5 Tips and Tricks For Meraki Access Points

meraki access points Technology can seem like a never-ending quest to make everything work just how you want it.

When it comes to your wireless solutions, your hope is to set up a network that makes your job easier. On your search for how to accomplish that goal, you’ve likely come across Meraki’s access points.

These devices are user-friendly and offer many features that provide stable connectivity, security, and versatility.

In fact, The KR Group uses Meraki access points in our offices in addition to helping our customers implement them. During our various experiences, we’ve learned a few ways to help administrators get the most from the technology investment.

To give you an idea on to use Meraki access points to their full potential, we’ve put together some of the tips and tricks we’ve learned throughout the years.

Here are five ways you can optimize how you use your Meraki wireless devices:

  1. Air Marshal adds another layer of security
  2. Guest Wi-Fi features have options for connectivity
  3. Connection settings adjust to your specific needs
  4. Mesh networking extends coverage to hard-to-reach places
  5. Co-termination licensing can extend expiration dates

You may find all or none of these apply to your IT environment at this time, but you can keep this information in the back of your mind for when you may need to adjust your wireless network in the future.

Meraki Wireless’s Air Marshal

Security is undeniably important when it comes to your wireless network.

Meraki’s devices have a unique feature, Air Marshal, a built-in wireless intrusion and detection prevention system (WIDS/WIPS).

In the Meraki dashboard, you can select to turn Air Marshal for some or all of your access points. The devices operating with Air Marshal then scan the environment in real-time and are proactive about keeping unknown “rogue” devices off of your network. meraki access points

If any prohibited or unknown hardware emits a wireless signal, the Air Marshal function prevents anything from connecting to it. This feature also triggers alarms and alerts based on the preferences you set?

What does this look like in action?

One of The KR Group’s leaders has experienced first-hand how effective Air Marshal is at frustrating users trying to connect to a rogue network.

While working with a customer and troubleshooting networking issues, he turned on his cell phone’s hot spot for internet access. He spent longer than he likes to admit trying to connect his laptop to the hotspot before the customer’s network administrator realized Air Marshal was incredibly effective.

The good news is this feature is turned off just as easily as it was turned on.

Air Marshal is truly an innovative feature, and this brief section only touches the surface of its capabilities. For more in-depth information, check out Meraki’s datasheet on Air Marshall.

Guest Wi-Fi Using Meraki Wireless

meraki access points Another critical feature for any business-grade access point is the ability to set up a guest network.

Having a way for customers or guests to connect to the internet has gone from something nice to a must-have for competitive businesses.

To be effective, a guest network must be secure and user-friendly. Here are some of the ways Meraki’s wireless access points accomplish those goals:

1. Splash page

Within the Meraki dashboard, you can configure splash pages to inform guests whose network they’re logging onto and inform them of the terms and conditions.

You can also dictate how often the splash page reappears, and guests have to reaccept the terms and conditions.

2. Limited use

Another important feature of your guest wireless network is the ability to set limits for your guests.

The most obvious one is to set a limit on how much bandwidth a single guest can use. This keeps your guests from impacting how much bandwidth you have for business purposes.

You can also set time limits on the guest network use to prevent a neighbor from logging onto your wireless network and using it all day. Or, you can configure your guest network to only be available during specific hours of the day.

3. Paid access options

Another useful tip for optimizing your guest wireless is to offer paid subscription tiers. For example, you can offer the bare minimum connection for a limited time (or even no connection) and then require payment for more bandwidth, time, or both.

Wireless Connection Settings

One helpful trick for getting the best internet access across your wireless network is to pay close attention to your connection settings.

As far as your internet connection, you’ll want to check if you have adequate internet speeds for your business’s needs.

When it comes to the individual access points, you’ll want to pay close attention to device placement. If there are still areas with low signal, you can look at wireless power to see if you need to increase or decrease it.

Other tips and tricks to set up your wireless network for success:

  • Set a maximum device limit to distribute traffic evenly throughout your network.
  • Require minimum signal strength, so devices pass over to the next access point at the appropriate time.

Mesh Capabilities with Meraki Access Points

One of the unique characteristics of Meraki’s access points is that all of the devices have mesh network capabilities.

When you turn this feature on, the access point sends out mesh probes to detect other devices and provide them with a wireless signal. Then, those access points can create a network and send out mesh probes.

This feature is convenient for extending your wireless network to areas where it is difficult or expensive to run an Ethernet cable.

Meraki Co-termination Licensing

 Like all Meraki devices, your access points require individual licenses to work. meraki access points

This license gives you access to the cloud-managed dashboard, where you’ll make any of the above configurations and adjustments. It also guarantees next business day replacement if a device ceases to function.

The frustration some IT managers have with Meraki’s licensing model is once it expires in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 years, the associated device no longer works. In the case of wireless access points, you have to stay on top of licensing to keep your wireless network working.

Meraki offers a way to optimize this process.

When you purchase multiple devices and their respective licenses, Meraki automatically calculates a co-termination date.

You can learn more about how co-termination works in our article, “Meraki Licensing: Co-termination vs. Per Device.” However, for this article, you should remember that Meraki’s co-termination license feature allows you to make the most of licensing for all of your devices.

Making the Most of Your Meraki Access Points

When you build a wireless network with Meraki’s devices, there are many features to help you make the most of your new hardware.

In addition to providing wireless connectivity, you can configure settings for Air Marshal, guest Wi-Fi networks, connectivity, mesh networking, and license expiration within the Meraki dashboard.

All of these factors work together to give you an easy-to-manage yet effective wireless network.

When you’re ready to start planning your wireless network with Meraki’s access points, download our free comparison guide to find what devices are right for you.


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