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Cisco cBR-8: Re-imagining CCAP with SDN

Guest Blog by Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing


In an age of agile service creation with a virtualized IT infrastructure, the delivery of services by cable operators is undergoing a transformation. Two key technologies that are fueling this change are Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). In this blog, we will examine how SDN is transforming service delivery for cable operators.

SDN offers much promise to cable operators. It changes how networks are designed, operationalized, and monetized, making them far more agile and responsive to customers. In traditional switch and router system architectures, the control plane is implemented in software running on a general-purpose CPU and the data plane is implemented with specialized hardware such as an ASIC. What SDN does is remove the Read More »

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WAN Automation Engine and Segment Routing: Two Great Solutions Even Better Together

Are you looking to deliver an intelligent, dynamic and highly optimized programmable network where applications have control in how they explicitly traverse the end-to-end network?

If so, you have probably been watching the Application Engineered Routing story unfold since it was launched in March 2015. For those of you following this developing chapter in the end-to-end application control play book, you might have read the past few blogs by my colleague, Frederic Trate (here and here) or even watched Dave Ward, Cisco CTO and Chief Architect, present on engineering the network for applications on the main stage at MPLS World Congress 2015 earlier this year (see Featured Content). Read More »

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7 Billion Reasons Why Your Company Needs Cisco ISE

Seven billion.  That’s the number of mobile-connected devices that will be trying to get on networks this year.  Now you’re probably not going to be hosting all 7 billion of them, so let’s try this number – 4.  As in, “the average number of devices that enterprise users have” is roughly 4 devices*.  Go ahead – do the math with your own employees.  For Cisco, that’s around 250,000+ devices or so attempting to connect to our network. As a company, you may have more, you may have less…but the one thing you definitely have are employees who are eager to access your network with more of their own personal devices than ever before.

Great for employees, right?  Absolutely.  However, this, generally, gives enterprises two major dilemmas:

1)      They lack any visibility into or context around who and what is getting on the network – Is it a smartphone?  Is it a smartphone with the latest OS?  Is it a smartphone supported by the enterprise?

2)      They’ve lost the stringent control they used to have over what’s getting onto the networks.  Sure – rules are defined for users, but maybe they’re not really being enforced. Or maybe “shadow IT” is just going around the rules to get someone’s new cracked Android tablet online.

This, generally, also gives network administrators heartburn…and for good reason.  They’re stuck walking that fine line between security and productivity.  How can they secure the enterprise and network access without making life miserable for their users…and themselves?

In our experiences here at Cisco, we’ve discovered that tackling these challenges requires a few things:

1)      Find a way to accurately identify who and what is getting on the network

2)      Centrally manage user access policy and use the identity to assign everyone the right network access

3)      Make it easy for users to actually get onto the network – however they connect

4)      Keep an eye on the network for threats and then quickly neutralize those threats.

If you can find a way to do each one of those things, you’ve taken a big first step in addressing these dilemmas.

Dynamic Control with Context

At Cisco, we’re helping organizations tackle these challenges every day with the Cisco Identity Services Engine (or “ISE”).  Cisco ISE is an access policy platform that unifies and automates secure access control to network resources.

1)      Accurate Identification – Cisco ISE grabs contextual data from a wide variety of sources (e.g., Active Directories, sensors, NetFlow) across the network to offer clear visibility into every connected device. It also offers advanced profiling technology as well as a curated profiling update service to ensure that all these connected devices are accurately identified and classified.

2)      Centralized Access Policy – Cisco ISE gives enterprises the power to centrally define and manage the right types of access for users and devices. ISE can take written, granular business policy and make it real secure access policy, enforced across the network.

3)      Easy Onboarding – New simplified onboarding experiences provide intuitive user access on branded portals, without sacrificing security, for a wide variety of enterprise deployments – from guest hotspot to “BYOD” projects.

4)      Rapid Mitigation and Remediation – Cisco ISE can take all that collected contextual data and share it with integrated partner solutions. By delivering a deeper level of context, ISE makes it easier and faster to identify, mitigate, and take action to remediate non-compliant mobile devices, compromised endpoints, or other network threats.

Cisco ISE provides enterprises with greater visibility into who and what is on the network. This leads to more accurate identification, which, in turn, allows enterprises to assign the right access control to an end-user and device…easily and securely.

So, when that day comes where some of those 7 billion devices end up on YOUR network, you know you’ll be ready to tackle those challenges with Cisco ISE.

Please join us on November 5, 2014, for a live, 60-minute webcast where we’re offering a sneak peek at the newest version of Cisco ISE.  Space is limited, so register today!

*Citrix, “Workplace of the Future: a global market research report”, September 2012

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Transform Service Provider Architectures to Support Virtualized Managed Business Services

ginaBy Gina Nienaber, Marketing Manager, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

Cisco estimates over 50 billion new devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.  To support the Internet of Everything, service providers must undergo an infrastructure transformation.  The network needs to become more open, programmable, automated, adaptive, and agile.  To guide this transformation, the Cisco open network strategy for service providers is depicted as three interwoven layers:  the Evolved Programmable Network (physical and virtual network Infrastructure), the Evolved Services Platform (for orchestration of resources) and Applications and Services layer to enable virtualized services such as Cloud VPN and Security.  With these three layers working together, providers can begin to realize the benefits of an open network that is readily open to new devices, open for quickly enabling new services, and open to endless possibilities.

Last week, Cisco announced two Read More »

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Cloudburst: iOS 8 Generates 50% Increase in Network Traffic

Many network engineers recall the iOS7 update on September 18, 2013 as one of the most historic download days of their network’s history. All the more reason for us in the wireless world who anxiously anticipated the September 17 release of iOS8.

We asked a few of our customers to monitor the effect of the software release on their networks and the results for the first two days are in. Those in the education and healthcare space in particular are filled with early adopters of WiFi technology and devices, and eager to get their hands on the latest updates.

Joe Rogers, Associate Network Director at the University of South Florida shared this picture with us from 1pm September 17th, showing 1 Gbps more traffic than he would normally see at this time of day:


Another customer, Greg Sawyer, Manager of Infrastructure Services, shared this picture of the iOS8 effect on his network at the UNSW Australia.


He noted that his experience handling the release this year felt smoother than last year, despite the new peak internet download of 4.65 Gbps and 21Tb downloaded for the day! Not too surprising when considering that there were 27,000 concurrent connections on the wireless network and approximately 60% of those being Apple devices.

How should organizations be considering and handling these network spikes? I sat down with Cisco technical leaders Matt MacPherson and Chris Spain (@Spain_Chris) to get some insight on the effect of big updates like iOS8 on the wireless network. Here are some of the highlights of what we discussed:

The World We Live In

The truth is, more and more services are being moved to the cloud—a cloud that will push updates to millions & in the future billions of users and devices on our networks. Read More »

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