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How Do You Plan for 2011 – Part 3: Embrace Mobile Computing the Smart Way

January 21, 2011
at 8:25 am PST

Gadgets, gadgets and more gadgets. They are coming like mushrooms after a soaking spring shower.  More than 80 tablets were launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early Jan. On top of that, Microsoft announced that a future version of its Windows OS will run on ARM-based chips that power mobile phones and tables, in addition to the x86 chips used for PCs. A 4G wireless version of Cisco’s mobile business tablet Cius made news with a joint announcement with Verizon Wireless. It’s a sign of the times that the buzzword “app” was voted the 2010 “Word of the Year” by the American Dialect Society. And one more thing: IDC predicts that in 2012, the number of mobile devices is likely to reach 462 million, exceeding PC shipments.

Today, almost one in five (18%) employees is not allowed to use their iPods at wok, based on Part II of Cisco’s Connected World Report.  But this trend is unlikely to continue.  Employees expect to have more flexible work options including mobility.  So how do you prepare your organization’s mobile computing strategy, to help achieve best employee productivity and user experience?

Just like ARM-based chips consume much lower power than their x86 counterparts, there are many technologies that can help optimize mobile computing. Tablets offer rich media and collaboration tools for users on the go and may need more wireless bandwidth. Networks using the 5 GHz frequency band are excellent since they can carry more data than the 2.4 GHz band. They are especially advantageous with capabilities such as Cisco’s BandSelect that deliver 5 GHz automatically, without users having to configure their devices. In the security world, IPsec VPN and SSL VPN are proven technologies to connect remote users to the internal networks securely. With smart mobile devices, though, full-tunnel network access through Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) is a better choice for latency-sensitive network traffic, such as video. DTLS is based on RFC 4347.  For those who find RFCs a dry reading, there is a fascinating paper by the two RFC 4347 authors that adds color to the protocol.

The Cisco ASA 5500 Series supports SSL, DTLS, and IPsec-based network access. The Cisco AnyConnect client can work with the ASA 5500 to adapt its tunneling protocol automatically to the most efficient method based on network conditions.

This is my last post to close the 2011 planning series. Any exciting 2011 projects are you working on?

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