For the past couple of months we’ve been excited and have installed quite a few of Cisco’s innovative new cloud-managed networking products called Meraki.
Consisting of wireless access points, firewalls and switches, a Meraki network can be deployed and secured in a matter of minutes, then managed anywhere, anytime using an intuitive web interface (or smartphone app). Even if you have multiple branches, Meraki allows you to view and control everything from a single pane of glass.
Meraki gives you the kind of control and visibility into your network that would typically require an expensive equipment list with complex licensing requirements, and a highly skilled technician with years of networking experience to build and support it. There’s a lot to it, so this month we’re just focussing on the powerful wireless component, which most of our customers have been interested in.
Say for instance you need a wireless network to provide secure access to your servers and printers for your staff, but don’t want to risk giving guests access? Just log in to your Meraki Dashboard and create one. Choose whether it can be used only after your guest has accepted your terms and conditions on a captive hot spot portal just like a hotel, or after they’ve liked your business’ Facebook page. Your internal company resources remain secure while your guest can check their email – and if they happen to have malware on their PC, your network remains protected.
You can limit the speed wireless users can download data, as well as restrict access to certain categories of websites. Aside from the obvious, you can prevent people from updating their smartphone software, browsing social media or video game sites.
Wireless network suddenly slow down? This can tend to be a bit of a witch hunt to troubleshoot and track down who or what is responsible. With Meraki it’s simply a case of accessing the Dashboard with real-time statistics to find out who is downloading the most data, and from where. And just in case you don’t want people using your wireless network outside of business hours you can even set it to disable the wireless radios on a schedule.
Need to extend your wireless coverage around the building? Simply add more access points to form a mesh which will allow wireless users to move around without ever losing connectivity. You can even upload a floor plan to the Meraki Dashboard then place your access points on the map to see your staff moving around on a heat-map.
It truly is amazing technology, which is why we’re so excited about it. As a Cisco Meraki partner, EtherTech can visit your office and will happily demonstrate Meraki and answer any questions you might have about it. You may even qualify for a free wireless access point – give us a call to find out more!