Site to Site VPN between Meraki MX and Cisco ASA 5508

Hi all

VPN’s are always a pain in the ass when it comes to different vendors and OS. Even if both Meraki and ASA is part of the Cisco brand there is still quite a few differences in the setup and as always alot of ways to do it incorrectly.

Let’s start with the ASA end of the link. The first thing we need to do is set up the IKE profile. Meraki uses only IKEv1 so there is no need for IKEv2.

crypto ikev1 enable outside
 crypto ikev1 policy 10
 authentication pre-share
 encryption 3des
 hash sha
 group 2
 lifetime 12800

Define the networks you wan’t to have on each end of the Meraki firewall.

 object network OBJ-ASA-Site
 subnet 192.168.10.0 255.255.255.0
 object network OBJ-Meraki-Site
 subnet 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0

Now we will make sure that the traffic that is intended for the VPN is passed trough the tunnel. In the NAT rule the traffic is originating from the interface labeled server.

access-list MERAKI-INTERESTING-TRAFFIC extended permit ip object OBJ-ASA-Site object OBJ-Meraki-Site
nat (server,outside) source static OBJ-ASA-Site OBJ-ASA-Site destination static OBJ-Meraki-Site OBJ-Meraki-Site no-proxy-arp route-lookup

We will have to let the ASA know where to terminate the tunnel. Including the preshared key. It’s important to change the preshared key and use something a bit more secure.

tunnel-group 123.123.123.123 type ipsec-l2l
 tunnel-group  123.123.123.123  ipsec-attributes
 pre-shared-key supersecret
 isakmp keepalive threshold 10 retry 2

Finally we have to put everything together and let the ASA know where to terminate the VPN tunnel.

crypto ipsec ikev1 transform-set MERAKI-TRANSFORM esp-aes-256 esp-sha-hmac
 !
 crypto map CRYPTO-MAP 1 match address MERAKI-INTERESTING-TRAFFIC
 crypto map CRYPTO-MAP 1 set peer 123.123.123.123
 crypto map CRYPTO-MAP 1 set ikev1 transform-set MERAKI-TRANSFORM
 crypto map CRYPTO-MAP interface outside

Below is all the commands in one go to make it easier for a copy/paste.

crypto ikev1 enable outside
 crypto ikev1 policy 10
 authentication pre-share
 encryption 3des
 hash sha
 group 2
 lifetime 12800
 !
 object network OBJ-ASA-Site
 subnet 192.168.10.0 255.255.255.0
 object network OBJ-Meraki-Site
 subnet 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0
 !
 access-list MERAKI-INTERESTING-TRAFFIC extended permit ip object OBJ-ASA-Site object OBJ-Meraki-Site
 nat (server,outside) source static OBJ-ASA-Site OBJ-ASA-Site destination static OBJ-Meraki-Site OBJ-Meraki-Site no-proxy-arp route-lookup
 !
 tunnel-group 123.123.123.123 type ipsec-l2l
 tunnel-group  123.123.123.123  ipsec-attributes
 pre-shared-key supersecret
 isakmp keepalive threshold 10 retry 2
 !
 crypto ipsec ikev1 transform-set MERAKI-TRANSFORM esp-aes-256 esp-sha-hmac
 !
 crypto map CRYPTO-MAP 1 match address MERAKI-INTERESTING-TRAFFIC
 crypto map CRYPTO-MAP 1 set peer 123.123.123.123
 crypto map CRYPTO-MAP 1 set ikev1 transform-set MERAKI-TRANSFORM
 crypto map CRYPTO-MAP interface outside

Then let’s move over to the Meraki part. This part is really easy compared to the ASA part. There isn’t much configuration to do on the Meraki to get everything up and working,.

The first thing you need to do is go to Security Appliance -> Configure -> Site-to-.Site VPN. Select Hub in the options list.

Select the networks that should be routed trough the VPN. In the previous config we said that 192.168.1.0/24 should be routed from the Meraki site.

The last part would be to configure the VPN settings on the Meraki. First column you enter a name for the connection. Secondly you need to enter the IP for the ASA firewall. In the third column you decide what networks should be sent over the VPN. The same network that we defined as OBJ-ASA-Site in the ASA config. Leave the IPSec policies as Default, the connection should come up with the Default setting. At last you enter the pre shared key, press save and you should have a VPN connection.

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Playing with the Meraki API

Lately I have started playing with the Meraki API. The API gives us the possibility to tweak and manage whatever you want to do on the Meraki devices.

To begin with you need to get the API code from the Meraki Dashboard. You can get the API code if you click on your username in the upper right corner and then proceed to My Profile. In that window you can enable and generate API keys for your scripts.

The first script you should use is the code below. This should give you a list of organizations that you have access to with the user account you generated the API key with. Normally you only have 1 organization but many might have several organizations in the list.

curl --request GET -L \
  --url https://api.meraki.com/api/v0/organizations \
  --header 'X-Cisco-Meraki-API-Key: <API key>'

This could create the follwoing output:

[{"id":"692333","name":"Organization 1"},{"id":"293843","name":"Organization 2"},{"id":"551234","name":"Organization 3"},{"id":"123476","name":"Organization 4"}]

At this point you can choose what organisation you want to create the API for. You need to take the ID and add it to the end of the URL. If I want to towrk with organization 3 I would use 551234 as the ID. After the ID you need to add networks to list the networks for the organization. I ahve added an example below:

curl --request GET -L \
  --url https://api.meraki.com/api/v0/organizations/551234/networks \
  --header 'X-Cisco-Meraki-API-Key: <API key>'

From that you should get the following output:

[{"id":"L_662029145123456789","organizationId":"551234","name":"Site 1","timeZone":"Europe/Oslo","tags":null,"type":"combined","disableMyMerakiCom":false,"disableRemoteStatusPage":true}]

You now have all the information needed to start playing around with API’s on Meraki. Meraki got alot of documentation showing what you can do. You can find the documentation here.

As an example on what you can do I can show you how to enable and disable an SSID on a network. In the Meraki documentation for SSID’s you find the various settings that you can configure. In this example I only want to change the enabled or disabled settings for the SSID. In the data-binary setting you switch between false and true to swap between disabled and enabled setting for the SSID.

curl -L -H 'X-Cisco-Meraki-API-Key: <API key>' 
  -X PUT -H 'Content-Type: application/json' 
  --data-binary '{"enabled":true}' 'https://api.meraki.com/api/v0/organizations/551234/networks/L_662029145123456789/ssids/1'

Convert Cisco Lightweight AP to Mobility Express

Hi all

Today I’m going to write a short post on how to convert a lightweight AP to an Mobility Express AP. It’s a very simple process and only takes a few minutes to complete.

First you need to download the ME image from the Cisco webpage. Extract the compressed file to a TFTP server.

Login to the AP with console access using Cisco / Cisco as username and password (this is offcourse only if you haven’t changed the password on the AP.

ap-type mobility-express tftp://<TFTP Server IP>/<filename>

When the file is uploaded the AP will reboot and load the new image. The AP will use 2 IP’s. 1 for the ME and 1 for the AP.

During my upgrade I had one issue. It failed repeatedly and I worked a while before I discovered the reason.

Image transfer complete.
Image downloaded, writing to flash...
do CHECK_ME, part1 is active part
upgrade.sh: Error: image not found.
+ do_upgrade CHECK_ME
+ [ ! -r /tmp/part.tar ]
+ loudlog Error: image not found.
+ logger -p 0 -t upgrade Error: image not found.
+ echo upgrade.sh: Error: image not found.
upgrade.sh: Error: image not found.
+ return 1
+ status=1
+ set +x
Error: Image update failed.

I read on the internet that this error could be caused due to lack of space. I had free space left so I could quickly rule that issue out. I have another ME in the same network, it seems that the ME image can’t be uploaded when there is an ME of the same L2 network as the ME you are trying to install. The issue I had dissapeared when I disconnected the other ME.

After the upgrade has been completed the ME will reboot and start a setup wizard.

Enter Administrative User Name (24 characters max): admin
Enter Administrative Password (3 to 127 characters): ********
Re-enter Administrative Password                 : ********
System Name [Cisco-dcf7.193e.4c00] (24 characters max): hostname
Enter Country Code list (enter 'help' for a list of countries) [US]: NO
Configure a NTP server now? [YES][no]: yes
Use default NTP servers [YES][no]:
Enter timezone location index (enter 'help' for a list of timezones): 14
Management Interface IP Address Configuration [STATIC][dhcp]: dhcp
Create Management DHCP Scope? [yes][NO]:
Employee Network Name (SSID)?: SSIDName
Employee Network Security? [PSK][enterprise]:PSK
Employee PSK Passphrase (8-63 characters)?: ***********
Re-enter Employee PSK Passphrase: ***********
Enable RF Parameter Optimization? [YES][no]:
Client Density [TYPICAL][Low][High]:
Traffic with Voice [NO][Yes]:

Configuration correct? If yes, system will save it and reset. [yes][NO]: yes

Configuration saved!

There is a few things that you need to get correct when going trough the options. The first one is country code. This is important to have correct freqency since it need to meet the local regulations. Since my AP’s are in Norway I choose NO as the country code.

The second one is the management interface. You can choose to have it set to static or dhcp. I normally set these ME’s up for clients and configure them with DHCP. If you choose DHCP it’s important to note the correct DHCP address when the ME boots up. As previously mentioned the AP will request 2 IP’s. 1 for the ME and 1 for the CAPWAP AP.. After the bootup you should see the following output

[*08/01/2019 17:24:33.6830] ethernet_port wired0, ip 192.168.50.108, netmask 255.255.255.0, gw 192.168.50.1, mtu 1500, bcast 192.168.50.255, dns1 195.159.0.100, dns2 8.8.8.8, domain hjortsenter.internal, vid 0, static_ip_failover false, dhcp_vlan_failover false
[*08/01/2019 17:24:33.6930] chatter: MeshNat: config_ip IP=192.168.50.108 mask=255.255.255.0 GW=192.168.50.1
[*08/01/2019 17:24:38.7614] ethernet_port wired0, ip 192.168.50.110, netmask 255.255.255.0, gw 192.168.50.1, mtu 1500, bcast 192.168.50.255, dns1 195.159.0.100, dns2 8.8.8.8, domain test.internal, vid 0, static_ip_failover false, dhcp_vlan_failover false
[*08/01/2019 17:24:38.7814] chatter: MeshNat: config_ip IP=192.168.50.110 mask=255.255.255.0 GW=192.168.50.1
[*08/01/2019 17:24:41.8004] AP IPv4 Address updated from 0.0.0.0 to 192.168.50.110

The first IP in my example is the IP for the ME (192.168.50.108)
The last IP is for the CAPWAP (192.168.50.110)