Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

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johnshaw
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Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby johnshaw » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:20 am

So We received an upgrade to the Meraki Router + Access Point replacing our Cisco 881W. I have a question about seamless transition/roaming between the Cisco and Meraki AP's .

After sitting in Sacrament meeting I headed to the RS room for Sunday School - My tablet and phone (my wife's phone as well) Nexus 2nd Gen, Galaxy S8 + LG G4 all kept their connection with the Cisco AP they connected to during Sacrament meeting even though it showed 'no bars' for the signal and the Meraki AP was sitting at 5 bars based on my wifi app. I had to cycle the Wireless on my device for it to associate with the closer and stronger signaled Meraki.

Are we sure these are configured correctly to transition seamlessly like clients should between AP's - is this just a scenario I need to help my SS Teachers understand as they transition to classes on the 'Meraki' side of the Building following Sacrament Meeting?

-John
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russellhltn
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:04 am

There's been complaints about that before. I've seen similar on my phones with a all Cisco AP system. I'm not sure what settings on the network side would affect this and how much is the client responsibility.
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby lajackson » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:26 am

In one of our buildings, we have four hallways forming a square. There is a Cisco WAP at each corner. It is rare that a device switches from one WAP to another, except when you make a kitty-corner move. Even then, devices struggle to hang on as long as possible.

I wonder if it is a device thing and not the network firewall. My laptop, for example, is fairly quick to switch. But my phone lingers longer.

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johnshaw
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby johnshaw » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:20 am

lajackson wrote:In one of our buildings, we have four hallways forming a square. There is a Cisco WAP at each corner. It is rare that a device switches from one WAP to another, except when you make a kitty-corner move. Even then, devices struggle to hang on as long as possible.

I wonder if it is a device thing and not the network firewall. My laptop, for example, is fairly quick to switch. But my phone lingers longer.


Pretty sure our buildings (at least when I was in that style, I've moved since so I'm in a U style now) were the same, my phone / tablets would routinely transition as I walked around the Building. I know of certaintity that iPhone products which are designed to be consumer friendly and not enterprise friendly had issues like the above. I would test by walking around when people weren't in the building and watching the green/blue light on the AP.

I routinely transition in other buildings where Cisco is implemented all around. I explained in the OP that I've seen this on at least 3 different clients - and if it was just the same thing as I always experiences I wouldn't have posted.

As this is a new church implementation it's likely that there is a config that needs to be addressed rather than each member being told that their client is the problem - If they were Apple products I could go along with it, but since I'm confident about the client devices I use and what they typically do in those environments, the change that was introduced is the more likely target of scrutiny. That just my thinking.
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russellhltn
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:02 pm

Question: I'd suspect the new Meraki AP's would be dual-band. Could that be an issue? (Client staying locked on 5GHz and not switching to a stronger 2.4GHz signal.)

This is probably more up your alley than mine, but what kind of setting might a network have that prevents a client from jumping from one AP to another?
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blanerjensen
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby blanerjensen » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:34 pm

In our Stake we have buildings comprised of all Cisco APs, all Meraki APs and one with a mix of both. We are still in the trouble shooting phase but handoff from the Cisco to Meraki / Meraki to Cisco does not appear to happen. Members can disconnect / reconnect and it will grab which ever has the stronger signal but roaming between the systems is non exsistent. I use the Meraki systems at work and have experienced the same issue. No amount of configuring on the back end seems to resolve this issue (we have had to make sure the SSD on the none meraki systems is different then the clients will release the Meraki and connect to the new SSD when the signal change is appropriate). We are in the process of trying to re allocate what we have to avoid any mixed brand AP systems. Will post results if we learn anything new.

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johnshaw
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby johnshaw » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:22 pm

blanerjensen,

Thanks for lending some actual experience to the forum question. Let's hope the Church teams have some kind of idea on what's going on. This is going to get really annoying very quickly.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

jamiep39
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby jamiep39 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:08 pm

This is somewhat of an educated guess and could be totally off, but it is my understanding that the Meraki devices are cloud managed while the regular Cisco devices talk to the Church's on-premise (in a datacenter somewhere probably) controllers.

Because these are two different systems, it is possible that the Meraki and Cisco APs don't even know about each other to even attempt handoff. If it's the same system (eg. all Meraki or all Cisco) the handoff is a lot more seamless because the devices coordinate client load.

In mixed systems, roaming is a lot more painful because it's completely up to the client device to decide, rather than the APs "nudging" the devices around to different APs with stronger signal. In the end it's still up to the device to actually roam.

Anyway, I could be totally wrong about the different controller setups but that's my best guess.

CleggGP
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby CleggGP » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:11 pm

jamiep39 wrote:This is somewhat of an educated guess ... it is my understanding that the Meraki devices are cloud managed while the regular Cisco devices talk to the Church's on-premise (in a datacenter somewhere probably) controllers.

Because these are two different systems, it is possible that the Meraki and Cisco APs don't even know about each other to even attempt handoff. If it's the same system (eg. all Meraki or all Cisco) the handoff is a lot more seamless because the devices coordinate client load.

In mixed systems, roaming is a lot more painful because it's completely up to the client device to decide, rather than the APs "nudging" the devices around to different APs with stronger signal. In the end it's still up to the device to actually roam.

Jamiep39 is correct. Cisco APs connect to CHQ wireless controllers and Meraki APs are cloud managed. Since the control systems are separate, the Cisco and Meraki APs operate separately. Client devices are responsible for selecting and connecting to AP beacons, but some devices better switch between APs than others. APs connected to the same controller (either device or cloud system) better manage AP settings like channel and power level.

While the Cisco 1041N APs broadcast on 2.4 GHz, the Cisco 702i and Meraki MR33 APs broadcast on both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequencies. The 2.4 GHz frequency has less channels (and generally gets clogged faster) than 5.0 GHz, so having APs broadcasting on 2.4 and 5.0 GHz is generally better.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Meraki APs are activated against specific meetinghouse networks. This means if a Meraki AP is moved (and connected to) a different meetinghouse network, then the AP must be "Removed" from the previous MH network and then "Added" to the new MH network through Technology Manager (TM > find network > Devices > Access Points). A Meraki AP should never be moved between networks without "Removing" and "Adding" the AP as described. A moved AP will not be manageable in TM in the new network until it is activated against the new network.

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johnshaw
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Re: Maraki and Cisco AP integration issues.

Postby johnshaw » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:53 pm

This is quite frustrating, really. It appears that the decision to move forward with replacing the 881w would require a Mixed AP environment that we knew ahead of time would cause roaming issues but were callous enough to say that it's really the client's attachment to the AP that is the issue -KNOWING that the Cisco hand-off worked well already.

I've done more testing since. I've used a Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 5, Nexus 7, LG G4, Windows 10 Laptop - All of them reacted exactly the same. I don't think this should just be written off 'not my problem' kinda thing . (As a note, my devices also interacted with a corporate cisco environment flawlessly and roam just fine)

Again, my point is that prior to the Meraki mixed-environment my clients roamed really well. I don't ever recall sitting in RS after having been in the chapel and looking a 1 bar, or nearly 1 bar holding on to that signal rather than switching to the one 10 feet above my head.

How is an STS supposed to help people manage their devices so they roam better in this new environment? It's a near impossible task. It's a bit embarrassing, really, to say, well, you'll just have to disable and enable wireless as you walk through the meetinghouse now.... we don't have any other options.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

― Thomas Paine, Common Sense


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