#Meraki, what a pleasure to work with

It’s not often that I use technology that is an actual pleasure to work with. #Equallogic is at the top of that list, but now I have a new one: #Meraki

So, they first suck you in with their very nice (free!) MDM. MDM stands for mobile device management (i.e. visibility/management into your iPhones/pads/andriods etc…)

Then just for watching a webinar they will send you a free Access Point. So we pull it out of the box and have that sucker configured in about 20 minutes! We did run into an interesting hiccup though, the AP is able to provide multiple SSID’s so you can have one for an internal network, and another for a guest network that can just get to the Internet Etc… We configured the guest network and choose the setting to disallow access to the local LAN… well we have a very screwy ip scheme so the default “LAN Isolation” Link didn’t work for us,

When your turn on the option labled ” Prevent users from accessing your LAN?”, which enables a feature sometimes referred to as “LAN Isolation”, the following configuration is applied to your Meraki network:

  • Any traffic from a client to the following IP ranges is silently dropped:,,
  • The above applies to all traffic except DNS requests – they are passed regardless of the destination IP address

Note that the above configuration does suggest some situations in which Meraki users might be able to access your LAN – for instance, if devices in your LAN are configured with IP addresses that are outside the above ranges, the Meraki network will route traffic to those destinations.

So to fix it, I just added an additional Deny Policy on the layer 3 firewall rules, and used CIDR notation to specify the Destination.

The meraki interface is very clean and mainly logical. You can feel the google heritage (especially the nicely added two factor authentication!)

I look forward to the iphone app since I am assuming this will provide much better GPS location data for the devices.


Setting up F5 BigIP with VPN on demand, SSO (Single sign on) for Qlikview

So, initially we were using the PPTP to VPN with our iDevices


This worked OK, was kind of flaky though, and the biggest inconvenience was having to manually turn on the VPN. ( Too tricky for VP’s of course)

So our CIO happened on the magic term of VPN on demand. From the there the ball got rolling. Basically, when you go to a pre-defined domain it’s smart enough to fire off the VPN client for you!

I wasn’t involved completely in the install so there are some gaping holes in my knowledge, but I will try to lay out the setup as best as I can.

The F5 big-ip box is a hot rod! We are using only about 1% of its capabilities. It has a very nice visual design tool for configuring your Access Policies

   Click to view the whole screen shot. Basically, it start with a ‘Start’ then runs a Client Cert Inspection. (I believe this is where it inspects the client to see that it has the SSL certificate that we setup (We obtained a trusted cert from somewhere). The next step is to check the UI mode of the Client. Then it checks what OS your are running. Then there is a Logon Page (If I remember correctly, this is where the F5 Edge Client grabs the NT username & password. After that it hits the AD Auth module. This module is configured to use a server that was setup name ‘ActiveDirector’ setup under the Access Policy, AAA Servers with an Active Directory Type, and domain controller and other creds specified. After it’s authenticated it then caches the credentials for single sign on!! Module is called SSO Credential Mapping, and I left the settings at default. This mapping uses the SSO setting set at the Access Profile, Properties selection.  (This is really cool BTW, otherwise the CEO, VP’s etc… have to type in their password every time that connect to the qlikview server) This is configured under Access Policy, SSO Configurations. I named it SSO_IPHONE_POLICY, I used NTLMV1, I enabled Username Conversion and typed in the NTLM domain, left the rest of the settings at default. Next in the mapping is an AD Query, it once again uses the ‘ActiveDirector’ AD server, User Principal Name is Enabled, Under Branch Rules is a ‘MemberOf’ with an expression of
CN=VPN_Users,OU=Custom Groups,OU=My Groups,DC=mydomain,DC=local . This will check users attempting to connect are members of the VPN_Users AD group. Then finally if all the criteria matches it passes to a Resource Assign and then to an Allow.
There are of course a couple of other settings.
Originally when we set it up the VPN worked great, actually too great…. it would never disconnect. After contacting support this is how to fix it

We have determined why the session is not disconnecting after the Inactivity timeout expires. The edge client sends out 40 bytes of data every 30 seconds or so. For the Network Access object, the ‘Session Update Threshold’ is set to 0 by default. So the 40 bytes we send triggers and keeps the tunnel open and prevents the Inactivity Timeout from starting. With a value of 60 bytes,  the tunnel on the iPhone closes  after the timeout expires as expected.

Go into your GUI, Access Policy  ››  Network Access : Network Access List and select the active one for your set up. Change the General Settings view to “Advanced”. You can update the “Session Update Threshold” to 50 or 60. Update and apply the policy and you should be good to go. If you need assistance with changing that value, let me know.

As mentioned above you need to set the SSO Configuration at the ‘properties tab’ of your Access Profile. Then you need to  configure your network access to support SSO through a layered virtual server. This allows your users full network access to multiple web services without requiring them to enter their credential multiple times.

Manual Chapter: Introducing Single Sign-On


Open the document above and search for  ‘Using Single Sign-On for web application access over network access tunnel’

I was confused by the terminology of layered virtual server, but the way I understand it is that under Local Traffic, Virtual Servers you create a ‘virtual server’ (This is more like a virtual IP??)

I used a Host type, and did all ports. I did standard, and TCP, and http.

Under VLAN and Tunnel Traffic: Client_Access_cp (the correct connectivity profile)

SNAT is set to Auto Map, then make sure Address Translation and Port Translation are not enabled.

Then under the Virtual Address List for the ip of the above ‘virtual server’ uncheck the ARP

When cleared (disabled), specifies that the system does not accept ARP requests.

So, how does it work? Download the F5 Edge Client. The guy who set us up initially used the iPhone Configuration utility to create us a vpn.mobileconfig file. This is an easy way to email the certificate to the user and have them be able to add it.

Now we need to create our own config so open up the Edge Client, press Add Configuration, give it a name, type in the Server address, click Use Cerificates ON, then you choose the certificate that came in the email. Type your username and password, select Connect On Demand and then choose in the domain list your domain, and connect as needed.

Try a quick test connect, should say Contacting, Authenticating, Negotiating, and then Connected. You will notice the little VPN symbol in the top of your screen (In wanders from the left to the right, who knows why?)

So then, if you open up Safari and surf to your Qlikview server using the domain that was indicated in the connect as needed it should fire off the VPN, go to the Qlikview server, and pass your credentials…. Magic!

Qlikview, F5, VPN on Demand, iPhone, iPad and tigers.. oh my

So one of our recent initiatives has been mobile BI.

Now that we actually got it working I wanted to document it a little, since there are some tricky things about it.

At a high level this is what happens.

Install the F5 Edge Client, configure the VPN on demand with a certificate, NT username and password. Setup the domain list for connect if needed to lets say mydomain.local

So open up Safari, type in myqlikview.mydomain.local

This will bring you to the Qlikview portal, choose your qlikview, after it opens up press the button to add it to your home screen.

So, I will break out the config for the F5 into this post:


And then some Qlikview designs and notes here:

Setting up a VPN for an iphone using server 2003 PPTP and then connecting to Qlikview Server

So needed to setup some sort of a VPN for our iphones to be able to get to our qlikview server.

Basically you just need to turn on routing services for the server 2003, setup your access rules (create a group something like VPN access) allow dial in and add then to the vpn group in there NT profile. This post lays it out well http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5805260.html

The fun part (if you don’t have your server on the outside/DMZ) is getting your isp to set up port forwarding. I told them this

We are setting up a PPTP VPN (point to point tunneling protocol)

We need port 1723 forwarded to our server at ______ fill in your server address.

We also need to enable the GRE IP protocol (This is protocol 47)

And that seemed to do the trick. On the iphone navigate to the VPN area, choose PPTP, use your NT username and password, and put in the public IP of your server.

Then for qlikview you just install the qlikview app, and then add your server (for some reason DNS doesn’t seem to resolve so I used the ip address, maybe figure this out in the future)

Having a VPN on your phone is very nifty since you can install remote control software as well! Mocha soft seems to be doing very well in this market and I can recommend their telnet lite, vnc lite, and the best remote desktop lite http://www.mochasoft.dk/iphone_rdp.htm

This has me jazzed since I really got used to this functionality on my cingular 8525.