- Biggest flower chain in Norway
- More than 120 shops across the country
- Hybrid IT network with Meraki wireless APs
Mester Grønn is the biggest flower chain in Norway, with more than 120 shops across the country. Arve Siitonen manages the company’s hybrid IT network and security infrastructure, and recently took on the challenge to find a new wireless solution for the head office. This solution needed to be reliable and easy to manage, since most operational elements of the business are based here.
Meraki came up quite early in conversations with Mester Grønn’s IT partner. As many company laptops, meetings and guest devices need a constant connection to the wireless network, reliability was one of Arve’s biggest priorities. He attended a Meraki webinar, tested an access point (AP), and didn’t need much convincing after he discovered the power of cloud-managed IT.
Deploying Meraki wireless
By the time the APs arrived, Arve had already managed to configure them in the Meraki dashboard. This meant that different elements like the SSIDs and RADIUS authentication were already set up beforehand. What eventually took the longest was the actual mounting of the APs. Arve and his team set everything up themselves and didn’t encounter any issues.
After implementing Meraki, we haven’t had any issues with our wireless network. We don’t have to troubleshoot or think about it that much because it just works, and that’s a big compliment!Arve Siitonen, Network Administrator
The easy-to-use dashboard allows him to manage the network from any location, and takes away the need for controllers and CLI. In Mester Grønn’s case, 36 Meraki APs have been deployed in their head office. These APs are connected to Cisco Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-S switches. The latter are managed through a separate interface, but work seamlessly with Meraki APs and other Meraki products.
There are currently three different SSIDs deployed at Mester Grønn’s head office: one for the guest network with a pre-shared key with authentication through a splash page, one with 802.1x authentication for employee laptops, and a third one for mobile devices owned by Mester Grønn.
Dashboard and analytics
Since Arve is the main person responsible of the network, he looks into the Meraki dashboard at least a few times a week. On top of that, his team also has access to the dashboard through a solution that shares network information (such as bandwidth speeds, connectivity issues, etc.) on screens in the office. This tool is connected to the dashboard via an API key.
“My go-to to look at is the AP list, because it immediately gives me an idea of what’s going on in the network. A co-worker recently lost her phone, and I could immediately tell her wich AP she connected to last,” mentioned Arve. “We now also implemented floor plans, so we can use the heat maps in the dashboard to determine any locations with congestion.”
Arve set up bandwidth limits in the dashboard, and he discovered that the APs were able to identify BitTorrent traffic, which the company’s firewall wasn’t able to catch. As a result, he made sure that peer-to-peer application traffic is denied on the wireless level.
There have been other instances in the office where Meraki APs came to the rescue. Whenever a switch temporarily went offline, the APs automatically turned into peers to make sure that the wireless networks were still up and running. In this case, Arve discovered it by receiving an email notification to tell him that an AP turned into a repeater. After troubleshooting it turned out to be a faulty cable that was causing issues.
“The amount of data and insights about the network that I now have access to is just amazing. The Wireless Health feature, which was recently released, works exceedingly well. Just by using that data, we can forecast the coverage we can expect for future deployments and expansion,” said Arve.
“In this day and age, people expect their network to just work, because we heavily rely on it. Meraki is easy to deploy, the documentation provided is really good and the support team has been able to help resolve issues within an hour,” said Arve. “Because we’re a small IT department for an organization of our size, Meraki gives us the confidence to not having to worry about our wireless network, which again leaves us with time to work on other aspects of our business. That’s something that helps me sleep better at night.”