Archive for February, 2019

Helping Small Businesses Do it All

Joe is a small business owner. He begins and ends his day with multitasking. Checking emails, inventory, employee logins, customer service, and more is his routine. But every day is different. At times, supplies don’t arrive on time, fraudulent activities and physical break-ins happen, and customers are disappointed when transactions don’t go through. There are days when Joe needs to be away for work. Unplanned leave and staff shortage is another source of worry. And all this is just on the surface.    

To stay ahead of his competitors, Joe uses different gear and apps to perform routine tasks and address these concerns. While these tools are helpful, it also results in divided attention that saps Joe’s passion for his business. Thus, using the right set of tools becomes critical. For a small business, that means supporting anything and everything from tablets to kiosks and other smart devices.

Just enough, and not too much

As many small business owners know, the way Joe’s business and other small businesses run has changed over the years. Maybe you like to keep an eye on your business with WiFi-enabled security cameras. Almost certainly, your customers are constantly using multiple WiFi-connected devices.

Remember that one time when your first-time customer walked in, right as your point-of-sale lost its WiFi connection? The result was not just limited to a single lost sale. It took you a while to figure out what went wrong. You contacted the help center, went through a few troubleshooting cycles, and manually downloaded the required software. Over time, problems like these compound, leading to lost productivity.

Do you recall the day when your important client visited your small office? You were all set for a breakthrough presentation. But your showstopper video started buffering. Yikes!

Sometimes compromised WiFi hardware tricks you into downloading malicious software which slows down your internet connection.

These setbacks take place because most devices in any business environment are WiFi enabled. While most WiFi solutions are designed for users who have network expertise, not all small businesses are able to hire a technical expert. In fact, only 19% of small businesses have dedicated personnel who handle IT issues.* So what do the rest of the 81% end up doing?  Often, they compromise with a generic home WiFi box which was not designed to meet their business needs such as creating guest WiFi or managing WiFi usage. Or, they’re stuck with complex WiFi equipment that they struggle to understand how to use. None of these routes is optimal for small businesses.

Because every second you’re managing or fixing WiFi, you’re not making money.

So why make WiFi complex for small businesses? Why not have something that’s easy to set up, use, and manage and even looks great while doing it?

What does WiFi for small businesses look like?

What if you could block a website that’s slowing down your business in just a few taps on your smartphone? What if watching over all your connected devices was as easy as glancing at today’s weather forecast on your smartphone? Wouldn’t it be useful if your WiFi hardware were updated automatically with better technology and security features — just like the apps on your smartphone? And what if setting WiFi usage limits was as easy as setting the brightness on your phone?

These are the tasks a time-strapped small business owner can easily do without losing focus from business-critical tasks.

All these conveniences add up!

At Cisco Meraki, simplicity and security are at our core. That’s why Meraki Go is designed to work for a time-pressed small business owner looking to ramp up business productivity with limited resources.

Meraki Go Indoor and Outdoor Access Points offer fast and reliable WiFi built for business-critical tasks, and the mobile app is designed to be managed by anyone. Setting up Meraki Go needs no technical expertise and takes less than 5 minutes. The Meraki Go Mobile App subscription enables automatic security, software, and firmware updates to prevent financial loss caused by security breaches and business downtime.

Fast and reliable WiFi together with the ability to easily manage and monitor your  WiFi networks from anywhere results in customers spending more time at your business, critical tasks like payment and contract signatures going through smoothly, better experience encouraging repeat visits and so on. With the cloud-based Meraki Go App, you’re just a few taps away from taking real-time actions that impact your business — all through a single device and from anywhere.

Watch a 2-minute video to learn more about how you can do it all and get your business going.   

 

*According to research conducted by Cisco Meraki in association with Wakefield Research, August 2018.

Wireshark, Where Did the Time Go?

Taking over-the-air packet captures is one of the fundamental tasks in designing, maintaining and troubleshooting wireless networks. Wireshark is the premier and most widely used tool for examining over-the-air packet captures.

Normally, Wireshark only displays a text list of packets. The lack of a graphical display historically made it difficult to analyze packets. At Cisco Meraki, where we use Wireshark on a frequent basis to measure network performance, we realized we needed a better way to visualize captured packet data in order to do our jobs more effectively.

Recently at Meraki, we developed a new method in Wireshark to illustrate the relationship between the packets in time. By illustrating the time dimension, many 802.11 wireless issues that are otherwise hard to identify become easily and clearly apparent.

With this greater clarity and understanding, Meraki engineers are able to innovate and troubleshoot in ways that were not practical before.

To help move the industry forward, Meraki has open sourced this work and contributed it to Wireshark. It is included in the current stable Wireshark release.

Check out the full white paper to read more about our approach and learn how to use these visualizations yourself.

SD-WAN con Meraki

 

Si trabaja en el sector de tecnología de red, probablemente habrá escuchado del término SD-WAN muchas veces en los últimos meses. En esta publicación, desarrollaremos algunos de los conceptos para ayudar a mostrar por qué SD-WAN podría ser de gran beneficio  para su negocio.

SD-WAN significa diferentes cosas para diferentes proveedores, sin mencionar todo el hardware dedicado, el software y las licencias necesarias para ejecutar estas soluciones. El objetivo de SD-WAN es permitir a las organizaciones ahorrar dinero y atender sus necesidades de conectividad más rápido.

En Cisco Meraki, tenemos una solución SD-WAN incluída con la licencia base (licencia para empresas) en todos los dispositivos de seguridad Meraki MX SD-WAN y no requiere de servidores ni hardware adicionales. Solo conéctelo, configúrelo en el panel de Meraki y comience a ahorrar dinero, agregue valor en otras áreas del negocio.

Registro para Webinar SD-WAN

SD-WAN es un acrónimo de (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) y es una tecnología que forma la familia de tecnologías de red definida por software (SDN), con otro ejemplo que es el acceso definido por software. El estar definido por software significa que las decisiones sobre cómo el tráfico puede enrutarse entre todos los sitios en la WAN están definidas por la política, y su comportamiento se adapta a la condición de la WAN en lugar de tener una configuración fija.

Las soluciones SD-WAN logran esto a través de una serie de funciones, tales como resistencia, seguridad, calidad de servicio, optimización de aplicaciones y mucho más. La solución Meraki SD-WAN utiliza una combinación única de estas tecnologías para crear una solución que sea fácil de configurar, implementar y administrar.

Si no está roto, no lo arregles

Si bien este suele ser un buen consejo, el dilema del innovador también nos enseña que si no introduces la tecnología disruptiva en un espacio establecido, como la WAN, ¡alguien más lo hará! MPLS ha visto mucha innovación, pero sería justo decir que esa innovación es, en su mayor parte, para los proveedores de servicios que ejecutan y ofrecen servicios WAN en la parte superior de las redes MPLS.

La simplicidad de Meraki SD-WAN significa que la potencia y la flexibilidad están directamente en manos del cliente o proveedor de servicios. Lo que significa que sin la necesidad de dispositivos, servicios o actualizaciones adicionales, los clientes pueden crear o beneficiarse de una conectividad de red más rentable.

Si bien este tipo de enrutamiento preferencial está disponible en las redes MPLS tradicionales, por lo general, solo está disponible a nivel premium, en un conjunto de clases limitadas y para redes o aplicaciones predefinidas. Mientras que Meraki SD-WAN combina la detección de aplicaciones basada en la capa 7 que viene en todo el stack de Meraki para lograr esto de una manera más breve

¿Por qué Meraki entonces?

A menudo bromeamos diciendo que la SD-WAN es solo un esparcimiento mágico basado en políticas construido sobre la VPN automática de Cisco Meraki. Sin embargo, utiliza tecnología abierta basada en estándares que probablemente ya haya usado. A lo que nos referimos específicamente aquí es una tecnología creada originalmente en Google, pero más tarde de código abierto, que está incorporada en la mayoría de sus productos (por ejemplo, Gmail, Google Drive).

Los dispositivos de seguridad y SD-WAN MX utilizan esta tecnología para inferir la latencia, la fluctuación de fase y la pérdida de paquetes de rutas virtuales entre 2 MX, como se muestra a continuación. Estas tres cosas juntas nos brindan la capacidad de calcular una Puntuación de opinión media (MOS), que se puede usar para calificar la aceptabilidad de una ruta WAN para el tráfico de voz.

Esto significa que una de las políticas que viene preconfigurada es la capacidad de elegir la ruta virtual que sea mejor para el tráfico de voz: una ganancia rápida para todos. En el caso de que cambie la mejor ruta virtual para la voz, el MX moverá automáticamente los flujos a la siguiente ruta más apropiada.

Para rastrear aplicaciones con diferentes características a la voz, simplemente puede agregar una clase de rendimiento personalizada que le permita establecer un umbral compatible para latencia, fluctuación de fase, pérdida de paquetes o cualquier combinación de las tres. A continuación, se puede hacer referencia a este criterio como criterio para la selección de ruta virtual en una única política de UI, como se muestra a continuación:

Finalmente, y completamente integrado en la solución, está la capacidad de ver cómo los flujos atraviesan las rutas virtuales de su red casi en tiempo real e históricamente de manera más poderosa:

Meraki ha estado simplificando tecnología compleja durante más de una década y SD-WAN es solo otro ejemplo en el que hemos aplicado la magia de Meraki para permitir que las organizaciones se centren en su misión. También vale la pena señalar que Meraki ha estado ofreciendo SD-WAN desde 2016, lo que la convierte en una de las plataformas tecnológicas más establecidas y estables en este espacio.

Miles de clientes en todo el mundo ya han elegido Meraki SD-WAN y miles más ya lo estan probando. Conoce más en nuestros webinars con demo en vivo de SD-WAN, registro aquí.

 

New Castle County Moves to the Cloud

It is no secret that government agencies are not always on the cutting edge of new technologies. From tight budgets to lean teams, it can be very challenging for government IT to deploy and manage the robust technologies used by their private sector counterparts. And yet, 85% of U.S. citizens expect government digital services to be on par with or better than private sector digital services. How do governments meet citizen expectations without the resources required?

One answer? The cloud. By using cloud-based solutions, government agencies can scale operations, decrease total cost of ownership, and improve citizen experiences with less day-to-day maintenance and more time to focus on impactful projects.

One such county is leading the charge for government organizations across the United States: New Castle County. The largest county in Delaware, with over 550,000 residents and 1,600 government employees, found a way to do more with less in order to meet citizen expectations. They started with a cloud-managed network, deploying access points, switches, and security appliances across the county. With their new network, New Castle County experienced three main benefits:

  • Intuitive Interface: The team now manages their access points, switches, and security appliances from a single pane of glass, greatly simplifying day-to-day network management. The elimination of command line helped the small IT team allocate resources more effectively.
  • Increased visibility: By knowing all the devices that are connected to the network, who is using bandwidth, and where more coverage might be needed, the team can easily maintain and troubleshoot the network. With building floor plans uploaded into the Meraki dashboard, the team can see how endpoints are moving from access point to access point and identify where someone is if they are having connection issues.
  • Improved security: By using content filtering to block inappropriate content and intrusion prevention to safeguard against malicious traffic, New Castle County’s network is much more secure than before. Plus, with simplified firmware upgrades, the team ensures 24/7 uptime, so there is no impact to critical operations such as the 911 center.

Governments are eager to provide more for citizens, but it isn’t always easy. By managing their entire network through a cloud-based dashboard, the New Castle County IT team has eliminated the day-to-day tasks that come with traditional networking solutions, opening up new opportunities for team members to focus on providing digital services for citizens. The IT team now prioritizes projects that will improve daily operations for government employees and citizen experiences across the county.

To learn more about how the cloud has enabled New Castle County to be a technology-forward government organization, watch the webinar recording. You’ll hear from Mike Hojnicki, Chief of Technology and Administrative Services, and Jon Yearly Manager of Information Systems, on why they chose to move to the cloud. Watch today!