Meraki Health Aims for Rapid Root Cause Analysis

Meraki Health

Cisco Meraki is rolling out the new Meraki Health dashboard to customers. The goal is to allow IT staff to quickly identify root causes to various Wi-Fi issues. It’s the common trend amongst cloud-managed Wi-Fi vendors.

Troubleshooting Wi-Fi connectivity is a difficult skill to master by an individual. Without the in-house expertise, IT is often left relying on dashboards to tell them what’s wrong.

Heuristic Approach

Meraki Health is taking a heuristic approach to troubleshooting. The dashboard uses a technique to help in problem-solving by learning and discovering what’s happening on the Wi-Fi network. Then those root causes are presented on-screen.

This new visual method of troubleshooting allows a quick look into what types of issues clients are experiencing. It can be narrowed down to specific access points and into types of applications.

The Client Journey

We’re provided insight into the client journey on a Wi-Fi network. Meraki Health takes a look at 5 different steps of the client journey:

  • Association
  • Authentication
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • Latency

At each step there’s a visualization into the percentage of successful or failed connections. Breaking out each step provides a simple approach to troubleshooting and getting down to the real cause of the issue.

An example could be at the authentication step with a user incorrectly typing in the password for the SSID.

Latency visibility offers insight into how applications are performing over Wi-Fi. Latency is broken down into traffic types, drawing similarities to QoS traffic types. The visualization indicates the percentage of latency traffic encountering poor performance.

The scope can then be narrowed down to specific applications such as YouTube, Skype, or other applications.

View of the Meraki Health visualizations.

Spotting the anomalies

Rowell’s Take

It’s a great addition to the Meraki solution. By giving the power to network operators, they are more capable of solving some of the most common Wi-Fi issues. The biggest advantage with Meraki Health is the ability to solve these issues quickly.

What I find interesting is Meraki Health takes a heuristic approach rather than stepping into artificial intelligence and machine learning to take troubleshooting to the next level.

Meraki can leverage their cloud infrastructure to build a solution which can help solve issues automatically by learning client traffic patterns and flows to help the network tune itself. For example, seeing where an area is about to become highly dense with devices and capacity is to increase.

The dashboard can help network operators become more proactive over these situations by bringing it to attention before the event impacts clients.

François’ Take

Meraki is often used by customers having a small IT team without extensive Wi-Fi expertise. So this new feature is a great tool which will help them to troubleshooting day-to-day Wi-Fi issues. I won’t be surprised if this feature keeps getting better over time so it can be used and understood by most IT professionals.

I believe it is very interesting to see network companies spending more and more time on developing software which will help the customer provide a better over solution. It is just the beginning. I am expecting to see more and more vendors coming out with software solutions in order to complement their hardware offers and help the users better take advantage of the hardware. It is also a way for them to create a competitive advantage over the competition.

User experience is very important for me on every project I work on and that’s why I like this new Health feature as it helps us to provide a better user experience overall.

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About the Author
Rowell, CWNE #210, is a network engineer in Higher-Ed. He enjoys working with wireless networking technologies and loves to share and engage with the community. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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