Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > SP360: Service Provider

Cisco Evolved Programmable Network: The Beginning of a New Era in SP Networking

June 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm PST

ginaWritten By Gina Nienaber, Marketing Manager, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

This is the first blog out of a series of three covering  “What is the Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) Era and Why Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) Now?”

Those of us who have been around in the industry for a few decades will remember the first arrival of the “big bad wolf” that tried to blow down the service provider’s house. This wolf presented itself in the form of the commoditization of IP services and high traffic growth rates that limited service provider profitability options forcing them to move away from dedicated TDM-based networks that supported a single video, voice, data, or mobile service. Service Providers partnered with Cisco (and others) to build more scalable and lower costs converged IP Next Generation Networks (IP NGNs) and entered the IP NGN era. In doing so, a new wave of innovation and service revenues followed.

Until of course, “the big bad wolf” arrived on the scene again, also known as “exponential traffic growth, especially in mobile video, and this time he brought his friend along for the ride -- the Internet of Everything (IoE).  Cisco VNI predicts IP Traffic alone will grow 300 percent to 1.4 zettabytes annually by 2017. Most of you are already experiencing the pains of exponential traffic growth and some of you believe, as we do, the next wave of dramatic Internet growth will come through the confluence of people, process, data, and things — or the IoE! And IoE predictions are off the charts as well.  Cisco estimates that 99.4 percent of physical objects in the world are still unconnected. With only about 10 billion of the 1.5 trillion things currently connected globally, there is vast potential to connect the unconnected via the IoE.

When you combine exponential traffic growth with IoE impact on the horizon what do service providers get?  You guessed it -- cost and network complexity are rising at a faster rate than revenue. In order to deal with these challenges, (I would rather call them opportunities), network transformation is not optional, but essential for the next wave of growth and propriety.

This might also be a good time to mention the major innovations in cloud and virtualization technologies such as SDN and NFV are allowing for new agile competitors to enter into the market and are challenging traditional providers for their revenue streams by changing the service delivery game and giving the customer control over their service instantiation with consumption based business models.  If you would like to review a quick snapshot of the challenges providers are facing today see the Cisco EPN At-A-Glance.

Are you convinced we need to move from the IP NGN Era to the EPN Era Yet?  If not keep reading -- you will be.

Why Evolved Programmable Network? Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RetailMeNot Leverages Cisco and Plixer for WLAN Optimization

April 1, 2014 at 9:23 am PST

Founded in 2007, RetailMeNot.com is the largest digital coupon site in the US.  They help hundreds of thousands of customers save money when shopping online. They are headquartered in Austin Texas, in the hip “Live Music Capital of the World”.  Since the company went public in 2013, the company has doubled the number of employees from 250 to over 500.

In previous blogs, I have covered what is AVC, SuccessEHS and how Plixer’s Scrutinizer accepts Netflow, sFlow and IPFIX exports. This post will cover how these key products are combined by RetailMeNot in their WLAN deployments to optimize and support this fast growing company.

Recently Michael Patterson, the Founder and Product Manager at Plixer, Matthew St. Jean the Marketing Manager at Plixer and I had an opportunity to talk to Tim Tyndall, the Lead Network Engineer at RetailMeNot.  Tim shared with us the highlights of the wireless LAN deployment and explained how they use Cisco Application Visibility and Control and Plixer’s Scrutinizer to stay in control of how their WLAN is being utilized.

Tim described the environment and culture that has become a huge part of the company’s success.  RetailMeNot  provides hip new offices for its employees with open work spaces and other awesome perks.

The Cisco powered wireless network supports this initiative. In fact, nearly all network connectivity is wireless. He said that employees are issued a laptop by the company and many carry in their own smartphones and tablets as well; Most of those devices being from Apple.

retail1

Employees can roam freely with reliable service that spans the company’s five floors. Even during large meetings where access density increases dramatically, service continues without any interruptions and the performance metrics they can obtain using NetFlow is exceptional and reinforce that the traffic is optimized. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cisco Bonjour helps make beautiful music at University of Nevada, Las Vegas

February 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm PST

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), founded in 1957, is located in the heart of showbiz industry in Las Vegas. The school offers higher education programs ranging from business, engineering, fine arts and music, and science, and professional schools such as dental medicine and law.

The school’s mascot, Hey Reb, was recently featured on Hulu’s “Behind the Mask,” and you may recognize the Southern Gym during the dance scene between Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret Olsson in the movie Viva Las Vegas.

With over 24,000 unique WLAN users per day, 1.1 gigabytes of throughput per second, and more than 50 wireless access locations across campus providing WLAN coverage, this educational institute demands a massive Wi-Fi network.

In the previous blog, we highlighted some of the Bonjour enhancements of the 7.5 software release and the deployment of Bonjour at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, a K-12 school. In this blog, we will describe details about UNLVs WLAN deployment, how they use Bonjour services, and give you an insight into rapid pace of innovation necessary to support this technology in the education arena. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is Your WLAN Ready for Unified Communications & Collaboration?

January 31, 2014 at 5:00 am PST

As Wi-Fi continues to be the primary mode of access, enterprise Unified Communication(UC) applications usage is increasing with smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Customers are asking, is there anything I can do to prioritize Jabber or Lync traffic over others or even identify how much of the traffic is really collaboration traffic vs. other types of media. The recently introduced Wireless Release 7.6 enhances the ability to classify Microsoft Lync 2013 and Jabber with Cisco WLAN Infrastructure.

In the first blog about Application Visibility and Control over Cisco WLAN, I captured what is AVC and the capabilities included in the release 7.4. In a subsequent blog, I had captured a success story about a customer who benefited from the reliability by deprioritizing scavenger level applications as well as captured highlights of the enhancements in release 7.5. This blog captures how the release 7.6 allows popular collaboration applications to be accurately classified and prioritized as well as provides a teaser to some of the innovations that can be expected in the future.

What exact capabilities AireOS 7.6 provide ?

The protocol pack 6.3 introduced in AireOS 7.6 allows you to identify and prioritize not just Jabber but also sub-classify Cisco Jabber Audio, Cisco Jabber IM and Cisco Jabber Video. Customers may want to prioritize the Cisco Jabber Audio as the highest priority while the others may be lower priority. Similarly you can classify not just Microsoft Lync but also Microsoft Lync Audio, rtcp and Microsoft Lync Video and thereby prioritize them separately. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Security Realities of IoT (Internet of Things)

January 23, 2014 at 9:00 am PST

Are you a security professional or IT professional just resolving the security issues with BYOD (bring-your-own-device)? Watch out, BYOD was a precursor or warm up exercise to the tsunami just hitting your shores now.

The SANS Institute just completed a survey on the security viewpoints on IoT, predominantly with security and IT professionals.

78% of respondents were unsure of the capabilities for basic visibility and management of Things they will need to secure or lack the capability to secure them.

It seems that, like BYOD, IoT is driven with minimal IT consultation. And it happens with security as an afterthought, with 46% who do not have a policy to drive the visibility and management of IoT devices.

The top security controls used today for securing IoT were 68% authentication/authorization, 65% system monitoring, and 49% segmentation. That translates into Cisco Secure Access solutions that offer superior visibility, robust intelligent platform of critical context, and highly effective unified secure access control. More importantly, this will also help the 74% that rely on manual processes for discovery and inventory of connected device (from previous SANS research).

Over half (67%) are using SIEM (security information and event management) to monitor and collect data to secure IoT. Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) integrates with SIEM to bring together a network-wide view of security events supplemented with relevant identity and device context. This provides security analysts the context they need to quickly assess the significance of security events. More details on the ISE and SIEM integration may be found in this new white paper: Cisco ISE Plus SIEM and Threat Defense: Strengthen Security with Context

The research rightfully points out that, of the many categories of Things, the newest category of single-purpose devices typically connected by wireless (and more likely embedded) software will be the most problematic for security. Due to this difficulty, the SANS community (61%) would like the Thing manufacturers to take more responsibility for providing security. While this is a reasonable request, the question is whether they have the expertise to do this when their focus is on the exciting new IoT market opportunities. Weigh in and tell us your outlook on securing this next wave of Things connecting to your network!

The paper on the SANS survey results is in the SANS reading room.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,