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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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Globe University rolls out innovation over Cisco WLAN

September 30, 2014 at 12:21 pm PST

For the past 125 years, Globe University has focused on hands-on training to ensure the career success of students offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as diploma and certificate programs.  A recent article from the magazine Campus Technology showcases how they are pioneers in adopting new technology in the classroom. They have a systematic program dubbed as edUX (Educational User Experience) to integrate tablets into every program they offer. In addition, they work with an e-book platform called VitalSource and use Blackboard technology in the classrooms. Students are also encouraged to use technology. For example, math and science instructors use videos from the Khan Academy, the business school recommends Twitter accounts and the librarian encourages using EasyBib for book citations.

Campus Technology

In the past few years Apple introduced mDNS services such as AppleTV, file servers and printers that use a Zero Config-based technology for service advertisement and discovery called Bonjour. While this technology works well in the home, which is a flat L2 network, when it is deployed in a K-12 or enterprise, it does not lend well over a L3 network. In 2013, Cisco introduced Bonjour Services Directory on the AireOS 7.4 and Service Discovery Gateway (SDG) on the Catalyst 3K, 4K, 6K and 5760 Series controllers with release IOS-XE 3.3. The future releases further optimized the functionality in 7.5 release, 8.0 release and IOS-XE 3.6 release. In this blog, I will share deployment details of unified access at Globe University and how they use Application Visibility and Control (Cisco AVC) to track applications in their network and the Bonjour Services Directory to manage AppleTVs in the classroom.

Read More »

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Five Reasons to Upgrade Cisco’s CMX to MSE 8.0 Today

The highly anticipated Wireless Release 8.0 came out last week, and among the feature updates is a key set of enhancements and new modules for Cisco’s CMX solution that come with MSE 8.0.  These updates were designed to build out the breadth of location services available to organizations, as well as improve the user experience for customers working with the CMX solution. These enhancements make five great reasons to upgrade to 8.0 today and test out these new tools and features in your Wi-Fi location deployment:

1. Presence Analytics

This new feature enables the use of a single access point (AP) to determine device presence and dwell time. It provides a simplified way to leverage Wi-Fi technology to Detect, Connect, and Engage your customers. Retail stores, hotels, conference facilities, shopping malls, schools, and even city centers can greatly benefit from Presence Analytics. Unleashing this tool can help customers understand the basic, yet powerful, knowledge of the number of visitors to their space, time spent by the visitors, and frequency of visits. It can even provide a more in-depth look into the movement patterns of their visitors, while within their space, giving an understanding of which areas are most attractive to their client base.

Presence Analytics is very simple to configure by naming the entry, selecting the access point, and setting threshold values. Best of all, the majority of CMX Analytics reports are available automatically. All this allows customers to start using CMX Analytics without having to make any changes to their existing network and get immediate value from it.

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2. Enhancements to Guest Access
Those familiar with CMX Connect will know that there are two guest access solutions available to customers with Cisco CMX. The first, CMX Connect, provides organizations with a simple, secure way to provide guest Wi-Fi access. CMX Connect offers the option of custom splash pages using a zone-based captive portal.

In MSE 8.0, we have dramatically simplified how CMX Connect is configured. The administrator only needs to indicate information they’d like collected (such as, name and email), and the zones in which the template will be used. Read More »

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Behind the WiFi Network @ Mobile World Congress 2014: Site Surveys

In my last blog I discussed setting the stage in preparation for the Wi-Fi network for Mobile World Congress 2014 which supported more than 80k devices over a span of 4 days. Today I’ll talk about one of the many site surveys we conducted at the Fira Gran Via to ensure the success of our high density network.  Full details in the white paper here.

High Density Wi-Fi deployments and site surveys go hand in hand. Pre-installation and post-installation site surveys account for the most effective way to identify the contours of your RF coverage and eliminate potential multipath distortions, hidden nodes, and other coverage issues. Special attention was given to the large keynote auditorium halls in order to keep a check on the additional RF coverage needs to accommodate the high density of users packed in a very close range.

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View of inside the Hall-4 Keynote Auditorium (23000 sq ft) before the Facebook keynote session

Site Survey analysis used to measure the RF coverage in Hall-4 keynote auditorium

Site Survey analysis used to measure the RF coverage in Hall-4 keynote auditorium

The Hall-4 auditorium was one example of such a high density area with the 2000 person capacity area had a peak connection of 1924 concurrently connected Wi-Fi devices distributed across 16 Cisco APs while the Facebook keynote was in progress, with a max load of 530 Mbps of internet traffic. To avoid an RF overlap, the ceiling mounted APs above the auditoriums were converted to monitor mode. Using the final pre-keynote site survey data, the RF profile for the Hall-4 auditorium was tweaked, and RRM automatically optimized the coverage to the desired degree by adjusting the Tx power levels. Read More »

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Behind the WiFi Network @ Mobile World Congress 2014: Setting the Stage

Every year a new attendance record is set at Mobile World Congress by networkers participating from over 200 countries across the globe. This grand attendance of industry-defining vendors, technology enthusiasts and exhibitors triggers an explosive growth in the number of Wi-Fi capable devices being brought to the event. For MWC 2014, Cisco partnered with Fira Gran Via and GSMA to pull off one of the most successful high density Wi-Fi network deployments in the history of global tech events. This blog kicks off a series to provide a glimpse of behind the network, into the design stages, and the course of actions undertaken to implement a robust high density wireless network which served more than 22,000 concurrently connected unique devices and a total of 80,880 devices throughout the event. Full details in whitepaper here.

Setting the Scene

Divided into eight massive exhibition halls, Fira Gran Via covers around 3 million square feet (280,000 square meters) of area which also includes outdoor areas, restaurants, conference rooms, network lounges and a continuous elevated walkway flowing through the entire venue. Higher the environmental complexity, the more fun and challenging it is to achieve the right wireless design for a pervasive network that meets all the needs.

An aerial view of Mobile World Congress 2014 arena at Fira Gran Via, Barcelona

An aerial view of Mobile World Congress 2014 arena at Fira Gran Via, Barcelona

Generally, the physical design of large convention and exhibition halls bear an impish knack of unfavorable conditions for a ubiquitous high density Wi-Fi network, owing mostly to the lofty ceiling heights and construction components. Read More »

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