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What the Heck is a Service Container?

Virtualizing services within the network

Picture1When we launched the new ISR 4451-X at Cisco Live a few months back, one of the Big New Things we talked about was the Service Container architecture.  Unless you were paying close attention to the 4451-X, you might have missed that whole thing.  So what the heck is a Service Container?

To put it simply, a Service Container is a virtual machine running within the network itself.  Instead of your typical server virtual machine, these VMs can be used to enhance the capabilities of the underlying network itself.  Service Containers can add additional services, such as WAN Optimization, to the network.  They can also enhance the capabilities of network devices by adding things like new programmable interfaces to the network.  In some cases they can even be used to add impressive capabilities to the network from trusted third party developers.

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A Framework for the Next Generation Internet

It’s a very challenging time to be an economist – uncertainty is everywhere, and adapting to a market change is problematic. In contrast, if you’re a network planner you’ve now got the upper hand. You can think ahead with a degree of certainty that you’ll be prepared — no matter what the future holds in store.

That may seem like two totally unrelated thoughts. They’re actually closely aligned. Let me explain.

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LexisNexis Breach Highlights Identity Theft Risks

Who are you? Removing the obvious existential questions for a minute, your identity is often represented as a bundle of personally identifiable information (PII). In the United States PII begins at birth with a name, date of birth, and social security number (SSN). This morning’s KrebsOnSecurity post details the unauthorized access of computer systems (via malicious code) at Lexis Nexis and Dun & Bradstreeet. Both of these organizations aggregate and sell consumer and business PII.

When PII is misrepresented, the experience for the true PII owner can range from unsettling to pure exasperation due to the fact that the victim’s virtual identity must be reclaimed and a consistently proven remediation roadmap still does not fully exist. A recent survey estimated that in 2012 over 12 million Americans were the victims of identity theft.

Fortunately, in addition to the standard PII definition a majority of states –such as California’s Penal Code §530.55 - now include credit card numbers and even computer media access control (MAC) addresses. The comprehensive definition and accompanying legislation is giving law enforcement the ability to charge suspects with identity theft and aggravated identity theft, but individuals still need to be aware of the risks and respond accordingly.

Below are five realistic almost universal U.S.-centric identity theft risk factors followed by guidance on proactively saving you those precious resources – time and money.

1. You don’t control your PII. Read More »

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A Global Standard for Narrowband Power Line Communications

Steep increase in global demand for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Electric Vehicle charging, and Intelligent Street Lighting has spurred interest to implement communications for these Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) applications over currently installed assets.  Narrow Band Power Line Communication  (NB-PLC) addresses this need by providing a communication solution which operates over existing utility distribution networks.

IEEE 1901.2 Narrowband PLC: Final Steps to the Finish Line

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Driving to the goal of a global NB-PLC standard, Cisco is vigorously engaged in the development of   IEEE 1901.2 NarrowBand PLC.  IEEE 1901.2 adopts the latest generation PLC techniques and  provides full adaptation to the latest IETF enabling technologies for IPv6 based NANs (6LoWPAN, RPL, MPL, etc.). IEEE 1901.2 is further aligned with other important Smart Utility Network technologies such as IEEE 802.15.4g/e.  Multi service IP based NANs are thus a reality, able to seamlessly support a mixture of PHY/MAC technologies appropriate for specific deployments

The IEEE 1901.2 standard is in its final stages of development, with publishing of the finished document expected by the end of 2013.

HomePlug Netricity for Conformance and Interoperability Certification

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With the imminent arrival of the 1901.2 standard comes the need for a certification program to insure product conformance to the specification and interoperability between multiple vendor’s product offerings.  The HomePlug Powerline Alliance is rising to this challenge.  HomePlug’s Netricity program, with the full support of Cisco, is moving smartly ahead with development of a conformance and interoperability certification program for IEEE 1901.2 based devices.  Expect certification testing to begin 2014.

Cisco salutes the commitment and expertise of the entire 1901.2 and Netricity development teams. A global standard for interoperable NB-PLC will soon be a reality!

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UC and Video – Phones of the Future

What will phones in the future look like?  If our experience at Cisco is any guide, there will be more and more phones, and they will look like almost anything. They will all have two things in common:  they will all bring people together – and they will do it with voice and video.  Always video.

The video may be on a small screen that fits in your pocket, or expands to your pad or laptop, a bigger screen that fits on the desk, or screens that cover the wall bringing people, lifesized, to your meetings from around the world.

At Cisco, we’re using all of these “phones” (although only one or two looks at all like a phone), and they all work together to bring people together, face to face.  Some share more than voice and video, adding presence information and contacts and instant click to call or click to chat or click to share desktops

Here’s Rich Gore from Cisco IT, to give a quick look at these different “phones” in use at Cisco today.

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