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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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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:
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TU Darmstadt Rolls Out Cisco Unified Access to Prepare for 802.11ac

Technische Universität Darmstadt, usually known as TU Darmstadt is a research university based in Germany. It was founded in 1877 and over the last 137 years has grown to be among the largest and most prestigious public universities in Germany serving over 25,000 students per year. It is the alma-mater to many world-wide leaders from Nobel prize winners, a CEO of a fortune 500 company, a president of a country and multiple World Robocup champions.

tud1

No wonder, they have a reference from Albert Einstein!

tud2

In 2009 TU Darmstadt embraced BYOD with the 5508 Series Controller managing the 1140 802.11n Access Points. Recently we talked to Thomas Vogel, the Head of Network Group and Andreas Liebe, the Network Services Manager who have over 15 years of experience managing WLAN environments. In this blog, we will describe some of the details of WLAN deployments using the 3850 Series Switch and the 5760 Series Wireless LAN Controller to address the new requirements in the school environment. Read More »

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How FCoE Helps Cisco Reduce Data Center Infrastructure

What a difference a networking cable can make in a data center’s infrastructure requirements and costs…especially when that cable uses Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technology. An industry-standard, FCoE carries Fibre Channel over Ethernet links, which reduces the number of I/O adapters, cables, and switches in the data center.

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If You Want incredible Collaboration Experiences, IT Services Can Deliver

I must be in the right business. I’m a pretty easy-going guy, but one thing that gets me worked up is inefficiency. Lines at the store, info I need to enter again and again online, meetings that exist just to schedule another meeting…arrrgh. That’s why I am so excited by the direction coming from Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group. Simplifying work experiences. Removing clutter from the desk. Reinventing how we innovate and engage across corporate and physical office boundaries. That’s just what the DX80 desktop collaboration device, announced here at Cisco Live, is designed to do. Give me a DX80 bumper sticker, and I’ll put it on the back of my rental car right now (Sorry, Hertz).

I am not alone in my love of efficiency. In this age of “Pace of Change2,” the top of mind for every business leader is how to get more done faster. According to a recent CIO Insights Study, innovation, efficiency, and cost reduction are CIOs’ top business priorities, in that order (Cisco Strategic Marketing Organization, Nov. 2013). Collaboration holds the promise of greatly increasing productivity for organizations of all sizes, in every industry.

Technology-enhanced collaboration is more than a technical architecture or product. What do you think would happen if you put a DX80 on every worker’s desktop at your company? Without network optimization, training, and adoption services, there might not be much change in productivity. And how would you measure success?  Putting devices on a desk and making sure they are functional is not an effective measure of success.  Are they being used?  Is video being turned on every time?  Is it changing the way people work?  You need to measure whether use of the devices is resulting in the benefits you expected to see. And you’ll want to adjust your strategy and support structure based on what you’ve learned. Read More »

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