The underlying technology takes all available network and device data, groups the data logically, and applies multiple filters to create an accurate network topology diagram. The core technology behind network topology relies on Cisco Meraki switches. Cisco Meraki switches can detect data such as CDP/LLDP, network client devices, uplink state, switch port status, STP information, and much more. To make sense of this data requires intelligent algorithms that can not only parse the data in near real time but also accurately render an usable outcome. First, the algorithm loads all available data into a structured database and the data is passed through multiple logic filters to sort out useful data from superfluous information. After the initial filters are applied, the data is logically grouped and defined but is still missing important information such as how switches are uplinked to each other as well as to other devices such as our MX security appliances. Additional logic filters are then applied to further build the network topology. • Uplink detection filters are applied to build the initial network map with uplinks drawn in • Unmanaged device filters are applied to detect devices such as unmanaged switches, which may redraw the network tree • Descendant node filters are applied to determine the connections between the root of the network topology and the end devices in a topology
At this point, the network topology consists of groupings of network trees and is close to the final output but a last pass is needed to detect how these groups of trees are interconnected as well as show third party devices that are one hop away. The final result is an accurate network topology that shows how Cisco Meraki MX Security Appliances, MS Switches, MR Access Points, and third party devices that are one hop away are connected.
What would be a really slick feature would be if it had an option to also parse the ARP table and map out the switch ports of connected PCs. Some network management programs do this, and it would be another feather in the cap type feature for Meraki.
I once used a MX64 topology diagram to find the management VLAN and IP address for a old switch that I had no idea how to access. Very useful feature!
It's strange that the MX84 doesn't seem to be able to do the same thing, it's topology map doesn't show any of the Cisco SG300 small business switches we have connected to it at two sites. Unsure if it's only supported on certain models.