Meraki’s magic is in their cloud managed network that is driven by their Dashboard. The Meraki Dashboard comes as close to the promise of a “single pane of glass” for monitoring and management as we’ve seen. I asked one of our Meraki engineers for his five favorite features in the Meraki Dashboard and here’s what he had to say:
1. Live Packet Capture
This feature provides the ability to observe live network traffic passed by Cisco Meraki devices. Since captures provide a live snapshot of traffic on the network, they can be immensely helpful in diagnosing and troubleshooting networking issues. This feature is available on Meraki MR Access Points, Meraki MS Switches and Meraki MX/Z1 Security Appliances.
The Meraki Dashboard provides users with multiple options when it comes to selecting which packets to capture and on which interface. You can also select how to view the capture to review the data using the web browser or even Wireshark.
2. Meraki Licensing
It might seem odd to call licensing a “feature”, but if you’ve worked in IT for any stretch of time, you know that managing license renewals can be a royal pain, not to mention license tracking and auditing. With some vendors, getting a single renewal date requires an act of Congress. With Meraki, they do not sell pro-rated licenses. When you add a license to an existing account, they calculate the amount of extra time in your account and extend the co-terminating renewal date for all your devices accordingly. In this way an account only has a single co-terminating renewal date, avoiding the confusion associated with multiple renewal dates.
3. Meraki Traffic Analytics
The “Clients Usage” page in the Meraki Dashboard tracks clients that are connected to your Cisco Meraki network with a customizable interface for filtering specific device types and traffic or even specific periods of time which can be useful for diagnosing problematic devices or users.
4. Dynamic Configurations with Tagging
Tags are a powerful tool that can be used to apply profiles, deploy apps, and use with other functions in relation to groups of client devices. This is especially crucial with Meraki’s Systems Manager for MDM. It provides the ability to dynamically apply and remove settings on devices using profiles. This allows administrators to automatically control which devices should have certain settings and when. This is all done using tags in the Systems Manager tab in the Meraki Dashboard.
5. Application Control
The benefit of Application Control within the Meraki Dashboard cannot be overstated! It’s the feature that gets greatest reaction when we demo Meraki for customers. It provides an intuitive way to build traffic shaping policies for crucial applications like VOIP while throttling or blocking high usage applications like NetFlix or Pandora. In addition, these policies can be applied at the user level and by integrating with Active Directory, we can prioritize or block/throttle applications based on job role, Active Directory Groups and more.
These are just a few of the great features that help keep our engineers and customers more productive. Meraki’s simple licensing model not only makes administration easier, but simplifies purchasing / acquisition. There are just TWO part numbers for most Meraki solutions: 1) hardware and 2) licensing (only the MX series has more than one flavor of licensing).
But, don’t take our word for it, register for one of our Meraki webinars and receive your very own piece of Meraki gear with 3-years licensing and support FREE, a $1200 value.