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Cisco Unified Access: Helping Partners Reduce Complexity and Maximize Productivity

- January 29, 2013 - 0 Comments

Today, Cisco announced the latest additions to our Unified Access portfolio to enable One Network for wired and wireless access. I’m personally excited about this because it is finally closing a loop we started a year ago when we introduced Cisco Unified Access with One Policy, One Management, One Network. Now Cisco and partners can offer a truly converged wired and wireless experience.

Let’s take a look at what’s new and how these solutions present an excellent opportunity for you to help meet your customers’ needs.

What is being launched?
The two biggies are the Cisco Catalyst 3850 and the Cisco 5760 Wireless LAN Controller.  Admittedly, they’re not physically huge, but their potential market and technological impact will be huge as they create a true converged wired and wireless experience.

The new Catalyst 3850 switches and 5760 WLC are built on a new ASIC called the Unified Access Data Plane (UADP). The 5760 is Cisco’s first IOS-based wireless LAN controller, designed for 802.11ac performance with 60 Gbps throughput and support for up to 1000 APs.  While the Catalyst 3850 has the usual goodies you’d expect from a new Catalyst – 480G stacking, full PoE and Stack Power – the new switch also has integrated wireless functionality. Which means this switch can also act like a wireless controller and can now terminate the CAPWAP directly at the branch without having to backhaul traffic to the datacenter.  Further, you can apply the same feature sets and policies (QoS) for wireless traffic as you do for your wired traffic.

Additionally, we have an update to One Management with Prime 2.0 (supporting the Catalyst 3850 and 5760 WLC) to bring the wired capabilities of Prime to a wireless infrastructure. It provides unified lifecycle management, client awareness, and application visibility and services across the wireless, wired, campus, and branch network infrastructure.  The update to One Policy comes courtesy of Cisco Identity Service Engine (ISE) 1.2 which will simplify your customers’ network security and access control, with the ability to apply one policy across their wired, wireless, and VPN networks. You can learn about these highlights and more (did I mention a new Access point series – Cisco 1600 APs?) at the Unified Access Update page on Partner Central:

If you wish to go directly to all the partner resources, here is the list.

What are the opportunities for you?
In addition to potential network refreshes, the Bring your Own Device trend is presenting new opportunities. With the proliferation of new devices being brought into the workplace – BYOD is being adopted and not letting up – companies need to add net-new wireless access in branch offices, stores, and other remote locations.   This is a great opportunity for you to help your customers approach these new deployments with a converged approach.

You may be wondering why Cisco created both a new switch with WLC capabilities as well as a new stand-along Wireless LAN Controller; this is because different companies have different needs and thus, different networks.

To get much more in-depth information (i.e. the things I can’t say publically) you should check out the partner launch webcast which is viewable on demand.  As someone who has watched many webinars, I’ll honestly tell you I found this one interesting, well done, and I think it should be a good use of 45 minutes.  You can even skip to different chapters if you want to get to the good stuff.  The partner launch webcast can found on the Unified Access Update page.

If you’d like to see how we’re launching this to customers, check out “Get Your Network Ready for BYOD with Unified Access” webcast which is live at 8:30 a.m. PDT on January 29. (It will also be available on-demand if you can’t attend.) Be sure to stick around after the webcast for the TechWiseTV episode at 9:30 a.m. PDT where our hosts will dive into the technical meat of the Unified Access launch. And if you want to get even more prepared, join the Q&A session on the Borderless Networks community (Log in using your ID if you aren’t already a member.) to arm yourself with the answers to your customers’ potential questions and look like a total rock star as you answer some questions of your own.


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