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DVR Alert: Cisco Cius, the Crime Fighting Tablet Debuts on NCIS: LA

Set your DVRs to catch the Cisco Cius in action for its scene-stealing debut on the hit CBS show, NCIS: LA.  Cisco Cius, the mobile collaboration tablet built for business, is used across multiple scenes in tonight’s show. Main characters Sam, Callen, Eric, and Nell use the device for a live video session while docked to analyze clues in the lab, and then go mobile with the Cius to continue the video conversation and deliver proof of the crime.  The episode will air on CBS tonight at 9:00 pm ET/PT, 8:00 pm CT.

Visit the Cisco Video Lounge now to sneak a peek!

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Avoid Pitfalls at Your Royal Wedding: Cisco Saves the Day (Great Videos for a Thursday)

Today, we’d thought it might be time for a little fun. We’ve found some Cisco videos that might make you laugh, might make you cry and hopefully provide a little distraction as the week wraps up. Here are our favorites!

The Royal Wedding Planner

There are so many little details to worry about when planning a royal wedding. This little video helps all of you who may find yourself planning your own royal wedding one day!

Watch the video and then visit the website.

Military Dads See Families via Telepresence

This one got me -- nothing sweeter than watching families make a connection, especially when there are children involved. A great clip from “One Good Turn” on ABC Family. Watch the video.

30 Rock: Jack Meets with the GE Execs

When the execs at GE (on the show) need to meet with Jack, they rely on Telepresence to address a rather unique concern Read More »

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The 3 C’s of Mobile Collaboration—And Why You Need Them

The latest smartphones and tablets are redefining what it means to take your office on the road, and they’re making collaboration a whole lot easier. Since more than a third of the global workforce will be mobile information workers by 2012, major advances are coming at the right time (and Cisco is a leading innovator).

In the video below, I discuss the 3 C’s of mobile collaboration:  communication, collaboration, and compute. Learn how Cisco is enabling collaboration on all the leading mobile platforms, while going further to equip the Cisco Cius with native integration capabilities that offer a seamless, hassle-free experience.

So why does mobile collaboration matter for your organization?

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Transforming Business Processes with Business Tablets like the Cisco Cius

When I meet with customers, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is what makes a tablet suitable for enterprise use. It’s a great question. I then share my thoughts – and they in turn provide theirs.

The timing’s right to consider this – at least when considering projections, such as from Deloitte, which are forecasting that 50% of computing devices in 2011 will NOT be PC’s – but will be tablets or smartphones. The landscape’s changing indeed.

So, for those of you considering a tablet solution to redefine how your employees go about their work, here are some key areas I’ll share that your colleagues are thinking about. That you may want to consider as you sort through the landscape of tablet options available to you to change your business processes:

  • How important is it that your tablet solution is fully integrated into your communications capabilities, such as voice and/or video interoperability, secure social messaging or offering full desktop computing?
  • Is corporate governance and compliance in your enterprise a factor? For example, are detailed call records, secure call recording with redundant backup systems key record keeping capabilities for your business, due to regulatory requirements?

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On Consumerisation, Spatial Streams and Why RF Matters

The devil, as they say, is in the details.

One of the key tenets of engineering is to reduce complexity, but in doing so it is important to understand the implications. While we might try to view one technology as it relates to another to help us simplify the details, it is important that we recognise how and where they differ.

Case in point.

When it comes to wireless networks, I often talk about how there are two questions I dislike being asked more than any others:

  1. How many clients can connect to an access point?
  2. What is the maximum range of an access point?

The reason is that I believe they are the wrong questions. They are being asked from perspective of someone trying to relate to a wireless network as if it were a wired network. What they are really asking is “how many switch ports do I need to cover this area?”

But wireless networks are not switched networks. While each connected device in a wired network has its own physical cable, and thereby its own gigabit Ethernet link, in a wireless network, every device connected to a particular access point shares the same RF spectrum, the same total available bandwidth.

For a standard access point in today’s deployments, that means a maximum total bandwidth of 144Mbps on the 2.4GHz band with a 20MHz channel and 300Mbps on the 5GHz band with a 40MHz channel using channel bonding.

But that is an over simplification.

Those aggregate bandwidths assume each client is connected at the highest available data rate. As we increase range, however, the data rate decreases, thereby reducing the overall channel utilisation. Therefore, with fewer access points, we are not just sharing a limited amount of bandwidth with more clients, but we are actually reducing the total available bandwidth.

Interference, particularly as access points cover larger areas, becomes an even greater issue. An increase in the signal to noise ratio leads to a decrease in the maximum sustainable data rate. This again reduces the overall channel utilisation.  The key here is that a wireless network’s ability to not only detect, but where possible mitigate interference is critical to its ability to sustain higher data rates and maximise the total available bandwidth in each cell.

All this assumes that the wireless clients connecting to the network are even capable of supporting those high data rates.

Most smartphones on the market today support only 802.11g in the 2.4GHz band, meaning that at most they can support 54Mbps.

Newer devices, such as the iPhone 4, support 802.11n, but only in 2.4GHz, and only with a single antenna, limiting them to a single “spatial stream”—in simple terms that means the maximum data rate they can support is 72Mbps.

This applies to tablet devices as well. While the new iPad2 supports 802.11n in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, it too is limited to a single spatial stream. The Cius goes one step further with support for channel bonding in 5GHz, increasing the maximum data rate to 150Mbps.

Interestingly, we are now starting to see new access points enter the market using Atheros’ first-generation silicon supporting three spatial streams. While this increases the maximum data rate in the 5GHz band to 450Mbps, as we have just seen, this will have no impact on the multitude of mobile devices given their single spatial stream limitation.

Three spatial streams represents a key milestone for the 802.11 standard, and will become increasingly important over the next 2 to 3 years as battery technology improves and wireless chipsets incorporate better power saving designs. Of course, by that time we will be looking at access points supporting four spatial streams and 600Mbps—and again, be waiting for the mobile devices to catch up.

Adding to the complexity in all this are the applications these devices are running across the network. From FaceTime and Skype, to Business Video and Personal Telepresence, voice, and video in particular, are replacing data as the primary traffic type. However, the wireless networks that have been built over the last several years were not designed for voice and video, and certainly not at the device densities we are now seeing.

As we look to support these many different mobile devices entering the market today along with their high bandwidth applications, clearly the two key areas we must consider in our wireless network designs are access point density to control cell sizes, and interference detection and mitigation capabilities to ensure that we maximise the channel utilisation in each cell.

And so, I’d like to propose two different questions to consider at the start of a wireless deployment:

  1. How many different devices do you expect to connect to the wireless network?
  2. And what are the applications that will run across the network and what are their associated bandwidth requirements?

Wireless and wired networks fundamentally differ at the physical layer. While its not necessarily important to understand the details of RF communications, it is important to understand the implications.

RF Matters.

Stay mobile. Stay secure.

—Mark

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