A few months ago, I was able to acquire a Meraki MR12 AP. I deployed it at a facility that wanted to use airplay between a few iphones and ipads to an apple TV. I figured this would be a great test, as most of the devices would be using bandwidth intense applications. One of the cool features that Meraki has is the ability to detect up to layer 7 applications.
This graph makes it really easy to see which applications are being used the most. Now you may ask yourself, what can I do with this information, besides create nice graphs and charts for upper management? Well, now that you know what applications are being utilized, you can now create custom policies that can deny or allow certain applications. You can even block certain hostnames or domains. You can also create and apply different bandwidth rate limits based on user or application.
Maybe Jonny is trying to stream his favorite you tube video and you have someone else on the same access point who’s trying to do a presentation via airplay. You can decide who gets the highest priority and bandwidth. I like this solution because its an all-in-one setup. You don’t need separate boxes to get the job done. You don’t need a wireless controller or a bandwidth shaper. Now I’m not saying that this is going to work for every solution. Sometimes there is a need for wireless controllers and standalone bandwidth management shapers, but for this type of deployment Meraki fits the bill.