Case Study: Make-A-Wish With Meraki

Different organizations and companies have different types of missions and goals.  In this particular case study, we are going to focus on Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Make-A-Wish Foundation is a nonprofit with a powerful mission to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.  So with such a notable mission, having a stable, reliable IT network is crucial for this organization.

Jeff Pick, the Director of Technology for Make-A-Wish America, works at the National Office in Phoenix to support 62 local Make-A-Wish chapters around the country.  When he first started working at Make-A-Wish, each chapter had its own distinct networking gear, causing network management to be scattered.  In addition to this wide-spanning decentralized network, the organization was calling for an increase in cybersecurity.

Make-A-Wish Foundation chose to go with a Meraki setup at every location.  They initially did a trial and found it easy to configure.  At every Make-A-Wish Chapter, a Meraki MX Security Appliance, MS Switch and a number of MR Access Points can be found.  Each individual MX securely connects to other branch MXs in the Make-A-Wish network, and then back to a central MX400 at headquarters via Meraki Auto VPN.  Meraki’s site-to-site VPN connects chapters securely and automatically without manual configuration.  Because of this upgrade in network solutions, Make-A-Wish is able to securely share internal resources within the organization.

The Benefits Summarized

The initial issue was that each different Make-A-Wish location had its own distinct networking gear. It was difficult for the IT team of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to manage the network effectively.  After switching the entire network to Meraki, Make-A-Wish Foundation had a network topology that was centrally managed.  Jeff Pick and his IT team were able to view a detailed network map at any time.  Meraki Access Points have fixed 99% of the wireless errors they were having before.

Cisco Meraki is convenient cloud-based IT Management Solution.  In the case of businesses, it enables IT Managers to monitor their network from any location and scale their network.  Meraki is not only a networking solution, but it also comes with cybersecurity features as well.  Through Cisco Meraki, organizations like Make-A-Wish and other organizations can centralize cybersecurity, network management, while maintaining a lean IT staff.

The Benefits of Display Boards Across Sectors

A display board can add great benefit to the business/enterprise context. When meetings are held, display boards can be used to visually depict what is being discussed and consolidate different ideas/plans etc into one board. Oftentimes display boards can be used for videoconferencing meetings with large groups in a conference room. There is a general misconception that display boards are just good for presenting new material and are “glorified televisions.” Here are display boards we recommend!

Apple TV

The Apple TV can have surprising benefits to the business environment. While some non-business related benefits include streaming movies, TV shows, and Netflix content; Apple TV can also allow you to display your iPad 2,3 and iPhone 4s to the screen on HDTV or projector via Airplay Mirroring. In a conference setting, Apple Airplay enables users to connect content on these devices without requiring a connector cable. Users can easily disconnect their device and allow a colleague to use their Airplay to connect to the TV from anywhere in the room and perform their presentation.

Interactive SMART Board

The SMART Board has its own set of unique benefits. The SMART Board nowadays comes with an operating system (IQ) that makes it possible to use without a computer plugged to it. Additionally, you can connect your computer to the SMARTBoard and interact with your teammates from the SMART Board.

The SMART Board has some key functions similar to a computer. For example, you can save files and surf the internet from SMARTBoard without a computer connected to it. The SMARTBoard enables users to use the whiteboard to draw diagram and take notes from the board screen. You can save your notes on your smart board to access it anytime.

The SMART Board integrates with a whiteboard app on your mobile device. You can use this app on the mobile device to write on the white board in real time.

Click To View More Information About SMART Board

Remote Work Is The New Norm (The Facts)

Remote work is on the rise! The convenience of working from home was a foreign idea in the 20th century before digital technology was as rampant as it is today. However, as cloud technology and managed services soar, more organizations have the ability to enable their employees to work remotely.

There are statistics to demonstrate this as well. in a 2018 Jabra Knowledge worker survey, it was reported that mobile professionals spend 20% of their productive time at a desk. The Jabra C-Level study from 2018 indicated that 32% of C-Levels believe that the best way to cut office cost over the next 3-5 years is by hiring remote workers. There is a predicted 7% Growth of global smartphone value in Unified Communication from 2018 to 2022.

The rise of remote work leads to a rising necessity of cloud and appropriate technology solutions for organizations worldwide. It is highly crucial for IT professionals and C-level executives to collaborate and determine what company functions are that can be automated and made easier via technology.

Three Access Points You Should Consider

Wireless coverage of IT networks has become an essential technological facet to have. However, such coverage can come with limitations. Access points are important devices when it comes to extending wireless coverage of an existing network and for increasing the number of users that can connect to it. With solely routers, organizations have limitations on the amount of users. However, access points can enable organizations to provide hundreds of users access at the same time. Every organization can benefit from access points. These benefits include:

  • stronger ability to send and receive signals
  • hundreds of users can gain access
  • an access point can cover up to 100-300 meters and the increase of wireless access points will extend signal coverage proportionally, which enables users to roam freely in the network
  • an Access Point has a variety of modes for you to choose, which is meant to be very flexible, such as Simplex AP, Wireless Client, Wireless Badge, Multi-point Bridge, and more.

With these notable strengths of Access points, the next question arises: which Access Points products should an organization consider?

Cisco Catalyst 9100 Access Points

The Cisco Catalyst 9100 access points can handle the challenges of the next generation’s network. Going beyond the Wi-Fi standard, Catalyst 9100 access points are resilient and intelligent and provide integrated security for an organization and their IoT devices. These are the strengths of the Catalyst Series Access Points:

  • Support both orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access and Multiuser Multiple Input, Multiple Output, delivering more predictable performance for advanced applications and IoT
  • with up to 2.5 Gbps with NBASE-T and IEEE 802.3bz Ethernet compatibility, the Cisco Catalyst 9100 Series can seamlessly offload network traffic without any bottlenecks.
  • You can use your existing Category 5e or 6 cabling to achieve speeds up to 5 Gbps, allowing for higher throughputs with minimum cost.
  • Three radios: 2.4 GHz (4×4), 5 GHz (4×4), and BLE

Click here to learn more about Cisco Catalyst 9100 Series

Aruba AP-335 Wireless Access Point

Aruba 330 Series Access Points provide the fastest gigabit data speeds and superb user experience for mobile devices and applications in a digital workplace. They provide simultaneous data transmission to multiple devices, maximizing data throughput and improving network efficiency. Designed with an integrated HPE Smart Rate port to scale up to 5Gbps Ethernet, the 330 Series allows enterprises to leverage their multi-gigabit Ethernet wired network infrastructures to eliminate bottlenecks.

  • Support for new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), WPA3 and Enhanced Open – and all existing standards
  • Advanced AI-powered closed-loop wireless/RF optimization
  • Enhanced AP utilization and client roaming Automated deployment with ZTP and hierarchical configuration
  • Dynamic Segmentation enforces wired and wireless access policies to simplify and secure the network
  • Application awareness for 3,000+ applications without additional hardware
  • Live Upgrade and Seamless Failover

Click here to learn more about Aruba AP-335 Wireless Access Point

Cisco AiroNet 2702i Wireless Access Point

The Cisco Aironet 2700 Series of Wi-Fi Access points delivers industry-leading 802.11ac performance (faster Wi-Fi) at a price point ideal for plugging capacity and coverage gaps in dense indoor environments. The Aironet 2700 Series extends 802.11ac speed and features to a new generation of smartphones, tablets, and high-performance laptops now shipping with the faster, 802.11ac Wi-Fi radios.

The Aironet 2700 series supports 802.11ac “Wave 1” in its first implementation, providing a theoretical connection rate of up to 1.3 Gbps. That’s roughly triple the rates offered by today’s high-end 802.11n APs. The boost helps you stay ahead of the performance and bandwidth expectations of today’s mobile worker, who usually uses multiple W-Fi devices instead of just one. As such, users are adding proportionally larger traffic loads to the wireless LAN, which has outpaced Ethernet as the default enterprise access network.

Click here to learn more about Cisco Aironet 2702i Wireless Access Point

Four Storage Servers For More Productivity

Storage Servers are servers that are used to store, access, secure, and manage digital data, files, and services. It is a server used for storing and accessing small to large amount of data over a shared network or through the internet. These are crucial items for organizations when it comes to collaborative efforts. Listed below are four storage server products we recommend to keep your collaborative capacities strong and effective:

HPE MSA 2052 SAN Dual Controller SFF Storage

The hybrid flash HPE MSA 2052 Storage system is designed for affordable application acceleration ideal for small and remote office deployments. The HPE MSA 2052 Storage gives you the combination of simplicity, flexibility, and advanced features you may not expect in an entry-priced array. Start with 1.6 TB of flash capacity included and scale as needed with any combination of solid state disks, high-performance enterprise, or lower-cost midline SAS-based drives. HPE MSA Storage has been the industry-leading entry storage SAN platform for the past eight years, with nearly 500,000 systems sold worldwide. Delivering performance in excess of 200,000 IOPS, the MSA 2052 Storage system can save you up to 40% with an all inclusive software suite and 1.6 TB of flash capacity included. It’s seriously simple and affordable flash storage to help you get the most performance for the lowest cost.

Click To View in the Compulink E-Store

HPE StoreEasy 1660 Performance Storage

If you need an easy-to-manage centralized space for securely storing documents, images, audio and video files, look no further than HPE StoreEasy 1000 Storage. With StoreEasy, you can have flexible, efficient, and reliable file storage, right-sized for your organization’s needs and budget, without compromising on quality or capabilities. Available in a diverse range of form factors, capacity, and performance options, StoreEasy 1000 can help you get more out of your file storage with less effort through maximizing usable capacity, simplifying management, and helping you protect your indispensable digital assets in an evolving threat landscape. The new 6th generation HPE StoreEasy 1660 and 1860 build on that foundation through a new simplified management experience developed by HPE, enhanced built-in security protections, more options to expand capacity, and increased performance.

Click To View In the Compulink E-Store

Cisco SmartPlay Select S3260 Basic

The Cisco USC S3260 helps you achieve the highest levels of performance and capacity. With dual-node capability that is based on the Intel Xeon processor E5-2650 v4 series, it features up to 84 TB of local storage in a compact 4-rack-unit form factor. The drives can be configured with enterprise-class Redundant Array of independent Disks (RAID) redundancy of as JBOD in pass-through mode. Network connectivity provided with dual port 40G per server nodes with expanded unified I/O capabilities for connectivity between NAS and SAN environments. This high-capacity storage server comfortably fitsd in a standard 32-inch depth rack, such as the Cisco R42610 Rack.

Click to View in the Compulink E-Store

HPE MSA 1050 12GB SAS Dual Controller SFF Storage

Need a modern shared storage array which is flash-ready when you are and affordable with what’s left of a small budget? The HPE MSA 1050 SAN Storage brings affordable flash storage down to the most price sensitive customers. Designed to meet entry-level storage requirements, the MSA 1050 is a good fit for budget constrained customers. With the lowest entry price point in the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Storage portfolio and field-proven HPE ProLiant compatibility, the HPE MSA 1050 SAN Storage is the platform of choice for smaller IT workloads. The HPE MSA 1050 SAN Storage features ISCSI, FC, and SAS host interface connectivity at previously unattainable entry price points. MSA allows users to take advantage of the latest storage technologies while also providing a balance between performance and budget. HPE MSA Storage portfolio has been the industry-leading entry storage FC Platform for the past eight years, with nearly 500,000 storage systems sold worldwide.

Click to view in the Compulink E-Store

5 Headsets That Can Boost Concentration

As we mentioned previously, concentration and productivity in the workplace is met with challenges. The open office format, while collaborative in nature, can disrupt workflows of individuals. Even if an individual is not directly interrupted, background noise can be a distraction as well. Here are five headsets we recommend to overcome these distractions:

Logitech H540 USB Headset

The Logitech H540 is a High-quality, high-performance headset that brings your PC calls and music to life. With the plug-and-play USB connection, you’ll experience crisp, digital stereo and more true-to-life calls almost instantaneously. The H540 comes with laser-tuned drivers and a built-in EQ deliver superior, unrivaled audio quality and rich bass – maximizing the overall listening experience. The headset comes with volume and bass level control as well as the ability to instantly mute the mic at one’s fingertips. Soft leatherette padded headband and earcups allows users to talk or listen in comfort for hours on end. The adjustable microphone reduces background noises for crystal-clear chatting. Headset works with games, movies, music and common calling applications and is compatible with Windows and Mac OS. Cable is 6′.

Click Here to view the Logitech H540 USB Headset in the Compulink E-Store.

Logitech Wireless Headset Mono H820e

During long conference calls, getting up out of your chair can make all of the difference. The Logitech Wireless Mono H820e has powerful wireless technology allows you to move freely up to 300′ from your desk with up to 10 hours of wideband talk time. Plus, its DECT wireless connectivity won’t interfere with Wi-Fi devices in your office. The lightweight, contemporary design of this headset is complemented by top-quality materials like TR90 nylon, a padded leatherette headband, and replaceable leatherette ear pads to provide hours of comfort and durability. Headset is designed for heavy-duty business users in open work spaces, offices or home offices.

Click Here To View the Logitech Wireless Headset Mono H820e

Plantronics CS540 Wireless Convertible Headset System

The Plantronics CS540 Wireless Headset System connects to your office phone, giving you superior comfort and mobility up to 350 feet. Voice-dedicated 1.9 GHz DECT technology and advanced wideband audio provide uncompromised audio quality, the lowest probability of interference, and up to 9 hours of talk time. Adaptive power system optimizes balance between range and talk time. Volume and mute controls at your fingertips allow adjustments remotely. Digital encryption assures secure conversations. You can conference up to three additional CS headsets to have coworkers easily join calls. Battery is 80 percent recharged in 1.5 hours and fully recharged in 3 hours. Convertible headset gives you your choice of over the head, over the ear, or behind the neck wearing style.

Click here to view the Plantronics CS540 Wireless Convertible Headset

Cisco headset 500 Series Headset

The Cisco Headset 500 Series is a professional range of wired and wireless headsets optimized for Cisco IP phones and soft clients. These headsets are designed for workers in open work spaces so they can be more productive. They feature vibrant audio, powerful noise isolation, and exceptional comfort. The Cisco® Headset 500 Series delivers surprisingly vibrant sound for open workspaces. Users can stay focused in noisy environments with rich sound, exceptional comfort, and proven reliability. The 500 Series offers a lightweight form factor that is comfortable to wear, even for an entire workday. It”s designed for workers who spend a lot of time wearing headsets for voice communications and listening to music.

Click Here To View The Cisco 561 Headset in the Compulink E-Store

Jabra EVOLVE 75 Headset UC Stereo

The Evolve 75 is a wireless headset with superior Active Noise Cancellation and integrated busylight to enhance your productivity. Dual connectivity to two Bluetooth Devices allows you to take calls and listen to music from the same headset, giving you extra freedom to move 100ft/30m away from your smartphone and/or PC.

Click Here To View the Jabra EVOLVE 75 Headset In the Compulink E-Store

Compulink Technologies is an MBE Certified Firm that has been bringing top-notch IT Service solutions to businesses and government agencies across the nation since 1986.

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