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[WINNERS ANNOUNCED] Community Challenge: The Impossible Fix

Community Manager

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UPDATE: This contest has ended. Huge thanks to everyone for sharing your stories, we loved reading all of them! Congratulations to our three randomly selected winners: @jfry2k@MakkyCro, and @LuisCruz.   

 

For many of us, it’s been a few months since our sudden transition to the world of remote work.  We’ve had to navigate more than a few snags in our setups, such as unexplained internet outages, network security breaches, and even hardware malfunctions (maybe your keyboard and the contents of your Diet Coke became close friends). All requiring contact-free intervention.

 

For this month’s challenge, we want to know about the craziest / most  painful / most impossible fix you’ve had to resolve remotely using Meraki. (This could be a fix made during or prior to COVID)

 

Here is an array of colorful examples provided by my colleague @Phi-L, Technical Trainer to the Stars:

 

  1. Maybe an intern decided to plug in all the loose cabling they could find in a room back into a switch, introducing a loop. You used the dashboard to troubleshoot RSTP issues.
  2. You’re the dad of a wallowing son, who now is stuck back at home due to COVID closing his college. In his despair, he is sucking up all the bandwidth by streaming Twitch and playing PS4 all day. You used traffic shaping rules to deprioritize that traffic and handed him a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude to fill his time.
  3. Perhaps someone was INSISTENT that a device on a wall was an AP, but you used the blink LEDs live tool to track down the AP he was actually looking for and prove the mystery device to be a smoke detector.

How to enter

Post a comment on this blog post containing your story about an impossible fix that you’ve pulled off remotely. Submit your comment before June 23rd at 11am PT and be entered to win a fantastic specimen of Meraki swag (a Meraki mini block set!):

 

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We’ll then randomly select three winners from the list of entrants. Good luck!!

 

Fine Print:

37 Comments
New here

I was doing R&D to create multiple networks at a time on the Meraki dashboard for a particular type of device, then I found a very quick and easy way to do it within the Meraki Dashboard by uploading the excel sheet with necessary information. In the end, I completed the task quickly.

Conversationalist

Meraki dashboard does not have notification when I had 2 WAN port activate and one of the WAN port is down. I need to manually login to meraki dashboard to check the wan port status.

Just browsing

One in a hundred meraki access points is unable to find a gateway to the internet. In the wireless - monitor - access points page says, 1 access point is repeater. Upon investigation, we find out that the cable is shorted. Thanks to Meraki Switch cable test we can check the cable even from home. 

Kind of a big deal

We had 10 iPads stolen about a year ago, I quickly setup a STOLEN tag and settings group that was deployed to all of the devices, that way if any of them came back online they would be bricked and display a nice wallpaper that clearly showed the device was stolen. The devices were registered in DEP so there was no way around this without jailbreaking the device. I also setup an alert that reported when the devices came online so I could log IP address information that was passed onto the police.

 

The end result was unearthing a large scale stolen goods and drugs ring.

 

Of the 10 devices 1 was recovered. 

Conversationalist

One of the most challenging aspects of managing large distributed networks is troubleshooting issues when the client is across town (or maybe even across the country!). Having on-site IT personnel 24/7 at even small satellite branch offices can require a very large IT staff and is too expensive for most organizations. Meraki networks offer a variety of “remote hands” troubleshooting tools, helping network admins diagnose and resolve many wireless connectivity issues without dispatching IT staff to the site. The ability to run diagnostic checks such as pinging an access point, running a throughput test from Dashboard, or reviewing detailed event logs have been integral to Meraki’s value..

Comes here often

280 sites all with different ISP under different customer accounts and they are missing critical. Running blind if a site goes down with no insight or understanding of situation.

 

280 Z3s all VPN together with backup dongles. No more down time!!

Comes here often

2200+ device upgrade in just matter of few clicks. Wow moment for an engineer.  

Here to help

I crossed the pond for vacation and happened to be in an Amsterdam tram when I got an email from a customer that their users where associating to the WiFi but not able to browse the internet. So, logged into the dashboard from my phone and helped troubleshoot (dns server issues) just before my Amsterdam-central station stop. #meraki-simplicity. 

Here to help

Situation: Due to covid-19 we have about 500 employees (throughout 13 western US states) working remotely using Virtual Desktops. 

 

Problem: We had a few days of VPN failures from Azure to our old Colo ASR (in Phnx, AZ) and our remote employees couldn't access critical network resources.

 

Resolution: Got a Meraki vMX100 trial license, and within 2hrs we had all VPN clients working again. Meraki vMX100 autovpn to our Colo MX400.

We decided to retire our old Cisco ASR and keep the Meraki vMX100.

 

All this magic from the comfort of my couch at home. Powerful technology that makes life simple!

Comes here often

Fix issues with the startup ip addressing! Sometimes we have al least on MR as a bridge after try to fix the ip address we just lost forever the connection to the MR. 

Once I have all my AP as bridge but the switch wasn't registered. We had to go to the site and reconfigure the MS. 

Here to help

I needed to test third party VPN to DataCenter ASA from a MX remote site, as workaround solution.
As the encryption domain for 3rd Party VPN was the same as the MX in DC, I was stuck, it was not possible to do it on the same organization without impacting all sites.

 

Another idea came to me.

I had a MX cluster for tests purpose, with MS behind, and a computer. But as it was the Covid lockdown, I was not able to do any change physically.
I first disabled and changed the Vlan Id on the Switches for ports connected to the MX2, then removed MX2 from network and unclaimed it from Prod Organization. Then claimed it and added it on another network, in a Preprod Organization.
MX2 came back up in seconds, with new config, new subnet, and configured 3rd party VPN was UP.
I was then able to change the switch port connected to my remote computer to the new Vlan Id, and activate the MX2 LAN ports. I found the DHCP IP of the computer in the Dashboard, and I did all the tests I wanted with VNC.

 

As tests were successful, I then switched back to the normal state, disabled LAN ports and changed Vlan Id, removed and unclaimed MX2 on Preprod Organization, claimed it on Prod Organization, added as Warm Spare, activated LAN ports, switched back Vlan Id for the computer.
Again, my cluster was 100% functional in a few seconds.

 

From a MX Cluster, to 2 differents MX, in different networks, in different Organizations, testing on a computer, and then back to a MX Cluster, without any physical intervention, that was awesome ! 😁

Conversationalist

we (Meraki TAC) have completed Meraki Integration with Azure and tested with user domain credentials it’s working fine. checked with lobby admin credentials as well and tested the access dashboard with domain credentials.

Getting noticed

Hey, well, we had a fun one .... we had a 'mobile response trailer' at a job site and the owners wanted a way to view the site 'at their discretion' to see how it was progressing. Company does environmental cleanup and they had a tanker roll over and dump 10,000 gallons of fuel oil into wetlands that was going to take months to clean up.

They also wanted a way to call them there without tying up their cell phones and also have a printer on site anyone could use that showed up from the company .....

 

So Meraki Z3C to the rescue paired with a Webex Teams phone.

 

They wouldn't spring for a Meraki camera, but did go with a more traditional DVR that had DDNS connection, so we used the Meraki Z3C to get them on the same network and connected ..... installed the printer on the server on prem at the main branch, shared it out. The Z3 was technically on the WAN via it's cellular connection (mobile response trailer was literally mobile at times), printer was static IPd on the Z3 LAN, but still using print share from server, anyone could map the printer and send jobs. The DDNS DVR camera was plugged in and users could connect via their cell phone apps and then Webex Teams just needs PoE .... Z3C has one PoE port, which powered the phone and then users just used wifi from laptops to get to company data. Yes cell phone plan was high and we had overages, but the whole project was billable for equipment so SCORE ..... they needed wifi, cameras, phone etc ... Thanks Cisco for the great product suites!

Head in the Cloud

We had one customer that logged quite a number of connectivity issues over a number of months. After several prior site visits and the customer using their own engineer to try to work it out, I put on my Meraki hat (ok, no hat!) and requested one of our senior engineers to attend site with me remote.

 

Working together we mapped out the estate and found a dozen more Meraki AP's that I had not listed. It turns out the customer installed their own Meraki AP's for customer use (ours was for EPoS) and in the logs I could see they were trying to work on the same channels and blacklist us. Ok, instead of going all cowboy duel on them (we would have won!) we agreed separate channels and to not block each other (I may have turned on blacklisting all their AP's for amusement). Interesting how they just assumed they needed to keep things separate for legislation (DSS PCI) purposes.

 

You would think this was the end of it, nope. We spoke to the staff on site to find out where the problem hot spots were and it was in a new area they opened up six months ago! A "hard" hmmm ensued and so did a few calls to certain people; "Why was I getting slack for a NEW EXPANSION?!"....anyway, long story short we re-did our WiFi survey and advised what was required.

 

Long story short...sometimes you just need a little more communication.

Head in the Cloud

My impossible fix is Meraki breaking how profiles are managed on iPads. 😤

Community Manager

This contest has now ended! Congratulations to our three randomly selected winners: @jfry2k@MakkyCro, and @LuisCruz. Great stories everyone, thanks for sharing with us!

A model citizen

Congrats Guys!!!!! @jfry2k @MakkyCro  and @LuisCruz

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