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Bring Out Yer Dead: 5 Steps to Eliminate 802.11b From Your Networks

Now that US tax day is over, we in the wireless field can get back to focusing on P1: optimizing and maintaining network performance. Keeping your network in good shape is like gardening: if you don’t pull out the weeds, it’ll never look as good as it could. My friend Jim Florwick detailed the gory bits of the 802.11b penalty with its awful lag in efficiency and absolute waste of spectrum. I write today to help give you the steps to act on Jim’s order to stop the madness.

I liken this process to a memorable scene from Monty Python: You must “Bring out yer dead.” However much the first standard insists it’s still alive, let’s all be honest with ourselves: 802.11b is dead.

In memoriam of the first amendment to the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard hailing all the way since 1999, 802.11b was superseded by 802.11a and g in 2003 which are much more efficient.  802.11n was available in draft form in 2007 and was ratified in 2009 while 802.11ac was ratified last September. A few years from now we should be planning the wake for 802.11a and 802.11g as well.

Now is the right time to bury 802.11b and reduce the drag on your network. Let’s be real: there is a reason cyclists are not allowed on the freeway, and an 802.11b device will slow everyone down. Here are 5 easy steps for eradicating your network of 802.11b and getting on your way towards higher speed wireless:

STEP    1.         Identify any 802.11b devices on your network

All of the latest Wi-Fi connecting devices are 802.11a/b/g/n capable. So how do you hunt down the 802.11b-only devices? You’ll be looking for older laptop and mobile clients (mostly before the year 2005).

Cisco Prime Infrastructure makes this easy for you with a report on clients by protocol. It will look like this:

prime1 Read More »

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Cisco CMX Analytics & Insights @ #MWC14

mwc3_1Today MWC 2014 came to a close in Barcelona having been another resoundingly successful event.

Mobile operators and Service Providers have displayed ever increasing interest in Monitization of their infrastructure especially via WiFi and Cisco’s CMX solution.

During the week I had many conversations with SP’s from across the world while very different geographies and facing different challenges, a common theme among the meetings was how can Cisco help us find ways to generate new revenue streams and new monetization models.

At MWC we showed various demos that show how this can be achieved and provide many interesting ideas to the customers to help them think about their own businesses and how they may be successfully applied.

One demo was how various components of Cisco’s SP Architecture can improve services and provide montitization opportunities to a fictitious hotel resort chain with wired and wireless small cells, SON &  Analytics all working together. Read More »

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Cisco CMX & Monetization @ MWC 2014

mwc1_1Mobile World Congress 2014 continues this week in Barcelona with record attendances.

Many SP’s are exploring new ways to monetize their network investments, in an earlier posting some of these models were explored. Again this week these topics were again very much to the forefront with Service Providers actively discussing and exploring how to take the first steps to exploit this.

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Hall 3 @ MWC Analytics:

The volume of traffic at the event was very large and as we can see in Hall 3 below, where Cisco along with a number of large companies are located, was very busy this morning.  Read More »

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CMX, Analytics and Intelligence @ MWC 2014

Mobile World Congress 2014 is underway at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain.

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As well as providing the WiFi network to the event, which has over 1200 access points covering the 2.6m sq feet  conference venues, Cisco had a number of exciting demos within the booth area in Hall 3.

Cisco’s theme is around utilizing your network infrastructure for business outcomes, being more intelligent, utilizing analytics and delivering capabilities and monetization opportunities.

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Utilizing location based information along with various other network related information interesting dashboards and views of the event are possible. These screens show how using the Cisco open infrastructure various sources of data are combined in to a graphical view of the Fira conference venue during day 1 of MWC 2014. Read More »

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HDX Blog Series #4: Optimized Roaming

Editor’s Note: This is the last of a four-part deep dive series into High Density Experience (HDX), Cisco’s latest solution suite designed for high density environments and next-generation wireless technologies. For more on Cisco HDX, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.  Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Read part 3 here.

If you’ve been a long time user of Wi-Fi, at some point you have either observed someone encounter (or have personally suffered from) so called “sticky client syndrome”. In this circumstance, a client device tenaciously, doggedly, persistently, and stubbornly stays connected to an AP that it connected to earlier even though the client has physically moved closer to another AP.

Surprisingly, the reason for this is not entirely…errr…ummm…unreasonable. After all, if you are at home, you don’t want to be accidentally connecting to your neighbor’s AP just because the Wi-Fi device you’re using happens to be closer to your neighbor’s AP than to your own.

However, this behavior is completely unacceptable in an enterprise or public Wi-Fi environment where multiple APs are used in support of a wireless LAN and where portability, nomadicity, or mobility is the norm. In this case, the client should typically be regularly attempting to seek the best possible Wi-Fi connection.

Some may argue that regularly scanning for a better Wi-Fi connection unnecessarily consumes battery life for the client device and will interrupt ongoing connectivity. Therefore the “cure is worse than the disease”. But this is true only if the client is very aggressively scanning and actually creates the complete opposite of being “sticky”.

The fundamental issue with “stickiness” is that many client devices simply wait too long to initiate scanning and therefore seeking a better connection. These devices simply insist on maintaining an existing Wi-Fi connection even though that connection may be virtually unusable for anything but the most basic functionality. Read More »

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