Deploying new sites and managing network configurations can be a challenging task, especially when you’re dealing with multiple branches or locations. Cisco Meraki, a leader in cloud-managed IT solutions, provides a range of integrated tools that simplify this process, making it more efficient and less error-prone.
In this blog post, we’ll explore different methods to deploy new Meraki sites using batch deployments and configuration management tools, including the Bulk Network Creation Tool, Meraki templates, and the Meraki API.
Cisco Meraki offers an array of tools designed to streamline the process of deploying and managing networks across multiple locations. These tools are built into the Meraki Dashboard, providing a unified interface for managing all aspects of your network infrastructure. Some of the key tools include:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these tools and how they can help you deploy new Meraki sites quickly and efficiently.
The Bulk Network Creation Tool is a feature within the Meraki Dashboard that allows you to create multiple networks at once, using a CSV file to define the necessary parameters. This tool is particularly useful for organisations that need to deploy multiple sites with similar configurations, such as retail chains or branch offices.
To use the Bulk Network Creation Tool, you’ll first need to create a CSV file containing the details of the networks you want to create. This file should include the following information:
Once you have prepared the CSV file, you can upload it to the Meraki Dashboard, and the Bulk Network Creation Tool will create the networks based on the information provided. You can then configure and deploy the new networks as needed.
The Bulk Network Creation Tool is ideal for organisations that need to deploy multiple networks with similar configurations, such as:
Meraki templates are pre-configured network settings that can be applied to new networks, ensuring that all your sites share a consistent configuration. Meraki’s templates provide a powerful way to standardise your network configurations, making it easier to manage and troubleshoot your infrastructure.
To create a Meraki template, you’ll first need to configure a “master” network with the desired settings, such as SSIDs, VLANs, firewall rules, and security policies. Once you’ve configured the master network, you can create a template based on its settings, which can then be applied to new networks. Alternatively, you can also create a “blank” template.
When you apply a template to a new network, the Meraki Dashboard will automatically configure the network with the settings defined in the template. You can also make changes to the template, and these changes will be propagated to all networks associated with the template (bound networks).
Meraki templates are ideal for organisations that need to maintain consistent network configurations across multiple sites, such as:
Streamlines network configuration and management
Ensures consistent settings across all sites
Simplifies troubleshooting and support tasks
The Meraki API provides a wide range of endpoints for interacting with your network infrastructure, including:
To use the Meraki API, you’ll need to generate an API key from the Meraki Dashboard, which provides authentication and access control for your API calls. You’ll also need to familiarise yourself with the API documentation, which outlines the available endpoints, request parameters, and response formats.
To find out more information, there are plenty of resources on the Meraki website. Below are a few links to helpful guides.
Meraki Marketplace is their offering of prebuilt apps and features for over 40 different business categories. It also includes off-the-shelf solutions, such as Boundless Automation, for Meraki which can help you streamline and standardise the deployment of large network infrastructures.
Deploying new Meraki sites using batch deployments and configuration management tools can significantly streamline the process, saving time and effort while reducing the risk of errors.
The Bulk Network Creation Tool, Meraki templates, and the Meraki API each offer unique advantages and capabilities, catering to different use cases and organisational requirements. By leveraging these tools, you can create a more efficient and consistent network deployment process, ensuring that your organisation’s infrastructure remains reliable, secure, and easy to manage.
If none of these tools are suitable for your needs, you can also have a look at the Meraki marketplace, where you’ll find advanced deployment solutions for more complex deployment needs.
Whether you’re deploying networks for a retail chain, a franchise business, or a distributed enterprise, Meraki integrated tools and Ecosystem Apps provide the flexibility and automation needed to scale your IT infrastructure effectively.
Get a deep understanding of how to automate low-value and redundant network operations using the Meraki APIs.