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Cisco extends market leadership for Unified Access with revolutionary ASIC

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Cisco Unified Access is about converging wired and wireless networks to improve scale and quickly launch new services with new levels of security and compliance.

When Cisco launched the Catalyst 3850 and WLC 5760 Controller in January 2013, it stood alone in the market for truly converging Wired and Wireless networks. Over the course of the last 2.5 years, Cisco has progressively extended its lead with more platforms and features based on the revolutionary ASIC which makes this rich convergence possible. And just this month, Cisco delivered Multi-gigabit Ethernet (or mGig), which enables the move to higher Wireless speeds based on the IEEE 802.11ac Wave 2 standard. Let’s start by clearly articulating why the home-grown ASIC is so fundamental to successfully integrating Wired and Wireless networks in a seamless way.

The foundational ASIC which Cisco developed is called Unified Access Dataplane (UADP). It cost well over $150M, and took several years to develop and refine. It delivers Hardware performance with Software flexibility and comes with many unique innovations. The defining characteristic of this ASIC is the true full-featured convergence of Wired and Wireless traffic together with its flexible forwarding engine.

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Converged Access Branch Design (MC over WAN)

“Why can’t I have MC across a WAN boundary to manage multiple branch MA?”
I get this question a lot. I get asked if it isn’t logical to have the MC at a central location across a WAN boundary managing multiple MA at different branch locations. Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend this architectural construct for folks who are migrating from the centralized WiFi world and I totally get their confusion around this subject.

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Proving the Value of SD-WAN

In a recent TechTarget survey, it was noted that despite the hypes about numerous benefits of SD-WAN – one of which is the ability to create a hybrid WAN environment (i.e. MPLS and Internet or LTE links), something Gartner claims will be “the new normal,” – only 10% of enterprises plan to deploy hybrid WAN in the next 12 months. The greatest concern for the slow uptake is whether Quality of Service (QoS) can be done over Internet connections. In addition to that, management complexity and security vulnerabilities by going to Direct Internet Access (DIA) are also top of mind. Of the 1,437 that were surveyed, 54% is still in the consideration stage about SD-WAN, and the number one considering factor is to reduce WAN costs. This is not a surprise, but a perplexing issue for CIO, CISO, and IT Admins especially when analysts, like Gartner, and respondents in an April 2015 ETAB Survey, are prescribing SD-WAN as the enterprise’s top IT priorities for the next 3-year.

We will examine the following in this post: a) the State of the WAN in 2015, b) what we hear from customers, and c) a successful, real world SD-WAN deployment.  Read More »

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Application Visibility Makes Parenting Easier!

internet usage-v1.Parenting in a hyper-connected world is increasingly challenged by lack of visibility into children’s internet usage, and by limited controls to customize internet usage policies per child. About a year ago, I installed a home router with parental-controls. My kids (teenage girls!) quickly complained about the additional latency it introduced on the network. User experience was clearly in the tank. I soon discovered that those controls were not granular enough to customize for different times of the day, for different users, and down to individual devices.

By then, I realized that I had to fundamentally rethink my home network in order to become a more effective parent. I needed better insight into my network’s traffic. Finally, last fall, the geek in me awakened and I deployed a full-fledged Cisco network in my home with advanced Application Visibility & Control (AVC) capabilities, providing me deep insight into my home’s internet traffic.

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Quick Tips for Tracking Alerts

It’s no secret, networks, in general, are more challenging to manage than before.

As networks increase in complexity to embrace new business innovations, they may require more supporting devices, which, in turn, can result in even more alerts to manage.

If you’re a network manager or security officer, what are you going to do?

At Quintiles, they started using Smart Net Total Care to identify devices that might have security vulnerabilities. In the centralized portal, their IT team could easily access information on each type of alert, which is displayed by category or device and contains summary information with a link to the actual alert on Cisco.com.

“In the past, our security team would receive a notification and need detailed data from us to determine our level of risk,” says Wil Bolton, senior network systems engineer for Quintiles. “Now we can be proactive, because we can check the portal and know immediately. We have already completed some critical upgrades based on PSIRT information and can be confident that we are aware of a potential vulnerability.”

So, how are you going to quickly identify risks and network vulnerabilities? How will you reduce time chasing irrelevant alerts, so you have more time to focus on projects you care about?  Read More »

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