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Meraki Adds Wi-Fi Management Tools

A spectrum analysis feature allows automatic WLAN re-configuration as interference changes and a "traffic shaper" prioritizes bandwidth usage by user, application and other variables.




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Traditional tools for this type of analysis and configuration could cost $10,000 -- more than a small company with only half a dozen Access Points could afford, says Biswas. With the necessary features part of the Meraki Access Points, "You don't need to buy a multi-thousand dollar device for your WLAN environments."

According to Meraki, the benefits of using Auto RF with spectrum analysis include increasing Wi-Fi reliability under challenging RF conditions, enabling higher throughput by client devices, letting a company provide better Wi-Fi coverage to a site with fewer Access points, and reducing IT troubleshooting time in terms of Wi-Fi problems.

Meraki Auto RF can be useful for companies with anywhere from a few Access Points and a hundred employees to large, multi-site companies. "The more remote the site the bigger the tools' impact, since it reduces IT travel," says Biswas.

Auto RF with spectrum analysis is included with Meraki’s Enterprise Cloud Controller, and will be available free-of-charge to current and new owners of Meraki Enterprise Access Points (which are for SMB through enterprise use, as opposed to the Enterprise Pro APs, which are for hotspots, municipal networks and other non-business WLAN environments), beginning September 30. No additional hardware or software is required.

Traffic-Shaping, To Prioritize, Control Wi-Fi Usage

Given the growing use of Wi-Fi within companies for business activities, and that Wi-Fi bandwidth is typically not as large as wired LAN bandwidth, "traffic-shaping" -- prioritizing and allowing/disallowing network traffic -- is becoming increasingly desirable and necessary.

Meraki has announced Meraki Traffic Shaper, a new application-aware control to let companies see and "shape" traffic -- reserve and prioritize based on application, user, time of day, type of traffic, and so on, as part of the company's cloud-managed wireless networking products.

"You can prioritize SalesForce and Oracle over Facebook or YouTube, you can specify different priorities, like speed caps for YouTube but none for SalesForce," says Biswas. "This lets your company prioritize business traffic over non-business, which improves performance, and can avoid the need to upgrade bandwidth."

Meraki Traffic Shaper runs at line rate, with no loss of performance to the wireless network environment..

According to Meraki, "Traffic Shaper has been beta-tested by a number of Meraki Enterprise customers, including Stanford University’s Computer Science department, Foster Pepper PLLC, and Sweet Briar College."

Traffic Shaper will be available for use by all customers with Meraki Enterprise Access Points (as opposed to its hot-spot oriented Meraki Pro APs). Traffic Shaper is currently in beta, and will be generally available September 30. No additional hardware or software is needed to use Traffic Shaper.

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