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How A School District Prepares for PARCC and More

CreepyKidIndian Prairie School district, the third largest school district in Illinois, conducted an in-depth investigation to develop an execution plan to adopt Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium guidelines and meet the Common Core State Standards head-on. Their execution plan took them beyond the basic requirements of online testing to providing a secure, borderless learning environment for a variety of devices, over wired and wireless.

Not only was this a great opportunity for them to upgrade their network to meet the state and national testing standards, but also to lay the foundation for any future requirements as technological advances are rapidly changing the education landscape.

Requirements: 

  1. Meet the computer-based testing requirements under PARCC
  2. Provide a borderless learning environment through mobile and online learning
  3. A stable infrastructure that can meet the dynamic network demand
  4. Prepare for the growing importance of technology in classrooms, wired and wireless, with trends such as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) as well as an increased use of district-owned devices.

 

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How to Access Real-time Data with High Confidence

April 12, 2014 at 5:44 am PST

Doctors at Carilion Clinic, a hospital in southwest Virginia, are getting a productivity boost with their medical applications. They can complete their cardiology study a lot faster than before because they can review real-time diagnostic imaging files much faster and more reliably.

You see, real-time data is getting a lot of attention in the industry lately. Using analytics and real-time data effectively, people can discover hidden patterns and new clues for better and more timely decisions. This is very exciting. But first thing first. People often have to answer this challenging question: is the captured data, which is often complex and huge in size, dependable enough to begin with?

As an example, imagine that you were having a critical video conversation with a business partner. You were going to make a major decision based on the outcome of this conversation. Would you be confident enough with your decision if the voice and the image stream were messed up as seen below on the left? And would your confidence level be hugely boosted when the voice was clear and the image was sharp as seen on the right?

Carilion case study

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Why Migrate to 10G in Campus

Current wired and wireless networks will be inadequate as traffic is forecast to triple over next five years as per Cisco VNI. Business Internet video traffic is expected to grow at 39%, mobile data traffic at 59% & Internet of Things M2M traffic at 113% per year through 2017-2018. Even when users are not actively using the apps on their mobile devices, the mobile devices create up to 1GB of background traffic (OS, App updates & backups) per month per device. With BYOD, there are 3x more devices per user according to a Cisco IBSG study of 600 IT & business leaders. Internet of Things (IoT) connects sensors, cameras and plenty of other previously unconnected devices to the network.

This trend in combination with growth in traffic from each device results in an explosion of traffic.    10G Migration blog picture

Higher connectivity speed is adding fuel to the fire. Wi-Fi is now the de facto primary network access in workplace. Wi-Fi standards have continuously provided more radio bandwidth to the users.  802.11ac (also called the Gigabit wireless) standard enables a network that is 3 times faster due to its 1.3 Gbps capacity.  802.11ac wave 2 is capable of up to 6 Gbps.  The latent unmet demand from wireless devices will take full advantage of 802.11ac.

Therefore, the choke point in the network has moved up from wireless AP to the access and access uplinks. The access switch ports are moving to 1G. The access switch uplinks and backbone switch ports will need to move to 10G. Read More »

IWAN Wed: Securing Your Transport Independence with DMVPN

In my last blog I talked about the value of Pfr to the IWAN solution. This week I wanted to talk about DMVPN and why it is going to be a critical component of your IWAN deployment.

Your IWAN topology will most likely consist of one or more internet connections which means that your data will be traveling over untrusted connections and shared environments so security is going to be top of mind. So how do you secure your data over the internet and other untrusted or shared environments? Well DMVPN (Dynamic Multi-point Virtual Private Network) is based on VPN the same technology that many of you use today to securely connect back to your office when you are traveling or working from home. A VPN will create a tunnel between two end-points and then encrypt all data traveling over the tunnel. VPN’s can connect users to a remote site, client-to-site VPN, or connect two remote sites, site-to-site VPN. Unlike VPN, DMVPN can securely connect multiple points together dynamically.

DMVPNSo how does DMVPN work and what is the benefit to IWAN?  DMVPN works on top of your WAN infrastructure which means that DMVPN tunnels will be established between branch sites as traffic flow demands. In a common hub and spoke topology example, when data needs to be sent from the spoke to the hub site, the spoke will establish a VPN tunnel to the hub by registering first with the hub.  In order for each tunnel to function a new dynamic IP address is created at the branch since the hub site will initiate the connection. In order for data to be routed between sites over the DMVPN tunnels, routing information will need to be exchanged. As more tunnels are created there will be more dynamically created IP addresses and traditional routing protocols like BGP or EIGRP are used to efficiently share routing information so all sites can talk to each other. Lastly QoS is applied to each tunnel to ensure that the hub site does not oversubscribe the spoke sites.

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Key Annoucements at AWS Summit for the Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000V

We continue to see significant interest in the CSR 1000V as customers look for robust routing and VPN solution for securely connecting users and branch offices to the Cloud. Last week at the Amazon Web Services Summit in San Francisco Cisco announced a number of key enhancements to its Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000V for AWS that increase throughput, reduce cost and make it easier for you to get support. These enhancements are explained in more detail below:

  • Hourly billing on a pay-as-you-go basis reduce upfront costs and enable you to get started with minimal upfront costs. You can find out more at the CSR AWS Marketplace page which includes a 30-day free trial.
  • Higher throughput of 100MB gives you faster access to your applications and data.
  • Enhanced support to help you deploy and install the CSR. The new CSR AWS Community is an online community managed by Cisco TAC and CSR Product Management.
  • Testing environment. Deploy and explore the value and benefits of the CSR1000V on the AWS cloud in a lab environment using the CSR AWS Test Drive Lab. The current CSR 1000V lab includes up to 4 hours of complimentary AWS server time for you to try and evaluate a live CSR.

Don’t forget that you can still try the CSR free for 60-days in AWS with the BYOL version. Visit www.cisco.com/go/csrtrial to get started. For those of you still deciding on how to move to the Cloud, I encourage you to read my last blog post  where I talk about some of the key considerations you should take into account when making a decision. Lastly our technical marketing organization has put together a detailed video showing with 3 simple steps on how to deploy the CSR 1000V in Amazon Web Services. With all these support resources and free trials there is no excuse to not get started today!

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