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HDX Blog Series #1: Why Spectrum Intelligence Still Matters

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a four-part deep dive series into High Density Experience (HDX), Cisco’s latest solution suite designed for high density environments and next-generation wireless technologies. For more on Cisco HDX, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac

CleanAir for 802.11ac:  Why Spectrum Intelligence Still Matters

In wireless networking and communications, as with life, nothing good comes for free. It’s well known that the primary feature of the new IEEE 802.11ac amendment is support for an 80 MHz-wide channel. The benefit of an 80 MHz channel is the potential to double usable throughput in comparison to that of 802.11n using a 40 MHz wide channel.

However, what is less well known is that a wider RF channel is also more susceptible to interference. In other words, 802.11ac devices “hear more” than 802.11n devices, primarily due to the wider channel support. It should be noted that this is not a flaw in the 802.11ac amendment, it’s simply basic communications theory.

Nevertheless, there is far more to building an 802.11ac access point than simply meeting the standard. Not all 802.11ac access points perform equally without interference. But more importantly, not all 802.11ac access points perform well in the presence of interference.

Furthermore, there is far more to deploying High Density wireless LANs than only considering the performance of individual access points. Read More »

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Prepare Your Networks for High Density without Compromising on Performance

A new year means new users and new devices. More devices means more network crowding. Mobile users demand bandwidth and speed, while the network is increasingly overwhelmed by the sheer number of devices. The networks of today and tomorrow have to be ready for high client density environments.

That’s why we’ve developed the Cisco High Density Experience (HDX). I announced HDX in a blog last October with a high level look at Cisco’s answer to handling high client density environments. Each feature in the HDX solution was designed specifically to alleviate the introduction of more clients, more bandwidth hungry applications to provide an unparalleled user experience.

Starting tomorrow we’ll kick off an HDX blog series to dive deep into the four key features that come with HDX:

  1. January 8: CleanAir
  2. January 13: Turbo Performance
  3. January 27: ClientLink 3.0
  4. February 10: Optimized Roaming

For more on Cisco’s approach to 802.11ac, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.

 

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Guest Blog: Migrating High Density University Networks to 802.11ac

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Joe Rogers, Associate Director of Network Engineering for the University of South Florida (USF). Hear Joe speak about his experiences with next-generation wireless in high density environments on next Tuesday’s webinar:  ”Migrating Enterprise Networks to 802.11ac” at 10am PST (Dec 17) (Register here)

Joe RogersJoe Rogers is the Associate Director of Network Engineering for the University of South Florida.  He is a graduate of USF’s Computer Science and Engineering program and has worked as a network engineer at USF for the past 20 years.  He is currently responsible for all aspects of USF’s network which provides connectivity to over 100k devices across three campuses.  He’s held a CCIE routing and switching certification since 1999.  When not working, he’s an avid mountain biker (if you can call it “mountain” biking when you live in Florida).

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Universities face some of the most complex design challenges in wireless networking.  Our user population is highly mobile, bandwidth-hungry, and often simultaneously using at least two wireless devices in rooms with hundreds of their classmates.  The wireless network isn’t simply a convenience to them.  It’s critical to their educational success as many of the students are taking tests or working on assignments across the network.

At the University of South Florida, we support over 20,000 concurrent wireless users on our network of over 4,000 access points.  We have more than 90,000 unique devices registered this semester.  Our biggest challenge is designing the wireless network for the device densities in our large classrooms and popular study areas.  In these locations, we often have a thousand devices in a few hundred square feet of space.

We heavily rely on band select to place as many devices as possible on 5Ghz where more channels are available.  Unfortunately many devices such as older tablets and smart phones simply don’t have an 802.11a/n radio.  So we must carefully RF engineer the environment with smaller cells to provide the necessary coverage density. Read More »

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6 Tips for High Density Network Design

The guys from No Strings Attached Show just published their podcast we sponsored featuring Jim Florwick yesterday and already the verdict is in: Jim Florwick is awesome.

For those of you who haven’t had the chance to download the podcast yet (What are you waiting for?! Download  podcast) or you have a few extra minutes to scan a short blog to decide whether or not you want to download the podcast, I asked Jim what his key takeaways are when it comes to high density design.

Here are Jim Florwick’s 6 tips for HD network design (for the REAL meat, tune into the podcast):

  1. High density client environments are quite common with today’s users being very connected – today’s users are always connected.  With planning, this can be managed quite successfully.  Understand the limitations, be aware of how legacy requirements will affect the outcome, and set expectations accordingly. Efficiency is key and removing some of the blockers (legacy) first is essential.
  2. 802.11ac represents another quantum leap forward in technology and will eventually allow a much richer user experience.   It is a transition that must be managed and balanced against your current mission requirements.  Evaluate channel/bandwidth requirements carefully.  Monitor the mix of client devices operating in your environment and update frequently. Read More »

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WWDC Wireless Takeaway: 802.11ac on Apple Devices Coming Your Way Soon

At WWDC this week, Apple announced that their new Macbook and Macbook Air are 802.11ac enabled. As we predicted in our red-hot Client Adoption blog earlier this year, the list of 802.11ac clients, like the new Macbooks and Samsung Galaxy S4, will continue to grow and expand throughout 2013. These devices come with the promise of Gigabit wireless, at faster speeds and better performance. How will your enterprise networks meet those expectations? The Cisco Aironet 3600 with 802.11ac module is your ticket for enterprise-class 802.11ac wireless.

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Cisco Aironet 3600 AP with 802.11ac module

The 802.11ac module will make these new clients fly at new higher speeds--3 to 4 times faster than 802.11n. So if you are connecting your new Apple device to an Enterprise Network supporting Cisco’s 3600 AP with the 802.11ac module, you will be able to get some of the highest bandwidth rates ever seen out of your Wi-Fi network which will open the opportunity for better quality video streams, better online collaboration and the support of more high-bandwidth demanding applications.  Check out the Aironet 3600 here:  http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps13128/index.html

Can’t get enough of 802.11ac? Neither can we. Read More »

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