Posts Tagged ‘WiFi’

FCC Approval for 6GHz Wi-Fi

Whether you’re working from home, or the office, the use of Wi-Fi continues to expand. Internet traffic is rising, with 50% increases seen in global regions, cities, as well as 228% growth of VoIP and video use, with much of that traffic going over Wi-Fi. Our connected world and economy is clearly relying heavily on Wi-Fi technology. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Wi-Fi was already becoming bogged-down with the increase of mobile devices, IoT, new applications like 4K video and VR/AR. Wi-Fi 6 was released to help satisfy the needs of the hungry Wi-Fi ecosystem, but the growth of wireless always continues to outpace whatever is capacity gains are invented.

Source: Cisco Annual Internet Report, 2018–2023

Thank you to the FCC

Today, on April 23rd, the FCC Commission voted to approve 1,200MHz of additional spectrum to Wi-Fi. The information superhighway is getting supercharged with a whole host of additional high-speed lanes. As Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, mentions

“[The 6GHz band] would effectively increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi almost by a factor of five”

With these new approvals, Cisco Meraki is excited to help build the internet of the future. In fact, when I was interviewing for the role that I currently hold, our SVP & GM Todd Nightingale asked me what got me excited about Wi-Fi. I told him: ‘6 Ghz’. This was back in Nov 2018 and Ajit Pai had just announced his commitment to 6GHz. Fast forward and here we are, it is real!

Wi-Fi 6’s growth into the 6 GHz spectrum is a game-changer for two reasons – the availability of the additional channels and the ability to finally use 160Mhz for high bandwidth applications like AR and VR. 6GHz provides enormous opportunities to build new applications and experiences for both consumers and businesses. 

In addition to new applications, newly available channels will translate to less RF issues and simplicity of maintenance. At Meraki, we look forward to supporting networks as they see significant increases in IoT, wearables, industrial sensors, 4K/8K video, critical telehealth, and remote learning in the coming years.

Learn more 

For more information about our Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ access points, read more here.

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.

 

Meraki Go: Small Business Solution Goes Beyond Wi-Fi

 

We’re excited to welcome new additions to Meraki Go, a networking solution created by Cisco Meraki and built specifically for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Meraki Go is an easy cloud-based solution that allows business owners to self-manage the internet and Wi-Fi at their businesses. 

The newest products—a security gateway and network switches–are entirely app-managed and do not require any recurring fees. For additional security, users can purchase a Meraki Go Security Subscription, powered by Cisco Umbrella. 

To know more about these new products, and how Meraki Go is empowering small business owners, check out the announcement.

Cisco Live Cancún 2019

¿Eres de los que constantemente está leyendo sobre lo último en IT? ¿Te has imaginado que nos espera en el futuro? Cisco Live Cancún, es un espacio único para conocer y experimentar la tecnología simplificada, segura e inteligente de Cisco Meraki que permite a las organizaciones transformarse digitalmente.

Cisco Live Cancún será del 28 al 31 de octubre y quisiéramos compartirte algunas razones para animarte a vivir esta experiencia con nosotros:

  1. Sesiones técnicas: Meraki está incluido en siete sesiones técnicas. Estas sesiones se centran en tecnologías, estrategias de arquitectura, aplicaciones de solución de problemas para las soluciones o tecnologías de Cisco. Regístrese para las sesiones, ya que serán 100% Meraki. Los asistentes de Cisco Live pueden registrarse para estas presentaciones iniciando sesión en su cuenta en línea de Cisco Live e ingresando al catálogo de sesiones.
  2. Vertical summits: hay un total de siete sesiones verticales en Cisco Live Cancún y Meraki es patrocinador de tres. Manténgase actualizado, conozca las historias de éxito de otras compañías que ahora son una referencia en su industria, haga crecer su red y comience o adapte su estrategia tecnológica para llevar a su compañía un paso por delante de su competencia en las sesiones para gobierno, educación y salud.
  3. Zona DevNet: visite las sesiones de Meraki DevNet para obtener más información. Meraki tendrá seis sesiones en la zona DevNet. Los asistentes de Cisco Live pueden registrarse para estas presentaciones iniciando sesión en su cuenta en línea de Cisco Live e ingresando al Catálogo de sesiones.
  4. Demos (World of solutions): como complemento a todas las sesiones de aprendizaje, en el World of Solutions, podrá ver las soluciones de Cisco y sus partners. También podrá encontrar a Meraki en una variedad de demos en todo el Cisco Showcase: 
  • Launch | WiFi 6 Launch
  • Security | Meraki Security
  • Branch | Branch Security & SD-WAN powered by Meraki
  • Branch | Work Simple, Digital Workplace
  • Campus | Assurance in the Cisco Meraki Platform
  • Campus | High Density Wireless for Campus 

        5. Certificaciones: si necesita certificarse en las soluciones Cisco y reforzar su currículum, durante Cisco Live tiene la oportunidad de presentar cualquiera de los exámenes de certificación.

Además de todo lo que podrá aprender en este evento, Cisco Live Cancún también ofrece actividades divertidas y de ocio, como la tradicional carrera de 5 km, sesiones de yoga, el cóctel de apertura del WoS y la fiesta de clausura del evento.

Para más detalles de la participación de Meraki en Cisco Live visite nuestra página del evento y síganos en Twitter @MerakiLatam

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.

Ready, Set, Meraki Go

Readers of this blog will be excited to learn that Meraki has recently launched a new WiFi solution for small businesses in single-site locations. Today, we are introducing Meraki Go, a set of WiFi access points tailor-made for small and home businesses, with features to get a business going, all managed by a new easy-to-use app.

Meraki Go enables small business owners to manage their own WiFi needs. With a simple guided onboarding process, users can configure multiple WiFi networks in minutes. This allows shops, restaurants, and cafes to segment their guest and corporate traffic for added security. Meraki Go users can also quickly set usage limits on applications, and block clients from accessing certain websites. This way, small offices with limited bandwidth can prioritize business traffic, and make sure video streaming doesn’t get in the way of work.

As Meraki expands our product offerings, we want to make sure that we’re listening to the needs of our users. This is why we have built the Meraki Go experience from the ground up. With features made for business but an app designed for humans, Meraki Go has the best of both worlds, and we’re excited for you to try it.

All Meraki Go access points will require a subscription (1, 3, or 5 years), which provides access to in-app support, as well as security and app updates.

Check this out on meraki-go.com today, or watch our launch video below.

Wi-Fi standards on the move again!

In the past few years wireless has replaced wired as the primary mode of access. Whether it’s enterprises deploying all-wireless offices, retail stores depending on scanners for mission-critical inventory tracking, hospitals deploying Voice-over-Wi-Fi calling or schools administering exams over Wi-Fi, wireless has never been more mission-critical. With this, the need for increased security and optimized high-density scenarios has become more important. This blog post aims to educate and provide guidance to customers about the future of two emerging Wi-Fi standards: WPA3 and 802.11ax.

WPA3: At the beginning of 2018, the Wi-Fi Alliance® announced new security enhancements for Wi-Fi Protected Access. The follow-on to WPA2, WPA3 promises multiple enhancements:

  1. Device Provisioning Protocol (DPP) – An exciting development for provisioning Internet of Things (IOT) devices.
  2. Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE) – Encryption for open wireless networks that prevents eavesdropping attacks
  3. Suite-B – WPA3 adopts stronger cryptographic algorithms defined by the US Government. While mainly government and banking deployments are most interested in this feature, once available, all wireless deployments will benefit from these capabilities.
  4. Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) – For customers that use insecure passwords, SAE adds another tenet of security that mitigates dictionary attacks by introducing a secure handshake.

Meraki customers are Future-Proof

WPA3 will continue to evolve over the next few months as device vendors determine which of the above capabilities to adopt. All of our 802.11ac Wave 2 Access Point customers will receive the latest WPA3 functionality via a seamless cloud update.

So what about 802.11ax?

Widely touted as the successor to 802.11ac, the emerging 802.11ax standard provides benefits in capacity for high-density scenarios via multiple improvements in the MAC and PHY layers:

  1. Enhanced Network Efficiency enables multi-user operation efficiency over-the- air:
    1. Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA): 802.11ac uses OFDM for encoding digital data within multiple subcarriers, each of which can be separately modulated. By multiplexing users using the wireless sub-carriers, OFDMA increases the efficiency of communication thereby offering 4x higher median throughput over Wave-2 802.11ac in high density deployments.
    2. Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output(MU-MIMO): 802.11n and 802.11ac introduced the benefits of MIMO with the multiple antennas for Multiple Inputs and Outputs. 802.11ax built on top of this via Multi-User MIMO whereby A single multi-spatial stream Access Point can simultaneously transmit to multiple clients with fewer spatial streams.
  2. Enhanced Link Efficiency – Primarily through the use of 1024 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation QAM (raised from 256 QAM available in 802.11ac). QAM means packing a lot more information during transmissions and therefore the improving the data throughput by phase and amplitude modulation of data to increase the amount of information transmitted simultaneously.
  3. Improved robustness in outdoor usage through the various MAC and PHY updates
  4. Improved spectrum reuse through spatial reuse

What does this mean to me as a Meraki customer?

The actual standard is expected to be ratified by IEEE in late 2019, meaning that the Wi-Fi alliance may support interoperability testing for the same within the same timeframe. Wireless client devices with 802.11ax standards are expected to be introduced in the market in late CY19 with mainstream adoption expected in Calendar Year 2020, and we will be working with device manufacturers to ensure compatibility. The current 802.11ac Wave 2 technology is capable of future-proofing customers planning to deploy wireless in high-performance or high-reliability environments, providing enough performance to satisfy mission-critical applications.

As always, we love hearing from you. Please reach out to us on our Meraki Community or via social media, and check out our latest wireless webinars to get a free AP!

Wave good bye 2 slow WiFi

On February 9th we announced the launch of the latest access point (AP) to join the Meraki wireless portfolio, the flagship MR42. The MR42 is a 3×3:3 802.11ac Wave 2 AP that ushers in a new era of high performance, more efficient WiFi thanks to  the inclusion of Multi User – Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO).

In addition to this, the MR42 continues our strategy of completely integrated beacon and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) functionality. This sees the MR42 becoming our most technology advanced wireless platform, with four integrated radios and the latest 802.11 wireless standard, yet all in a sleek low profile design.

 

mr42_front-top_transparent
 

MU-MIMO allows wireless networks to more efficiently service the increasing numbers of phones, tablets, and other personal mobile devices. MU-MIMO does this by allowing the AP to communicate with multiple devices concurrently, rather than consecutively.

With Single User MIMO (SU-MIMO) the AP can use the multiple spatial streams to send a large amount of data to clients that can receive all these streams. Devices such as laptops could support two or sometimes three streams, allowing for high speed connections. Unfortunately smaller mobile devices like phones can typically support only one stream, and thus can’t take advantage of this capability.

SU-MIMO-b1
MU-MIMO solves the problem of devices being unable to use all these spatial streams. The AP can use the individual spatial streams to send separate transmissions to distinct clients simultaneously. This increases the total network performance and improves the end user experience, especially when large numbers of devices are connected.

MU-MIMO-b
The addition of MU-MIMO complements Single User MIMO (SU-MIMO) rather than replacing it. An AP can choose the best way to transmit: simultaneously to multiple devices as efficiently as possible, or consecutively to individual devices as fast as possible. It is now time to wave goodbye to slow WiFI.

Are you looking for a next generation wireless solution that can future proof your network against the growing demands of your users? Then there is now one clear choice, the cloud managed Meraki MR42 AP. To find out more details you can visit the product page or listen to one of our launch webinar recordings.

Set and forget


Not long ago the configuration of a computer’s settings were the responsibility of the end user. This spawned numerous guides, created by beleaguered IT administrators, that tried to ease the number of repetitive helpdesk support calls on common topics.

What if you could do away with the multi page WiFi configuration guide, yet still allow users to connect securely? Systems Manager Sentry provides simple, automatic security that is context aware. Sentry WiFi settings automate the configuration of mobile device wireless connectivity. This simplifies the task of joining the network for both the user and IT administrator, eliminating one of those clunky step-by-step guides from your help portal. Watch the video below to see this feature in action.

 

Systems Manager can create WiFi configuration payloads which contain configuration settings for a wireless network. It can then deliver this to the client device so they know how to get connected without the user having to follow a guide. Sentry WiFi settings take advantage of the native cloud integration of Meraki’s networking stack with Systems Manager MDM.

new_wifi_settings

With Sentry, Systems Manager queries the Meraki WLAN network to understand what the security requirements are for a chosen SSID. Now instead of the IT administrator manually configuring the settings, the configuration fields are automatically populated with the correct information, eliminating possible errors and saving time.

The convenience of Sentry WiFi settings becomes exceptionally powerful when combined with the tagging engine available in Systems Manager. Tags are Systems Manager’s way of choosing what managed devices should get what settings. As tags can be automatically applied, this means client devices can receive WiFi settings based on dynamic events such as the time of day, device user, device type, location, or security posture.

new_profile_scope

If you would like to find out more about Systems Manager Sentry, then you can attend one of our specialist Sentry webinars, or alternatively contact your Meraki representative for more information. If you are an existing Meraki WLAN customer, Systems Manager offers an industry leading MDM capability with a unique level of network integration, that due to its simplicity can secure and automate your IT operation in minutes.

All Aboard!

Systems Manager Sentry offers a range of features that make the life of IT administrators easier. By providing simple, automatic security that is context aware, Sentry dramatically simplifies previously complex configurations. To be able to take advantage of Sentry functionality, devices need to be enrolled in Systems Manager. There are a variety of ways this can be done, but one of the simplest is by using Sentry enrollment.

Sentry enrollment is available with Meraki MR Access Points (AP) and not only automates deployment of Systems Manager, but ensures policy compliance by requiring Systems Managers installation. Sentry enrollment is an option within the wireless access control page of the Meraki dashboard. By choosing the radio button that enables Systems Manager Sentry enrollment, all devices connecting to this SSID will be checked for Systems Manager.

sm_sentry_enrollment

With Sentry enrollment enabled and a Systems Manager network selected, the administrator then has a couple of options to choose from. The strength option allows the level of compliance to be tailored to suit your environment. With the strength set to ‘Focused’, only the system types you have chosen will be forced to enrol in Systems Manager. A good example of why this may be desirable, is if you only want mobile Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads under management, not Windows laptops. This can be achieved by choosing ‘Focused’ and selecting iOS as the only system type you wish to force to enroll.

sm_sentry_enrollment_strength

When a user connects to an SSID with Sentry enrollment, they must have Systems Manager to be able to access the network. If a user removes Systems Manager from their device, they will be forced to install it again if they want to access the network. Watch the video below for a full dashboard and end user demonstration of this feature in action.

Users are guided through the enrollment process with the necessary settings pre-configured for them. This eliminates the need to pre-stage devices before they are delivered to users and allows enrollment as and when devices connect. Think of it as your fast lane to pervasive mobile device management.

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Sentry features highlight the power and simplicity of the Meraki cloud architecture that provides native integration between different product families. Typically such enrollment or onboarding processes require additional servers, appliances, or licences. Even if this is not needed, integration between the MDM and the network (often from different vendors) can be complex to configure. With Meraki, enrollment becomes a couple of clicks and a matter of moments to enable. Find out more by attending one of our focused webinars covering the Sentry features of Systems Manager in further detail.