In companies with multiple wireless access points (APs), device roaming can become a big issue as phones, laptops, and tablets can lose Internet connectivity every time they switch to a different wireless access point. With Meraki’s pioneering wireless mobility services, that is no longer the case. Your devices can roam all across your office or property, across all number of access points, and never lose access or drop ongoing connections.
Why is Traditional Roaming Broken?
Most wireless networking equipment is not designed to be used in tandem with other access points, including others of the same make and model. Businesses may have to name each wireless network differently or create strange priority rules in the networking preferences of every device to make sure they have the best wireless network available at any given location. While switching wireless APs utilizing the outdated WEP or common WPA2 encryption methods should take at most 50 milliseconds, half of an eye blink, there are other factors which make traditional roaming slower.
In enterprise networks it is common to use 802.1X and RADIUS protection mechanisms to meet security requirements that are more stringent than those of home users. In addition often wireless devices are loath to hop to a new access point, even one with a better signal strength, to avoid having to frequently change networks, should you move yet again. This yields quickly degrading signal as well as the necessity for reinitializing the entire authentication handshake when the device jumps to the new router. This lag can be between 600 and 4000 milliseconds, easily enough to drop any existing connections or data streams.
How does Meraki Fix Roaming?
Expanding on existing “fast-roaming” technologies, Meraki has designed a context-aware system of linking wireless access points which not only minimizes the amount of information required to establish a new connection but also allows your access points themselves to determine the best one to handle your device’s needs, removing the tablet, laptop, or phone from the equation entirely.
Protocols such as 802.11k and 802.11r are used to create a seamless mesh of wireless access points, blanketing an entire area in network connectivity. From the device’s perspective it isn’t switching wireless networks whether you walk across the room or across a crowded business park. Meraki Mobility Services does all of the heavy lifting behind the scenes, ensuring your device remains connected from your first step to your last.
In addition Meraki access points can now support Layer 3 roaming, which allows clients to seamlessly move from one VLAN to another or even between networking subnets, something impossible with traditional wireless equipment and which would guarantee a network disconnect. By allowing the access points themselves to address the needs of the tablets, phones, and laptops connected to them, a seamless roaming coverage can be created, even when changing from private or internal networks to public or limited-access wireless networks.
All roaming options, including Layer 3 roaming, can be configured within your Meraki dashboard under SSID Access Control. Under “Addressing and Traffic” you will find many IP assignment options, including Layer 3 roaming. With just a few moue clicks, you can have amazing and seamless coverage, whatever the size or scale of your network, all thanks to the Cisco Meraki wireless Mobility Services.
Free AP for IT Professionals
If you are interested in a complimentary webinar about cloud networking from Cisco Meraki, please follow this link. The webinar includes a live demo of this cloud management platform and you get a free Meraki access point for attending – quite a few of Team One Solutions’ customers rely on Meraki solutions with its easy centralized cloud management for their entire wired and wireless networks.
*To be eligible for a free access point, participants must be an IT professional. Existing Meraki customers are not eligible. Limit of one free AP per company. For more details, click here.