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“Your Wi-Fi is served, Ma’m!”


November 12, 2015


What do you do when you’re given a morning to set up the Wi-Fi, from scratch, for an event? It’s an event where several members of the Royal Family are going to be in attendance, Heston Blumenthal is popping in and 500 of their closest friends are going too? Your boss’s boss is going to be there and oh, by the way, it’s in St James’s Palace, so it’s 500 years old and hasn’t exactly been designed with sensible runs of Cat5 in mind.

Well this was the situation I found myself in last week, sat in’The Tapestry Room’, which shot straight to #1 on my list of interesting places that I’ve configured a switch.

The event was ‘Pitch @ Palace’ – arranged by the Duke of York to support promising UK-based entrepreneurs. At any normal event, the fact that we had nowhere to put any kit (they didn’t generally provision many wiring closets in the 16th century) and that our connection to the outside world didn’t go live until 2 hours before people started arriving, I would have been a bit concerned.

This time was a bit different though – we were using Cisco Meraki, so the vast majority of the work was done in ‘Dashboard’ before we got to site, before we’d even seen the Access Points. All we needed on-site were the AP’s and a PoE switch. It’s all managed from the cloud, so a quick ctrl c, ctrl v of the Sales Order number into Dashboard, et voila – all of the AP’s appear and can be configured before they’re plugged in.

As soon as our uplink went live, the AP’s connected back to the cloud, inherited their config and were fully operational within a few minutes. Even when we popped out for a quick cup of coffee we could keep tabs on how many clients were joining from the (very useful!) iPhone app.

This event really highlighted to me the elegance of the Cisco Meraki solution. When simplicity and speed of deployment is critical, it can’t be beaten.

Did I have as many ‘nerd-knobs’ as I’m used to on a Cisco Wireless LAN Controller? No.

Did I have the time to set up (and space to put) the kit I’d need for an on-premise deployment? No.

So what was the outcome? It was a resounding success! Have a read of my boss’s, boss’s blog here  – there were some fascinating statistics gathered.

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3 Comments

  1. Excellent story and experience, Brett! Thank you for sharing!
    Hope you managed to get a taste of Heston’s “artwork”!

  2. Great work! I had a very similar experience setting up the Digital Classroom of Cisco Connect 2015 in Helsinki. Ordered the equipment on Monday, had it configured by Wednesday, received the shipment on Friday. Just a final verification check and everything was up and running.

  3. Great article Brett and a perfect example of how Cisco Meraki can simplify mission critical networks!