enabled on our MS switch; now, we need to associate individual switch ports to our Layer 3 interface so that connected clients receive IP addresses from our switch’s DHCP server. To do this, navigate to Monitor > Switch ports, select the desired ports, and type “23” in the native VLAN section.

DHCP-3

By assigning a switch port to our predefined VLAN 23, we ensure connected clients send addressing requests to the switch’s DHCP server.

 

Once ports have been assigned to the Layer 3 interface, connected clients will receive IP addresses from our switch’s DHCP server.

 

DHCP-4

A client connected to a switch port associated with a Layer 3 interface and DHCP server will receive an IP address from the switch’s defined IP subnet (in our case, the 10.0.23.0/24 subnet).

 

Configuring DHCP failover

 

Layer 3 Meraki switches also support full DHCP failover in the event a hosting switch goes offline. To provide this high availability, a second MS switch must be configured as a warm spare to the primary acting as a DHCP server. Once paired, the primary switch’s DHCP settings will be automatically copied to the warm spare. In the event the primary switch goes offline, the spare will begin responding to DHCP server requests—client lease information is synchronized between primary and spare in both directions. No user intervention is needed, as this failover process happens seamlessly.

To enable a warm spare, navigate to Configure > Layer 3 routing, click “Add a new warm spare,” and select the switches to pair.

DHCP-5

Configuring a warm spare pairing for two Meraki MS switches.

 

And those are the steps needed to quickly deploy DHCP service with warm spare failover using layer 3 Meraki MS switches! By hosting DHCP from a switch, IT admins gain both flexibility in how they allocate addresses to network segments as well as enhanced redundancy through layers of failover. We’re thrilled to offer this feature and definitely want your feedback on how it’s working out for you, so please don’t hesitate to let us know!
 

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Show Us Where You Manage your Network

We first introduced the Meraki dashboard mobile app a year ago to bring the same ease and functionality of the browser-based dashboard into the palm of your hand.

Kat at the office

The Meraki mobile app with a view from its San Francisco HQ

Since the initial release, Meraki engineers have done a lot to consistently and continuously improve the mobile app. Available for iOS and Android devices, the dashboard mobile app allows customers to access, view, and make changes to their wireless and wired networks. With a similar look to the dashboard but optimized for mobile devices, the mobile app’s functionality will continue to be developed so that network admins can keep tabs on their network wherever they may be.

As many folks head out of the office this summer, the Meraki dashboard mobile app is a must-have item for any vacation. Whether your vacation takes you to a foreign city, tramping through a forest, or relaxing by the water, you will always have the option to check up on your network as long as you have a mobile device and an Internet connection.

Recently, the Meraki team showed off the variety of places and situations in which they’ve been able to access the app.

Simon at the market

Check on your security appliances as you check out the local farmer’s market.

Redwood

Identify healthy or offline APs during a hike through the redwoods.

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Enjoy the view of your dashboard and Steamboat Springs without missing a beat.

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Keep an eye on your network as you visit the London Eye.

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Network issues are easier to handle with a beer nearby.

tea

Haven’t made it into the office yet? Troubleshoot problems over your morning coffee.

Want to be part of the fun? Take the Meraki app with you on vacation and show us some of the amazing places where you’ve accessed your network with the Meraki dashboard mobile app.

Post your picture on the Meraki Facebook wall or tweet us your picture @meraki before summer’s over.

Go forth and manage your network from anywhere in the world!

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Let’s talk hotel Wi-Fi

What’s your top priority when staying at a hotel? A plush mattress topper? A fabulous breakfast? Proximity to your business meeting? For many, the first thing they’ll do when getting to their room will be to connect to the hotel’s WiFi service and get online. Whatever your own priority, it’s clear that hotel WiFi is considered an essential service, particularly if travelling abroad when mobile roaming charges can be prohibitively expensive.

wifi human

We hear many stories about people’s experiences with hotel HiFi, both from our own staff when they’re travelling and through various social media. Many people like to tweet about their experience and a quick search for “hotel wifi” on Twitter soon illustrates this. That link may warrant a parental advisory – in other words, it would be fair to say that the hotel WiFi experience isn’t always a satisfying one.

As if to underscore the point, we recently discovered a website providing hotel guests a way to share feedback on their wireless experience in a more structured way. The site’s About page is particularly illuminating, confirming our belief that WiFi is now a fundamental element of a hotel visit and can really transform the experience just as easily as all the traditional measures do.

speedy

Cisco Meraki wireless is deployed in a broad range of organizations, and the hospitality sector is particularly well represented. For example, the world’s largest cloud-managed wireless network is run by Accor’s Motel 6 chain in the United States, comprising almost 10,000 802.11n access points.

For clubbers, the island of Ibiza in Europe is one of the top global venues, hosting the world’s largest night club. One of the most famous club franchises on the island is Pacha, which runs its own resort and hotel complex, Destino. With almost 3000 people a night using the Meraki wireless there, it’s a true test of high density network design, and this case study demonstrates how we deliver satisfaction to so many.

No matter how glamorous the place you choose to rest your head, we know wireless connectivity is now one of the largest contributors to a successful stay. Our engineers and deployment partners have the experience to deliver an exceptional WiFi experience. Add to this centralized management, captive portal functionality and best-in-class analytics to assist with tuning deployed networks, and it’s easy to see why Meraki is such a popular choice for hospitality.

Do you feel as passionately about this as we do? We’d love to hear your experiences with, and thoughts on, hotel WiFi. Why not tweet a comment using the hashtag #mhotelwifi or join the discussion in the Cisco Meraki Community.

 

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1:Many NAT for Meraki MX

 

The  Cisco Meraki MX security appliance already provides both 1-to-1 NAT as well as port forwarding, however there are standard limitations:

  • Port forwarding had to use a single public IP: that of the MX’s WAN interface
  • 1-to-1 NAT could only map one public IP to one private IP; there was no way to port forward to multiple private addresses

With 1:many NAT, you can redirect traffic on a public port to any private IP address and port using port translation, and you aren’t restricted to using the MX’s public WAN interface (you can configure as many public IP addresses as your organization owns). This allows significantly greater flexibility for organizations who have one, two, or a handful of public IP addresses and that want to publicly host several services from different private servers, listening on unique internal ports.

To configure 1:many NAT, navigate to the Configure > Firewall page in the Meraki dashboard. Under “Forwarding Rules” select the WAN uplink being used to service the traffic being NAT-ed, and then add a 1:many IP rule. Type in the public IP addresses to use, then map these to private IP addresses (and different ports, if desired).

one_to_many_nat_uplink2

Configuring 1:many NAT: map a single public IP listening on several ports to multiple internal servers.

 

To recap: 1:many NAT is a useful tool for flexible addressing when hosting publicly-accessible services. Check for this feature in August, when we expect to roll out our summer feature release.

 

 

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Spotlight: The Cisco Meraki Design Team

The design team captures and showcases the Meraki spirit in multifarious, and sometimes unexpected, ways. No matter what they’re designing, efficient simplicity has always been the number one thing for the team to keep in mind. Within Meraki, the team has the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects, “from hardware packaging, product photography, print collateral, event spaces, the Meraki website & mobile app, Meraki schwag – the list goes on,” Elizabeth shared.

When asked to describe the essence of the Cisco Meraki style, the team unanimously said, “simple, clean, and smart. These are the core themes we always strive for.” Simplifying networking has been a central value within Meraki since the beginning, and the clean, user-friendly design throughout the entire user experience has played a big part in this initiative.

“At Meraki, what we do and what we make is pretty complicated,” the team explained. “Our job is to make it as easy as possible for customers to use and understand.”

 

designers_photo

Noah, Elizabeth, and Mariel in the Meraki office in San Francisco

“The goal is to not introduce anything that doesn’t need to be there,” said Noah, the design team lead. “We try to foresee any possible confusion or misinterpretations and work around them. We’re always trying to look at our designs from a user’s perspective, to put ourselves in their shoes and see what they see. There’s a lot of empathy that goes into designing. For instance, how would you feel if you got a particular error message? Does this seem like the user is being considered?”

unnamed (1)A glimpse into the Meraki website

Most design projects are highly collaborative. The team makes sure to work closely with the engineers, developers, marketing team, and any other involved parties at Meraki to make sure that each design is serving its intended function in the best possible way. One ongoing example of this is the mobile app. The designers meet with the developers behind the Meraki app every week to ensure that form and function are always in alignment.

“We’re continually refining the app, taking the most important components of Dashboard, reshaping them, and making them work in mobile form,” Mariel said.

unnamed

Dashboard, in the palm of your hand with the mobile app

Although perhaps not overtly obvious, design touches every part of the end user experience. “We want your experience to improve the whole time moving forward – from when you first hear about Meraki, through the learning phase, the trial, setting up your first AP, reminder emails, everything – we’re always asking ourselves, ‘What does that next step look like?’,” Noah explained.

ISTE6

One of the tradeshow booths designed by Elizabeth 

Check out our website and mobile app to take a look at some of the great things our design team has put into production!

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We had a Field Day announcing new features!

Last week we were proud to welcome the Tech Field day wireless delegates to our San Francisco headquarters for a comprehensive Cisco wireless update, beginning with a focus on the cloud managed Meraki line. This was our third time presenting to this influential group of experienced industry bloggers and commentators, and there were plenty of new features to talk about.

The session kicked-off with an introduction and product update from our wireless product manager, Raj Krishna, covering the refreshed AP lineup, as well as a slew of new features and interoperability with established Cisco platforms like ISE and Prime.


With the introduction out of the way, it was time to go into more detail around wireless as a platform. This section covered the APIs we have made available for location analytics, external captive portal, syslog, and more recently, SAML support. Raj’s detailed walkthrough was then followed by a live demo from our Product Marketing lead, Katie Lane, showcasing some great examples of our APIs at work.


For the final part of the Meraki section, Katie and Raj went into more detail around the newly updated, more efficient Traffic Analytics capability, which provides smarter, adaptive information about how valuable network resources are being consumed.


Following the Meraki portion of the event, other Cisco wireless leaders went on to provide technically detailed sessions focusing on 802.11ac, including upcoming developments which will further increase the speed of that standard, plus ways to tweak real-world performance in high client density environments.

Feedback from the Tech Field Day delegates was extremely positive, and we hope you’ll find these recordings useful as well.

Final mention must go to our exclusive Cisco Meraki gnomes, which were each sent off to new homes with the delegates. At least one of them has already gone on vacation, appearing on the beach in Hawaii and even setting up his own Twitter account which we shall be watching with interest.

gnomes

We love sharing the fruits of our labors, and Wireless Field Day 7 gave us another great opportunity to do just that. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing further details on some of these great new features, both here and over on our YouTube channel , so be sure to stay tuned.

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Get Ready for Wireless Field Day this Friday

Wireless Field day is a great opportunity for all of us at Meraki to share with our customers what we have been working on, what’s coming up, and explain how we implement the hottest new technologies. In the past, we have been able to share some insight into how we approach the most top-of-mind networking challenges, such as this discussion of the Cisco Meraki backend architecture.

Wireless Field Day 7 will be no different, and it is happening right in our San Francisco Meraki office this Friday.

We will be spending 2 hours discussing the forefront of Wireless technology with Cisco thought leaders. Here is a sneak peek of what will be covered.

  • Latest updates from the Cisco Meraki MR product line.
  • Deep dive into the Cisco Meraki traffic analytics algorithm; how it works and how it scales for large deployments.
  • Deep dives into MU-MIMO and RX-SOP; what it is and how it works.
  • Discussion on 802.11ac and where it’s going.

Tune in Friday to hear updates on the future of wireless networking.

 

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