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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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3 Determining Questions and One Can’t-Miss 4G LTE Webinar

Hot Air Balloon in the FogAn Unforgettable Experience

It’s 6 a.m. on a Saturday. Filled with excitement and anticipation, I watched as my hot air balloon, the last one in the bunch, inflated. Around me, one after another, balloons started to float effortlessly off the ground into the air. The Napa Valley’s sun glittered in the distant as my balloon finally took off. At 1,050 feet, some fogs rolled by, then I saw it: a shadow of my balloon in the fog encircled by a rainbow – see the picture above, top right. I quickly pulled out my iPhone 6, snapped a panoramic, and posted it on Facebook. It was the most mesmerizing experience ever, not just because of the experience itself, but also because I can share it with my families and friends via 4G LTE. However, 4G LTE isn’t just for smartphones.

Connecting the Unconnected

The world of things, a.k.a Internet of Things (#IoT), around us is connecting in ways beyond imagination. According to a November 2014 issue of the Harvard Business Review, “Smart, connected products are changing how value is created…(and) will affect the trajectory of the overall economy, giving rise to the next era of IT-driven productivity growth for companies, their customers, and the global economy.” For example, just-in-time inventory replenishment, powered by connected vending machines, enables one business to capitalize on OpEx savings and increase revenue per unit. Wireless monitoring allows an oil and gas company to quickly respond to pipeline issues in rugged, remote locations. Connected lightning empowers one smart city to reduce crime rate and improve its residents’ quality of life. Even one’s personal space, such as the home, is becoming more connected with the use of #WEMO products and smart devices integration (those coming to #CES, you must see the Connected Home demo). This Digital Transformation, powered by 4G LTE, brings about considerable improvements in the ways we work, live, and play.  Read More »

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