Friday, May 9, 2014

Meru Releases System Director v6.1-1

This week Meru Networks announced the release of System Director v6.1-1.  No big surprises here, just general feature enhancements.  Although there is one thing that caught my attention.  More about that later.

Feature Enhancements

  • TxBF Support for AP832/AP822 - Transmit Beamforming is now supported on the AP832 and AP833, Meru’s two higher end 802.11ac access points.  TxBF improves performance for medium range clients
  • AP822 Support
  • Mesh Support for AP433
  • Dynamic VLAN Support for AP433 & AP1020 in Bridge Mode - Allows VLAN tag assignments done dynamically through RADIUS server messages when the AP is in bridge mode.
  • DFS on AP433 - Dynamic Frequency Selection is now supported.  The 433 series of APs is now able to switch it’s radio to another channel when needed.
  • HeartBleed Vulnerability - Includes a fix to resolve the vulnerability issue resulting from the Heartbleed Bug.  

In my opinion, I’m a little surprised that Meru would release a security patch in this way.  I don’t have any insider knowledge of the process, but it seems to me that they waited for a scheduled update to release their HeartBleed fix.  I know HeartBleed turned out to be a smaller problem than the media initially made it out to be but I feel like this could have happened a little sooner.

At any rate, the affected Meru System Director versions are 6.0-x and 6.1-0-3.  Earlier versions are not vulnerable.  If you are running an affected version, you should upgrade to v6.1-1 as soon as possible.

You can find update software at Meru's support site.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ubiquiti: Simple, Fast, Enterprise Wireless

In searching for an Enterprise wireless solution there are a number of factors to consider.  Some may be looking for security features, others best coverage for high-density clients and everyone wants to know how to handle people that bring their own devices (BYOD).  Each manufacturer brings a lot of features, software and custom reporting to the table.

Say you just need a couple APs (or many more) to create a single wireless network and don't really care about advanced features, support or even next day replacement in case of a failure?  If this sounds like you, I'd suggest taking a hard look at Ubiquiti Unifi.  Being a solution provider as well as a reseller, our company can tell when a customer is just looking for basic features and will probably never log into the controller to see whats going on.  In these cases we almost always look at Unifi.

So what are you getting with a Unifi system?
- Low cost wireless APs
- A line up of products to meet client density and placement demands (Indoor/Outdoor)
- A company that keeps up with the latest developments.  802.11ac
- Support is based on a community of users.
- No recurring licensing costs
- Basic features that will get you by.

What are you not getting?
- Support.  If you are going to need help configuring your system and possibly integrating it into other systems on site you may want to look at another manufacturer.
- Replacement.  Say an AP stops working.  Either have one on hand (probably a good idea) or just buy another one and wait for it to get in.
- Native integration for other systems.

One thing to consider is treating your wireless as an extension of the LAN (we hope you are already doing this).  Some customers who take this approach are finding they can purchase an enterprise router/gateway and VLAN group policies directly to a wireless SSID.  Essentially bridging all traffic and allowing the router to handle the heavy lifting for AAA services.  In the near future, I will be creating a post about mixing a Meraki MX60 and Ubiquiti Unifi 802.11ac to handle a number of policy based authentication types.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cisco Meraki Changes PoE Injectors

Have you noticed a price increase on Cisco Meraki PoE injectors?  Cisco Meraki has discontinued their 802.3af PoE injector (POE-INJ-3-US) in favor of it's new 802.3at injector.  The end-of-sale announcement states that they would continue to sell the 802.3af injector until May 31, 2014 or when stock runs out, whichever comes first.  According to a Cisco Meraki rep I spoke to, they had several large orders for the old PoE injectors just after the announcement and it was out-of-stock in mid April.

The replacement injector is the new Cisco Meraki 802.3at model (MA-INJ-4-US). The tech specs are fairly similar with the key difference that the maximum output power of the unit is 30 watts now rather than 19.6 watts.  The new device is functionally equivalent to the old.

However, probably most important to note is the price jump.  The list price of $149 is $50 more than the old injector.  Something to keep in mind if you are upgrading a large network or on a budget.