802.1X Machine Authentication with Per Group VLANs with Meraki Wireless Access Points

The below is more of a supplement to the Meraki knowledge base articles as I thought (personally) they were lacking quite a bit with some important information – also a warning about using group policies in the Meraki dashboard.

The main articles to follow are:

Basically you have something like this:

networkpolicy-conditions networkpolicy-settings

The above attributes areĀ required if you want to send the VLAN tag in the RADIUS response. See this article for more information.

NOTE: As of this post there exists an issue (and this issue has been in existence for about 6 months now – I have been struggling to find a solution to the horror in Windows that is seeing the wireless network in ‘limited connectivity’ mode) where Pairwise Master Key caching (PMK) fails to work properly and causes the VLAN policy tag to be lost during client re-association.

This issue only exists if you use VLAN assignment in the group policy section in the Meraki dashboard. If you use the above steps to send the VLAN tag as part of the RADIUS response then you will be fine.


VLAN Tagging Per Active Directory Group With Meraki Access Point

This will be a quick guide on configuring your Meraki Wireless Access Point to tag users in specific VLANs according to what AD group they are in.

In this example I will assume the following:

  1. You have a department called Sales (VLAN 10)
  2. You have a department called Technical (VLAN 20)
  3. These VLANs are already set-up
  4. You are using Windows Server RADIUS/NPS (Network Policy and Access Services) – if you have not configured a RADIUS server for the Meraki AP, watch this blog for an update in the near future as I will post a how-to for this)

A Quick Introduction to the Cisco Meraki World

The Cisco Meraki range of products are really quite cool and changes the way you, as a sysadmin, think about network connectivity, management, troubleshooting and configuration in your organisation.

Meraki products are managed (almost) completely via Meraki’s Cloud Controller platform via the web. What this means is that 99% of the management can be done where-ever you have access to the internet; including the mobile app which in its current state, allows you to perform basic troubleshooting steps and analytics of the network.

That means you can be sitting at home whilst configuring your office network’s closet switches.

Any configuration changes made in the Meraki Cloud Controller (MCC) are immediately pushed down to the device via SSL as soon as the device has network connectivity. This means that you could even start configuring the devices as soon as you have ordered them, plug them in when they arrive and they will immediately fetch the config – in fact this is how I configured the access points I deployed at my organisation.

Also, an important note to make here – the Meraki range of products will continue to run on it’s existing config even if the product loses internet connectivity or is otherwise unable to contact the MCC.

The MCC interface is the heart of all config management, troubleshooting and network analytics. You can do a lot from this interface – from looking at Layer 7 application analytics per user to packet capture exports to scheduling over the air firmware updates. I definitely recommend looking at the training material as a lot of what I have said above is demonstrated graphically via webinars at the following URL:
In summary, I believe sysadmins need to watch this area for rapid development as I believe this type of management and deployment of network connectivity is only just the beginning of something very interesting.


Get a Free Cisco Meraki 802.1n Wireless Access Point

Cisco Meraki is a whole new game changer for sys admins – it adds a completely different perspective to ‘Cloud’ managed devices. I will be trialling out the Meraki suite of devices & services for my organisation and hopefully blog about it in the near future!

In the mean time, if you want to try out a Meraki WAP, see below!

IT professionals can receive a FREE Cisco Meraki access point (AP) with a 3-year cloud management license.

While Cisco Meraki webinars are open to all audiences and while APs may be offered at live events, to be eligible for a free AP, participants must:

Attend the live event or the live webinar in its entirety
Enter a valid company name
Be an IT professional
Register with a shipping address in the US, CA, UK or the rest of the EEA, Croatia, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, or Puerto Rico. We cannot ship free APs outside of these regions, and cannot ship to post office boxes.
European countries require a valid VAT ID for shipment
Register with their organization’s email address
Confirm eligibility and shipping address with a Cisco Meraki representative by phone
If you are unable to accept your AP due to restrictions, (e.g., Erate), we will be happy to provide you with a trial AP, which can be returned following your evaluation of our solution

As APs are provided as an educational tool to those new to the Cisco Meraki platform, individuals and organizations who have received a free access point through other promotions are not eligible. Limit one free AP per organization and per individual. Due to abuse, we cannot provide free access points to individuals who register with yahoo, gmail, hotmail, and other similar email addresses.