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MX Templates Best Practices

As a network deployment grows to span multiple sites, managing individual devices can become highly cumbersome and unnecessary. To help alleviate these operating costs, the Meraki MX Security Appliance offers the use of templates to quickly roll out new site deployments and make changes in bulk.

This guide will outline how to create and use MX templates on the dashboard.

It should be noted that service providers or deployments that rely heavily on network management via API are encouraged to consider cloning networks instead of using templates, as the API options available for cloning currently provide more granular control than the API options available for templates.

Planning a Template Deployment for MX

Before rolling out a template deployment (or enabling templates on a production network), it may be helpful to plan the "units" that make up your deployments. This involves asking questions such as:

  • What are my sites? (e.g. retail location, school, branch office, etc.)

  • Are the MXs going to be in HA?

  • Do I need local overrides?

Template Networks

A "site" in network deployment terms is usually the same as a "network" in dashboard terms; each site gets its own dashboard network. As such, when planning multiple sites to be configured the same way, they will share a template network.

A template network is a network configuration that is shared by multiple sites/networks. Individual site networks can be bound to a template network, so changes to the template will trickle down to all bound sites. A new network can also be created based on a template, making it easy to spin-up new sites of the same type.

When planning a template deployment, you should have one template network for each type of site.


The following sections walk through the configuration and use of MX templates in the dashboard.

Creating a Template Network

As outlined above, a template network should be created for each type of site to be deployed.

To create a template network:

  1. In the dashboard, navigate to Organization > Monitor > Configuration templates

  2. Choose Create a new template

  3. Select a descriptive name for your template. If this is a completely new template, select Create new

    • If this template should be based on an existing network, select Copy settings from and select an existing Security appliance network from the drop-down menu.

  4. Choose Add:


MX Template.png


  1. If you would like to bind existing networks to this new template, select those networks as Target networks and choose Bind. Otherwise, choose Close.

Template VLAN Configuration
  1. In the dashboard, navigate to Security & SD-WAN > Configure > Addressing & VLANs

  2. Under Routing section, LAN setting sub-section click VLANs 

  3.  Choose Add VLAN under Subnets sub-section

  4. Select a descriptive name for your VLAN

  5. Choose whether the subnetting should be Same or Unique for every network bound to this template.

    • If Same is chosen, all the networks bound to the template will share the exact same subnet. This is not eligible for site-to-site VPNs.

    • If Unique is chosen, each network bound to the template will get a unique subnet based on the configured options. The MX does allow local VLAN overrides on templates, however, the chosen subnet needs to be from the same subnet pool assigned to the VLAN on the template and you can't override the VLAN ID. 

      • Subnets are assigned randomly to each network bound to the template.




For more information about template IP range VLAN allocation, reference our article on Managing Networks with Configuration Templates.

Template Static Routes


In template-based MX deployments, static routes can be configured on the parent template and passed to child networks like other configuration parameters.  The procedure for configuring a template-based static route is almost identical to the procedure for a regular network, with the exception of how next-hop IP addresses are defined as the next-hop value may be network specific.

  1. In the dashboard, navigate to Security & SD-WAN > Addressing & VLANs > Routing > Static Routes

  2. Choose Add Static Route

  • Name  

    • Text description for the static route(not parsed)

      • Ex: prodWirelessNet

  • Subnet 

    • Subnet reachable via static route specified in CIDR notation

      • Ex:  

  • Next Hop IP

    • Next-hop IP is the IP address of the device that connects the MX Security Appliance to this route.  There are two methods for specifying next-hop values on template-based networks. 

      • Option A: IP Assignment

        • Manually define next-hop value

        • Required Info: 

          • Next-hop IP address

      • Option B: IP offset

        • Calculate next-hop IP based on network address for specified VLAN 

          • NOTE: Next Hop IP will be calculated as Network Address + Offset and not MX IP + Offset

        • IP offset parameters: 

          • Select the desired VLAN from the dropdown

          • Offset value (a positive integer) 

        • Example:

          • VLAN configured:

          • VLAN MX IP:

          • Offset: 2 

          • Calculated route next-hop IP:

  • Active 

    • The active modifier controls conditions that must be met for the MX to deem the route usable and add the route to the local routing table. 

      • Always

        • The route will always be active in MXs' routing table 

      • While next-hop responds to ping

        • The route is available as long as the configured next hop is responding to pings

      • While host responds to ping:

        • The route is available as long as the configured host is responding to pings



Template Firewall Rules

When configuring layer 3 firewall rules, CIDR notation, as well as the VLAN name, can be used. The VLAN name is used when the entire subnet needs to be specified whereas CIDR notation is used when more flexibility is needed to specify the subnets.


  1. Go to Security & SD-WAN > Configure > Firewall > Layer 3, click Add a rule

  2. Choose the policy, specify if the rule matched should be allowed or denied

  3. Select the protocol to match in outbound traffic

  4. Specify the IP address or range using CIDR notation to match the outbound traffic. Note that also the name of the VLAN can be chosen as well

  5. Choose the Src/dst port to match in outbound traffic


Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 12.05.59 PM.png

Template SD-WAN Policies
  1. SD-WAN policies can be configured to control and modify the flows for specific VPN traffic. You can have a specific type of traffic go over one Uplink over the other. 

  2. Go to Security & SD-WAN > Configure > SD-WAN & traffic shaping > SD-WAN policies > VPN traffic, and choose Add a preference

  3. You'll be prompted with the Uplink selection policy dialog box. From this box, you can define the type of traffic that should adhere to the policy on the Traffic filters section. You can either add Custom expressions to select traffic based on Protocol/Source/Destination criteria, or you can select traffic based on pre-defined applications. 

    • To add a custom expression to select traffic. 

      • Choose Add +

      • The Custom expressions option should already be selected.

      • Choose the Protocol. You can choose either TCP, UDP, ICMP or Any

      • Choose Source to define the source address criteria. You can select one of the following: 

        • You can choose Any

        • You can type in the source in CIDR format( eg:, and then choose Add

        • You can choose a VLAN from the drop-down menu with the list of VLANs and then choose Add VLAN

        • You can choose a VLAN from the drop-down menu with the list of VLANs and then click Host, type in the last octet of the host address, then choose on Add host

      • Choose the Src port. The Source port could be 'Any', a port number (eg: 2000), or a port range (eg: 2000-3000) within 1-65535.

      • Click Destination to define the source address criteria. You can select one of the following: 

        • You can choose Any

        • You can type in the source in CIDR format( eg:, and then choose Add

        • You can choose a VLAN from the drop-down menu with the list of VLANs and then choose Add VLAN

        • You can choose a VLAN from the drop-down menu with the list of VLANs and then choose Host, type in the last octet of the host address, then choose Add host

      • Choose the Dst port. The Destination port could be 'Any', a port number (eg: 2000), or a port range (eg: 2000-3000) within 1-65535.

    •  To add a pre-defined application to select traffic.

      • Select the application type from the menu and then the interesting application in question from the sub-menu (e.g., VoIP & video conferencing > Webex)

      • Add all the applications which you want them to adhere to the policy and then choose Add+ to exit the applications menu

  4. Under the Policy section, you can select one of the following as the Preferred uplink

    • WAN1 or WAN2. If you choose WAN1 or WAN2, you'll have the opportunity to configure failover criteria under Fail over if drop-down menu. You can select either Poor performance and then choose one of the performance classes from the Performance class drop-down menu or you can choose Uplink down.  By default, VoIP is the only pre-defined performance class. Any additional performance classes have to be defined under Security & SD-WAN > Configure > SD-WAN & traffic shaping > SD-WAN policies > Custom performance classes.

    • Best for VoIP. The uplink that is best for VoIP traffic will be chosen.

    • Load balance. The MX will balance traffic across the uplinks that meet the performance class selected from On uplinks that meet performance class drop-down menu.

    • Global preference. The uplink will be chosen based on the configuration under Security & SD-WAN > Configure > SD-WAN & traffic shaping > Uplink selection > Global preferences. 

  5. Once you are done with configuring the criteria to apply the policy and the policy, choose Save


Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 12.18.46 PM.png


Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 12.24.48 PM.png

Local Overrides

Once an MX Security Appliance network has been bound to a template, some options can still be configured normally through the dashboard. Any local configuration changes made directly on the MX network will override the template configuration.

In the example below, the bound MX was directly configured to have a custom Default VLAN. This change can be made in the template network, under Security & SD-WAN > Configure > Addressing & VLANs:


Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 12.57.08 PM.png


If a network is removed from a template, local overrides will automatically be lost as well as any template related configuration. The MX will automatically get the configuration from the network it is on.


Note: Auto VPN hubs should not be added to templates at all. It is not possible to configure an MX as a spoke with an exit hub that is part of a template.

Note: Static Route local overrides are not supported at this moment for MX networks bound to templates.


DHCP Exceptions

The Meraki MX appliance provides a fully-featured DHCP service that can be enabled and configured on each VLAN individually. When bound to a template, local overrides can be made to the DHCP configurations under Security & SD-WAN > Configure > DHCP.


Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 1.28.40 PM.png


Forwarding Rules Overrides

To override forwarding rules, navigate under Security & SD-WAN > Configure > Firewall > Forwarding rules overrides.

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 2.03.39 PM.png


Active-Active AutoVPN

To override the uplink selection rules for Active-Active AutoVPN, navigate to Security & SD-WAN > Configure > SD-WAN & traffic shaping  > Active-Active AutoVPN.



Templates with MXs of Different Port Counts

Port numbering can differ between MX models, which can cause confusion when assigning a configuration to a specific port number in a template. For example, a configuration on LAN 2 in a template doesn't affect any ports on an MX65.

The table presented at Port Mapping for different MXs models outlines template port numbers and their corresponding physical port on some MX models.

You can toggle the LAN2 port between LAN and Internet, through Uplink configuration under the Local status tab on the Local Status Page.

Performing MX Templates Firmware Upgrades

Firmware upgrades scheduled on the template will automatically be applied to the child networks’ network local timezone.


As a best practice, make sure that each MX has the correct local time zone configuration under Security & SD-WAN > Configure > General.


Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 1.10.17 PM.png


MX Replacement Walkthrough

Below are instructions for how to copy configurations from a failed MX bound to a template.

  1. On the Organization > Configure > Inventory page, claim the new MX.

  2. Navigate to the network that has the faulty MX and remove it under Security & SD-WAN > Monitor > Appliance Status > Remove appliance from network

  3. Add the replacement MX to the same network by navigating to Network-wide > Configure > Add devices

  4. Select the network and choose Add devices.


For more information on replacing an MX, refer to our MX Cold Swap article.


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