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Innovations that give your network a boost.

As technology consumers, we take almost every aspect of wireless connectivity, network technology innovation and performance for granted. As technology workers, we tend to think about standards more than most people. But even so, do you really think about standards much when you use one of your many wireless devices? When you bought your tablet, did you wonder whether it supported 802.11n or 802.11a/g? Did you think it would matter when you started using it? And when a new standard gets introduced, do you jump online or race to the tech shop to swap out all of your devices so they support that new standard. I’ve never seen an ad for a device that uses standards compliance as a feature or benefit, just as no one has ever said to me, “Hey, check out my new smart phone! It’s 802.11n compliant, man! It’s so cool!” My point: we generally choose our devices based on features and price, rather than on standards compliance. (Well, there are many who are paid to test new devices for standards compliance, so my opinion will not be without some controversy to someone.)

The reality we face, however, is that wireless networks need to account for and support multiple standards, just as they must support multiple device types. The challenge for IT managers is to ensure that they are providing the best experience for users wherever they are on the network, efficiently, so that a user with an older device has the same experience as a user with a newer device. Cisco ClientLink 2.0 Technology does just that.

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BYOD on a University Campus: A Student’s Perspective

There is a new generation of college students out there, I would know as I recently was one of them.  Information being at your fingertips is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  Professors’ expectations of their students have increased dramatically due to the wealth of information on mobile devices.  Every class I attended leveraged some form of wireless access to the web.  Instant message in response to real-time questions and online submissions are just two of many examples of how network access has been integrated into the education system.  Professors would consistently use online tools such as online drop boxes for projects and web conferencing tools.  According to MarketWire 92% of college students feel a laptop is a necessity, this indicates that the requirement of mobile access at a university is a given and the college experience is defined by the ease of that access. 

Professors are on tight schedules and are generally available only at certain times of the day.  Imagine- wanting to contact a professor during open hours only to fall short because your laptop had difficulty getting any kind of connection.  I remember the frustrations of wanting to revisit PowerPoint presentations on a class website in the library, only to realize that I was sitting by the one window notorious for being a wireless dead zone.  Dorms were infamous for spotty coverage.  Having the dorm room located closest to the access point for best access was purely by luck of the draw.  I was not so lucky.  In my dorm, you would not get any wireless access unless you were sitting right next to the hallway.  That’s why I am especially envious of the students of Colorado University, whose alma mater upgraded to enterprise-class coverage. 

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Can BYOD Be Simple, Affordable, and Secure for the Medium-Business?

Do you have an iPhone,  Android, Samsung , or any other mobile phone? Not surprising since there will be 15 billion networked devices by 20151. With employees (yes, even IT themselves) bringing their mobile phones to work, businesses are seeing at least a doubling of mobile devices per employee; from laptop-only to laptop + mobile phone (+ tablet)2.

The IT department is faced with an increased burden on their existing wireless network, while securing email access from any platform and simultaneously ensuring an optimal, reliable user mobile experience. Offering a reliable, consistent user mobile experience used to be a luxury ask; today, it impacts employee productivity. Mobile employee productivity can range from wireless laptop access from conference rooms to roaming the within the building accessing corporate email from any mobile device. This is true for me (working at a large enterprise) and my husband (working at a medium-sized business).

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BYOD and Back to School…Already?

Popsicles, water balloon fights, fireflies and staying up past your bedtime. These summertime rituals haven’t changed since I was a kid. What has changed is technology and the buying cycle for back-to-school.  Last week in Target I saw an entire wall display of back packs.  My kids have been out of school for exactly one month and retailers are already pushing school supplies! 

Sunday I woke up brewed a pot of coffee and sat down with my iPad to check Facebook and peruse my email. Cisco has embraced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), so I have secure access to my work email on my iPad at home. I checked a few work emails, but I just couldn’t resist the Red, White and Blue 20% off coupon in my inbox.  Had I not seen the back-to-school display last week and received the coupon in my inbox would I be buying khaki pants and blue shirts the 2nd week of July?  Shopping on a laptop is easy. Shopping on an iPad is just downright dangerous!  Consumerism was starting to take over, but in my mind I justified it as one less thing on my to-do list for August.

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802.11ac: The Fifth Generation of Wi-Fi Technology

802.11ac: The Fifth Generation of Wi-Fi Technology

In the last few months, there have been a lot of written on the emerging 802.11ac standard. This next generation of Wi-Fi promises to be very exciting since 802.11ac will address some critical pain points faced by users of 802.11n today – more bandwidth and more simultaneous users.  To help explain the technology, we put together a new Fundamentals video.  You’ll learn about new features such as:

  • Operating in the 5GHz band
  • Wider channels (80MHz & 160MHz) which means more capacity in the band
  • Increased modulation with 256 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), providing a significant increase in throughput over 802.11n which has 64 QAM
  • Downlink Multi-User MIMO which allows an AP to transmit to multiple clients simultaneously
  • Up to 8 Spatial streams which doubles the number of spatial streams used in 802.11n

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