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HDX Blog Series #3: 802.11ac Beamforming At Its Best: ClientLink 3.0

Editor’s Note: This is the second 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  Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here.

The 802.11ac wireless networking standard is the most recent introduction by the IEEE (now ratified), and is rapidly becoming more accepted and reliable industry standard. The good news is that the client and vendor adoption rate for 802.11ac is growing at a much higher pace as compared to when 802.11n was introduced back in 2009. There has been an accelerated growth seen with the mobile and laptop devices entering the wireless market embedded with an 802.11ac WiFi chipset. Unlike in the past, laptop, smartphone and tablet manufacturers are now acknowledging the fact that staying up to date with the latest Wi-Fi standards is as important for the bandwidth hungry users as having a better camera or a higher resolution display.

With the launch of the new 802.11ac AP 3700, Cisco introduces the Cisco HDX (High Density Experience) Technology. Cisco HDX is a suite of solutions aimed towards augmenting the higher performance, more speed and better client connectivity that 802.11ac standard delivers today.

ClientLink 3.0 features as an integral part of Cisco HDX technology designed to resolve the complexities that comes along with the new BYOD trend driving the high proliferation of 802.11ac capable devices.

So what is ClientLink 3.0 technology and how does it work?

ClientLink 3.0 is a Cisco patented 802.11ac/n/a/g beamforming technology Read More »

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Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report: Threat Intelligence Offers View into Network Compromises

Thanks to extensive detection telemetry and analytics, we have a clear view into the attackers and malicious actors that are infiltrating Internet infrastructure and using trusted applications as a foothold for gaining access to networks. As explained in the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report, online criminals continue to develop more sophisticated methods for breaching security protections—all of which require extra vigilance and a holistic view of threats and how they’re managed.

Perhaps the trend of most concern is malicious actors’ ability to gain access to web hosting servers, nameservers, and data centers, and using their processing power and bandwidth to launch far larger exploits and attacks. This is sobering, because it means that now the very foundations of the Internet are at risk of exploitation. The 2013 DarkLeech attack demonstrates how the compromise of hosting servers can help attackers gather the resources they need for a much larger campaign: In this case, servers were compromised worldwide, allowing the perpetrators to take over 20,000 legitimate websites.

The broad reach of this malicious behavior and resulting compromises can be seen in the results of Cisco’s examination of Domain Name Service (DNS) lookups originating from inside corporate networks, as detailed in the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report.

Cisco threat intelligence experts found that 100 percent of the business networks analyzed had traffic going to websites that host malware, while 92 percent show traffic to webpages without content, which typically host malicious activity. Ninety-six percent of the networks reviewed showed traffic to hijacked servers. The pervasiveness of malicious traffic indicates that organizations need to monitor network traffic closely (and continuously) for possible indicators of compromise.

Some of the most tenacious players in the network compromise game are launching targeted attacks, which are proving very difficult for organizations to oust from their networks. These attacks are persistent and disruptive, threatening the security of intellectual property, customer data, and other sensitive information. As a guide to understanding targeted attacks, the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report offers insights on the “attack chain”—that is, the events that lead to and through the stages of such attacks, as seen in the graphic below:


The bottom line is that IT security professionals need to think like attackers and understand the methods and approaches they use to execute their missions.

The Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report has many more findings on security threats, gleaned from Cisco research and observations—including updates on mitigating Java exploits, threats observed in mobile device use, and the status of threats and vulnerabilities reported by Cisco. You’ll find it a valuable resource as you prepare to understand security challenges in the year ahead.

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Discover What Consumers Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile

Consumers have a true love of mobile devices, as evidenced by recent Cisco mobile consumer research.  Significant percentages of respondents reported using everything from laptops, smartphones, and tablets to eReaders and mobile gaming devices. Americans now own an average of three mobile devices each, up from 2.6 devices in the 2012 Cisco mobile consumer study.  Perhaps more significant, our findings show that the number of smartphone users has grown by 21 percent in just one year, now reaching 68 percent of the population, at the expense of basic phones. Most remarkable is that the number of tablet owners has expanded by over 90 percent in just one year, with close to four out of ten consumers possessing one of these new devices.

The insatiable demand for mobile devices and new applications that use large amounts of bandwidth is generating staggering volumes of mobile data. In parallel, the use of Wi-Fi for Internet access is exploding, as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers. Many service providers are now constructing extensive networks of public Wi-Fi hotspots for use by their mobile or home broadband customers. The networks allow mobile offload and help enhance and differentiate their offerings. In addition, service providers are struggling to understand new business models for making money from Wi-Fi.  However, very little is currently known about how consumers are actually using public Wi-Fi and how they view the overall experience. Nor is there much information about mobile users’ appetite for these new services, their willingness to use them, or their privacy or security concerns surrounding these data-based services.

To learn more, Cisco conducted a survey of 620 U.S. mobile users to understand their needs and behaviors, use of devices, applications and mobile access technologies, and how they have changed since our 2012 mobile consumer study.

Top 10 Research Findings Read More »

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Curious About Cisco and Facebook’s Partnership for Wi-Fi?

More and more organizations across industries are realizing that providing simple, easy Wi-Fi for customers, guests, visitors, and more is becoming a basic expectation. Consumers are used to their always-on, always-connected lifestyles, so naturally their checklist for any venue they step into will now include “Wi-Fi” as a top priority. Good thing Cisco has not one but two simple ways for organizations with venues to provide easy Wi-Fi access for their consumers. One is CMX Connect, which you read about in the MSE blog series. The other is CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi.

We announced our partnership with Facebook last October to help connect businesses with their consumers at Interop New York. This Wednesday, January 22nd, we are having a special live webinar to give our customers a deeper dive into the Cisco and Facebook Wi-Fi solution.   Register to join us at 10am PST!

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Cisco and Facebook speakers, as well as a special guest customer, to learn more about our joint-solution. Hear how CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi can help boost recognition for your brand, foster stronger relationships with customers, and promote your business by connecting you directly to customers through Facebook.

Click here to register.

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How Aligned Are Business and IT Priorities?

Are Business and IT Groups Innovating Together -01.17.14

Innovation is critical to the success of every organization. According to a recent Cisco survey, 84% of business leaders agree that technology innovation is a critical or very important strategic differentiator for their companies. However, this survey also revealed that technology investments made by business and IT leadership are not always aligned. So how can business and IT work better together to deliver more innovation and business impact?

To address this challenge, we recently conducted the first phase of the Cisco Business and IT Priority Survey, which asked 1,800 business leaders globally about how their business and IT priorities are linked, and how these groups manage their innovation processes and technology investments. The good news is that 70% of business leaders indicated that their priorities and IT’s are aligned.

However, 67% of business leaders also said IT will influence less than half of the business technology budget next year. This means that two thirds of all organizations have an opportunity to better align IT and business technology spending, and deliver more innovation and business impact in the process.

Furthermore, this opportunity is growing as business’ investments in technology increase faster than IT’s. More than half of business leaders expect their technology budgets to increase up to 25% next year, and 11% expect their tech budgets to grow more than 25%. These business technology budget increases also vary widely by country – see the next installment in this series for details on our survey results different countries, industries, and business roles.

So how can business and IT better align their technology investments to deliver more IT innovation and business impact?

  1. Simplify – align and map technology and business priorities at every level. Then innovate with integrated solutions that map to more of your business priorities now – and longer term. For example, Fredericksberg Commune in Denmark reduce IT helpdesk incidents by 90% by integrating wired, wireless, routing and security technologies.

    Using SDN and automation capabilities, there are also many new ways to simplify IT and free up resources to fuel more innovation – across your entire network. See our upcoming CiscoLive! Milan announcements for more details on how to dramatically improve IT productivity.
  2. Unify – breaking down technology silos can yield huge ROI and, in turn, spur innovation. Two Cisco solutions that exemplify this principle of unity are Unified Access and Intelligent WAN. Unified Access, where policy, management and networks all work better together as one, can deliver orders of magnitude more capacity and performance than independent wired and wireless point products that may be deployed as separate initiatives. For example, the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan recently deployed an integrated wired/wireless solution, and plans to grow revenues by 15 to 20% by offering new guest services in addition to the outstanding guest experiences they’re already providing.

    Similarly, combining MPLS, Internet and 3G/4G-LTE into one Intelligent WAN can reduce overall costs by more than $500,00 annually for companies with 100 sites, and dramatically improve performance, security, and reliability in the process.
  3. Multiply – with the right network, you can add many innovative new services and applications, as well as capacity and performance more quickly to reach business goals sooner. For example, Copenhagen Airport is transforming passenger experiences by integrating wireless, mobility and location services in new ways.

    This potential value is in many current networks, but it’s even more important as the Internet of Things brings connectivity to billions of new devices and applications and previously unconnected things, changing business models in profound ways.

Because the alignment of IT and business priorities is so important for innovation and business outcomes, on January 27th, we’ll begin collecting and sharing these priorities on a global basis in the next phase of our Business and IT Priority Survey. With this intelligence, people can see how their priorities  compare to those of their industry peers, and we can all better understand how to drive business and IT together.

Our findings to date indicate that opportunities for innovation live in virtually every organization. Please join us in the coming weeks as we dive deeper into these results and show real-world innovation examples that will help your IT and business groups innovate and deliver more business impact than ever before.

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