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Introducing the NBase-T Alliance – Redefining Access Networks

Today, Cisco, Aquantia, Freescale and Xilinx announced the founding of the NBase-T Alliance.  Key goals of the alliance are as follows:

  • Promote collaboration and dialogue for developing technology to enable speeds greater than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e and Category 6 cabling infrastructure.
  • Work in conjunction with standards bodies to standardize speeds greater than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e and Category 6 cabling infrastructure.

Background:

The IEEE 802.11ac Wave 1 standard has already delivered 1 Gigabit wireless speeds to enterprise access networks. Soon, the industry will introduce 802.11ac Wave 2 products that could deliver wireless speeds up to 6.8Gbps. Similarly, products based on 802.11ad standard could deliver speeds up to 7Gbps. And the 802.11ax standard while in its formative stages has a goal to quadruple the throughput in the 5GHz band. Other emerging technologies such as Li-Fi could also facilitate access networks in the multi-gigabit range for the Internet of Everything.

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802.11ac Bandwidth Planning

Ever since the much anticipated 802.11ac standard was ratified and supported by Enterprise class access points (AP), I’ve asked myself the question that perhaps other network and Radio-Frequency (RF) engineers have:  how much of the theoretical 1.3Gbps 802.11ac data-rate can I really deliver to my users and what is the overall throughput experience when I deploy at scale or in high-density (HD) scenario? On the surface, it may seem intuitive that I should allocate 80MHz to my 802.11ac radios to achieve the best throughput BUT as it turns out, this approach has limited scale and may lead to less total throughput than a smaller 40Mhz channel -- so in this case; less may be more!

This is due to the fact that while in a single-cell (AP) scenario (say 5000 sq. ft) it is realistic to expect most capable devices can reach 1.3Gbps (1Mbps of throughput) with 3 spatial stream (SS) & 80MHz  (e.g. MacBook Pro) and 433Mbps (300Mb/s of throughput) with 1 SS & 80MHz (e.g. iPhone 6)  BUT this throughput degrades quickly in a multi-cell environment where co-channel-interference (CCI) from neighboring APs can dominate. So we need to look at the primary CCI contributors, which are:  Read More »

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Prestigious museum adopts High Density 802.11ac Wireless to cater to tech-savvy audience

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Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands is one of the top 10 art and history museums in the world.

We live in an era where information is available in the palm of our hands and traditional institutions such as museums are inevitably facing the consequences of this. Even though the museum dates back to the 1800′s with artifacts from the middle ages, they have embraced modern technology to adapt to the changing landscape. This was as a matter of survival considering the competition from other institutions.

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The Foundation for a Business Relevant Network

With the growing influx of new mobile devices, connected things, bandwidth intensive applications and more data, the network is more relevant to business success than ever before.  Back in June of 2012, Cisco saw that we needed to move away from multiple network systems loosely linked together to an agile and simple infrastructure, streamlined policy and centralized management would be needed to support new business demands. We called it Cisco Unified Access and we aligned the solution to three pillars: One Network, One Policy and One Management.

For the last few years, we have focused on delivering new products and functionality under this Unified Access model. Below is a timeline of products released as part of the Unified Access framework. Cisco lead the way in delivering gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi., converged wireless control in access switches and through the acquisition of Meraki – a complete cloud-managed network solution.

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The timeline above doesn’t represent every feature and function we have delivered, but it shows Cisco’s commitment to this Unified Access model, both from a cloud-managed and on-premise solution perspective.

Today, Cisco is announcing a number of new products and new functionality to existing products that will help mobilize the workforce, secure the business and increase IT agility. The announcement includes the following: Read More »

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Cloudburst: iOS 8 Generates 50% Increase in Network Traffic

Many network engineers recall the iOS7 update on September 18, 2013 as one of the most historic download days of their network’s history. All the more reason for us in the wireless world who anxiously anticipated the September 17 release of iOS8.

We asked a few of our customers to monitor the effect of the software release on their networks and the results for the first two days are in. Those in the education and healthcare space in particular are filled with early adopters of WiFi technology and devices, and eager to get their hands on the latest updates.

Joe Rogers, Associate Network Director at the University of South Florida shared this picture with us from 1pm September 17th, showing 1 Gbps more traffic than he would normally see at this time of day:

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Another customer, Greg Sawyer, Manager of Infrastructure Services, shared this picture of the iOS8 effect on his network at the UNSW Australia.

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He noted that his experience handling the release this year felt smoother than last year, despite the new peak internet download of 4.65 Gbps and 21Tb downloaded for the day! Not too surprising when considering that there were 27,000 concurrent connections on the wireless network and approximately 60% of those being Apple devices.

How should organizations be considering and handling these network spikes? I sat down with Cisco technical leaders Matt MacPherson and Chris Spain (@Spain_Chris) to get some insight on the effect of big updates like iOS8 on the wireless network. Here are some of the highlights of what we discussed:

The World We Live In

The truth is, more and more services are being moved to the cloud—a cloud that will push updates to millions & in the future billions of users and devices on our networks. Read More »

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