Archive for the ‘Company Blog’ Category

Ringing in the Changes

For the past 10 years the team at Meraki has been pioneering a shift towards a cloud model for the management of network infrastructure. This all began with a research project our founders undertook as students at MIT in the early 2000s. By eliminating the need for a physical wireless LAN controller and drastically simplifying the management experience, Meraki has delivered an efficient, scalable ecosystem which significantly reduces costs for our customers. The potential of this architectural approach extends well beyond our initial wireless offerings, and we’ve added security, switching and mobility management along the way, bringing much needed simplicity to more and more networks.

This month we’re delighted to be bringing yet another game-changing product launch to market: our third in just six months! Our focus this time around has been in two areas, providing best-in-class performance in both our wired and wireless lines, and broadening our portfolio to extend the benefits of our cloud-managed approach to other areas of IT.

Let’s begin with performance. We’re announcing our first multigigabit products: a new flagship AP and access layer switch, which together eliminate the performance bottleneck of a single ethernet cable by squeezing more performance out of existing cabling. The MR53 and MS350-24X complement one another beautifully, providing unprecedented performance to the most demanding customers. Cloud managed networking as fast as anything from traditional players in the market? Take them for a spin and see.

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The MS350-24X switch doesn’t stop at providing best-in-class performance. Every one of its 24 ports is also capable of supplying Universal PoE (UPoE), which pushes the power limit per port up to a whopping 60W! It’s now possible to use a Meraki switch to power more hungry technology, including virtual desktop terminals, IP trading turrets, medical equipment, even lighting!

Finally on switching, a refresh of our 10Gb/s aggregation switches adds better performance, 40Gb/s uplinks and stacking. The MS425 is available in 16 and 32 port configurations. We’ll be back to talk about multigigabit technology and the new AP models (yes, there are two) very soon.

It would be understandable to think that was enough for one product launch, but we couldn’t resist adding one more thing. Insert drumroll here….

We’re incredibly excited to be bringing the Meraki experience to the desktop with the launch of our first Voice over IP phone, the MC74. This breakthrough device has been incubating at our headquarters for quite some time, going through multiple revisions until we finished refining both the physical design and the user experience, both of which make a distinct statement that is typical Meraki: Simple and delightful to use.

Meraki MC74

Just as with every other product in the Meraki family, the MC74 is a breeze to deploy. It can be entirely set up via the familiar dashboard and shipped to the end user who then simply plugs it into any network that can reach the Internet. Where’s the PBX? It’s simple, there IS no PBX. Control for calls and features are all provided from the established and proven Meraki cloud.

Every phone needs a number, and one of the primary areas of focus during the development of the MC74 was the service provider onboarding experience, for access to the public telephone network (PSTN). With just a few clicks in the Meraki dashboard a customer can get set up with a service provider and have public numbers allocated. No need to go to the service provider website. No need to make a call. Within minutes numbers can be purchased and allocated for immediate use. We know this will be revelatory for many who’ve worked with business telephony and waited weeks for numbers.

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A quick note to our international customers. The MC74 is dependent on a third party service provider for access to the PSTN. Meraki is working diligently with regulatory authorities and service providers around the world to enable us to expand support. At the time of writing the MC74 is only available to customers in the United States.

User experience is everything with a phone, and with Meraki MC this doesn’t end with the phone itself. Sometimes it’s convenient to be able to access call logs and voicemails when on the road, and Meraki makes it simple with a dedicated end user portal which can be accessed via a web browser from anywhere. There’s also the option to toggle call forwarding on or off, just in case this was forgotten before leaving the office. Click-to-call makes life easier for those who spend all day on the phone, providing the option to copy and paste a number into the portal and have it place the call on the phone. There’s even a browser plugin which will highlight any phone number on a web page for clicking to call.

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There’s so much more to say about everything we’re announcing this month, in what might just be our most exciting product launch to-date. Stay tuned to the blog for more to details in the coming days and weeks. Subscribing is the best way to ensure nothing gets missed.

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Dog Tour of the Meraki Office

Here at Meraki, we are fortunate to have many friendly dogs roaming our building. We began wondering what their day-to-day is like, and a GoPro helped give us some insight. Check out the Meraki office from a totally new perspective in the video below!

Let us know what you think on Twitter @meraki, and feel free to brighten someone’s day by sharing this video!

We are always looking to hire bright talent to join us in our San Francisco, London, and Sydney offices. If you’re job hunting and would like to see what the Meraki offices look like on two legs, check out our current job listings here.

Enjoy the tour!

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Visio Stencils Now Available

Experienced networking professionals would agree that the more clearly documented a network architecture is, the easier it is to manage. As such, Visio’s diagramming tools have become widely used by those in the industry to visually map out a network’s components and connections.

We’re happy to announce that Visio stencils are now available for all Cisco Meraki hardware: our access points, switches, and security appliances.  

Visio Diagram

These stencils will make the diagramming process that much easier for our users, enabling them to make their Visio diagrams more straightforward and more flexible (with the help of predefined connection points that make it simple to create or edit links between devices).

Simple Topology

Of course it’s worth noting that for those with the full Meraki stack, the dashboard’s auto-populating topology tool should prove even faster and easier than Visio. It allows more functionality too, with hover-over hyperlinks taking you directly to the security appliance, switch, AP, or port page for at-a-glance monitoring and troubleshooting.  Until then you can download the Visio stencils here.

Part of an Australian startup? Yes, we’re talking to you!

We’re a bit more than halfway through the Australian Meraki Startup Kit promo period, but there’s still time left to submit your startup or to share this promo with a friend who can benefit. We’re selecting our 10 winners at the end of the promotion period on 30 July 2016!

The cloud managed Meraki solution can bring simplified networking to any startup, allowing team members to save time and resources when it comes to setting up their network. They’ll get valuable time back to continue their push towards the next great application, product, or innovation.

Team Meraki has certainly been in the same shoes as those of you who are a part of a scrappy startup, working tirelessly to bring new innovations to life. To show our support for the startup community, we’re giving away 10 Startup Kits that have all of the hardware and software you need to set up a full network, including:

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We will be awarding Startup Kits to up to 10 companies based on their ability to put a Cisco Meraki network to good use. To apply, fill out this short application form by 30 July 2016. Please find the eligibility requirements here.

The Meraki Startup Kit for Australian startups is a limited-time offer. Eligibility is at the sole discretion of Cisco Systems.

Enter by 30 July 2016 for a chance to receive your very own Meraki Startup Kit! To learn more about the products in the Startup Kit, attend an interactive webinar, see a live demo, and get your questions answered by our Product Specialists.

 

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What’s life really like for network admins? New Meraki Video reveals all

Meraki has revolutionized the experience of managing a network. Just ask anyone who’s made the switch.

Speaking of ‘switch’, and to illustrate what we mean, we’d like to present our latest video, Cloud Managed Switches. Every network administrator will recognize the experiences covered in this light hearted video, and for those who wonder what life is like for countless thousands of network admins around the world, here’s a rare insight into their reality.

There’s no doubt about it, managing Meraki network infrastructure is a breath of fresh air and will immediately begin to impact the running costs for any network, large or small.

 

 

Look good? With a few simple steps anyone can try Meraki and even save money with our current switch promotion.

Finally, our thanks go to Martín on the Meraki marketing team for bringing this awesome video to life. Let us know what you think. We’ll be listening on Twitter.

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Set Sail with Meraki Switches: 90 days left to hop on board

They’re smart. They’re fast. They’re the technology partner your business has been waiting for. We’re talking, of course, about Meraki MS Switches.

With built-in enterprise security, virtual and physical stacking, Layer 7 visibility, intelligent network mapping, live troubleshooting tools, and more, MS switches are total game-changers for networks of all sizes. Meraki switch customers understand the health of their networks, deploy new devices, configure settings, troubleshoot, and create custom reports in significantly less time and with lower costs than their third-party switch counterparts.

Join the revolution! Until July 30, 2016, first-time Meraki switch customers are eligible for a special promotion on 5-year licenses. Buy any Meraki switch and we’ll give you a 5-year management license at the list price of a 1-year license*. That’s 4 years of smooth sailing on us.

Please check out meraki.com/setsail for more information, and reach out to your Meraki rep or reseller before this ship leaves port. All aboard!

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

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Put your untrusted clients on ISE

The last decade has seen a drastic increase in the number of network-connected devices.  Because of this, it has become more and more difficult for administrators to manage access, security, and traffic policies for all of the clients in their networks.  As with a lot of other IT challenges, the key to solving this problem lies in automation – removing as much of the manual work as possible by creating ways to dynamically and intelligently assign policies to clients.  One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is through a technology known as Change of Authorization (CoA).

At the most basic level, CoA is just a mechanism for changing the policy of an already-connected client.  While that might sound pretty simple, there are actually a variety of ways that CoA can be used to solve complex problems in a wireless network.  For example, you might want clients to have different levels of network access based on the current security status of the device, often referred to as its “security posture”.  A device’s posture includes things like whether it has up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware software installed, whether the latest operating system security patches are installed, or even whether a certain application is installed on the device. Using CoA, you can send information from Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) or similar solutions to a Cisco Meraki AP informing it of any changes to a device’s posture.  The AP can then apply the appropriate policy to that client, even if it is already connected.  You can also leverage ISE to perform Central Web Authentication (CWA) in order to implement automatic authentication and policy application for guest users.

Like all Cisco Meraki features, we took care to ensure that CoA is simple to implement.  For administrators who wish to use Cisco ISE as their RADIUS and CoA server, it’s as easy as navigating to the Wireless>Access Control page and selecting ‘WPA2-Enterprise with my RADIUS server’ in the Association requirements section, and ‘Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) Authentication’ in the Splash page section.

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Add your ISE server information under RADIUS servers, and you’re good to go!  Your APs will now redirect users to the ISE web portal for authentication when they connect, and will respond to CoA messages sent by the ISE server.

For other popular solutions like PacketFence, the process is just as easy.  Instead of selecting ISE Authentication from the Splash page options, set RADIUS CoA support to ‘RADIUS CoA enabled’ in the RADIUS server options on the same page.

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The AP will now respond to CoA messages sent by the RADIUS server.

These features are currently in open beta.  If you want to try them out, you can reach out to our Support team or to your Cisco Meraki Systems Engineer to join the beta.  For more information on configuring CoA on Cisco Meraki MR access points or to learn more about this feature, check out our documentation.

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Customers Around the Globe: A Focus on Switzerland

With customers hailing from every corner of the globe, we wanted to find out how Meraki products were being put to use abroad. This week, we’re turning our attention to Switzerland, highlighting three very different use cases. From rugged mountain terrain to rehabilitation centers to product development and manufacturing, let’s take a look at how these Swiss companies are benefitting from the Meraki solution:

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Zermatt Bergbahnen

High in the Swiss Alps, Zermatt Bergbahnen provides visitors with breathtaking vistas and provides skiers access to 200km of pistas. The largest cable car and lift company in Switzerland, Zermatt Bergbahnen has placed its customers’ interests, and their desire for WiFi access, at the top of the priority list.

The company installed a mixture of Bluetooth-enabled 802.11ac MR32 indoor APs and MR72 outdoor APs throughout its resort and transport facilities. These APs withstand temperatures between -30℃ to -35℃, more than 4,000m above sea level, and provide free WiFi to guests and company-issued employee devices. Not only is the IT team benefitting from their newfound network visibility and Layer 7 application control in the Meraki dashboard, but they’ve also installed the Meraki MDM solution so employees have access to the Skidata system on their corporate devices.

Read the full case study here.

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Zürcher Höhenklinik

Moving our focus to the Zurich highlands, Zürcher Höhenklinik is a rehabilitation centre seeing over 5,000 patients annually with both in-patient and out-patient services. The needs of this centre encompass more than traditional guest and corporate usage. The IT team has 6-8 wireless SSIDs configured at any time to provide access to patients, mobile workers, medical staff, and guests.

What makes the usage for this customer interesting are the WiFi-enabled medical treatment machines. By deploying Meraki wireless APs, the IT team can remotely customise the needs of each user group, providing additional bandwidth for mission critical uses, employing Layer 7 application limits for fair guest use, and isolating the LAN to ensure security of sensitive client information. The centres were able to create custom rules for each use without having to deploy additional devices or solutions.

Read the full case study here.

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INFORS HT

This small, family-run business has exploded onto the market as one of the most important developers and manufacturers of shakers, bioreactors, and bioprocess software in the world. INFORS HT has a global footprint and was looking to refresh its network infrastructure to reflect and ultimately increase the innovation, collaboration, and ingenuity that had brought the company such success.

Over the course of just a couple days, the IT team installed Meraki wireless, switching, and security appliances in its Swiss headquarters and all of the distributed world-wide locations. Whether using personal or company-issued devices, employees can instantly access resources after inputting their security credentials and can communicate with the different sites seamlessly via the site-to-site Auto VPN functionality. Not only has the IT team made it a breeze for users to carry out their day-to-day activities, but they themselves are also benefitting from the ease of use in establishing custom settings and per-port configurations.

Read the full case study here.

We’re always adding new stories and interesting use cases, so keep an eye on our website for new customer posts!

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Retail Customer Spotlight

Here in Northern California, two names that are known in every household are Brookstone and Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH). What may be less widely known is the networking solution that helps power these organizations – you guessed it, these are both Meraki customers. Read below for a glimpse behind the scenes of these networking stories, or check out the full case studies here.

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Brookstone

Specializing in innovative and useful consumer goods, the Brookstone team is dedicated to consistently improving the shopping experience for their customers. They are able to focus their efforts on this high-level mission with the reliable, no-nonsense network that Meraki cloud managed wireless and switching solutions provide.

Rock-solid WiFi coverage became increasingly important to the Brookstone store experience, where associates and customers required access to detailed information about the company’s thousands of products. Brookstone’s former WiFi network proved unable keep up with this increased need for reliability and traffic capacity. The team did a proof of concept with the Meraki cloud managed solution, and “fell in love with the Meraki technology, especially the ease of use, accessibility, and how simple it was to set up,” shared Doug Reczko, Operational VP of IT at Brookstone.

In each Brookstone store, there is now one MS 8-port Switch with a MR32 802.11ac Access Point wired into it. From there, depending on the size of the store, several other MR32 APs connect via wireless mesh to provide fast and seamless connectivity for all business users, without having to cable the entire store.

With nearly 225 stores across the United States, the simple, scalable mass-management inherent to the Meraki platform is a necessity for Brookstone. The team is able to log into their Meraki management dashboard and instantly see all of their locations, learn which sites are running smoothly and which need attention, and drill down into specific devices for further insight and troubleshooting.

“My goal as an executive is to bring our services to a higher level and do it better, faster, and for less; the Meraki tools allow us to do that,” said Doug.

Read the full case study here.

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Orchard Supply Hardware

OSH is a successful home improvement retailer with over 70 stores throughout California and Oregon. With a lean IT team managing the network for all locations, Meraki cloud managed access points and switches enable the retailer to focus on its customers and high­ priority projects, rather than routine network maintenance.

Challenged by limited IT resources and tired of traditional on­-premise controller models, Moon Son, Senior Director of IT Infrastructure at OSH, initiated a proof of concept with Meraki wireless access points. OSH needed a reliable wireless network for inventory scanning, price look-­up, and other critical retail functions. Moon and the team soon developed a close relationship with their Meraki sales team as they worked together to figure out the best setup for their unique environment and business initiatives. “Meraki was very attentive to our needs and provided great customer service, setting them apart from other vendors we were looking at back then,” Moon said.

Today, all OSH locations still boast the same MR16 802.11n APs that they purchased following that initial meeting. “The investment is still working for us, and I’m happy to say that all the features we have wished for have also been developed over the years,” Moon expanded.

The visibility and ease of management inherent to Meraki hardware and the cloud based management dashboard have been valuable assets for the OSH IT team. “Being able to schedule firmware and feature updates and not having to plan maintenance activities has been a huge benefit for my team, and a big cost saver in terms of resource allocation and time,” Moon shared.

However, Meraki proved most useful this past summer when the team set out to construct a new IP schema across their entire network for a new point of sale initiative, while also integrating new switches. “We touched every single network device, every single endpoint, put in new switches, re­-did our routers to recognize the new IP scheme, everything,” Moon said. “This was a monstrous effort, and Meraki was a huge, huge help.”

Get more details on the ins and outs of this giant project in the full case study here.

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We hope you enjoyed learning about these featured customers! Check out our Meraki for Retail guide to see how we can help businesses of any size leverage their networks in a scalable and flexible manner.

We’ll also be hosting a live webinar where a Meraki product specialist will give a tour of our cloud managed dashboard and tailor the capabilities of Meraki specifically to retail. Sign up for the webinar here.

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The Meraki Quarterly – catch up here

We’ve just wrapped another hugely successful Meraki Quarterly, recapping everything we’ve been doing over the past 3 months. Since its inception last year, the Quarterly has grown to become the perfect vehicle for comprehensively reviewing what’s new and recent within each of the four product groups here at Meraki HQ. Assembling the team together in the same room at the same time is never easy – akin to herding cats – but when it happens the results never disappoint.

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Here’s a quick recap of what we covered this time around:

Security

Raviv shared information about our new integration of Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) on our security appliances. AMP provides real time protection against malicious files destined for a network user by checking them against a huge and growing database. AMP is currently in beta and will be a free feature upgrade for MX Advanced Security customers.

Switching

Tony provided a recap on our new stackable 1GbE fiber aggregation switch line, the MS410 and also took the opportunity to run through switch templates, a very exciting and powerful new management feature which we covered on the blog recently.

Enterprise Mobility Management

Systems Manager continues to see new features being added at a breakneck pace, truly exemplifying the high feature velocity for which Meraki became renowned. Paul ran us through the recent announcements which have extended feature support on iOS, Mac OS X, Android and Windows.

Wireless

Matt took the opportunity to remind attendees of our exciting new developers portal. There are some extremely smart people out there, developing innovative solutions which leverage Meraki infrastructure and our range of APIs. There was also our new flagship MU-MIMO 802.11ac AP to shout about, the MR42. Finally, he generously put up a pair of limited edition Meraki socks as a prize in a selfie contest, because why not? There’s still a couple of days to submit photos.

We don’t want anyone to miss out on the Quarterly, so we’ve put a recording online. If you missed the session, or even a part of it, we hope you’ll find this useful.

We’ll be back in July with what promises to be an exceptionally exciting session. Look out for invitations nearer the time.

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