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Unlocking the Business Value in Wi-Fi Networks

Wi-Fi networks seem to now be everywhere.  Once primarily confined to the home or office, we now expect Wi-Fi access in coffee shops, hotels, airports, stores and even in sport stadiums.  Not only are these Wi-Fi networks providing valuable Internet access to appreciative mobile users, they are collecting massive amounts of useful information.  Innovative businesses and operators are now learning how to unlock this valuable information to turn Wi-Fi networks into key enablers of business value.  We have identified eight technical characteristics of Wi-Fi networks that can help to deliver real value to the bottom-line:

 1.     Recognizes All Wi-Fi Enabled Devices

Recent research by Cisco IBSG shows that consumers have an average of 2.6 mobile devices, most of which are now Wi-Fi enabled.  These devices are constantly signaling of their existence to Wi-Fi networks.  As a result, Wi-Fi access points are constantly collecting information on these devices and the movements of their owners without users having to authenticate on the network.  This means that venues are collecting information on a large number of people at an – effectively anyone who enters with a Wi-Fi activated mobile device in his pocket.  However, this does not raise personal privacy issues because only the MAC address of the device is collected and the information is aggregated across all users.

2.     Hyper-Sensitive Location Read More »

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Foundational Network Traffic Collection and Analysis Setup

This introductory post explains how one of Cisco’s security research groups established a network data collection capability for large amounts of network traffic. This capability was necessary to support research into selected aspects of the Domain Name Service (DNS), but it can be adapted for other purposes.

DNS exploitation is frequently the means by which malicious actors seek to disrupt the normal operation of networks. This can include DNS Cache Poisoning, DNS Amplification Attacks and many others. A quick search at cisco.com/security yields a lot of content published, indicating both the criticality and exposures associated with DNS.

Our research required the ability to collect DNS data and extract DNS attributes for various analytical purposes. For this post, I’ll focus on collection capabilities regarding DNS data. Read More »

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Wi-Fi: From ‘Poor Cousin’ to Preferred Partner

For much of Wi-Fi’s history, technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications. Today, all that is changing with the explosive demand for mobile data, the proliferation of new and powerful devices, and shifts in customer behavior and usage.  Increasingly, Wi-Fi is seen by technologists and consumers alike as a partner to licensed mobile, enabling expanded wireless access.

Based on research and engagements with leading operators throughout the globe, the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group has identified six important trends that we believe are redefining this new world of Wi-Fi:

 1.     Predominance of Wi-Fi for Wireless Access Read More »

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The Extrasensory Enterprise: Turning Data Complexity into Advantage

By Shaun Kirby, Director, Innovations Architecture
Internet Business Solutions Groupshakirby-lg

If anyone still doubts the overwhelming complexity of today’s data deluge, Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, offers some poignant perspective. In a recent book, “The Human Face of Big Data”, he observes that from the dawn of civilization until 2003 humankind generated five exabytes of data. Now, we produce more than five exabytes of data every two days.

Those torrents of information may be intimidating, but they also promise great opportunities. Indeed, Big Data has been touted as an answer to many problems. Looking for customer buying patterns? Retailers have petabytes of purchasing history. Need to test a new drug? There are terabytes of patient data to be analyzed. Launching a new product? A mountain of social media data awaits you. Read More »

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Service Providers Are Just Getting Started with Big Data

kagriffiBy Kate Griffin, Principal Consultant, IBSG Service Provider

Big Data has become top of mind among CxOs,but service providers (SPs) and most businesses today are just beginning to explore data analytics. “Big Data” generally refers to the growing scope of data analytics in terms of the variety, velocity, or volume of data involved. When this flood of Big Data is harnessed and refined, it has the power to transform economies, make businesses more efficient, and improve our daily interactions as consumers.

To assess service providers’ interest and readiness to take part in Big Data’s growth, the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) conducted in-depth interviews with executives from 12 global communication service providers. The SPs we interviewed see data analytics as a key opportunity. Some 80 percent of them consider Big Data an important strategic priority for their companies over the next three years. Cisco IBSG also tested key concepts concerning Big Data with 200 senior SP executives at the Telco 2.0 conference in London last summer through in-session polling questions. Eighty-eight percent of these delegates also view Big Data as a “very important” or an “important” strategic priority for the next three years (see Figure 1). Read More »

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