January's community challenge was to tell us your New Year's Networking Resolutions - and 63 of you obliged.
We'd love to hear your progress on your resolutions (especially that cat door, @MichelRueger!). Let us know in this thread!
Well, after @MichelRueger's great idea I did some experimenting. I first tried using a fitness tracker (Xiaomi Band 2, about USD$30) with a built in beacon. I initially tried using the option to email when the beacon goes in and out of range.
You do this by going:
Wireless/Bluetooth Settings/set Scanning to On
Wireless/Bluetooth Clients/click on the Mi Band 2/edit alerts/tick option to send "in and out" email alerts
It does work - but it doesn't work fast enough to keep a waiting cat happy.
The issue seems to be that the fitness tracker only emits a beacon every 10 minutes unless it is "excited". This is done to conserve battery power (battery lasts about 10 days between charges). So to make this project work best, I think using a bluetooth "exciter" (which wuld go on the cat door) and a bluetooth beacon (which would go on the cat) that emits a pulse when it comes within range of its exciter would work best.
Failing that, you'll need a bluetooth beacon that you can get to emit pulses far more frequently - but this will play a big toll on battery life.
I also concluded that using emails would be to difficult to use for motor control. You really need to use the scanning API.
I investigated using the Barionet as suggest to do this. The Barionet does support a programmable language, but when I look at the restrictions I think this would be extremely difficult to achieve the end goal.
I took a look at using a Raspberry Pi, and I think this is the way to go. If you Google "Raspberry Pi cat door project" you'll find a number of projects people have posted that already use bluetooth beacons to control a cat door. Examples include:
The advantage of using the Raspberry Pi is that it can run a proper web server, and languages like Python. You need a "proper" web server because you need something for the scanning API to call to tell you that the cat is nearby. Also because most Meraki API examples seem to be in Python having a platform that can run Python means you can do a lot more "copy and paste"from examples to get a solution working.
Now I don't want to poor cold water on things, but I came to the conclusion that using bluetooth for something like this is not really a good solution. A cat collar with an RF activated tag (that has no battery) and a simple RF exciter would be more reliable and cheaper to build ... but I do appreciate that just like muscle cars, sometimes the fun is in building the project as opposed to how practical it is.
For me personally;
I have decided to use a new (well new to me) paradigm for selling Cisco Meraki kit that is called "Social Selling". So I'm going to be really embracing this strategy for the next 3 months to see how it goes.
I have launched a series of "cookbooks" for doing tricky Cisco Meraki things - things that might normally stop people deploying Cisco Meraki. So hopefully I am removing barriers for Cisco Meraki adoption. I have lots of tools I have written for internal use, and this is a sample of the ones I have decided to release publicly. The Azure VPN one in particular has allowed me to make sales that otherwise were 100% killed.
I have been pouring a lot of time into renewing a bunch of my Cisco qualifications. I feel very down on renewing these, as I have now started heavily down the Cisco Meraki path. However not having the Cisco qualifications impacts our Cisco Premiere Partner status, so I feel forced into studying technologies I don't plan on using or deploying much anymore. I really feel Cisco Enterprise has lost its way but I appreciate Chuck is simply adapting to a changing world, and the share price seems to be indicating he is doing the right thing - even if I don't agree.
Having to sit these Cisco certifications is like saying you want to go to France and France immigration saying you have to learn to speak Njerep first - event though you don't plan to visit Nigeria or the four people known still to be able to speak it and it has nothing to do with France.
I am also well advanced on my Python script that makes an offline backup of a Cisco Meraki organisation. What it produces is another Python script that when you run it it restores the environment. This also makes it easy for less experienced people to creation deployment automation, as you can just setup a network like you want, back it up, and then copy and paste the restore code that it produces for it and run it again and again. It also allows you to do a "Search and Replace" if you want to make changes easily.
I think overall the script is only going to be about 75% effective. Some things I can't do with the API (like create group policies). I also can't quite restore some objects 100% because the API doesn't have enough in it to allow this, but it is getting pretty close.
I also feel very, how can I put it, frustrated with how Meraki Support and development work with each other - and the terrible experience that customers have to endure. No one I have spoken to on my side of the world has enough impact or presence to be able to get this fixed. Actually, I feel the Cisco Meraki team in Asia Pacific are pretty much ignored with regards to things like this.
I am going to be making a bigger push this year to get nominated for Cisco Masters. I need to get myself to Meraki HQ so I can get to speak to the right people to try and get this fixed. If I still can't get the situation fixed after this then I feel I have probably done everything to try and effect this change for the better that I can.
Perhaps the only other thing I could attempt is to get onto some kind of Cisco Meraki advisory panel, but I have never heard of external non-staff making it onto these panels.
So yeah, that is how my 17 days of the New Year have gone so far.
I will make a test tonight i have a Bluetooth device from ANKR www.ankr.com I will give a try how fast it will send out the mail.
Keep you informed.
Just get the Meraki WLAN and BL Tracking on a Worldmap running with Code-red. I did some cool Live Labs at Cisco Live in Barcelona. Now i see when the BL Tracker is comming to my AccessPoint. Next Step is to get the URL to my IOT device running to open the Cat Door. I will update soon and show all the code i needet.
Just get the Meraki WLAN and BL Tracking on a Worldmap running with Code-red. . . .
I checked Code-red , and the urban dictionary came up with -
"Code Red" generally applies to any girl who in that particular situation (e.g. The Griffin Inn, Dale) looks quite attractive due to there being a lack of any actually attractive girls in the vicinity. As a result this girl will suddenly find herself idolised and surrounded by up to twenty suitors (posing as a film crew for example) very quickly.
So exactly what did you get up to at Cisco Live?
A'hem, I use Node Red to autonomously control the height at which a hydrofoiling vessel flies above the surface of the water. It is a great product.
Sorry Typo 🙂 it is called Node red https://flows.nodered.org
Thats what my I-phone Swiss german autocorrection did 🙂
You guys have too much fun ;-)
It done 🙂 the Cat has his Solution.
I started with the Information delivered from the Website "Internet of Lego" http://www.internetoflego.com/meraki-location-updated-node-red-cmxscanning-node/
So I started by installing Node-Red on my Macbook. and i used the ngrok https://ngrok.com it makes it possible to have a connection from the Meraki cloud to my Macbook even being behind a firewall.
after Installing the node-red you start the Service "on OSX by typing ./node-red in a Terminal window. Now open Safari and you can access node-red by going to http://"your IP Adress":1880
Now open a second Terminal window and start ngrok by typing ./ngrok http 1880 this will open a public Webaddress to your Lab
This is a example how it will looks like. now go to your Meraki Dashboard and Login.
Click on your Name in the top right corner.
After this go to my Profile. Scroll down and generate a API Key. Attention you need to write it down!
Save your Change. Now go to the Menu Network-Wide --> general.
Scroll down to the API Key settings. and enable Analytics and Scanning API.this will show you a Validator number. Note it down you will need it later. Klick on add a Post URL enter the http link you got from the ngrok terminal window. something like http://465435040345.ngrok.io also enter a secret message like "password2me" click on save. you can't valide the yet, this will come later.
after this you go back to your node-red website. now you need the special Meraki node-red addon. a good example how it works can be found https://flows.nodered.org/node/node-red-contrib-meraki-cmx
you can install it the following way
cd ~ cd .node-red npm install node-red-contrib-meraki-cmx
after this restart your node-red.
now do the following node-red script.
in the Meraki click on the Meraki Logo and configure it the following:
in the Secret and Validator field enter the infos from the Meraki Dashboard.
next use the function and click on it and enter the following:
now do the katze "Cat" switch 🙂 the mac address you enter must be the MAC from the device you want to track. I am using a
Track i got from Cisco Live 🙂
if you don't know the MAC address go to the Meraki Dashboard and select the Wireless Menu and select Bluetooth clients.
after this go to the Katze function and configure the message witch will be show if the Bluetooth device is seen.
at the end you add the debug function to get the Text in the debug window.
Now click on deploy and go to the Meraki Dashboard select Network --> general and go back where you entered the ngrok URL. Now click on the validate and you will see that the Meraki Dashboard is validating agains your script.
The Last step for the Cat door was to get a IOT Device capable of powering a door opener. I select a Barionet 100 from the company Barix. https://www.barix.com/control-products/barionet-family/barix/Product/show/barionet-100/
It has a lot of different IO Port's and 2 Relais witch can switch 220Volt. to control it i just added a HTTP request to my script like this:
the URL is the IP Adress of my Barix and the /rc.cgi? the o=1 is for the output 1 and the 10 means that this output is powered during 10 seconds. After putting all in a Box it looks like this:
I hope i could show you how I realised the Meraki Cat Door. have fun and if you have questions let me know.
regards Michel Rueger
Great to see you doing this.
It is amazing what can be done with very little, and demonstrates why so many people are doing IoT projects.
Generally speaking, if something is going to be used permanently I tend to use components with a CE marking.
For anything that might end up being part of a "real" product, this is essential, especially if transportation is involved.
I was greatly encouraged to discover that there is so much interest in Node Red within the Meraki developers community. Every time I face the prospect of doing something with Python, my heart sinks.
AliBaba is a good source of small NFC tags (cheap enough that one can afford a few duds)
I've got as far as deploying a single MS120-8 although my role is more than just networking, it covers servers and all of the management stuff that comes with being a manager. I am in the middle of deploying a bunch of new client desktops, iPads and some server replacements at the moment.