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Behind the WiFi Network @ Mobile World Congress 2014: Setting the Stage

Every year a new attendance record is set at Mobile World Congress by networkers participating from over 200 countries across the globe. This grand attendance of industry-defining vendors, technology enthusiasts and exhibitors triggers an explosive growth in the number of Wi-Fi capable devices being brought to the event. For MWC 2014, Cisco partnered with Fira Gran Via and GSMA to pull off one of the most successful high density Wi-Fi network deployments in the history of global tech events. This blog kicks off a series to provide a glimpse of behind the network, into the design stages, and the course of actions undertaken to implement a robust high density wireless network which served more than 22,000 concurrently connected unique devices and a total of 80,880 devices throughout the event. Full details in whitepaper here.

Setting the Scene

Divided into eight massive exhibition halls, Fira Gran Via covers around 3 million square feet (280,000 square meters) of area which also includes outdoor areas, restaurants, conference rooms, network lounges and a continuous elevated walkway flowing through the entire venue. Higher the environmental complexity, the more fun and challenging it is to achieve the right wireless design for a pervasive network that meets all the needs.

An aerial view of Mobile World Congress 2014 arena at Fira Gran Via, Barcelona

An aerial view of Mobile World Congress 2014 arena at Fira Gran Via, Barcelona

Generally, the physical design of large convention and exhibition halls bear an impish knack of unfavorable conditions for a ubiquitous high density Wi-Fi network, owing mostly to the lofty ceiling heights and construction components. Read More »

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Cute Babies, Collaboration, and Competition

I’m working on one of those magical cross-functional projects where we’re trying to combine multiple efforts into one result. Today, we have several tools created and managed by different groups of smart people with good intentions. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll call these tools wrenches. Not surprisingly, the wrenches have slightly different designs, definitions, purposes, and priorities. And they meet the parameters of the groups that created them. All good, right?

A challenge: The people who use the wrenches don’t always know which wrench to pick. It’s often a challenge to know which one to use or even that there’s a whole toolbox of them.

Remscheid - Werkzeugmuseum in 13 ies

In fact, some of the people who created wrenches weren’t aware of other wrenches so similar to theirs. Granted, it’s a big toolbox with a lot of drawers. And it’s not always easy to find stuff. Or people find a wrench that works, but would be even better with a slightly different angle along the thing-a-ma-jig. Ta da, yet another wrench!

A bright idea popped up: Let’s simplify things for the people who use wrenches. Let’s align information, share resources, build connections, and work together. Let’s build a wrench – or coordinated set of wrenches — that’s easier to find, use, and understand. So, someone dug through the toolbox and brought brought together all the toolmakers to collaborate. Read More »

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Cisco Meraki, Now with ISE!

We’ve been hearing from some of our customers that they are interested in using Cisco Meraki in their branches alongside their Cisco infrastructure in their main offices, but were worried about having to deal with too many segregated policy management systems.

Good news: Interoperability between Cisco Meraki and ISE is here. Administrators can now define a single user access policy across on-premise and cloud-managed networks.With this interoperability, Cisco infrastructure customers can now deploy Cisco Meraki in their branches in the same network as other Cisco equipment, with all devices across the network managed under ISE for unified access policy management.

Read more about the Cisco Meraki and ISE interoperability in the blog post: Got ISE?

To get a free Meraki wireless access point and learn more about the solution, join one of our online webinars. See the  complete schedule and choose from a range of webinars featuring Meraki customers, product and solution overviews, and topics like BYOD.

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Lessons from LEGO To Drive “Out-of-the-Box” Thinking

Are your Master Builders free to create? Are your Ordinary Builders helping them to execute? And more to the point, are you acting like the evil President Business, hindering innovation, placing talent in silos, and keeping your organization frozen in the past?

If so, you may find an unlikely role model in Emmet Brickowski.

OK, Emmet may be an animated character made of plastic blocks, but don’t dismiss him so easily. If you are a manager looking to ensure your team is the best it can be, you may want to check out Emmet’s starring role in “The LEGO Movie.” I believe there is deep wisdom in what this little character has to say.

One of the key themes of the film is that many organizations adhere too strongly to their legacy traditions. Though such traditions may have served them well in the past, they can also sow stagnation and put a brake on agility and adaptability. This is especially true in the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, as a massive wave of network connectivity and innovation upends organizations, business models, and entire industries. In the process, longstanding assumptions around strategy and success are falling by the wayside.

Emmet lives in a world run by President Business, the head of a successful corporation that fears any change to the status quo. President Business will even resort to supergluing LEGO pieces to keep them in their rightful places. President Business divides the world into two kinds of people: Ordinary Builders and Master Builders. He rewards Ordinary Builders who follow the rules, building from their LEGO Kits; he disapproves of the “anarchic” creativity of the Master Builders, who like to improvise from a pile of blocks, and he is determined to capture all of them.

Read More »

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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.


No wonder, they have a reference from Albert Einstein!


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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