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Cisco Meraki Documentation

Cloud Monitoring for Catalyst Wireless Design Guide

Cloud Monitoring for Catalyst Wireless is a Meraki Dashboard Early Access Feature. Before you can add your wireless controller to dashboard you have to Opt-in to Cloud Monitoring for Catalyst Wireless. Go to Organization > Early access to enable. 

Overview

Cloud Monitoring for Catalyst Wireless brings together the exceptional performance of the Catalyst 9800 wireless controller and the user-friendly interface of the Meraki dashboard, streamlining wireless operations. This dashboard offers a unified perspective of the entire network, enabling comprehensive insights into both Meraki and Catalyst networks from a single dashboard. With this dashboard, users can conveniently monitor their entire network remotely, identifying and resolving problems effortlessly, regardless of their location, even if they are thousands of miles away.

Cloud Monitoring for Catalyst Wireless, combined with the Meraki dashboard, offers users a seamless and straightforward approach to managing their wireless LAN operations. This powerful solution provides intuitive monitoring and troubleshooting tools for wireless controllers, access points, clients, and applications. With these tools at their disposal, users can simplify their operations, ensuring optimal performance and resolving any issues that may arise with ease.

Dashboard integration with IOS XE provides a seamless onboarding experience, with real-time data, performance and health indicators for C9800 wireless controllers and their associated access points.

Benefits

The Meraki cloud platform - powered by its intuitive dashboard - gives network operators anywhere access to the network troubleshooting tools they need to help ensure the health and stability of the network. With Cloud Monitoring for Catalyst, the Meraki Cloud platform is a unified platform for both Meraki and Catalyst network operations. 

Some of the key benefits of monitoring Catalyst wireless controllers in dashboard include:

  • Event Monitoring: View and administer wireless controller and access point alerts and events and integrate into your IT work streams with webhooks and the dashboard API.

  • Problem Analysis: View wireless controller historical performance and event log data for faster root cause analysis.

  • Health and Performance Monitoring: Proactively monitor real time and historical Catalyst 9800 wireless controller performance indicators.

  • Systems Consolidation and Integration: Dashboard is a single pane of glass for both Catalyst and Meraki infrastructures and dashboard Automation can be utilized for IT and business systems integrations.

Use cases

Health and Assurance for Catalyst Wireless

The dashboard will collect wireless assurance telemetry from the wireless controller to track performance metrics such as historical CPU and memory utilization, client load, as well as port and interface status and traffic statistics.

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For wireless clients associated to your monitored Catalyst 9800 controller and access points, view the health of wireless connections across the entire network as well as view latency, packet loss and SNR performance metrics of client devices.

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Monitoring Catalyst Wireless and Switching Networks

For locations and campuses that have deployed Catalyst networks, the dashboard can now monitor Catalyst wireless and switching deployments, providing a single view for Catalyst switch health with port-level packet and error counters and Catalyst wireless assurance features along with end-to-end application visibility utilizing the AVC and netflow capabilities of IOS-XE.

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Monitoring Catalyst Wireless and Cloud Managed Switching Networks

With Cloud Monitoring for Catalyst Wireless dashboard is a single network montioring solution for networks with Cloud Manged MS or Catalyst 9300 switches and Catalyst 9800 wireless controllers.

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Monitoring Catalyst and Cloud Management Networks

With differing architectures across the Campus and Branch, dashboard is a single pane of glass for your network across all your campuses and branches.

 

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Dashboard Design for Catalyst Wireless Controllers

Organizations and Networks

Dashboard is structured into two levels: Organizations and Networks. Network devices including Catalyst 9800 wireless controllers and access points are organized into organizations and networks. Within the dashboard, organizations and networks provide a simple way to organize devices for efficient monitoring. Dashboard Organizations contain one or more networks, and networks contain devices. 

Organizations are a collection of networks that are all part of a single organizational entity, i.e. company, university campus or a school district. 

 

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Dashboard Networks are used to separate physically distinct sites within an organization. Networks contain the devices that are deployed together in a physical network topology or physical location such as campus building, branch office or school. Placing devices in the same physical network topology in the same dashboard Network simplifies monitoring and troubleshooting by organizing your network telemetry and statistical data into a single layer - isolating the data to the access points and clients at a particular location.

Network Types

Dashboard Networks traditionally have been organized into types based on the device types, such as MR access points or MS Switches, and now includes a new type for Wireless LAN Controllers. There are multiple network types available when creating a new Network in dashboard, including:

  • Switching: Can only contain Meraki MS and Catalyst series switches - either Monitored or Managed by dashboard.

  • Wireless: Can only contain wireless Access points. Dashboard managed MR or CW access points CANNOT be added to the same Network and must be claimed to separate Networks.

  • Wireless LAN Controller: Can only contain Monitored Catalyst 9800 wireless controllers.

In order to simplify monitoring, dashboard has a Combined network type that allows devices that are part of the same physical network topology to be monitored in the same Network view regardless of the types of devices that have been added. 

Combined networks:

  • Can contain any device type.

  • Same as the Wireless Network type, combined networks also can only contain wireless Access points. dashboard managed MR or CW access points CANNOT be added to the same Network and must be claimed to separate Networks.

  • Combined networks can contain Meraki MS and Catalyst series switches - either Monitored or Managed by dashboard.

  • Combined networks can contain both C9800 Controllers and Monitored Access points.

Wireless Architectures Models

All-In-One wireless controller Deployment

Also referred to as a Distributed wireless controller Deployment, with an all-in-one deployment model C9800 controllers are located throughout the campus network on a per-building basis, are located at a remote branch, retail store , hotel etc. These wireless controllers manage the access points that are physically installed in the given location. In an all-in-one deployment, the wireless controller is located in the same physical network topology as its associated Access points. 

To monitor the all-in-one deployment types in the dashboard, these wireless controllers and their associated Access points should be organized into the same dashboard Network.


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Site-Based wireless controller Deployment

Also referred to as a Centralized wireless controller Deployment, with a site-based deployment model, C9800 controllers are placed at a centralized location in a campus network or centralized in a data center for remote locations, i.e. FlexConnect deployments. In a site-based deployment, the wireless controller is located in a separate physical network topology from its associated Access points. 

To monitor the site-based deployment types in the dashboard, these wireless controllers and their associated Access points should be organized into different dashboard Networks.

 

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HA-SSO Redundancy

Redundancy for C9800 controllers is supported with High Availability SSO. When C9800s are deployed with HA-SSO, a pair of C9800 controllers appear as a single unit to the rest of the network, and access points maintain a CAPWAP tunnel only with the Active wireless controller. When a switchover occurs, joined access points do not go into CAPWAP Discovery state, and quickly failover to the new Active wireless controller, so clients do not disconnect. 

The Meraki tunnel for C9800s in HA-SSO mode operates similarly. Only the Active wireless controller maintains an active tunnel to the dashboard. When a switchover occurs, the Meraki tunnel will then be established on the newly Active wireless controller. 

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Even with the Meraki tunnel only established on the Active Wireless controller, the dashboard is still able to monitor the health of the HA SSO system, including the state of the standby unit as well as log and alert when a system switchover has occurred.

Design Guidelines and Recommendations

Currently only one wireless controller (or HA-SSO pair) can be added to a Network. Multiple wireless controllers in a Network will be supported in the future.

  • When planning your dashboard design use dashboard scale limits for planning where to add your wireless controllers and access points to dashboard Networks.
  • It is recommend when creating new dashboard Networks for wireless controllers or monitored access points to use the Combined type.

  • C9800 Controllers can be added to existing networks of any network type except Wireless type.

    •  The network will be automatically converted to a Combined type. 

  • Dashboard Networks can only contain either Meraki MR Access points OR Catalyst Monitored Access points. Catalyst monitored Access points cannot be added to Networks containing MR devices.

Network Assignment

  • C9800 Controllers in the same physical LAN topology as their associated access points should be installed in the same dashboard Network.

  • C9800 Controllers in a different physical LAN topology as their associated access points should be installed in different dashboard Networks based on the devices physical topology.

  • It is recommend to place C9800 controllers into dashboard based on their physical site/location but this is not required or enforced in dashboard and you can choose to place Controllers and access points in the same or different networks.

  • Access points are automatically assigned to dashboard Networks based on option chosen when adding the C9800 Controller to a dashboard Network.

  • Each C9800 Controller has one access point assignment policy.

  • The assignment method and any corresponding site-tag rules are unique to each wireless controller. An access point with a site tag matching another wireless controller's site-tag rule will not apply.

  • Access points can be assigned to Network with the following policies:

Option 1: Assign ALL the C9800 Controllers joined Access points to the SAME Network as the C9800 controller is assigned.

Option 2: Assign ALL the C9800 Controllers joined Access points to  a user specified Network.

Assign C9800 Controller joined Access points to multiple Networks by the Access points configured Site-Tag.

Dashboard will create a new Network for each unique site tag assigned to access points and add those access points to the corresponding Network. The access point Network name will be pre-pended with the dashboard Network name of the wireless controllers assigned Network.

When a new access point joins the wireless controller, the dashboard will try to match the site tag to an existing dashboard Network to onboard. 

When an access point joins the wireless controller and a matching site-tag rule is not found, the dashboard will create a new Network.

  • The access point dashboard Network assignment policy can be modified after C9800 controllers are added to Networks and will only apply to access points joining a C9800 Controller that have not previously been onboarded to dashboard.

  • If you need to move Access points to a new or different Network after you have added a C9800 Controller to a network, Access points can be moved to a new network with dashboard UI or API.

Wireless Controller Dashboard Scale 

Currently only one wireless controller (or HA-SSO pair) can be added to a Network. Multiple wireless controllers in a Network will be supported in the future

When C9800 wireless controllers running IOS XE 17.12.3 / 17.15.1 or later are connected to the dashboard, the monitoring feature of the dashboard supports a maximum number of concurrently connected access points and clients at the following scales:

Model

Number of access points

Number of clients

C9800-L (F or C)

250

3,000

C9800-40

1,300

10,000

C9800-80

2,000

20,000

If any wireless controller model exceeds 2,000 access points joined, dashboard will stop collecting telemetry data until the access point joined count is lowered to under 2,000. An alert will be logged for the wireless controller if dashboard is unable to continue to collect telemetry data.

Increased scale for all C9800 wireless controller appliances may be available in future IOS XE releases.

Dashboard Scale Recommendations

In order to maintain optimal performance while interacting with the Dashboard UI, the recommend total number of  devices in Networks across a single organization should stay within these limits:

 

Total Devices (Catalyst or Meraki)

Organization

20,000

Networks

800

Clients per Network

50,000

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