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Santa’s Gift for Wireless Admins This Holiday Season

Last week, a friend of mine jokingly asked me, “So, what is Santa bringing to Cisco’s wireless customers this holiday season?”

I couldn’t help but grin because I already knew what many of you are now aware of: Santa’s wireless holiday delivery came early this year, with Release 7.4 now posted on Cisco.com.

We at Cisco’s Wireless Networking Group are really excited to show off this shiny new release. 7.4 is jam-packed with 40+ features to improve the everyday lives of Cisco wireless customers.

You must be thinking: But you just released feature-heavy 7.3 in October AND new products, such as Virtual Wireless Controller and the highly scalable Wireless Controller 8510!

So what makes 7.4 so special? We specifically chose each feature with the goal of creating an uncompromised user-experience while keeping wireless network administrators happy by making it easy manage their WLAN more efficiently. The 7.4 release specifically focuses on four main pillars:

  • Quality of Experience for Wireless Users
  • Improved Security & Spectrum intelligence
  • Improved performance for small deployments
  • Ability to deploy innovative IT services using mobile apps

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Network wide Bonjour® – How would you support Bonjour across multiple VLANs?

As the saying goes, “every stick has two ends”. While laptops, smartphones and tablets have enabled us to be more mobile without compromising on being “connected,” with it comes challenges such as WIFI accessibility, power consumption and your ability to find network based services, like a printer wherever you happen to be.

To facilitate the ability for an end user to discover Services on a network, various Service Discovery protocols have been introduced. One of the most popular is DNS-SD (DNS-Service Discovery), which in conjunction with mDNS (multicast DNS) make up Apple’s offering called Bonjour. Bonjour enables end users to discover Services on their local network. While Bonjour is focused on smaller networks (e.g. Home Networks) with the advent of mobile customers wanting to discover services in close proximity, Bonjour becomes an ideal option to facilitate that. However, as Bonjour utilizes mDNS which is constrained to a single VLAN, customers are not able to discover services across multiple VLANs.

There are a few approaches being proposed to support Bonjour across multiple VLANs:

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Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Cisco Wireless Network for the Apple iPhone 5 & Other Dual Band Smartphones

Last week Apple dominated tech headlines when it announced details of the iPhone 5. With its release today, thousands of fans will line up across the globe to be the first to try the new smartphone.

There have been a number of iPhone improvements, but the one I find significant is the fact that the iPhone 5 will have dual band Wi-Fi. This means that in addition to supporting the 2.4GHz band, it will now support the 5GHz band. Why is this significant? Well, the iPhone joins a number of other smartphone vendors who now have products capable of operating in both the 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) and 802,11a/n (5GHz) Wi-Fi bands. Other vendors that stack up include Samsung’s Galaxy S III and HTC’s One X.

Why is this 5GHz important? There is certainly nothing wrong with the 2.4GHz band. Both bands are unlicensed in most regions of the world. However, with the proliferation of devices due to the growing BYOD trend, the 2.4GHz band is getting real crowded. Remember: the 2.4GHz band only has 3 non-overlapping channels available. Think about it: all these devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and access points are competing for the available bandwidth while interference increases.  In short, the 2.4GHz band just doesn’t have enough capacity for all these competing devices.

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Got an iPad? We’re Speaking Your Language.

When it comes to discovering available resources, Apple and WiFi networks can quite literally speak a different language. Apple has always done things a little differently. That’s one reason Apple is Apple. But with the ballooning share of iPhone and iPads on the enterprise network, it’s time for a little cross platform diplomacy.

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