Posts Tagged ‘Dashboard’

We’re not sure why you’d want to hide such a beautiful wireless network, but….

Sometimes there are good reasons to not want to broadcast an SSID.  Often it is to prevent wireless users from associating to an SSID that they are not supposed to associate to, or if neighbors in adjacent buildings are averse to having RF “clutter” coming onto their property.

Starting today, all Meraki Enterprise network administrators will find a new feature on the Access Control page – Configure tab under Wireless Options in Dashboard: the ability to hide SSIDs.  With this feature turned on for an SSID, anyone searching for nearby wireless networks with their wireless card in their laptop or iPhone would not see this SSID, and would only be able to connect if they knew the name of the SSID.

See the below screen shot for what the new drop-down tool looks like in Dashboard:

blog shot

Note: Meraki does not recommend hiding SSIDs as the sole means of securing a wireless network against unauthorized access.  WPA/WPA2 authentication and encryption should still be used to secure your network.

Happy hiding!

-Posted by Greg Williams

We're not sure why you'd want to hide such a beautiful wireless network, but….

Sometimes there are good reasons to not want to broadcast an SSID.  Often it is to prevent wireless users from associating to an SSID that they are not supposed to associate to, or if neighbors in adjacent buildings are averse to having RF “clutter” coming onto their property.

Starting today, all Meraki Enterprise network administrators will find a new feature on the Access Control page – Configure tab under Wireless Options in Dashboard: the ability to hide SSIDs.  With this feature turned on for an SSID, anyone searching for nearby wireless networks with their wireless card in their laptop or iPhone would not see this SSID, and would only be able to connect if they knew the name of the SSID.

See the below screen shot for what the new drop-down tool looks like in Dashboard:

blog shot

Note: Meraki does not recommend hiding SSIDs as the sole means of securing a wireless network against unauthorized access.  WPA/WPA2 authentication and encryption should still be used to secure your network.

Happy hiding!

-Posted by Greg Williams

Using the Events Log for Quick Troubleshooting of Client Issues

If a client is having trouble associating to your Meraki Enterprise wireless network, one of the best troubleshooting tools at your disposal is the event log. You can find the log under Monitor -> Event log and see a detailed log of exactly what has been going on with your network.

The log captures various types of traffic on your network that can be very useful for troubleshooting:

802.1X – Authentication communication between the client and RADIUS server.

IP (Data) – Initial requests and responses between computers and servers, including HTTP.

802.11 – Association and disassociation of clients from the network.

DHCP – Lease information from the DHCP server about the client IP address, default gateway, and DNS server.

WPA – Password authentication of the client.

ARP – Requests by clients to find the MAC address associated to an IP address.

3-15-2010 11-01-01 AM_EventLog2

If a client is having trouble associating to the network, the event log can help you determine the most likely culprit. For example, you can easily tell if it’s related to a bad password or a failure to obtain an IP address and take the appropriate steps to get the user up and running again.

If you’d like to see more information captured in the event log, let us know by entering your feedback in the “Make a Wish” field on the Dashboard.

-Posted by Ahmed Akhtar

Try out Meraki for free, instantly, with the new Meraki Network Simulator

We’re happy to share that we’ve launched the Meraki Network Simulator: a free demo version of the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller that allows you to try out all of our web-based tools without purchasing or setting up physical access points.  For a long time, we’ve wanted to enable potential customers to test out the Meraki Dashboard without physical hardware.  The Meraki Cloud Controller is the most unique piece of our wireless LAN offering, providing simple centralized management to network administrators any time and any place over the web.  You really have to experience it personally to understand why it’s such a revolutionary way to manage your network.

The Meraki Network Simulator contains several sample networks that allow you to see how Meraki could work for you.  We’ve even populated the Cloud Controller with real-life data that we’ve captured and anonymized, so you can get a realistic picture of how the Meraki Dashboard looks on a live network.  Here’s a taste of what you can do with the simulator:
Test-drive the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller for free, without purchasing hardware
Experience the complete Cloud Controller configuration UI
Test-drive Meraki’s network monitoring features
Try out sample networks for office, university, and conference use cases
Create your own blank network simulation and set it up from scratch, configuring simulated access points

We’re happy to share that we’ve launched the Meraki Network Simulator: a free demo version of the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller that allows you to try out all of our web-based tools without purchasing or setting up physical access points.  For a long time, we’ve wanted to enable potential customers to test out the Meraki Dashboard without physical hardware.  The Meraki Cloud Controller is the most unique piece of our wireless LAN offering, providing simple centralized management to network administrators any time and any place over the web.  You really have to experience it personally to understand why it’s such a revolutionary way to manage your network.

The Meraki Network Simulator contains several sample networks that allow you to see how Meraki could work for you.  We’ve even populated the Cloud Controller with real-life data that we’ve captured and anonymized, so you can get a realistic picture of how the Meraki Dashboard looks on a live network.  Here’s a taste of what you can do with the simulator:

  • Test-drive the Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller for free, without purchasing hardware
  • Experience the complete Cloud Controller configuration UI

Network_Overview_640x360_1

  • Test-drive Meraki’s network monitoring features

Network_Overview_640x360_2

  • Try out sample networks for office, university, and conference use cases

Network_Overview_640x360_3

  • Create your own blank network simulation and set it up from scratch, configuring simulated access points

Try it out and let us know what you think!

– Marie Williams

Who's my neighbor? How to better understand your mesh in Dashboard

When you’re investigating mesh wireless issues, it’s important to know which mesh neighbors are seen by each access point (AP).  Here is a quick tutorial of how to best utilize the built-in features in Dashboard that allow you to check out who is talking to whom in the mesh and what the quality of the links are:

1. In the Dashboard, go to Monitor -> Access points.
2. Click an AP in the list.

3. Scroll down to the section Neighbors. (See screen shot below).

1-12-2010 5-20-22 PM_Neighbors
The Neighbors section reveals the mesh APs seen by the AP you’re currently looking at. Using the example above, the AP is directly communicating with four mesh neighbors: Outdoor, Indoor, MR14, and MR58. The other columns in the table provide useful information for troubleshooting wireless problems:

Dist (m)
Shows the distance from the AP to each neighbor in meters (Make sure to place the APs on the map accurately in order for these distances to be meaningful).

Radio
Describes which radio (if neighbor is a multi-radio device) of the neighbor is communicating with the AP.

Signal (dB)
Measures the received signal strength indication (RSSI) of the RF signal from the neighbor. This measurement correlates to a value in decibels (dB). For example, an RSSI of 10 is considered a very weak signal. To improve the signal: move APs closer to each other; create a better line-of-sight; consider using a more powerful antenna; eliminate RF interference; or try a different RF channel.

Fwd
Reports the percentage of packets successfully delivered from the AP to its neighbor. For example, 75% means that 3 out of every 4 packets made it to the neighbor from the AP; in other words, there’s 25% loss.  Good quality links typically will show no more than 10-15% packet loss.

Rev
Reports the percentage of packets successfully delivered from the neighbor to the AP. Good quality links will typically have no more than 10-15% packet loss.
If you don’t see a particular mesh AP in the list, that means the AP you’re looking at can’t see it. If it could, that mesh AP would be present in the Neighbors list.

Can you think of other information you’d like to see reported in the Dashboard? Let us know by entering your feedback in the “make a wish” field.

-Posted by Ahmed Akhtar

Who’s my neighbor? How to better understand your mesh in Dashboard

When you’re investigating mesh wireless issues, it’s important to know which mesh neighbors are seen by each access point (AP).  Here is a quick tutorial of how to best utilize the built-in features in Dashboard that allow you to check out who is talking to whom in the mesh and what the quality of the links are:

1. In the Dashboard, go to Monitor -> Access points.
2. Click an AP in the list.

3. Scroll down to the section Neighbors. (See screen shot below).

1-12-2010 5-20-22 PM_Neighbors
The Neighbors section reveals the mesh APs seen by the AP you’re currently looking at. Using the example above, the AP is directly communicating with four mesh neighbors: Outdoor, Indoor, MR14, and MR58. The other columns in the table provide useful information for troubleshooting wireless problems:

Dist (m)
Shows the distance from the AP to each neighbor in meters (Make sure to place the APs on the map accurately in order for these distances to be meaningful).

Radio
Describes which radio (if neighbor is a multi-radio device) of the neighbor is communicating with the AP.

Signal (dB)
Measures the received signal strength indication (RSSI) of the RF signal from the neighbor. This measurement correlates to a value in decibels (dB). For example, an RSSI of 10 is considered a very weak signal. To improve the signal: move APs closer to each other; create a better line-of-sight; consider using a more powerful antenna; eliminate RF interference; or try a different RF channel.

Fwd
Reports the percentage of packets successfully delivered from the AP to its neighbor. For example, 75% means that 3 out of every 4 packets made it to the neighbor from the AP; in other words, there’s 25% loss.  Good quality links typically will show no more than 10-15% packet loss.

Rev
Reports the percentage of packets successfully delivered from the neighbor to the AP. Good quality links will typically have no more than 10-15% packet loss.
If you don’t see a particular mesh AP in the list, that means the AP you’re looking at can’t see it. If it could, that mesh AP would be present in the Neighbors list.

Can you think of other information you’d like to see reported in the Dashboard? Let us know by entering your feedback in the “make a wish” field.

-Posted by Ahmed Akhtar

Tech Support Favorite – Dashboard Display Options

Frequently when using my Meraki Dashboard account, I find that I’m interested in more information than is displayed by default on the Dashboard. This may be true for Access Points, Clients, or Logons. The “Display options” link on these pages is a little button with big value to help me learn more about my network.

Here is the link on the Access Points page:

image 1

Click on the link to discover the fields that you can display:

image 2

Add those fields that are most helpful to you and hide the fields that you don’t need.  This way you can display the information that provides the most value to you while eliminating unnecessary clutter.

There are plenty of great ways to use this data to trouble shoot. For example, when there is a connectivity issue on a portion of a network, I add the Gateway field and sort the APs by gateway. Frequently I discover that the outage is associated with a single gateway… that tells me to look at the wired network and ISP service supporting that particular gateway. There are many other ways to sort these fields that can help you to better understand your network performance and behavior.

We hope this helps make your Dashboard experience even better.  We’ll periodically share our favorite Dashboard features with you to help you make the most of the troubleshooting tools at your disposal.

-Posted by Jeff

New Dashboard Channel Utilization Tool

With so many different types of wireless devices out there today, you’re probably experiencing radio frequency (RF) interference in your wireless network whether you know it or not. RF interference is ubiquitous and there is no way to completely avoid it; the best you can do is identify sources of interference and take them into account when designing your network.  Meraki has introduced a new tool in Dashboard to determine whether interference is affecting your network adversely and to help you optimize your network for the local RF environment.

In the Meraki Dashboard, go to the access points list under the Monitor tab, and click on any active access point.  The channel utilization graph shows the percentage of time the access point has seen RF interference on its channel.  For example, if the access point is operating on channel 1 in the 2.4 GHz band, then the graph will show the amount of time channel 1 has seen interfering RF energy.

Util graph

The percentage of utilization on the channel proportionally affects the peak performance that access points will be able to achieve.  Percentages higher than 30% can cause considerable connectivity issues. Here are some suggestions for reducing or coping with high levels of interference:

1.  Perform an RF site survey before deploying your network.  You can use the Real-Time Spectrum Analysis tool found on the Client Survey Tool tab of my.meraki.com with a battery-powered access point or a 3rd party spectrum analyzer to get an overview of the RF environment in your chosen place of deployment before installing your APs.
2.  Remove interfering devices from the area.  Common culprits are 2.4 GHz cordless phones, Bluetooth gadgets, microwaves and wireless video cameras.  A 3rd party packet sniffing tool can be very helpful to identify and locate interference sources.
3.  Ensure adequate wireless coverage to avoid weak spots; a weak signal from your access points is more easily degraded by local RF interference compared to a strong signal.
4.  Avoid using the same channel as neighboring wireless networks.
5.  Turn on channel spreading in Dashboard (go to the Configure tab and click on Network-wide settings) so access points can individually pick their own channel based on the RF interference they detect.
6.  If you are using Meraki 802.11n hardware, consider using the 5 GHz band to avoid the often congested 2.4 GHz band.

Using this new tool and following these simple tips will help you minimize RF interference effects in your Meraki network and optimize performance.

-Posted by Ahmed Akhtar

Dashboard's New Look

We want Meraki Dashboard to be the most functional, intuitive, and beautiful network administration system available. As of today, you can check out Dashboard’s next evolutionary step: a new layout, and new functionality, that organizes Dashboard’s appearance, makes some common tasks easier, and adds power to common pages.

New layout Overview screenshot

The new features include:

  • More of your screen real estate is used for content—for instance, maps are bigger.
  • Go between pages with one click by hovering over the left-hand “tabs.” (They aren’t really tabs any more; we’ve been calling them “pills,” but you can probably come up with something better!)

Hover over tabs

  • Use checkboxes on the access points page to act on many access points at once.
  • Shift-click markers on the maps page to select multiple access points, then drag them as a group. Adding access points to Enterprise Edition custom maps is also easier.

We’ll be adding even more in the coming weeks. The new interface is beta for now—click the “Test drive” link in the upper right to try it out. And as always, let us know what you think!

– Posted by Eddie Kohler

Dashboard’s New Look

We want Meraki Dashboard to be the most functional, intuitive, and beautiful network administration system available. As of today, you can check out Dashboard’s next evolutionary step: a new layout, and new functionality, that organizes Dashboard’s appearance, makes some common tasks easier, and adds power to common pages.

New layout Overview screenshot

The new features include:

  • More of your screen real estate is used for content—for instance, maps are bigger.
  • Go between pages with one click by hovering over the left-hand “tabs.” (They aren’t really tabs any more; we’ve been calling them “pills,” but you can probably come up with something better!)

Hover over tabs

  • Use checkboxes on the access points page to act on many access points at once.
  • Shift-click markers on the maps page to select multiple access points, then drag them as a group. Adding access points to Enterprise Edition custom maps is also easier.

We’ll be adding even more in the coming weeks. The new interface is beta for now—click the “Test drive” link in the upper right to try it out. And as always, let us know what you think!

– Posted by Eddie Kohler