We have a public wifi project. Currently 800+ APs, hundreds of locations. We have two scenarios:
1) One organization with multiple "regional" networks that contain multiple locations/APs.
2) One organization that has only 1 network with all the APs
Which one do you recommend or do you recommend creating separate networks for each location. Would love to read everyone's input!
Personly I would break it down even further to individual physical locations per network. If there needs to be a change to a location that is specific for that location it gives you the ability to do so... Also having the networks broken down to physical locations will also help with reporting and troubleshooting... You can bind several networks together with a template or use cloning to make changes....
Thanks everyone for your input. What would be the pros/cons of having one network per location vs regional/national network?
From what I've experienced, one network for all APs allows me to see all clients and traffic (applications) - how could I see the total with hundreds of networks?
(I have another post regarding captive portal / Splash page / facebook login; would love your feedback there too)
The summary report page (Organization > Summary Report) allows you to look at stats for individual networks, tags, SSIDs or the entire organization.
I would say the biggest pro of having individual networks is the granularity it affords you. You can have your settings applied to individual locations instead of to everything. Maybe one site needs this SSID, but another does not. It also makes changes easier. For instance, if a location with 20 APs needs to have its speeds controlled, say 5M per user, you can do that easily without having to make the change on 20 APs. There are not really any cons to doing it this way other than the extra setup work to create the networks. That said, you can do a bulk network creation to make that relatively simple as well. As for putting them all in one network, its pretty much the opposite, you lose some of that granularity. It pulls all the clients and APs into a single pane however, so if that granularity is not necessary you may want to do a single network. Even still, the only time I would use a single network is if there is a guarantee that every location is going to stay vanilla forever which is a hard guarantee to meet in my personal experience.
When moving APs to a new network, does it delete all the data/stats? I tried it this morning and couldnt find any stats from yesterday.
You should be able to see it all under Organization/Summary Report... There you can see stats and information across all your networks...Here is more info https://documentation.meraki.com/zGeneral_Administration/Cross-Platform_Content/Summary_Report_Overv...
let me know if this is what you're looking for.
>What would be the pros/cons of having one network per location vs regional/national network?
The downside of having a single national network is the AutoRF calculation considers all of the APs and their monitoring data in a network when choosing channels and power levels. What could easily happen is you get AutoRF forcing an AP onto a non-optimal channel based on what it has assigned to other APs in the same network - when that constraint does not actually exist. Or potentially AutoRF is unable to avoid a problem it could otherwise have done.
Check out this post by @Sunmeel about the subject.
Be careful you don't have the same issue as I do with clients I want to be in a specific group policy, but that group policy to span multiple networks - you'll end up having to add each client to each network indvidually, or deploy API scripts, as you cannot sync members of a group policy (but you can sync 'whitelisted' clients) in configuration sync)
Yes, that's what I've been using - however, sometimes its easier to go to the live view and be able to filter/sort APs or Clients. By having multiple networks, I have to go one-by-one.
Some ideas come to mind:
- Overall network health
- View overall traffic distribution (facebook, instagram, etc), in a pie-chart and also day-to-day.
- Quickly identify if there's a device connected through a wire
- Quickly identify if there's a device with a very high usage
- View all my AP's individual usage, connected clients (a live view, instead of a report)
Considering you have hundreds of locations, breaking them up into physical locations may be a bit of a hassle, but this is probably the best option.
Of your initial two options, I would recommend the first option, especially due to some regulatory issues with AP's being from differing regions but placed into the same network.
I agree with the others, one network per physical location is best. That said, if you know 100% that you never have to make location or region specific changes, then going with an all in one network should suffice.