Introducing Cisco Meraki – More than a Wireless Network Solution

There is little argument that in the modern digital era, organisations of all sizes are increasingly looking to the cloud for much of their IT needs. Whether your organisation is using Google email or storage solutions, sharing documents and images through Office 365 or reaching out to customers through a unified communications platform, it’s likely that you are using the cloud in some capacity.

The issue for some organisations, however, is that the necessary infrastructure to support the move to the cloud has been left lacking.

Until now….

Introducing Cisco Meraki – a centralised cloud management platform running through a suite of connected devices.

Meraki products help IT and operation technology (OT) departments come together and address the challenges that modern manufacturers face. Whether you’re looking to gain greater insight into activities on the factory floor, troubleshoot network issues before they impact production, or prioritise production-critical applications at geographically distributed sites, Meraki lets you manage all of your IT needs from a single dashboard. Count on the Meraki suite of cloud-managed IT solutions — including advanced networking, enterprise-grade security and mobility management, and video surveillance — to reduce costs, increase production throughputs, and mitigate downtime risks.

The solution can be separated into two distinct parts – high-performance Cisco Meraki wireless access points, switches, security appliances and EMM that are deployed within an organisation, and the intuitive browser-based dashboard designed to manage, configure, and monitor your network. Let’s look at the devices first.

  • Wireless APs: The Cisco Meraki APs, cloud-managed 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac Wave 2 access point. Designed for next-generation deployments in harsh outdoor locations and industrial indoor conditions, the specialised Meraki APs offers performance, enterprise-grade security, and intuitive management. They deliver a maximum 1.3 Gbps aggregate frame rate with concurrent 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios. A dedicated third radio provides real-time WIDS/WIPS with automated RF optimization. A fourth radio delivers seamless Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) scanning and Beaconing. The combination of cloud management, 802.11ac, full-time RF environment scanning, and an integrated Bluetooth Low Energy radio delivers the high throughput, reliability, and flexibility required by the most demanding business applications like voice and high-definition streaming video, even in the most harsh outdoor environments.
  • Security appliances: Having a reliable and secure network is crucial for any organisation. Meraki features state-of-the-art security features such as an identity-based firewall, advanced malware protection and content filtering, to ensure your valuable data is protected.
  • Switches: For IT support staff who need to manage multiple deployments on the network in a number of locations, cloud-managed MS switches from Meraki allow for thousands of ports, all visible in real-time in a web browser.

However many access points you need, there is a product solution to suit – Cisco Meraki cloud architecture provides a feature set rich enough for large enterprise deployments, yet easy enough to be used by smaller IT teams with minimal training.

Benefits of Cisco Meraki in bullet point:

Avoid production downtime

  • Automatic email alerts of potential issues as they arise in real-time
  • Investigate issues remotely in a matter of minutes to dramatically reduce time to resolution — no need to wait for an engineer to arrive on-site
  • Next-day advanced replacement across the portfolio keeps manufacturing running smoothly
  • Auto-VPN and SD-WAN with automatic WAN failover help ensure 24/7 uptime and connectivity at all sites

Manage and deploy with ease

  • Intuitive web-based dashboard to manage all Meraki devices
  • Zero-touch provisioning and plug-and-play devices allow sites to go live in days without the need for highly trained network engineers
  • Lock production devices in single app mode
  • Monitor device battery charge, location, status, etc.

Reduce costs

  • Troubleshoot network issues in real-time with tools such as remote packet capture and cable testing, reducing operating costs by up to 90% compared to traditional technologies
  • PoE/PoE+ options provide power for edge devices across the site as well as monitoring
  • Apply port schedules to automatically turn off always-on devices when idle to save on site energy consumption

Minimise waste

  • Deploy Meraki security cameras as a sensor to intelligently monitor processes on-site
  • Industry’s simplest solution to implement — just plug cameras into Ethernet
  • Find footage of interest in minutes without the need to export any data
  • Use footage and built-in analytics to rapidly learn and improve site processes