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Indoor Wi-Fi Location and Beacons: Better Together Part 2

wifibeaconLocation-based services have been getting a lot of attention lately and people are increasingly curious about how Wi-Fi and beacons play together in the hot space that is indoor location technology. In my last blog I reviewed how beacons work and how to differentiate when to use Wi-Fi and beacons. There’ve been some great questions about beacon technology and how it complements Cisco’s location-based Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution, so I want to follow up on these topics with everyone.

What types of beacons are there?

Generally, there are two different classes of beacons: transmit only and backhaul enabled.

Transmit only beacons are exactly as they sound – they simply transmit information to anyone that is capable of hearing (bluetooth enabled smartphones). They do not receive or pass any data or information upstream.

Apple’s iBeacon is the best example of this type of BLE beacon. You can think of them like the navigational beacons used by airplanes when on approach to major airports. The beacon doesn’t even know the plane is there, but the plane is aware of the beacon and knows where the beacon is allowing it to take the correct action. Same is true for smartphones and transmit only beacons like iBeacon – the intelligence is located in the mobile application which must recognize the beacon and take appropriate action.

Backhaul enabled beacons generally include a Wi-Fi chipset for either management or data capabilities. Some backhaul enabled beacons are USB enabled and take advantage of whatever connectivity exists within the PC they are connected. Read More »

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Get Your WLAN Ready for Google Android L and Apple iOS 8

This fall your wireless networks will experience many devices upgrading to the new Android 5.0(L-release) and Apple iOS 8 releases (cue: IT managers groan). There have now been many blogs attempting to capture the enhancements expected with these releases. Today I am going to focus on describing how Android L and iOS 8 may affect customers deploying Cisco enterprise grade Wi-Fi networks based upon our research and testing of the Apple seed. Our verdict: Carry on with business as usual.

Here are four features we predict will have the most impact your networks:

1. Chromecast and Google Cast Enhancements (Android L)

Rishi Chandra, the Director of Chromecast Product Management announced that, starting with the Android L release, users have the ability to cast to your neighboring devices such as a TV without having to connect to your Wi-Fi network. In the demo, a phone used the cellular connection to connect to chromecast through the cloud. A variety of techniques are used to authenticate the users in the same room OR use a pin-code as an alternative. Users can Google Cast an ecosystem of applications or even their own applications over any Android or iOS device as well as Cloud based apps on Chrome.

Predicted Impact: Given that this feature works transparently to the Wi-Fi, it is expected that there is no impact on the WLAN in your classrooms or dorm rooms or auditoriums where this will most likely be used.

2. Peer-to-peer AirPlay discovery and playback (iOS 8)

Starting with the iOS 7.1 release, AirPlay devices will discover an AppleTV via the bluetooth network. Users could also secure their AppleTV via a 4 digit pin-code. With the iOS 8 release, Airplay devices can also mirror their content via Airdrop. This feature offers an alternative method for customers to discover and mirroring of Bonjour traffic without accessing the corporate Wi-Fi network.

Predicted Impact: Again this feature operates transparent to the Wi-Fi and therefore customers using this feature should not see any impact on the WLAN. Cisco wireless customers also have the ability to use the Service Discovery Gateway on Cisco IOS based switches, routers or wireless LAN controllers or the Bonjour Services Directory on AireOS controllers. Read More »

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Your Network: Well-Kept Secret for Your Protection?

In my discussions with security executives who gathered at the recent Gartner Security Summit they recognized that unsecured access to the network is a critical threat vector.   However, when leveraged properly, the network itself also provides a significant platform that offers comprehensive protection to close those gaps. What does this mean?

Read More »

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Indoor WiFi Location and Beacons: Better Together

wifibeaconIn just two years, indoor location technology has taken off and attracted a lot of buzz across industries, from retailers to healthcare. But it’s no longer a conversation about just Wi-Fi – the introduction of beacon devices, including iBeacon, has added a new dimension to location technology for IT and their line of business counterparts to grapple with on how to leverage it to better reach their customer base.

Some customers have been asking about beacon technology and how it fits in with Wi-Fi, so let’s start from the beginning:

How do beacons work?

Beacons are sensors that send out Bluetooth low energy (BLE) tracking tags.  These sensors can be placed around a venue, such as a store, and a mobile device can pick up the BLE signal and determine that it is in close proximity. When a mobile app is built off of this technology, it can be used in interesting ways to interact with the end user, such as notifying a customer of a promotion for an item they are close to.

I’m having trouble differentiating Wi-Fi and beacons. What do I need to know? Read More »

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Deliver High Performance Cloud Services with the new ASR 1001-X

At CiscoLive this week, I am proud to announce the launch of the new Aggregation Services Router, the ASR 1001-X.

photo 1The ASR 1001-X is the latest addition to the ASR 1000 family of routers that packs 20Gbps forwarding capacity and 8G of Layer 3 Crypto  throughput in a compact 1RU form factor!

In my earlier blog post I highlighted the need for connecting data centers to share and scale cloud services on demand and achieve flexibility and availability that is required by the cloud. As data centers continue to grow so does the need for more power and cooling, while rackspace continues to become a rare commodity. Talking to customers they wanted a platform with a smaller footprint but with higher performance and hence the ASR 1001-X was born. 

Some of the key benefits of the ASR 1001-X we are highlighting at CiscoLive are:

  • Investment Protection: Pay-as-you-grow forwarding throughput upgradable from 2.5 to 5,10 and 20Gbps
  • Robust Security: Up to 8Gbps of Suite-B encryption combined with Layer 2 MAC Security.
  • Data Center Interconnect (DCI): For workload mobility, high-availability application clusters and layer 2 extension for legacy applications support.
  • Cisco IWAN: Application Visibility and Control, AppNav and Performance Routing enable inexpensive business-class Internet links as a WAN transport
  • Advanced Routing: Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) to enable Host mobility, Ingress traffic load-balancing, high VPN scale, and IPv6 transition
  • Route Reflector: Up to 13M IPv4 routes (selective download)
  • Multimedia Edge: Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE) Enterprise Edition to offer 16k calls
  • Ease of Management: Seamless integration and management with Cisco Prime Infrastructure.

I am often asked how each one of the benefits will help our customers so I wanted to talk about some of the common use cases where customers will see the largest benefit of the ASR 1001-X. For this blog I will cover in detail the Data Center Interconnect (DCI) use case and I will cover more use cases in future blog posts.

The Data Center Interconnect must provide secure access to satisfy a key requirement for the consumption of services from the cloud. Before the advent of the cloud, the network traffic that flowed in the interconnecting network fabric or the IP NGN was unidirectional – it flowed from the client to the server in the network and back to the network client. Cloud and virtualization has made the network traffic multi-dimensional. The network traffic not only moves to and from client and network server it can also move across servers that are located in geographically dispersed data centers that are interconnected using DCI technologies. VMware virtual machine motion is an example of that. Based on this criteria, the ASR 1001-X supports the following DCI technologies:

  • Virtual Extensible LAN Services
  • Overlay Transport Virtualization
  • Virtual Private LAN Services
  • Ethernet over MPLS
  • Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol v3

Please stay tuned for more in my next blog. I will talk about how the consumers of the cloud require the same great application experience when services are moved to the cloud and how the ASR 1001-X can help to deliver a better user experience.

 

 

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