Archive for December, 2019

Kick off the new year with these new API webinars

This is the THE year: the year you finally dig in and get to the programming tasks on your list. Or, for others, the year you learn what’s possible and start broadening your toolset with APIs. Whether you’re just getting started or looking for ways to optimize your development process, these upcoming webinars will help!

Webinar 1: Programming in Python: An updated SDK for the Meraki Dashboard API

Date: Jan 8th 11AM PST/2PM EST

Join us in this session as we unpack the updated Python SDK (Software Development Kit), including support for all API endpoints, automatic logging, automatic retries on rate limit errors, automatic pagination, custom settings, and simulation mode. Learn how simply and easily use the Python SDK to make Dashboard API calls, handle errors and exceptions, easily access and export logs for troubleshooting, and collect meaningful data. 

Webinar 2: Drag and Drop Programming with Meraki and Node-RED

Date: Jan 14th at 11AM PST/2PM EST

Join us in this session to learn about Node-Red, a tool for taking the work out of programming with the Meraki Dashboard API! Node-Red is a dream come true for both experienced and first-time/recently refreshed programmers, allowing you to offload scripting boilerplate code around commands and link tasks together in an intuitive, flexible format. Learn how to use this tool and sample flows we’ve made available for the Dashboard API! 

We hope you’ll kick off the new year with Meraki APIs, and hope to see you in these webinars, the Meraki Community, and the Developer Hub

 

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The key for IoT

We may not see it or feel it, but it’s happening. IoT devices are growing in number all around us, and improving our lives. Sensors help organizations streamline operations at a hospital, and point-of-sale devices improve our experience at the local coffee shop. But, securing IoT can be complicated, especially when contending with outdated devices, and deploying them across multiple sites. IoT devices typically lack 802.1X support and can be hacked in 5 minutes on average. In our recent “Security Made Simple” launch, we discussed a new feature called Identity PSK that simplifies IoT security.

A better way of securing IoT

Many IoT devices are not compatible with 802.1X, leaving IT admins no choice but to use WPA2 or a pre-shared key for authentication. Unfortunately, both methods come with well-documented security flaws. Identity PSK provides a way to assign users and devices unique keys, build identity-based groups, and scale them across the network. For example, a hospital might have wireless infusion pumps and patient monitoring tools for which they would like to apply different group policies. With IPSK, the hospital IT administrator can now assign those devices unique groups and separate VLANs. The IT admin will also be able to reset or change the keys on entire groups of devices at the same time.

IPSK

With IPSK, it will become easier to secure devices across multiple industries. An IT admin at a manufacturing plant will segment barcode scanners and sensors into different groups. Retail point-of-sale devices and smart thermostats will connect to one SSID, yet have different security policies. On a college campus, gaming devices, RFID card readers, and printers are easily segmented when connecting to Wi-Fi. Hotels can onboard wireless users quickly and provide granular control over their access in a more simple and secure way.

Configuring Identity PSK

Identity PSK provides the simplicity of PSK with the benefits of 802.1X, and is available today in the Meraki dashboard. Configuration is located in the wireless access control section of the dashboard. The current implementation uses a RADIUS server for authentication, allowing organizations to leverage existing services such as Cisco ISE. When a client associates to a Meraki access point, the AP will send the MAC address of the device to the RADIUS server. The RADIUS server is able to respond with the PSK, which then allows the access point to authenticate the device.

iPSK

You can learn more here about how Meraki is simplifying security for every layer of the network, from client to application. For a further deep dive on Meraki Wireless, join us for an upcoming live webinar.

 

Retail Transformation with Cisco Meraki at NRF 2020

Succeeding in today’s rapidly-evolving and challenging retail business means being hyper-focused on customer experience and creating a  journey – whether it be online or in-store – that is consistent and memorable for the right reasons. With the dominance of ecommerce, the expectation of the customer for their digital experience is higher than ever, and identifying the right technology to enhance, improve and personalize that experience  is key for retailers. 

Cisco Meraki is excited to be bringing our innovative networking solutions to the  National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show in New York next month. Thousands of retail decision makers and influencers from across the US and around the globe will converge to learn about the latest technology available to help them optimize their customer experience. From data insights to video security, Meraki will be showcasing how customers can digitally transform their business in the most simple, most secure way. 

Come visit us at booth 3754, to see and learn more about how our solutions are enabling retailers to reduce operating costs and rapidly implement IT initiatives, so they can return to focusing on their own business mission. 

Standing Out From the Rest 

Standing out from  the competition is vital for retailers, and having the right technology that scales as a business grows, could not be more critical. Technology is redefining customer expectations, and at Meraki we are offering a cloud-managed solution to help our retail customers transform their business end-to-end, from manufacturing to inventory management to the in-store/online guest experience. 

Take, for instance, the Meraki MV smart cameras. These cameras are capable of providing video security as well as critical data insights around guest foot traffic, helping retailers improve their point-of-sale and merchandising strategies. 

Connectivity has been critical in retail for a number of years now, where any downtime has a  direct impact on retailers’ ability to process customer transactions. Cellular connectivity is growing, and is the most popular WAN failover option for organizations today. To support this growing trend, Meraki recently introduced a brand new product line, Meraki MG Cellular Gateway. Meraki Gateway (MG) is built on the industry’s most trusted cloud infrastructure to seamlessly deliver cellular connectivity managed in the same, powerful dashboard as the rest of the Meraki IT portfolio.

From manufacturing and payment solutions to technology networking infrastructure, NRF provides retail decision-makers the opportunity to connect with  technology vendors who are driving innovation and offering support to make a retailer’s vision for the future a reality.  

If you’re going to NRF, be sure to reach out to your Meraki rep and schedule a Meraki booth tour or a meeting. We’ll see you there!

 

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MG CELLULAR GATEWAY ORDERABLE TODAY

Last month at Cisco Partner Summit, we announced the newest addition to the Meraki platform – the MG Cellular Gateway. The reaction to MG has been overwhelming with customers and partners eagerly waiting to get their hands on it, and now, the wait is over. We’re pleased to announce that MG is officially orderable today – try it out for yourself.

If you’re hearing about MG for the first time, then read on…

 

What is it?
The MG Cellular Gateway is a brand new Meraki product line that takes a cellular signal and transforms it into a wired Ethernet connection that can then be propagated down to the rest of a network via a router.

Cellular is growing
Cellular usage as a viable enterprise-grade connectivity option has been steadily growing with advances in throughput and availability in particular. IDC estimates the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the global LTE gateway market to be approximately 25% with around half of all enterprises using cellular as their current backup network solution for WAN connectivity.

The Meraki MG Cellular Gateway is our second wave of investment into cellular products. Last year we introduced a range of small branch MX security & SD-WAN appliances with integrated LTE modems to deliver all-in-one cellular failover capability. Customer response to the embedded cellular range has made those models one of the most popular of the MX line over the past year.

So there’s obvious an appetite in cellular products, but in what scenario would an MG cellular gateway be useful?

 

Cellular signal strength
One of the biggest challenges with utilizing cellular connectivity is getting the signal itself to where it’s needed. For most enterprises, geographical cellular coverage is not the issue. The challenge is usually with signal strength where the networking equipment is located. More often than not, this tends to be a network closet or server room deep inside a building, where cellular reception is likely to be poor or sporadic at best.

Antennas from cellular devices in a closet or server room can be extended to a location with better signal using a coaxial cable, however this is only practical over short distances. Coaxial cables are susceptible to high signal loss, making them unsuitable to transport a cellular signal over all but short distances.

Meraki MG cellular gateways are IP67 rated, meaning they can be optimally positioned, indoors or outdoors, to receive maximum signal strength. Cellular signal from MGs is delivered to the rest of the network via an Ethernet cable which experiences zero signal loss even over larger distances. Ethernet delivery also means that MG can be paired with any router on the market downstream to provide another uplink for SD-WAN or as a failover/primary link.

As you would expect with a Meraki product, MG is supremely simple, and of course managed from the same dashboard as the rest of the Meraki portfolio.

 

A decade head start
MG is built on the industry’s most trusted cloud infrastructure, backed by over 10 years of experience supporting nearly half a million customers globally, including numerous deployments in excess of 20,000 locations. Leveraging this backend infrastructure means that Meraki is uniquely positioned to rapidly bring new products and product lines to market that are supremely scalable and robust, from day one.

 

What about 5G?
There’s a lot of hype and excitement around 5G, and rightly so. Compared to 4G, 5G promises

  • 10x latency reduction
  • 10x increase in connection density
  • 100x more traffic capacity

As hugely exciting as these capabilities are, there’s still some time before they become a reality. Firstly the 5G standard itself needs to be ratified – the timing of which is still to be confirmed. Moreover, as was the case with the preceding generations of cellular technology, multiple elements need to be completed before 5G adoption can become widespread: carriers need to certify 5G with their respective infrastructure and roll out new equipment to provide coverage, and client devices compatible with 5G need to proliferate.

Given the backend that Meraki has built, we’ve always been among the first to bring the latest technology innovations to our customers as we did with 802.11ac waves 1 and 2, and most recently, Wi-Fi 6. 5G will be no different. We’re closely tracking the progress of 5G, and are ideally positioned to deliver a solution to our customers that will allow them to fully leverage the enhancements in latency and throughput efficiencies that it promises, at scale.

So whether you’re starting your Meraki journey with MG or continuing it with adding to your existing Meraki deployment, you’re investing in a proven platform that’s ready to offer you unprecedented visibility and management, today.

 

More MG info & resources

Introducing Meraki Trusted Access

These days, as individuals carry multiple types of devices and expect to be connected at all times, the job of an IT admin becomes more complicated and stressful. Knowing what each end-user and device is trying to do on the network can be a burden. How can you feel confident that your network security will not be jeopardized while company assets remain contained? 

Systems Manager, Cisco’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, is evolving to address this need. We are introducing Meraki Trusted Access, which securely connects personal devices to business-critical resources without requiring an MDM profile to be installed. 

Meraki Trusted Access enhances both the IT and end-user experience

For IT, Meraki Trusted Access means no longer dealing with tedious and manual onboarding processes. Granting secure network access to end devices becomes seamless and automated. With the Meraki dashboard, IT can sync their Active Directory server to create user profiles. From those user profiles, Trusted Access can then be enabled for specific Wi-Fi networks, specifying how many devices each user can onboard to get access and for how long. A user’s device gets access using a certificate, once that user is authenticated, the device is now “trusted”. A “trusted” device can now securely access resources. 

Additionally, Meraki Trusted Access enables more control and manageability over certificate-based onboarding processes. Whether a user is managed or unmanaged, the certificate authentication is done with Meraki. This removes the need to engineer complex third-party integrations. Finally, Systems Manager also offers an open API platform for customized integrations, for more business-critical operations. 

For end-users, Meraki Trusted Access means an easier way to access critical applications. By using the newly enhanced Meraki Self-Service Portal, end-users can sign into the portal and start onboarding their devices themselves. From there, they can download certificates directly to those devices, granting them secure access to business-critical applications they might need. On top of this intuitive method of getting their devices access, end-users will also be happy to know that their privacy stays intact. They will no longer need to enroll into an MDM solution in order to get the access they need.

Meraki Trusted Access is the easiest way to securely connect devices without an MDM

 

Enabling Meraki Trusted Access is simple. Meraki Trusted Access is enabled when you have both Meraki MR access points and Meraki Systems Manager in your network. 

You can configure Meraki Trusted Access in 4 simple steps: 

  1. Enable Trusted Access on an SSID
  2. Create an end-user profile under Systems Manager. You can automatically use Active Directory group tags to enable Trusted Access or configure users manually.
  3. Select the end-user’s network access privileges and tie them to the SSID that has Trusted Access enabled 
  4. Share the Self-Service Portal link to the end-user so they can onboard their devices and download the trusted certificate.

Cisco’s MDM solution, Meraki Systems Manager, continues to provide end-users and end-devices network security with flexible authentication methods, automated device onboarding, and dynamic security policies. 

If you are a current MR and SM customer, you can try Meraki Trusted Access today (just make sure you have enough SM licenses to cover the number of mobile devices). Start by reading our Meraki Trusted Access documentation guide for a smooth set-up. If you’d like to learn more about Systems Manager, you can connect with the Meraki team to start a 30-day free trial, no strings attached.

 

What’s New with Meraki Licensing

The mission of simplicity is real at Meraki – from our hardware, to our cloud-hosted dashboard, to even our licensing programs. This was the intent behind our cotermination licensing model (co-term): to create one simple expiration date for all devices in a given organization, and reduce the complexity of licensing for our customers. 

While co-term does serve many customers and partners as intended, we’ve seen that this method of licensing wasn’t always a fit for every customer or partner. For example, one simple expiration date didn’t quite work for customers with conflicting budgeting processes, varying grants or site billing, or other accounting (non-networking) requirements. 

To address this, we have recently released the per-device licensing model, available to both new and existing customers. This model offers the ultimate flexibility for licensing and offers a suite of new, exclusive features not offered on our co-term model:

  • License Devices Individually: Assign a license to a specific device (MR, MS, MX, MV, MG) or a network (in the case of vMX and SM licenses) and maintain a shared expiration date or separate expiration dates across devices, networks, or organizations.
  • Partial Renewals: Enjoy the ability to renew all your devices or a subset of devices, as you prefer. 
  • Move Licenses Between Orgs: Org Admins (Read/Write) on multiple organizations are able to move a license (or licenses & devices together) between those organizations without calling Meraki support. This functionality is available through the dashboard and APIs. 
  • 90 Day License Activation Window: You will have up to 90 days to claim and assign your licenses before they activate – giving you more lead time to deploy Meraki products.
  • APIs: APIs are available to claim, assign and move licenses. This will allow a greater level of automation and the ability to integrate with other systems. 
  • Individual Device Shutdowns: If a license expires on a device, only that individual device or product will shut down (after the 30 grace period). 

Join us in an upcoming webinar to learn more about the per-device licensing model and decide whether conversion makes sense for your organization. This live webinar will include an overview of the easy conversion process as well. 

For more information about the per-device licensing model please refer to  Per-Device Licensing Overview documentation or this FAQ on Meraki licensing. 

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