It’s an exciting time here at Cisco Meraki. We just opened up our new Chicago office, and we could not be more thrilled to be part of a city with such a vibrant and diverse culture.
What excites us the most about being Chicago’s newest residence? Is it the iconic skyline? The culinary scene (after all, Chicago is home to the world-famous deep dish pizza)? Or is it the 2016 World Series champions, the Cubs?
It’s all of the above!
We love it all, from the architecture to the food to Millennium Park. However, what excites us the most about our presence in Chicago is that we get to be a part of an inclusive community that has tremendous strength, integrity, kindness, and is forward-thinking. Above all, we want to be immersed in the Chicago spirit of breaking down barriers, pushing forward when the going gets tough, and making the impossible possible.
There is no hiding the fact that Chicago is going through a tech boom. But what’s different about this tech boom is that unlike other cities, Chicago is not being consumed by tech; instead, tech is being consumed by Chicago. That Meraki and other tech firms have been attracted to Chicago says a lot about the magic of this amazing city.
Here is what excites some of our team members about having a Chicago presence:
Kayla Canvasser, People Ops Recruiter
What makes the city so special?
When I first moved to Chicago, I was interviewing for a new job. Before my interviews, I would go to grab a cup of coffee with my rolling suitcase. What I remember the most is all of the complete strangers that take time out of their day to stop and ask me if I was interviewing and to wish me luck. There is a warmth and friendliness here in Chicago that you can’t find anywhere else. There is a feeling of community from the minute you step into the city. It is almost like you are part of a big family. It is a big city with small town values.
What do you hope Meraki specifically can bring to the Chicago community?
I hope Meraki can show that tech can be a diverse, inclusive community, a place where you can be your full self, and everyone is welcomed. I also want to spread that same message to the different organizations here in Chicago and help move the city forward together.
If you had to describe the city of Chicago in three words, which words would you use?
Scrappy, hungry, and energetic.
Tania Spezza, Marketing Manager
What makes the city so special?
Chicago is a world-class city when it comes to art & culture, public parks, and the lakefront. With such down-to-earth people, there’s a feeling of being welcome once you step foot into the city. Chicago is also a very diverse city; it’s a melting pot which will be great for hiring because we need different types of people to bring in new ideas. And for me, Chicago is home — I’m a native Chicagoan and it’s great to be back!
What excites you the most about the tech momentum happening in Chicago?
What excites me is that Chicago gets to have a stake in the tech game — we have some of the country’s best schools along with smart, dedicated, and hardworking people. You don’t have to be in San Francisco or Silicon Valley to make an impact. You can work at an awesome tech company without having to trek to the West Coast.
What do you hope Meraki specifically can bring to the Chicago community?
Aside from jobs, I think we can make a big impact by partnering with some of the community organizations we have in Chicago and directly impact different communities that are in need.
Geoff Winston, Account Executive
What attracted you to move to Chicago?
A change of scenery and a chance to pursue my theater and improv passion and be able to take my career to the next step. It is the best of both worlds!
What do you hope Cisco Meraki specifically can bring to the Chicago community?
A group of passionate people to help meet the needs of the community. We’ve recently worked with the Christopher House and helped them build an outdoor park area. I can see lots of ways we can help work with the youth community as well as time goes on.
If you had to describe the city of Chicago in three words what would they be?
Tall, funny, and fresh.
Interested in learning more about Meraki? Come to our Open House on September 5 — check our Twitter for more information. And check out our open roles if you’re interested in working with us!
Thanks for the warm welcome, Chicago. We look forward to building a bright future together!
Here in our San Francisco office, Meraki MC74s are all over the place. There’s one in every conference room—from our small meeting rooms to our large executive briefing center. MC74s are on employee desks, in test facilities, marketing labs, partner training labs, employee on-boarding labs, and more. We have about 350 MCs in our deployment, some of which are in the field with our sales specialists and engineers, but most of which are right here in the office.
This phone belongs to one of our hardware engineers, Nick. Our hardware team made and tested over 80 prototypes of the MC74 before deciding on this form factor. Did you know, the MC has an infrared sensor on the front to dynamically change the screen brightness based on the brightness of the room?
Eric (left) and Murray (right) giving a customer demo in one of our conference rooms with the MC74 in speaker mode. MCs also come with their own mounting kit, and can be easily mounted onto a wall in any environment when needed. Just push the hinge back on the stand, and it is ready to go.
A snapshot of one of our test lab phone racks. These phones run automated tests of new development software every day.
MC74s can connect to headsets through USB, 3.5mm or Bluetooth. For a full list of all of our supported peripherals, check out our documentation. On my desk, I use the USB port on the side of the MC to charge my phone and Kindle.
In a room designed for larger groups, an MC74 with a USB speaker plugin is a great solution. Here our design team discusses ideas with a coworker who is currently out of the office.
There’s a multitude of ways to use Meraki MC, request a trial from your Meraki sales rep and try it for yourself!
Last month we announced our new Traffic Shaper feature and gave administrators unprecedented visibility into the wireless traffic on their network, providing the ability to see what might be bogging down their network, be it YouTube, BitTorrent or too many users uploading pictures to Facebook. Now, with the new Traffic Shaper page in Dashboard, administrators finally have the tools to not only see what kinds of recreational applications are taking over their network but to do something about it!
Administrators can now create application-specific shaping policies for total control over their wireless bandwidth. Let’s say your Sales team needs snappy access to Salesforce.com at all times, but most of Engineering is streaming World Series games and consuming all of your bandwidth. With Traffic Shaper, shaping policies can be created that apply per user bandwidth limits for specific applications such as video streaming sites, as well as apply QoS priority levels at both Layer 2 and 3 to make sure your Salesforce traffic gets prioritized across the network.
To make setting up new shaping policies fast and simple, we have created pre-defined groups of applications that administrators most commonly want to shape:
Administrators can also create more specific policies for particular applications using HTTP hostnames (eg. salesforce.com), IP and port numbers. Here is an example of a typical shaping policy that you would see in an office setting:
In this example, a rule has been created to apply a 1 Mbps bandwidth limit to all users on the Meraki-Corp SSID for Peer-to-Peer and streaming video and music applications. A second rule has also been created to provide Layer 3 QoS prioritization to applications that are critical to this business, Salesforce.com and Dropbox.com, as well as to provide unlimited bandwidth to these applications.
Since Traffic Shaper can leverage the intelligence of over 16,000 customer networks through the Meraki Cloud Controller, Traffic Shaper’s database of application signatures is always updated. As new P2P and social media applications appear on the scene, they will be quickly fingerprinted and added to the Cloud Controller database for our customer networks so that administrators are never caught unaware by the next BitTorrent.
Traffic Shaper can now be found under the Configure tab in Dashboard. If you are interested in learning more about how Traffic Shaper works, we invite you to join us for a webinar that we’ll be conducting about Traffic Shaper on November 2nd. Details can be found here:
TEDGlobal 2010, themed “And Now the Good News”, wrapped up with some good news for Meraki and TEDGlobal attendees using the conference WiFi. As part of the British Telecom Sponsorship team, fellow Meraki engineer Robert Shanks and I were on site to deploy and support the wireless network for this 4-day conference. To make a long story short, the wireless network performed flawlessly, with just over a 1,000 people connecting throughout the conference and transferring over 250 gigabytes of data.
The conference venue, located in Oxford, UK, had its fiber backhaul brought in by BT. The backhaul was then distributed to wireless users in the two main venues of the conference, the Oxford Playhouse and the gala rooms of the Randolph Hotel, through fifteen MR14 dual-radio access points.
We leaned heavily on the Cloud Controller to quickly deploy the network with a small team. Rogue AP detection and automatic channel spreading maintained performance while TEDsters blogged, tweeted, browsed and streamed all at once. While we trusted the Cloud Controller’s real-time alerts to let us know about unexpected changes (there weren’t any), we also kept tabs on the network’s summary report, giving us a good understanding of the overall usage and performance of the network.
Along with performance and usage information, the summary reports confirmed that the device-of-choice for TEDsters was the iPad, with well over 100 using the network. In fact, hand-held devices accounted for over 50% of clients connecting to the network.
We had a great time at TED, and were happy to see the Meraki network being used so heavily. Thanks to the team at British Telecom for including us!
One of the most challenging aspects of managing large distributed networks is troubleshooting issues when the client is across town (or maybe even across the country!). Having on-site IT personnel 24/7 at even small satellite branch offices can require a very large IT staff and is too expensive for most organizations. Meraki networks offer a variety of “remote hands” troubleshooting tools, helping network admins diagnose and resolve many wireless connectivity issues without dispatching IT staff to the site. The ability to run diagnostic checks such as pinging an access point, running a throughput test from Dashboard, or reviewing detailed event logs have been integral to Meraki’s value for distributed networks and organizations with small IT staffs and large footprints.
We are now announcing a set of Live Client Tools that expose even more up-to-the-second information about who is on a wireless network, and further help troubleshoot connectivity issues. Administrators who log into their Enterprise network in Dashboard will notice several new and improved areas. On the Monitor > Overview page, there is now a new addition under the network name showing the number of clients that are associated at that moment:
If you click on the “More” link, you will see an expanded list with more information, including which SSIDs and channels the clients are using. This data is automatically refreshed as long as the “More” link is expanded.
Even cooler, Enterprise customers can change the access points map to show where clients are associated: click the “Options” menu on the map and select “Current clients.”
But the really interesting stuff is on the Access Point and Client detail pages. The Access Point detail page used to look like this:
Now, all of the live tools have been consolidated into a new, cleaner layout. Both Pro and Enterprise networks will benefit from the new layout. Enterprise networks now have two additional features in this area: Current Clients and Ping Client MAC. Clicking on the play icon next to Current Clients will pop up a list of all clients associated to that AP at that instant, including useful information about each client such as MAC, SSID, channel, signal strength, and how long they have been associated. Click on the name of a client to go to its client details page. You’ll even see clients that have associated, but not authenticated (they’re listed in grey). If you click the Ping link next to the client, you can actually ping that client in real time using ARP, as well as get additional information, such as RSSI changes over time and 802.1X identity (if appropriate).
The other new addition, Ping Client MAC, allows you to enter a MAC address and try to ping it. This can be very useful if you are trying to determine if a particular device is on your network at that moment.
There is also a new Live Tools section on the client detail page. From this page you can also ping that individual client, but there are a few additional new tools:
The Locate Client tool allows you to find out whether that client is associated on your network at that moment, and if so, where they’re associated and for how long:
Finally, the Packet Counter tool shows a real-time count of received and sent packets to that client. You can actually see the packet counters roll as you ping the client!
We think these new tools further improve Meraki’s uniquely clear approach to distributed, multi-site network management, a normally challenging task. Network administrators can more quickly resolve their wireless users’ connectivity issues and access accurate real-time data about the exact state of their network.
After a week of moving in and getting settled, we are finally starting to feel at home in our new office at 660 Alabama in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. With floor-to-ceiling windows and an airy wide-open space, it’s a perfect set up for us. We’ve shared a few photos so you can get an inside look.