For customers using Meraki Access Points (APs) to power their wireless networks, the benefits of the Meraki Dashboard — like unified control of the entire network, multi network management support, and automated network monitoring and alerts — are numerous.
However, many features require accurate provisioning of AP locations to unlock location-specific insight, and for customers with tens, hundreds or thousands of APs, a primary pain point is manually provisioning their Meraki Dashboard to show the geolocation of each AP.
Now, with Ekahau Zero-Touch Provisioning, anyone can easily and accurately provision their dashboard in minutes, unlocking the full value of the Meraki dashboard with just a simple walk around the site with an Ekahau Sidekick 2. In this article, we’ll cover:
Introducing Ekahau Zero-Touch Meraki Dashboard Provisioning
Ekahau Zero-Touch Dashboard Provisioning utilizes the accuracy of the Ekahau Sidekick 2 and Ekahau software to ✨automagically✨ identify and map Access Point (AP) locations in the Meraki Dashboard. By simply walking around the site with the Sidekick 2, users can capture accurate location data and, with a single click, export the results for a fully-provisioned network based on trusted and verified measured data. This new integration saves Meraki customers time and eliminates mistake-prone manual entry, and it works just as well for established networks as it does for brand new installed networks.
Once provisioned, Meraki customers not only have access to all the amazing features of the Meraki Dashboard, they also have a solution that will continue to save them time week after week in ongoing operations and maintenance throughout the life of their network.
How Ekahau Saves You Time
(and Your Sanity)
Save Time in Initial Dashboard Provisioning
Before zero-touch provisioning, one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks of a Wi-Fi network deployment was the map management and manual plotting of APs into the Meraki Dashboard. This required the network owner to know the serial numbers, AP hostnames, and have ready access to deployment documentation to flip through and cross reference in order to accurately plot final installed locations into the dashboard.
The process looked a little something like this:
Multiply these steps by 100s or 1,000s of APs per location, and you can see how the simple-in-theory task can turn into days’ or weeks’ worth of tedious drag and drop just waiting for a manual error to completely ruin the end result.
With Ekahau, just go for a walk with your Sidekick 2:
Now, all you have to do is pick up your Sidekick 2 and go for a walk around the site. The Sidekick 2 does the heavy lifting, saving you hours and days of tedious drag-and-drop and eliminating manual data entry errors that can make it harder to troubleshoot down the line.
Save Time in Ongoing Operations and Maintenance
Once provisioned, the Meraki Dashboard and Ekahau Sidekick 2 become a powerhouse combo for ongoing network health checks and troubleshooting. Real-time alerts from the Meraki Dashboard can identify problem areas, and the Ekahau Sidekick 2 with Survey and Analyzer apps can perform more in-depth, on-the-spot troubleshooting right from a phone or tablet. The Sidekick 2 provides an outside-in view of network performance, which combined with the Meraki Dashboard means less troubleshooting time and fewer network outages — resulting in fewer truck rolls and flights (and more money saved for other priority projects!)
It doesn’t take an advanced degree in RF to manage the ongoing health of your wireless network. If you can walk a dog, you can walk a Sidekick 2 and have instant access to all of the data needed to make smart Wi-Fi performance decisions.
Ekahau is the Key to Unlocking the Meraki Dashboard
The Meraki Dashboard offers a range of powerful features, including wireless client geolocation, heatmaps, and rogue interference detection, that can help Meraki customers optimize network performance and improve security. However, the provisioning process for the Meraki Dashboard can be time-consuming and complex, which has prevented some Meraki network owners from fully utilizing the benefits of the Meraki Dashboard. With Ekahau Zero-Touch Provisioning, Meraki customers can easily and accurately provision their dashboard in minutes, unlocking the full value of the Meraki Dashboard with just a simple walk around the site with an Ekahau Sidekick 2.
Wireless Client Geolocation
One of the standout features of the Meraki Dashboard is the ability to locate wireless clients in real-time. This feature is particularly useful for tracking the movement of wireless clients and identifying where an unresponsive AP is located on the floor plan.
Another great feature of the Meraki Dashboard is the ability to view device density and coverage heatmaps. Heatmaps provide a visual representation of where people are spending time inside a particular location over the course of the day.
The Meraki Dashboard also includes rogue interference detection, which is a critical feature for ensuring network performance. Air Marshal information such as the location of rogue and other SSIDs on the LAN is accurately depicted when provisioned correctly.
Meraki Zero-Touch Provisioning Case Study: L’Oréal
The network team behind L’Oréal’s distribution center relies on accurately placed and provisioned APs to enable their business-critical security and VIP performance programs.
One of the unique ways L’Oréal has put location-based insight into action is with a security guard “dead man” program based on last known client activity to ensure patrolling security guards are always alert and present at all times. This type of program wouldn’t be possible without accurate and trustworthy AP placement in the Meraki dashboard.
In addition to security, Wi-Fi performance is business-critical for L’Oréal and AP location data is critical for their IT Service teams to troubleshoot “bad/poor-performing Wi-Fi” complaints (especially those submitted by VIP executives and senior management).
Ready to Get Started? Zero-Touch Provisioning is Free for Ekahau Connect Subscribers!
With Ekahau Zero-Touch Provisioning, Meraki customers can achieve a high-performing wireless network with minimal effort, unlocking the full value of the Meraki Dashboard.
Whether you’re deploying a new network, are in the middle of a refresh cycle, or have regular changes to your environment, this integration will save you time and enable the most accurate dashboard provisioning possible.
If you’re already an Ekahau and Meraki customer, check out our knowledge base article for a detailed step-by-step guide on how to get started with Ekahau Zero-Touch Dashboard Provisioning.
If you aren’t an Ekahau customer yet, schedule a demo to learn more about the amazing time-and-frustration-saving integration between Ekahau and Meraki.
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