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The Momentum of 802.11ac Moves into the Real World

Wireless is enabling change everywhere. According to Cisco’s VNI Global Forecast, wireless traffic will bypass wired traffic 40% by the year 2017. This is evident by the way many organizations are using Wi-Fi technology.  Take healthcare providers as an example: many hospitals today rely on Wi-Fi to provide seamless clinician roaming, improved efficiency and patient care--not to mention patients’ relatives and friends who expect to connect to guest Wi-Fi. And then there is education where we are seeing both universities and K-12 schools faced with more and more students coming onto campus carrying mobile devices with bandwidth intensive applications like video.

The explosion of high performance applications and the number of clients using them is a big reason why 802.11ac adoption is happening at a rapid pace. 802.11ac as a standard addresses the performance needs of applications while providing a robust network that handles a growing number of client devices. Cisco provides our customers with a unique solution to meet the high density requirements with a technology suite called Cisco High Density Experience (HDX). HDX helps Cisco customers prepare beyond 802.11ac and addresses the key aspects of any network that is challenged by the high density of large numbers of clients on the network and increasing performance demands of bandwidth intensive applications.  Deploying 802.11ac with Cisco’s HDX Technology will provide a relief from the bandwidth demands while also making the overall Wi-Fi network more efficient.

With this in mind, we are hosting a webinar on June 26th where we focus on 802.11ac Standard, Cisco’s 802.11ac solution including our HDX Technology and how it can be used in various networks. We have also invite Joe Christoffersen who is the Director of IT at Katy Independent School District in Katy, TX to provide his unique perspective on how Katy ISD is deploying 802.11ac, how it will affect the performance of his network and the benefits he expects from this technology.

The webinar is next Wednesday at 1:00PM PDT. Here is the registration link. If you miss it, we will have it available on demand here shortly after.

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

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CMX Analytics at Cisco Live! San Francisco 2014

Cisco Live! San Francisco was the biggest Cisco Live! yet—25,000 attendees. Read Chris’s blog for more on the network at Cisco Live! You also heard about the Mobility Services APIs enabling location-based services and location-enabled application development in Neha’s blog yesterday. The event also marked a milestone for our CMX team: successful location tracking of all 30,000 devices in the conference center with a single pair of MSEs (Mobility Services Engine) running on 7.6MR2 code to generate analytics and reports based on device location!

Let’s take a closer look at location analytics generated at Cisco Live! If you haven’t seen CMX Analytics before, let me tell you: it’s powerful. There are three pieces of CMX Analytics: Dashboard, Analytics and Reports, all generated by the location data from the MSE. Here are a few key views from the show floor:

1.      Dashboard: The CMX Dashboard features a number of customizable widgets that visualize location data such as dwell time and device count by zone or by time.

Hourly Visitors for South Halls on Tuesday May 20

Tuesday marked a steady flow through the day with the World of Solutions and breakout sessions all day. You see that spike at 5pm? That’s when the beverages and refreshments came out—and then you see people tapering off round 7pm to head out for dinner.

clusmse1 Read More »

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The Network After 25 Years of Cisco Live!

#clus1A lot can change in 25 years. At the first Cisco Live (then known as Networkers conferences) in 1989, 200 geeks gathered for the inaugural event. Fast forward to three weeks ago, when we welcomed a whopping 25,000 attendees into the arms of our namesake, beautiful San Francisco.

We heard there was some interest in how the network performed at the show, so I wanted to share some of the interesting statistics about the network at Cisco Live! I shudder at the thought of the ancient network from 25 years ago. So here we go:

Wi-Fi Client Devices

This year we saw 30,705 unique devices, with 7000 in the theater for John Chambers’ keynote.

# of Unique Clients

# of Sessions

# of Unique Users

# of Unique APs

Avg Users per AP

30705

1396239

30705

859

33.64

Max. Concurrent Connected Wi-Fi Devices

There was a peak of 14216 concurrently connected device at SF this year.

clients2 Read More »

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How Does a Cisco Aironet AP2700 Perform Under Stress?

There’s been some speculation about the performance of the AP2700--just how good could our latest AP fly under stress? We were talking with Blake Krone and Sam Clements from the No Strings Attached Show, where they produce independent discussion and commentary on a variety of wireless equipment and technology across vendors. The idea came up that they could do an independent performance test on the Cisco Aironet AP2700. The guys received no compensation for the testing with the exception of arranging their travel out to Richfield, OH facility for the testing. We also provided 2 AP’s per person just in case they wanted to do some further testing.  

Sam & Blake along with several Cisco TMEs loaded up an AP2700 with 100 real clients to see what happens.   The testing was meant to be as real world as possible, so they did things like setup the clients at varying distances and angles, use a mix of 11n and 11ac clients, tested with CCO code (7.6MR2), and even factory reset and configured the controller then in front of Blake and Sam to show there’s no funny business.  The idea being, if you had 100 clients, and wanted to do the testing yourself and repeat the results, you could. I don’t want to spoil the results, so head to www.nsashow.com/AP2700/ to check out the whitepaper. 

Here’s a sneak peek at the client setup:

test

For full details as well as the results, visit www.nsashow.com/AP2700/

 

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Wi-Fi Roaming 101

Wi-Fi roaming is often a tumultuous subject.  The crux of the issue is, with Wi-Fi the roaming decision is left to the client.

In the recent years, there have been great strides in improving Wi-Fi roaming with the creation of standards-based roaming technologies.  Cisco first pioneered fast roaming many years ago with CCKM (Cisco Centralized Key Management), which was the foundation for 802.11r.  11r which was ratified by the IEEE in 2008, allows for fast roaming, even on a secure 802.1X SSID.  With 802.11r it is possible to roam without disruption during a voice or video call.

While client support of 802.11r is largely lacking in the laptop space,  there is large support in the smartphone realm.  Apple iOS devices have supported 11r since iOS 6 (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5535).  The recent Samsung smartphones, such as the Galaxy S4, S5, and Note 3, also support 11r.

Note: Some non-802.11r clients can react adversely when connected to an 11r WLAN.  The current recommendation from Cisco is to have a separate WLAN for 802.11r clients.

802.11k is another amendment from the IEEE that helps to improve roaming.  802.11k provides a whole slew of information to the client, which allows the client to understand the RF environment and make an informed roaming decision.  This information can include channel load and AP neighbor lists.

11r and 11k help, however, that does not mean the infrastructure is irrelevant in the roaming picture.  With the help of a model train, we did some testing to figure out just how much impact the infrastructure could have.  We compared Cisco to one of our competitors, whom we will call Vendor A.

This video summarizes the results and shows the train in action, or continue reading for more details:
Read More »

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