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Mobile Network Opportunities for Service Providers

To read the first part of the Network Matters blog series that focuses on how IT leaders can rely on a network to simplify the process of onboarding new mobile technology, click here. To read the second part of the series that discusses how an architectural approach to mobility is essential for the Future of Mobility, click here.

The ultimate goal of business mobility is to drive better productivity, heightened customer experience, and achieve a harmonious work/life balance.

As we’ve discussed over the course of this Network Matters blog series, businesses can support and shape further adoption of this key technology and capture its full benefits by implementing the right network solutions.

It’s also important to discuss how business mobility represents an opportunity for service providers (SPs). I’m going to address three of them:

  1. Consumerization of IT to offer cloud-delivered mobility services at lower cost-to-serve, as well as service delivery reinvention
  2. New emerging and monetizable business models to support consumer desire for unique service offerings
  3. Consolidation of the business mobility market to provide a more integrated, end-to-end value proposition

Service providers can deepen their enterprise customer relationships by addressing pain points and meeting new enterprise mobility challenges. According to a recent Cisco whitepaper, here are some ways SPs can embrace new mobile opportunities by focusing on comprehensive network solutions.

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An Architectural Approach to Mobility

When it comes to mobility, everyone is learning fast in order to keep up. With what seems like daily advances in mobile technology and rapid consumer adoption, it is not getting any easier for organizations to break the cycle of reactive IT decision making. For many of our customers, enterprise mobility happened to them and the initial supporting architecture was built at light speed to respond to the demands of the business. While this approach was necessary to stop the deluge, it didn’t put all of the pieces in place to enable organizations to adapt the continuous change and emerging new realities of mobility. For instance:

  • Users now connect to the network with three or more mobile/WLAN devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, resulting in complex wireless infrastructures and network bottlenecks.
  • Inconsistent management tools and policies across the wired and wireless segments of the network increase the burden for network managers and drive up management costs and complexity.
  • Employees demand access from devices not only within the corporation, but also beyond the firewall.
  • Risk management dictates that corporate data must remain protected.

The need to balance productivity with security and coordinate business justification with the various line of business (LOB) owners has never been greater. IT leaders who want to break out of the reactive cycle of just keeping up must take a step back to evaluate what’s coming next. What changes are on the horizon? How will it impact my network? How can my network help me adapt to the changing needs of my employees?

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A Powerful Network Simplifies Adoption of New Mobile Devices

It’s a critical time for enterprise IT as new mobile devices from Apple, Samsung and Google enter the market and operating systems are updated almost weekly. Apart from the new color and form factor options, this round of new technology features new operating systems and a proliferation of app updates, which IT leaders must be prepared to meet head on.

It’s an exciting time for mobile technology, but it’s also an important time for enterprises to look at not only meet the demands of today’s mobile-enabled workforce, but tomorrow’s as well. Basic mobility functionality is not and will not be enough, and a solid framework must be put in place to support the growth.

In this inaugural post of a four-part Network Matters blog series, I’ll be discussing how IT leaders can rely on a network, built for all kinds of devices, to simplify the process of onboarding new mobile technology and free up precious IT resources. I would like to provide you with a deeper look at how having the right network in place can help ease the challenges of tomorrow that will be presented to IT departments due to device evolution and enable a culture of self-service for employee-owned devices.

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Automation and Application-Centric Infrastructure

If you have been following the news, I’m sure you saw that Cisco just introduced Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Combine ACI with Cisco UCS Director and you can provision and deliver application-centric infrastructure automatically.

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Over the past 11 months, I have discussed how Cisco UCS Director reduces data center complexity with unified automation and management of multi-vendor converged and integrated infrastructure systems. But the provisioning of compute, storage and network resources is just the start. IT needs to deliver infrastructure that is tailor-made for the specific applications their users need. Together with ACI, Cisco UCS Director has key capabilities to make this happen.

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Deploying, Testing, and Tuning 802.11ac

By now you’ve probably heard quite a bit about the newest generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ac.  I’ll save you the gory details, just know it’s about 3x faster than 802.11n and will help to improve the capacity of your network. Jameson Blandford and I were recently guests on the No Strings Attached Show podcast with Blake Krone and Samuel Clements (Click to listen to the podcast).

I wanted to follow up the podcast with a blog to go over considerations for deploying, testing, and tuning 802.11ac.

Considerations for deploying 802.11ac

Switching infrastructure

The first question you’ll want to ask yourself, is, if your switching infrastructure can handle 11ac?  The answer probably is, yes.  The things to consider are the port speed and power-over-Ethernet (PoE) capabilities.  You’ll want the access point to have a gigabit uplink to the switch.  Each 11ac access point could potentially dump several hundred megabits per second of traffic onto your wired network.  It’s also not a bad idea to have 10 Gig uplinks on your access switches to distribution or your core.  If you have even just a couple access points on a single access switch, you may quickly find yourself wishing you had 10 Gig uplinks.

Next you’ll need to consider how you will power the access points.  If you are like the majority of our customers, you will use PoE from your switches.  While 11ac access points require 802.3at (PoE+) for full functionality, the Aironet 3700 will run happily on standard 802.3af PoE.  In fact, it remains 3 spatial-streams on both radios, so performance does not suffer because you have a PoE infrastructure.

Will you deploy 80 MHz channels? Read More »

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