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MG 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 Cisco Meraki MG Cellular Gateway 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 MG 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 provide more granular control than the API options available for templates.

Planning a Template Deployment for MG

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

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

  • Are there going to be multiple MGs in a network?

  • 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.

Configuration

The following sections walk through configurations and the use of MG 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. Click 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 an existing network.

  4. Click Add:

New templates_1.png

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

 bind-to-template.png

  1. Click Save changes, and your template will be ready.

MG template networks must be combined networks. Standalone MG templates are not supported.

Template Settings Configuration
  1. In the dashboard, navigate to your template network in the Network dropdown menu on the left under the Templates section.

  2. After switching to your template, navigate to Cellular Gateway > Configure > Settings to access the MG settings for the template.

 

Template_settings.png

 

For more information about template MG settings, reference our article on MG Wireless WAN Dashboard settings.

Network Setting Overrides Disabled

Once an MG Cellular Gateway network has been bound to a template, settings for all bound MG networks will be in the template. This means that there are no local configuration changes available directly on the MG network in the dashboard. No overrides are supported in the template configuration at this time. It is recommended to leverage APIs instead of templates if the preference is to have MG networks with unique settings.

 

Local status page overrides are not affected since they exist on the local status page as opposed to the dashboard.

Performing MG 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 MG has the correct local time zone configuration under Cellular gateway > Monitor > Appliance Status.

MG_timezone.png

 

Appending MG Cellular Gateway Networks to Existing Templates

Existing templates do not have the MG as a configurable option. Please be aware that newly created templates will have the Cellular Gateway as a configuration option. We recommend creating new templates when adding new product lines to networks.

Old_Template.png New_Template.png
This "Old Combined Template" lacks Cellular Gateway options. Newly created templates have Cellular Gateway settings available.

If your existing templates do not have the Cellular Gateway product available, this walkthrough will guide you on adding the Cellular Gateway to an existing template in your organization. The appending process of existing templates is recommended to be done during a maintenance window as it could affect configurations of your existing networks bound to the template. 

 

This process involves splitting a newly created template and taking the MG Cellular gateway portion and combining it back into your existing template. Your existing template will not be split. The end result is an existing template will have Cellular Gateway settings. 

 

  1. On the Organization > Monitor > Configuration Templates, view the list of existing templates in your Organization.

  2. Create a new template that will be used to split the MG portion and save your changes.

Split_this.png

 

  1. Select the new template, and click on Split, and OK to confirm. This will create templates of specific network types.

Split_this_select.png

  1. Select the cellular gateway template that was split from the previous step, and select your existing template you wish to combine it to.

    • In this example, “Split this new Template - cellular gateway” and “Old Combined Tempate” are selected to be combined.

Post_split.png

  1. Select Combine and fill in the new Network name of the template, and a new Network Enrollment string.

    • In this example, the Template Network name was kept the same, and remains “Old Combined Template”.

Combine_input.png

  1. Once the template networks are combined, the Cellular Gateway configuration should be available in the Old Combined Template. Your existing settings from the old template should remain.

Post_combine.png

  1. (Optional) Clean up the empty template networks that were split.

    1. Under Organization > Monitor > Configuration Templates select the templates that you wish to delete.

    2. Click on Delete at the top, and confirm on the following section.

Cleanup_split.png

 

Adding an MG Cellular Gateway Device into a Bound Network

One of the limitations of bound networks and templates is the inability to add new devices similar to MR and MS for bound networks. MG devices have the same limitation. This process will disrupt the network configurations and is recommended to be done during a maintenance window.

  1. In order to add a device into an existing bound network, the network must first be unbound. 

  2. Modified by adding in the new device.

  3. Then bound again to the existing template. 

For more information, please refer to Managing Multiple Networks with Configuration Templates.

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