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The Field Museum

The Field Museum


  • 1.3 million square ft natural history museum deploys Meraki full stack
  • IT remotely manages network and troubleshoots issues with live tools and data
  • Ease of management through the dashboard lowers support time and costs

The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois is one of the largest natural history museums in the world and hosts over 2 million visitors each year. Though the facility spans an impressive 1.3 million square feet and networking needs arise from every department, a small IT team is able to resolve networking issues and keep a pulse on all network activities, thanks to Meraki cloud management.

Original Networking Challenges

  • 1.3 million square ft. facility with outdoor lawn, tons of people, and large open exhibit areas made up of marble, limestone, concrete, and steel
  • Previous networking gear required training and expertise, particularly when network issues arose
  • Lack of remote management created challenges as IT team had to be on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Why Cisco Meraki

  • Unified network management via the cloud-based dashboard allows IT to look at the status of devices at a glance or to look deeply into specific ports and cables
  • Ease of management reduces overall time and cost for IT staff that has to wear many hats

The Deployment

  • 200+ MR16 Access Points, 31 MS220/320/420 Switches, and 1 MX100 Security Appliance make up the Field Museum network
  • Completed site survey using the Meraki dashboard with no additional costs, providing significant savings for non-profit organization
  • Remote configurations completed via the cloud so devices could simply be plugged in and ready to go
  • Given 6 weeks to deploy all Meraki gear and completed in 4  
It is pretty safe to say that the cloud dashboard has been an enabling technology for us. Without it, I’m sure the WiFi project would have been far more expensive and required an external site survey in order to complete, which costs money and time and these two resources are probably the smallest pools of resources that we have as a non-profit so it’s really allowed us to stretch our infrastructure dollar. Mike Yoshida & Tony Lam, The Field Museum IT Team


  • Signal strength of MR Access Points surpasses expectations in the challenging physical space, MX Security Appliance supports ticketing network on separate VLAN, MS Switches create a 10-gigabit capable network
  • Built-in Air Marshal wireless intrusion prevention technology provides details on wireless interference and threats, while the heatmap view shows concentration of facility visitors
  • Guest network access available indoors and on outdoor lawn areas with no password restriction - daily average of 1,200 clients and 3TB of data
  • Marketing able to create QR codes to lead guests to ticketing website and PoS system to create mobile ticket booths
  • Staff uses Meraki network and dashboard to see traffic flow to assess booth setup locations, prioritize popular exhibits, and digitize museum collections
We can access the dashboard and look at our internal connectivity from anywhere. I can be on vacation on a boat in Wisconsin and check and see that our core switch has connectivity, which uplinks are working and which uplinks are down [through the Meraki mobile app]. It’s pretty powerful stuff for a small team. Mike Yoshida & Tony Lam, The Field Museum IT Team