Published on December 10th, 2012 | by Alexis Argent0
Meraki Announces Wireless LAN Update, Improves Visibility, Control, and Management
Meraki have announced a major upgrade to its MR-series, which includes the MR12 and the MR16, enhancing customers’ visibility, control, and management over their networks. This update, delivered to Meraki wireless LANs via the cloud, simplifies large-network administration, adds Bonjour Gateway functionality, and introduces a second-generation Traffic Shaper offering richer analytics and control over application usage.
Simplifying large-scale distributed networks
When Meraki introduced the industry’s first cloud managed WLAN in 2009, it revolutionized administrators’ abilities to deploy and manage multi-site networks. For the first time, administrators had visibility and control over their entire network over the web.
Today’s release introduces a tag-based configuration and management engine, simplifying administration for enterprises with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of sites. Meraki’s tagging engine was developed in collaboration with a number of Meraki customers, including a Fortune 1000 retailer with multiple brands and store types currently using Meraki in 800 stores (growing to thousands in the coming years). This retailer can now tag sites by brand, function (retail, corporate, warehouse), geographic region, etc. and can instantly apply access control policies, branded splash pages, and other settings to any number of sites. Over the coming quarters, Meraki’s tagging engine will be integrated into additional Meraki features.
Bonjour Gateway simplifies large-scale iPad deployments
Bonjour, Apple’s zero-configuration service discovery protocol, enables applications like AirPlay and AirPrint on local networks. As Apple devices proliferate, especially with the adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, Bonjour can pose significant challenges for large-scale networks: administrators must often choose between an unmanageable flood of Bonjour devices on a large, flat network, or a segmented network that prevents desired Bonjour access. In October, Meraki introduced a Bonjour Gateway feature to Meraki MX security appliances, selectively bridging Bonjour traffic across network boundaries. With this latest update, Bonjour Gateway functionality is added to MR series wireless access points, enabling Bonjour Gateway services for wireless customers without MX appliances. For example, a large school district who beta tested Meraki’s new Bonjour Gateway feature maintains separate VLANs for teachers, students, AirPlay devices, and printers. Now, that school can deploy flexible policies, like enabling AirPlay exclusively for teachers, while allowing AirPrint for both teachers and students.
Enhanced Traffic Shaper with greater visibility
Meraki pioneered Layer 7 application fingerprinting and shaping, and the latest upgrade provides an even deeper level of insight into the data moving across the network. Administrators can see a dynamic view of traffic classified by application, spot trends in usage, and quickly set traffic shaping policies accordingly. Increasing flexibility along with control, today’s upgrade allows Layer 7 traffic shaping and firewall rules to be created and assigned through group policies so that user traffic can be segmented and prioritized within the same SSID.
Meraki’s new traffic shaping engine provides a powerful new tool to seize business opportunities. For example, a retail chain or hospitality group can use Meraki to understand customer behavior, identifying popular websites, applications, and usage patterns, and target marketing and promotions accordingly.
Our Cloud Networking platform enables Meraki to adapt quickly to the new IT challenges and business opportunities that our customers face,” said Kiren Sekar, VP of Marketing at Meraki. “Whether customers are expanding their networks to unprecedented scale, or adopting new devices and applications, we will continue to deliver new features to simplify management and operations.”
This update is available at no cost for all Meraki wireless customers, and will be delivered via seamless over-the-web upgrades beginning in mid-December. Customers may set their upgrade time window via the Meraki dashboard, or contact support for specific upgrade requirements.
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