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MR Wireless Regulatory Domains

Cisco traditionally sells a unique product SKU device per country/territory.  These devices have features enabled or disabled as necessary. To deliver on Meraki’s philosophy of simplicity, we created a software implementation where we will automatically set the right features based on the regulatory domain for the AP. This simplified software implementation allows Cisco Meraki to ship a single SKU worldwide and is applicable to MR access points (APs) and MX security appliances with Wi-Fi (MX-W) capabilities.

 

Note: The regulatory behavior defined in this document does not apply for LTE and users may need to buy region specific products for LTE support with MX devices.

Regulatory Domain Setting for a Device

When a device is sold, we note the ship-to location. When the device is plugged in, we note its public IP address and use an IP geolocation database to look up its current location. A comparison between the ship-to address and the Geo-IP is then performed. If the Geo-IP is within the ship-to country, the device will operate within that country’s regulatory domain. If the Geo-IP and ship-to country do not match, an error will be shown in dashboard and users can manually change the regulatory domain by accepting a form.

 

Note: If new APs are added in a network and cause a mismatch, the new APs will be placed in World Wide Safe Mode (WWSM).

 

Devices within a network can be part of only one regulatory domain. If devices need to be assigned to different regulatory domains, users have to create separate networks per regulatory domain and assign devices to those networks accordingly.

Regulatory Domain Setting for a Network

When a new network is created, users can define the regulatory domain manually or wait for the regulatory domain to be automatically determined as the devices within a network are deployed. To define the regulatory manually users can go to Network-wide > General and select the appropriate country.

 

If users choose to automatically set the regulatory domain for a network, then they can add APs to the network and the regulatory domain of the network will automatically be set based on the regulatory domain of the first AP added to the network.

World Wide Safe Mode (WWSM)

When devices boot up initially and do not have an assigned regulatory domain they will boot up in WWSM. Starting MR26.x firmware, WWSM has been changed to include only channels 1 to 11 in 2.4 GHz. 5 GHz channels will not be available.

Regulatory Domain Mismatches

Regulatory domain mismatches typically occur when Meraki devices are deployed in multiple countries, but managed within the same Dashboard network. Because the regulatory domain is defined on a per-network basis, it is strongly recommended that devices are grouped into networks based on country/site. This eliminates the possibility that two devices within the same network are deployed in different regulatory domains.

 

Given below is a list of cases when dashboard might give regulatory domain mismatch errors or devices might not be allowed to be added to a network. The cases are divided based on an AP basis and on a network basis.

 

Ship to Country

IP Geolocation

AP location setting

Dashboard Error

Country A

Country A

Country A

No

Country A

Country B

WWSM

Yes

Table1: Regulatory domain mismatches based on AP


 

Network Location

AP Regulatory Domain

Action

Result

Country A

Country A

Add AP

Allowed

Country A

Country B

Add AP

Allowed with notification

Table2: Actions allowed for networks for the regulatory domain

Resolving a Regulatory Domain Mismatch

If any one of the cases mentioned above is hit, Dashboard will report that "device is configured for the <network's domain> regulatory domain, but is detected to possibly be in <devices reported location>," followed by additional details about the mismatch.

There are two ways to resolve a regulatory domain mismatch:

  • Correct the network's regulatory domain (Recommended if all devices in the network are affected).

  • Move the affected APs to a different network (Recommended if some devices in the network are affected).

Update the Network's Regulatory Domain

If Dashboard detects that some devices have been deployed in a new country, an error will appear on the device details page indicating that the device's country code has been changed.

Note: For an AP a message saying “This AP may be operating in a reduced state.” will be displayed.

 

If Dashboard detects that all of the devices are deployed in a regulatory domain different from the network's regulatory domain, the option will be given to correct the network's regulatory domain.

In the example below, the network's regulatory domain country is the United States, but all APs in the network are deployed in Canada. This results in the following error under Network-Wide > General:

 

reg domain  user view.png

 

If all access points in the network are to be deployed in a different regulatory domain than the one shown on this page, click the Change button and read the form that pops up:


unnamed.png

 

Note: APs must be online and communicating with Dashboard for the Change option to be available.

 

If the listed country change is correct and intended, input the necessary information and click Accept to fix the network's regulatory domain. In the example above, the country is changed from US to Japan, so all future access points added to this network should be deployed in the US as well.

Move the Affected APs to a Different Network

If some APs are deployed in a different regulatory domain than the rest of the network, it is recommended that these APs be moved to another Dashboard network to receive their own regulatory domain. Please refer to the following articles for detailed instructions:

  1. Creating a Dashboard Network

  2. Moving Devices Between Networks

If the new network also reports a regulatory domain mismatch, refer to the instructions above to fix the new network's regulatory domain.

Note: When an AP is removed from a network the APs regulatory domain is set to the last known regulatory domain until it is claimed into a new network.

Error while Claiming New APs 

If you receive a regulatory domain mismatch while trying to add new access points to an existing network, these APs will need to be added to a new Dashboard network. After they are added to the network, the regulatory domain can be changed by following the instructions above to update the network's regulatory domain. Please refer to the following article for detailed instructions:

  1. Creating a Dashboard Network

Unclaiming Devices from an Organization

When devices are unclaimed form an organization their regulatory domain is set to the regulatory domain based on the ship-to address.

Automatically Updating Regulatory Domain Based on GeoIP

Networks can be made to function in a mode where the regulatory domain of devices and the network is automatically updated based on the GeoIP of all devices within the network. In order to utilize this feature please contact Meraki Support. To enable the feature, Cisco Meraki needs a letter signed with the SN of each of the devices that need their regulatory domain enforced using only GeoIP. This feature is implemented on a network level and hence users need to ensure that all the devices are in a single network.

 

If devices are across multiple networks, users will need to include the network names in the letter mentioned above as well.

Note: Once this mode in enabled. It is the responsibility of the user to ensure that the regulatory domain is correctly reflected in dashboard. Users can check the Neustar database to confirm that the IP being provided by the ISP is for the country that the APs will be operating in.

Edge Cases

Moving 1st AP to a new network from an existing network

  • Set the regulatory domain based on the regulatory domain of the AP unless manually defined on the network as described above.

 

Adding new APs with no regulatory domain information to a new network

  • The regulatory domain of the network will be set based on the ship-to and GeoIP information as described above. If regulatory domain has been set manually on the network it will be honored and any conflicts will result in mismatch.

 

Adding APs in the different regulatory domain to an existing network

  • AP is set to the regulatory domain of the network but will display an error on the AP page showing regulatory domain mismatch. The error will be displayed until users acknowledge the mismatch.

 

Adding APs with different country codes to network with different regulatory domain

  • The devices will be put in WWSM and an error will be displayed in dashboard  until user chooses one of the options described above in “Resolving a Regulatory Domain Mismatch”

 

Moving APs between networks in different regulatory domains

  • The devices will be put in WWSM and an error will be displayed in dashboard  until user chooses one of the options described above in “Resolving a Regulatory Domain Mismatch”

 

GeoIP of the network fluctuates between countries of the same regulatory domain

  • Errors will be shown in dashboard to whenever there is a mismatch as described above. Checks will be run every 10 minutes and any mismatches encountered will be tracked.

 

GeoIP of the network fluctuates between countries of a different regulatory domain

  • Errors will be shown in dashboard to whenever there is a mismatch as described above. Checks will be run every 10 minutes and any mismatches encountered will be tracked. If using GeoIP enforcement only, the reg domain will only change when the periodic check is done for regulatory domain every 10 minutes. If any mismatches are detected, an error will be displayed in dashboard.

FAQ

How often does Meraki check for regulatory domain information?

At time of AP addition to a network checks are done in Dashboard and additional checks run every 10 minutes to ensure the proper lock-down in case the IP address of the AP changes or anytime changes are made to radio settings. (e.g. via a VPN tunnel or the AP is shipped to a different country later down the line).

 

What are some corner cases I should be aware of?

Some rare instances of erroneous regulatory domain violations could include an office with a full VPN tunnel or MPLS to a primary location that is outside of ship to country, or an international corporation internally ships gear to an office in a country other than the one the equipment was shipped to.

 

Are there any recommended best practices?

Best ways to avoid issues would be to have the proper ship-to address during purchase and to segment the networks in Dashboard by country (for multinational deployments). A network of devices can be part of one regulatory domain.

 

What should I do if the geolocate results in the wrong location? 

We use the Neustar Geolocation lookup tool to verify the location of an IP address. If this tool clearly resolves to the wrong location, email support-ipintel@neustar.biz from within the case

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