Archive for February, 2016

Postcard from Berlin

Cisco Live is quite an event, attracting tens of thousands of visitors everywhere it goes as it rolls around the globe, from Europe, to Australia, the United States and Mexico. In fact, the event is so popular that it’s even spawned its own offshoot, Cisco Connect, which this year adds Singapore, Toronto and Egypt to the list of cities covered. The Meraki team attends every Cisco Live, and as many of the other official Cisco events as possible. It’s certainly enough to keep us constantly busy, either attending or preparing to attend.

We arrived in a bitterly cold Berlin, a beautiful and fascinating city, still evolving following the reunification of Germany at the beginning of the 1990s. Here’s a shot from one of the newly rebuilt areas now very popular with tourists, Potsdamer Platz:

potsdamerplatz

On arrival at the venue for Cisco Live we discovered day one had been dubbed ‘Cloud Day’. How appropriate!

Cloud Day

It was time to get set up in the World of Solutions. As usual, our stand was cleanly designed, adorned with iMacs on which to showcase the Meraki Dashboard. The design approach we employ at events is quite deliberate. Whilst our lineup of APs, switches, security appliances are beautiful pieces of hardware in their own right, once deployed the real attention moves to the day-to-day management experience, where our full stack dashboard really shines. For demonstrating the functionality of the dashboard, and our Mobile Device Management software, Systems Manager, there’s nothing better than a large screen browser display:

Berlin stand

Our stand was staffed by a mixture of marketing (technical and events staff), sales, systems engineers, members of our product teams, and even our illustrious leader, Todd. With such a broad team we were comfortably able to attend to everyone who visited our stand, and boy did they come! By the end of the week we’d had hundreds of interesting conversations with customers, partners and prospects, amounting to almost 1000 expressions of interest! It was good to let our hair down after all that!

Merakians at CLEUR

As well as the stand, members of the team were also spread around the venue attending customer meetings, delivering in-depth breakout sessions or perhaps just catching their breath over a coffee. The pace was relentless.

CLEURbreakout

The Cisco Live bandwagon now moves down under to Melbourne, and once again the Meraki team will be clocking up the air miles and heading over to what promises to be another huge event. We look forward to seeing you at a Cisco event, or indeed one of the many other industry events we attend during the year.

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Set Sail with Meraki Switches

Sail-Switch-e

Over the past few years, you’ve heard us regularly highlight the benefits of having intelligent switches in your network. We will forever stand by smart switching! When (not if) something goes wrong, smart switches provide unparalleled visibility and troubleshooting, allowing for speedy resolutions. Switches tie your network together, and it’s time for them to do more.

We want you to experience the magic for yourself! In addition to getting a free PoE switch for attending eligible Introduction to Cloud Managed Switching webinars, for a limited time we are also offering a special switch licensing promotion for first-time Meraki switch customers. Do you have Meraki wireless, security, or MDM? Are you totally new to Meraki? Either way, welcome aboard! We invite you to set sail with Meraki switches.

From now until 7/30/16, first-time Meraki switch customers who buy any MS switch with a 1-year cloud management license are eligible to be upgraded to a 5-year license at no additional cost. That’s 4 years on us! Simply ask your Meraki rep or reseller about the ‘Meraki 5 Year Switch Licensing Promotion.’

Check out meraki.com/setsail for more information. We hope to welcome you to the Meraki switching family soon!

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Meraki Magic for Canadian K-12

Bringing the Cloud to the Classroom and Beyond

Thank you for your interest in our webinar series! This Meraki series has been designed with the needs of Canadian K-12 organizations in mind. We will be tackling different elements of the Meraki portfolio and identifying how they can add value to students, teachers, and administrators alike. Every two weeks we will be examining different topics; the series will begin with an overview of Meraki after which each session will cover a dedicated topic (outlined below). The last 15 minutes of each WebEx will be dedicated to live Q&A with a Meraki rep and engineer, ready to answer any and all questions.

Intro to Cloud Networking for K-12
March 15th 9:00 PT

  • General overview of Meraki products and dashboard
  • Case studies featuring different Meraki education deployments
  • Overview of resources available to education customers

Product Focus: Meraki Wireless for K-12
March 29th 9:00 AM PT

  • Overview of Meraki wireless portfolio
  • Deep dive into wireless management tools
  • Use cases: wireless in the classroom
  • Outdoor Mesh Deployments: taking school spirit to the next level!

Product Focus: Meraki Security for K-12
April 12th 9:00 AM PT

  • Overview of Meraki security portfolio
  • Deep dive of security features starring content filtering, traffic shaping, group policies, VPN, AMP
  • Story time: security facilitating technical learning  

Product Focus: Mobile Device Management for K-12
April 26th 9:00 AM PT

  • Overview of Meraki mobile device management
  • Systems Manager Dashboard Demo hosted by Product Management
  • Use cases: Systems Manager for BYOD and school-issued devices
  • Security Integration: tying together Meraki Wireless and Security with Mobile Device Management. Over 60% of network breaches are associated with mobile devices, let us show you how to secure your network end-to-end for a hassle free IT management. 

Product Focus: Switching for the Campus for K-12
May 10th 9:00 AM PT

  • Overview of Meraki Switching Portfolio
  • Deep Dive of switch management tools and features
  • Use cases: cross architecture environments, redundancy, and QoS value
  • Long term ROI overview: how Meraki can save you money and time in the long run

Feature Focus: Do More with Less! Learn more about IWAN
May 24th 9:00 AM PT

  • Overview of IWAN
  • Deep Dive of IWAN management tools and features
  • Use cases: how to cut down MPLS costs and maintain top performance
  • The Perfect Storm: How to combine IWAN and the full Meraki stack to maximize operational efficiency within your organization

 

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Wave good bye 2 slow WiFi

On February 9th we announced the launch of the latest access point (AP) to join the Meraki wireless portfolio, the flagship MR42. The MR42 is a 3×3:3 802.11ac Wave 2 AP that ushers in a new era of high performance, more efficient WiFi thanks to  the inclusion of Multi User – Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO).

In addition to this, the MR42 continues our strategy of completely integrated beacon and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) functionality. This sees the MR42 becoming our most technology advanced wireless platform, with four integrated radios and the latest 802.11 wireless standard, yet all in a sleek low profile design.

 

mr42_front-top_transparent
 

MU-MIMO allows wireless networks to more efficiently service the increasing numbers of phones, tablets, and other personal mobile devices. MU-MIMO does this by allowing the AP to communicate with multiple devices concurrently, rather than consecutively.

With Single User MIMO (SU-MIMO) the AP can use the multiple spatial streams to send a large amount of data to clients that can receive all these streams. Devices such as laptops could support two or sometimes three streams, allowing for high speed connections. Unfortunately smaller mobile devices like phones can typically support only one stream, and thus can’t take advantage of this capability.

SU-MIMO-b1
MU-MIMO solves the problem of devices being unable to use all these spatial streams. The AP can use the individual spatial streams to send separate transmissions to distinct clients simultaneously. This increases the total network performance and improves the end user experience, especially when large numbers of devices are connected.

MU-MIMO-b
The addition of MU-MIMO complements Single User MIMO (SU-MIMO) rather than replacing it. An AP can choose the best way to transmit: simultaneously to multiple devices as efficiently as possible, or consecutively to individual devices as fast as possible. It is now time to wave goodbye to slow WiFI.

Are you looking for a next generation wireless solution that can future proof your network against the growing demands of your users? Then there is now one clear choice, the cloud managed Meraki MR42 AP. To find out more details you can visit the product page or listen to one of our launch webinar recordings.

Fantastic Four Tens

Creating networks for small offices is a piece of cake. Connect all the desktop computers, wireless access points, phones and printers to your switch, add an uplink connection to the Internet Service Provider and that’s it. Deployments like these are typically very undemanding and trade high performance and redundancy for low cost.

With the wired network forming the central nervous system of any organization, as the network size grows, often so too does the need for greater speed, broadcast domain segregation and reliability. Suddenly a whole host of new features and troubleshooting tools are required: VLANs, DHCP, user or device authentication, Quality of Service, security filtering, port mirroring, the list goes on.

At the physical layer, growing a network means adding switch ports and switches, but what happens when those switches can no longer reach the central data center, or where the number of connections back to that data center exceeds available cabling? This is perhaps the most common driver towards some form of distribution or aggregation switch, and in a physically larger environment this is usually a fiber-based switch.

To meet these requirements, Meraki customers have been able to deploy our MS420 switch for some time. This premium model spares no expense when it comes to performance. Capable of a switching capacity approaching 1Tb/s and with up to 48 x SFP+ interfaces, the MS420 provides some serious horsepower for demanding enterprise networks.

Now there’s a new option for customers focused on fiber aggregation to scale their networks, without necessarily requiring the data-center class performance offered by the MS420. MS410 comes in two configurations, 16 and 32 SFP interfaces, with 2 and 4 SFP+ uplink ports respectively. There’s also the redundant, hot-swappable power supplies and fans required of a switch built for redundant network designs.

ms410-16-32-stacked

New for the aggregation switch line are dedicated stacking ports which enable a stack of up to 8 MS410s. These high speed ports provide for a stack bandwidth of 160Gbps with spatial reuse, making optimal use of stacking connections by removing packets from the stack ring once the switch in the stack containing the packet destination. Link aggregates of up to 8 connections can be made, and these can even operate across multiple switches at either the aggregation or access layers, reducing still further the single points of failure in the network design.

MS410rear

Finally, we have one piece of good news for customers of the premium MS420 switch. Whilst this model does not come with dedicated stacking connections, we are adding stacking support in software, enabling a stack of MS420s to be built using the regular SFP+ ports, all via a free software update, coming soon.

We’re serious about providing the building blocks required by a modern enterprise network. The new MS410 will enable scale for more of our customers and more dependable network architectures for mission critical deployments. As with all Meraki products, MS410 is available for a trial, during which we’ll be happy to provide support from our dedicated trials team. In the meantime, please take a look at our newly revised MS400 Series datasheet for our aggregation switch line. We’re looking forward to seeing how these new switches get put to use.

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Secure, Controlled, and Informed

Meraki Systems Manager continues to offer extensive functionality for Apple platforms. Only recently we announced same day support for iOS 9 in conjunction with a new strategic joint development partnership between Cisco and Apple. We continued that story with the launch of extensive new features for Systems Manager on February 9th. In this particular post we are going to explore the Apple specific elements of that launch.

iOS Wallpaper

With MDM it has always been important to make sure you keep the users informed. This ensures they attribute changes to their device to administrative control and not to a fault. The iOS Wallpaper functionality of iOS 9 offers a great way of keeping users informed, while also offering branding and user experience options.

sm_iOS_wallpaper
The Lock and Home page Wallpapers can be configured independently or together with a simple drag and drop. The reason that changing the Wallpaper with Systems Manager offers a great way of interacting with the user is because it can be tied to tags. This means that the Wallpaper can change dynamically based on various events, for example based on the person using the device or its posture.

IMG_20160114_164338

FileVault disk encryption

Information is the lifeblood of any organization, with the securing and management of this data under increasing scrutiny. Encryption of information on portable devices such as laptops is frequently being mandated in regulated industries such as health care. The loss of confidential or private information can lead to stiff penalties, brand damage, and dented consumer confidence.

FileVault in OS X provides strong data security with full disc encryption using AES. With full disk encryption, data on a mislaid or stolen device is useless to the unauthorised recipient. Systems Manager now supports FileVault disk encryption management, and in typical Meraki fashion, has been made as simple as possible.

os_x_fv_config
The difficulty associated with disk encryption is not typically with encrypting data but in decrypting it when required. For example, when an employee leaves the organization it may be necessary to access the customer data on their device. If the password or recovery key has not been provided by the departed employee, then the data is lost forever.  

Systems manager supports all three methods of FileVault data recovery: an institutional recovery key, a personal recovery key, or both simultaneously. Institutional recovery keys are transparently managed by the Meraki cloud ensuring they are never lost. More information on FileVault 2 can be found on our documentation portal.

OS X system preferences

To top off the list of Apple functionality added in this Systems Manager launch there are now 35 new OS X system preferences to play with. This includes things such as control of Security & Privacy settings, Software Updates, and Parental Controls. Further information on these OS X systems preferences is again located on our documentation portal.

sm_os_x_fv_pref
The new features for Apple platforms included as part of this launch are available today. If you are a Systems Manager Legacy customer interested in these new capabilities, then you can upgrade to the full version by simply contacting our sales team. The full version includes a wealth of features on top of those mentioned in this post, with further information available on the Systems Manager licensing page.

Excited by the new content in this systems manager launch? We are! The team will be highlighting these features and more in upcoming Systems Manager webinars. Alternatively if you can’t wait to get started, contact us to begin a no risk trial and we will help get you up and running.

 

Power to the People

Since the inception of the MX product line, one message has come through loud and clear from our customers and partners: they love the MX for branch deployments. From the original MX50 to the MX60 and the more recent (and very well received) addition of the MX64, we’ve continued to invest in new branch MX models and features. This week, we take a huge step forward in the evolution of cloud-managed branch security with the release of the new MX65 and MX65W security appliances.

The first thing anyone will probably notice about the MX65 is the significant increase in port count. The new models host a whopping 12 Gigabit Ethernet ports, more than twice as many as the MX64. This removes the need for an additional switch in locations where there are only a handful of devices requiring network connectivity, helping to keep the cost and complexity of the deployment to a minimum. Fitting these ports onto the back of the device has resulted in a couple of minor design changes, such as the reset button and USB port being on the side of the unit rather than the back. Best of all, thanks to some phenomenal design work by our hardware team, we’ve accomplished all of this without significantly increasing the size of the unit – it’s the same height and depth as the MX64, and less than an inch wider.

mx65_rear

Even more important than the number of ports is how we’ve allocated those ports. While eight of them are standard LAN ports like those found on other MX models, the other four have something special to offer. First we have two dedicated WAN ports, so that administrators can connect two Internet or MPLS connections without sacrificing one of the LAN ports. This not only makes the unit simpler to deploy, it also means that the MX65 is a perfect fit for customers who want to make use of our IWAN features to get full use out of their redundant connections.

The last two ports offer the most striking difference in functionality between the MX65 and previous models. As indicated by the lightning bolt icons to the left of the port numbers, these ports provide Power over Ethernet (PoE). Each port operates on the 802.3at standard, also known as PoE+, and provides up to 30 watts of power to any connected PoE-capable device. These can include phones, cameras, wireless access points, or a variety of other devices. As with the increased port count, this change makes it much easier to deploy the MX65 without the need for additional hardware such as switches or PoE injectors, resulting in a cleaner branch architecture and an easier deployment.

Alamo Front (1)

Last but not least, the MX65W boasts not only a new and improved revision of the MX64W’s 802.11ac wireless chipset, but also a custom antenna design that provides both better range and improved wireless performance. For sites that need wireless coverage that goes beyond what a single unit can offer, you can of course still deploy an MX65 with any of our MR Access Points – and with the new PoE capabilities, you can power up to two APs from the MX65 itself.

To learn more about the MX65 and MX65W and how they fit in with the rest of the MX portfolio, check out the Cisco Meraki website.

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Bring your droid to work

The Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) arena is an exciting technology field with rapid innovation across a wide breadth of platforms. On February 9th we announced the launch of a host of new Systems Manager (SM) features and functionality for these platforms, and as part of this release SM now supports Android for Work.

afw_device_collage
 

This provides a major boost to the manageability of Android devices as it makes it much simpler for employees to use their own device for work. It does this without ceding the user’s control of their personal device, while allowing the organization to ensure appropriate security.

afw_profile_setup_page
 

An example of one of the areas where functionality has been significantly extended over existing Android controls, is in the area of restrictions. There are now three new categories of Android restrictions available in SM, in addition to the previously available ones.
Keyguard restrictions help secure an Android device when it is locked. Although you may be confident your data’s security when the device is locked, information could still leak out without the correct keyguard settings, for example a notification that displays the content of an SMS even when the device is locked. With keyguard restrictions you can now disable any or all of the following items:

  • Notifications
  • Unredacted notifications
  • Fingerprint access
  • Camera
  • Trust agents
  • All keyguard features

In addition to keyguard controls, an administrator can now also apply restrictions to other system areas. One brilliant addition is the ability to prevent users from installing applications from unknown sources. With the prevalence of malware and other dangerous apps in the Android ecosystems, allowing users to turn off this safety net  is often not desirable. This control lets the administrator decide. The complete list of system restrictions we are announcing in this launch is:

  • Prevent Android Debug Bridge (ADB) access
  • Prevent installation of apps from unknown sources
  • Prevent uninstalling of apps
  • Prevent app control
  • Enforce application verification
  • Disable SMS
  • Disable keyguard
  • Disable screen capture
  • Disable volume adjustment
  • Disable factory reset

Along with the new restrictions, there is now containerization with separate Google Play stores for personal and work apps. This allows separate instances of identical applications to be isolated within the appropriate personal or work container. For example you can have two instances of Gmail with one configured for personal use and the other configured for IMAP access to a corporate mail server.

afw_app_icons
 

Administrators can now be confident in the knowledge that corporate data can be erased with the removal of the work app from a device, and users will be reassured that their personal data won’t be affected. A complete wipe of the work profile removes all the contained applications and data meaning off boarding employee devices is straightforward and secure.

Android for Work and the other new features included as part of this launch are available today. If you are a Systems Manager Legacy customer interested in these new capabilities, then you will need to upgrade to the full version. This includes a wealth of features on top of those mentioned in this post, with further information available on the Systems Manager licensing page.

More information can be found on our documentation portal, with upcoming Systems Manager webinars highlighting these features. Alternatively contact us to begin a no risk trial and we will help get you up and running.

Four Course Launch is served. Bon appetit!

At Meraki, we’ve been embracing the agile development of both hardware and software for a full decade. As recently as November we launched a new family of stackable switches and a powerful branch security appliance. 2016 is shaping up to be another exciting year as we continue to build out both the features and the hardware required to build simple, reliable networks of any size.

Our 2016 launch calendar kicks off with an announcement from each of our four product teams: wireless, switching, security appliances and Mobile Device Management (MDM), so in a moment of inspiration we decided to name this our Four Course Launch (do you see what we did there?). Here’s what’s on the menu:

For the appetizer, we begin with Systems Manager. One of the exciting aspects of Mobile Device Management (MDM) is the rapid pace of development seen in the mobile device ecosystem and the various software platforms. The Systems Manager engineering team thrives in this rapidly evolving world and we’re pleased to announce a wide ranging set of new features and enhancements to the product.

This includes support for Android for Work, extensive new Mac OS X functionality, such as new restrictions and FileVault 2 integration, new Windows 10 network options, and new software installation management for Windows and Mac OS X. Android for Work is particularly interesting due to the wide range of features it brings to the Android platform, such as app containerization, selective wipe, and separate Google Play stores for personal and managed app use.

afw_device_collage

The new Windows 10 and Mac OS X features significantly enhance the Systems Manager value proposition for the desktop and are complemented by a new, more powerful and easier to use software installer.

Next up, we have a brand new flagship wireless access point. The MR42 ushers in the next generation of WLAN to the Meraki AP family with support for 802.11ac Wave 2. This enhancement to the ‘ac’ standard brings support for Multi User – Multiple Input Multiple Out, or MU-MIMO to its friends. MU-MIMO allows wireless networks to more efficiently service a large number of phones, tablets, and other mobile devices by allowing the AP to communicate with multiple devices concurrently, rather than consecutively. This increases total network performance and improves the end user experience, especially when large numbers of devices are connected.

mr42_front-top_transparent

The MR42 also integrates a radio dedicated to providing support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and beacon technology. As with all our other access points, this is in addition to the client access radios and a special radio used for RF optimization and wireless security. All of this technology has been packed into the same sleek minimalist design our customers have come to expect and makes the MR42 the platform to choose when you want to go faster and support more devices.

Still hungry? Great, we have two more dishes lined-up. The Meraki switching line has been providing robust access layer connectivity and powerful aggregation (some call it distribution) layer switching for four years. How time flies! Our switching customers told us they didn’t always need super-high performance aggregation switches and wished to see a more affordable way to provide fiber aggregation. To meet this demand we’re today introducing the MS410 1Gb fiber aggregation switch, available with 16 or 32 x SFP interfaces.

 ms410-16-32-stacked

The MS410 features SFP+ (1/10GbE) uplink connectors, plus redundant, hot-swappable power supplies and fans. New to the Meraki aggregation switch family (now known as the MS400 Series), MS410 features a pair of integrated 40GbE stacking connectors, enabling 410s to be stacked up to 8 units. This opens up new possibilities for creating highly redundant switch architectures, or top–of–rack fiber aggregation.

No good meal is complete without something sweet to satisfy the palette. Every network needs protecting, and our growing range of security appliances provides a wealth of features with which to secure and control the LAN. For customers looking to deploy our security appliances in the branch, one feature request has come up again and again. Allow us to introduce MX65, our first security appliance incorporating dedicated Power over Ethernet (PoE+) ports.

 mx65w_rear (1)

Now it’s possible to power two devices, up to 30W each, without requiring a separate power injector. And that’s not all that’s new on the MX65. The model is available with a wireless option, providing 802.11ac WiFi with improved coverage thanks to a new wireless chipset and antenna design. There are also 8 dedicated 1GbE LAN ports and 2 WAN interfaces, perfect for customers looking to build dual-active VPNs with our Intelligent WAN technology.

We’ve done our utmost to provide a well-rounded launch here and trust that bellies are feeling good and full after these four courses. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be running a series of webinars and more detailed blog posts where we can explore these announcements in more detail. In the meantime, we’d love to hear your reactions to our launch in the usual channels, particularly on Twitter and our growing Google+ community.

 

bonappetit

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Set Sail with Meraki Switches

Sail-Switch-e

From now until 7/30/16, first time Meraki Switch customers are eligible for a special promotion: buy any MS Switch with a 1-year cloud management license, and get automatically upgraded to a 5-year license at no additional cost. That’s 4 years on us!

It’s the perfect time to try out the intelligent MS Switching solution. This is a limited time offer, and intended to give more customers the opportunity to see the immense gain in functionality and cost savings Meraki switches can offer an organization of any size.

Join the Meraki switching family to experience fantastic visibility, remote management, live troubleshooting, and more. As with all Meraki licenses, you’ll also benefit from new feature updates pushed to your network at no additional cost. Not only will your network sail smoothly for 5 years, it’ll be even better than when you first set it up.

Contact your Meraki rep or authorized reseller before this ship sets sail. All aboard!

Detailed terms and conditions apply and are available here (US/LATAM/CA), here (EMEAR), here (APJC), and here (日本語). 

Questions? Email <[email protected]>

Learn More

“Introduction to Ethernet Switching” webinars with free PoE switches

Product Evaluations

Meet Dave, the IT Guy, and his Meraki Switches

 

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