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Meraki Adds Wi-Fi Management Tools

Six 802.11n Routers For SMBs
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Meraki has announced new cloud-based management features and tools for use with Meraki Access Points.

Meraki provides 802.11 Wi-Fi environments consisting of its Access Points plus cloud-based Cloud Controller management. The company claims the new features and tools will reduce the time and cost for SMBs, enterprises and other organizations to manage their Meraki Wireless LAN environments, improve performance for users, and let IT prioritize WLAN availability by application and by user profile.

Additionally, the company announced several new free cloud-based management and configuration software tools for 802.11 users, both in Meraki and non-Meraki WLAN environments.

Improving WLAN Performance By Adding Spectrum Analysis to Meraki Auto RF

Wi-Fi environments have become more complex, with more Wi-Fi gear in an area contending for the bandwidth, and more non-Wi-Fi gear sharing or interfering it. And environments are more dynamic, as new users and devices come and go, and users walk around, so settings even an hour old may no longer be optimal.

Meraki has added spectrum analysis to its Meraki Auto RF feature, enabling Meraki Wi-Fi networks to "automatically adapt to changing RF (radio-frequency) conditions to maximize network performance and capacity," according to the company.

Running on all the Meraki Access Points in a company's network, Meraki Auto RF with spectrum analysis:

-- Monitors the RF (radio frequency) environment and does a spectrum analysis to quantify RF interference including from non-Wi-Fi devices like cordless phones, Bluetooth devices and microwave ovens; radio management. Traditional analyzers were mostly for site surveys, and how signals were or weren't penetrating walls, according to Meraki CEO Sanjit Biswas, but wouldn't always detect or analyze the impact of interference from other devices.

-- Performs automatic radio management, dynamically setting channels and transmit-power settings on Meraki Access Points for best overall service. "Most customers deploy networks, not a single Access Point, so you want to make sure you get the right channels and power levels," says Biswas. "Auto RF includes inputs from our scans about how many client devices are looking for access, how many legacy devices are nearby, and then uses our cloud database to generate the optimal channel plan. And if something moves, the system will adapt the settings automatically."

-- Optimizes the settings on client (endpoint) devices like notebooks and Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, such as letting any devices that support 802.11n/5HGz use these settings, "which are typically less crowded," according to Biswas, so Wi-Fi communication will take place in the best possible band, without the user having to configure the client to do this. No additional software is needed for client devices to take advantage of this feature, Biswas notes.

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