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February 13, 2020

Cisco Meraki and Umbrella Integration on MX and MR

There are two ways that the Cisco Umbrella DNS service can be integrated with a Cisco Meraki network. 

1) Meraki MX Integration with an existing (or new) Cisco Umbrella DNS subscription

and / or

2) Meraki MR Advanced + Upgrade Licences with Cisco Umbrella integration 

1) Meraki MX

Integrating the Meraki dashboard and Umbrella DNS allows clients connected behind Meraki security appliances or access points to have their DNS traffic filtered through Cisco's Umbrella DNS service. 

This integration allows administrators to easily apply and modify DNS-based filtering rules to multiple groups of clients on their network by simply assigning a filtering policy to a specific Meraki group policy or SSID.

Once assigned, all DNS requests from clients included under that policy will be automatically redirected to Cisco's Umbrella DNS service where it will be checked against the appropriate policy configured for the Network Device in the Umbrella dashboard.

There are specific instructions on how to Integrate the MX with an Umbrella subscription and this requires a specific firmware version on the MX.  For more information see you can read about it here.

Reach out to us if you'd like a quote for a Cisco Umbrella Subscription that you can use with your Meraki MX Security Appliance, its a relatively inexpensive way to easily improve the security of your network and a must have in today's world!

2) Meraki MR 

The Meraki MR Advanced + Upgrade Licenses with Cisco Umbrella integration enables Meraki administrators to assign predefined Umbrella content filtering and security policies to an SSID or Group Policy directly from the dashboard and removes the need to integrate with an existing Umbrella dashboard or Umbrella account.

Once Umbrella policies are assigned, all DNS requests from wireless clients will be intercepted by the upstream MR access point and redirected to Cisco's Umbrella DNS resolvers for evaluation. That DNS lookup either resolves successfully, allowing the client to connect to the requested web page, or gets blocked which redirects the client to an Umbrella block page.

In order to use the new MR Advanced & Upgrade License Umbrella integration the following prerequisites have to be met:

  • The organization where the integration will be used must have the Meraki Per-Device Licensing (PDL) model enabled. 

  • Each network using the integration must have a valid MR Advanced or MR Upgrade + device (Enterprise) license assigned for every access point.

  • All access points in the dashboard network must be running MR 26.1+ firmware.

There are two types of MR licenses that can enable the Meraki Umbrella integration: MR Advanced and MR Upgrade license. 

  • The MR Advanced license includes a device (Enterprise) license for an MR access point itself in addition to the Umbrella add-on license which enables Umbrella functionality on that access point. This license is generally purchased for licensing a new MR access point that does not already have a license.
  • The MR Upgrade license is considered an add-on license and enables Umbrella functionality only. It can only be assigned to MR access points with an active device (Enterprise) license. This license is generally purchased for MR access points that already have a basic enterprise license (not enabled for Umbrella).
January 30, 2020

Meraki releases MG Cellular Gateway to much applause!

What is it?

The MG Cellular Gateway is a brand new Meraki product line that takes a cellular signal and transforms it into a wired Ethernet connection that can then be propagated down to the rest of a network via a router.

Cellular is growing

Cellular usage as a viable enterprise-grade connectivity option has been steadily growing with advances in throughput and availability in particular. 

So there’s obvious an appetite in cellular products, but in what scenario would an MG cellular gateway be useful?

Cellular signal strength

One of the biggest challenges with utilising cellular connectivity is getting the signal itself to where it’s needed. For most enterprises, geographical cellular coverage is not the issue. The challenge is usually with signal strength where the networking equipment is located. More often than not, this tends to be a network closet or server room deep inside a building, where cellular reception is likely to be poor or sporadic at best.

Antennas from cellular devices in a closet or server room can be extended to a location with better signal using a coaxial cable, however this is only practical over short distances. Coaxial cables are susceptible to high signal loss, making them unsuitable to transport a cellular signal over all but short distances.

Meraki MG cellular gateways are IP67 rated, meaning they can be optimally positioned, indoors or outdoors, to receive maximum signal strength. Cellular signal from MGs is delivered to the rest of the network via an Ethernet cable which experiences zero signal loss even over larger distances. Ethernet delivery also means that MG can be paired with any router on the market downstream to provide another uplink for SD-WAN or as a failover/primary link.

As you would expect with a Meraki product, MG is supremely simple, and of course managed from the same dashboard as the rest of the Meraki portfolio.

Please contact us for a quote or order online here!

January 30, 2020

The New Meraki PER DEVICE Licensing model

Meraki has just released an optional way of licensing their products called PER DEVICE Licensing. 

The existing (and still available) Dashboard co-term model with one simple expiration date didn’t quite work for customers with conflicting budgeting processes, varying grants or site billing, or other accounting (non-networking) requirements. 

To address this, the optional PER DEVICE Licensing model offers the ultimate flexibility for licensing and offers a suite of new, exclusive features not offered on the co-term model:

  • License Devices Individually: Assign a license to a specific device (MR, MS, MX, MV, MG) or a network (in the case of vMX and SM licenses) and maintain a shared expiration date or separate expiration dates across devices, networks, or organizations.
  • Partial Renewals: Enjoy the ability to renew all your devices or a subset of devices, as you prefer. 
  • Move Licenses Between Orgs: Org Admins (Read/Write) on multiple organizations are able to move a license (or licenses & devices together) between those organizations without calling Meraki support. This functionality is available through the dashboard and APIs. 
  • 90 Day License Activation Window: You will have up to 90 days to claim and assign your licenses before they activate – giving you more lead time to deploy Meraki products.
  • APIs: APIs are available to claim, assign and move licenses. This will allow a greater level of automation and the ability to integrate with other systems. 
  • Individual Device Shutdowns: If a license expires on a device, only that individual device or product will shut down (after the 30 grace period). 

Please reach out to us for more information and a quote if you would like to move to PER DEVICE licensing.

April 30, 2019

Meraki Expand WiFi Access Point Range with 802.11ax

Cisco Meraki are constantly working to create innovative, intuitive, and industry-leading IT solutions and Meraki is continuing to invest in their wireless portfolio. Click on the link below for the latest guide to their product:

*Meraki Indoor Access Point Portfolio Guide*

Meraki & TCO

Each Meraki cloud-managed device needs a software license that provides access to the browser-based dashboard, seamless firmware upgrades, 24/7 support, and a lifetime warranty. The Meraki dashboard significantly decreases total-cost-of-ownership, lowering TCO for customers by 20-80% which is where the real value lies - making it easier to configure, troubleshoot and manage.

Meraki & WiFi 6

Cisco Meraki recently announced new WiFi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) compatible access points. The technology in WiFi 6 delivers greater throughput, efficiency, and battery life and makes it easier to design an efficient wireless network.  802.11ax is designed to operate in all band spectrums between 1 and 7 GHz when they become available in addition to the current 2.4 and 5 GHz bands and uses better power control methods to avoid interference with neighbouring networks.

MR20 Price Update

To create a broader price range across the Meraki wireless portfolio, they are also announcing a price reduction for the MR20 hardware beginning May 4, 2019. This price adjustment will expose more customers to the value of Meraki.

March 18, 2019

End of Sale Announcement - MV71 and MV21 Cameras

Cisco Meraki is announcing the end-of-sale for the following products, in accordance with their End-of-Sale (EOS) Policy for Meraki cloud managed networking products. The MV21 and MV71 Cloud Managed Smart Cameras have been replaced with the following products, which are functionally equivalent:

End-of-Sale Model  Replacement Model
MV21 MV22
MV71 MV72
They expect to be accepting final orders for this product through June 19, 2019. However, the final date will depend on the availability of stock and, at Cisco Meraki's discretion, the actual end-of-sale date may be earlier than June 19, 2019 . End-of-Support date for this product will be June 19, 2026 .
November 30, 2018

3, 2, 1 Liftoff Promo - 3 x MR33 or MR20 Access Points for the price of 2

Cisco Meraki are currently running their 3, 2, 1 Liftoff Promo whereby you can purchase 3 x MR33 Access Points or 3 x MR20 Access Points and licenses for the price of 2!

In short : Cisco Meraki end customers that purchase a minimum of three (3) Qualifying Wireless Access Points (either MR33 or MR20) and related Qualifying Wireless Software Licenses on a single purchase order are eligible to receive a discount off the Qualifying Wireless Access Points and related Qualifying Wireless Software Licenses such that (i) the three Qualifying Wireless Access Points are sold for the price of two Qualifying Wireless Access Points, and (ii) the three Qualifying Wireless Software Licenses are sold for the price of two Qualifying Wireless Software Licenses. 

Full terms and conditions can be found here

Please contact us before making a purchase to ensure we can obtain this special pricing for you.

November 15, 2018

End of Sale Announcement - MX65

Cisco Meraki is announcing the end-of-sale for the following products, in accordance with our End-of-Sale (EOS) Policy for Meraki cloud managed networking products. The MX65 and MX65W have been replaced with the following products, which are functionally equivalent:

End-of-Sale Model  Replacement Model
They expect to be accepting final orders for this product through May 28, 2019. However, the final date will depend on the availability of stock and, at Cisco Meraki's discretion, the actual end-of-sale date may be earlier than May 28, 2019. End-of-Support date for this product will be  May 28, 2026.