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The Future of Wireless: Times are Changing Before Our Eyes

We live in amazing times, ask anyone who ever had to look up a phone number in a phone book. In the past this was the only way you could find the number to your favorite restaurant if you wanted to make a reservation. Today, all we need to do is reach into our pocket or purse and grab our mobile device, open an application and in a few seconds (not minutes) we have the phone number. Not only that, but we can see the menu and make a reservation right from the device. Over time we have become dependent on carrying the world (both personal and professional) in our pocket. With mobility, we are always on, always connected: nothing—whether it’s your team’s latest score or that email from a vendor you need to send to your boss—is more than a quick search away.

What once seemed unfathomable, this way of always being connected is now commonplace. However, as the application developers sit and think of the next killer app, the IT team has to make sure the network can not only support this new app, but also assure the performance meets the higher and higher demands of new apps. This requires the network to be more application-aware. And the reality is that more applications that require higher network performance are coming at a faster rate. Add to it new devices that use these applications are becoming accessible to everyone. On top of that, the people that use these applications and devices are becoming more demanding in terms of reliability and experience. So what is an IT person to do?

“We were ahead of the times,” says Joseph Tufano, VP and CIO of St. John’s University. “But times have changed. You see it everywhere: for example, if you go to a basketball game on campus, and there’s a timeout, everybody is using their mobile devices.”

IT is always working to increase the wireless performance of the network. However, as more bandwidth becomes available, users increase their usage and consume that bandwidth. Read More »

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How are You Sprucing Up Your Digital Strategy for Spring?

It’s springtime…typically the time of year when you need to purge your house of all the clutter that’s accumulated during the winter. At the same time, spring always reminds me to do some extra sprucing up around the Cisco digital house -- and start checking it from top to bottom with renewed vigor.

So I took stock recently and was pleased to see all the heavy-duty spring cleaning improvements we’ve made of late. Here’s a sampling, plus some tips on how to approach your digital spring cleaning regime:

Leverage data and insights.

We took a recent look at the traffic patterns on our Cisco.com menus. The majority of visitors to the “Products and Services” menu were gravitating to a subset of items. So we took the opportunity to do some clean-up and make that menu more readable by eliminating items with low traffic.

For more details on this change, see our blog: “A Simple Update to Our Cisco.com Menus”. Read More »

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10 Cool Mobile Apps from Cisco You Don’t Know But Should

April 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm PST

How many apps do you have on your mobile phone or tablet? Too many? Do you use all of them? If you do, you’re in the minority. 22% of people use an app only once after they have downloaded it, according to a study by Localytics.

iPhone Apps

My own iPhone is full of apps,  some of which I rarely use — but also some tremendously valuable apps that I use multiple times daily.

When apps first came out, we all rushed to download as many as we could, to see what they did. Alas, many of them were ‘duds’ from the start, or lost value over time, so we abandoned them rather quickly.

Companies did the same. They (we) built plenty of apps, perhaps to experiment or capture a new capability, or to address a new audience or market segment. Cisco built more than 120 customer-facing apps and more that 50 apps for employee self-service. [That's too many!] Some of those apps were light on features, some were initially great but were later superseded by better apps, and some stand out for the recurring value they create.

Nevertheless, everyone is fighting for space on your device with the latest app and features.

I try to update my apps on a regular basis and remove any that I haven’t used in a while just to eliminate the noise and clutter on my device so I’m not scrolling through unused apps.

Cisco has quite a few great apps – below are 10 cool apps that I think you should consider downloading:

App

Description

Platform

User Rating

WebEx App

Cisco WebEx Meetings is an online meeting app; you can join Cisco WebEx online meetings right from your mobile screen and stay connected to important meetings, wherever you are.

iOS | Android | Amazon

4+

#1 Most Popular Cisco App

3D Interactive

Cisco 3D Interactive Catalog allows you to interact with Cisco products in 3D - rotate them around, explore features and learn about the key technologies that deliver Cisco's competitive advantage.

iOS

4+

#10 Most Popular Cisco App

Cisco Prime

Cisco Prime allows you to monitor and troubleshoot network issues anywhere, anytime. It helps organizations simplify network management, deliver predictable services and lower the total cost of ownership.

iOS

4+

Cisco Proximity

Cisco Proximity allows automatic pairing of a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) with Cisco room-based video collaboration endpoints when they come within proximity. Content shared on video endpoints can be viewed on your mobile device.

iOS

4+

#3 Most Popular Cisco App

Cisco Jabber

Cisco Jabber is a collaboration application that provides presence, instant messaging (IM), voice, voice messaging, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing.

iOS | Android

4+

#2 Most Popular Cisco App

Cisco Binary Game

Cisco Binary Game app is a fun way to learn the binary number system. It has been played more than a million times all over the world.

“Great tool… This is a great and fun tool for developing proficiency in binary calculations.”
- DaMotif8er

iOS

4+

Cisco App

Cisco (Marketing) App allows you to connect and collaborate with Cisco to get the latest news and promotional offers, find events and Cisco partners in your area, search for content, play our latest videos or podcasts, receive current security alerts, advisories and responses or find support.

iOS | Android

4+

#6 Most Popular Cisco App

Cisco Well Magazine

Cisco Well Magazine is an interactive magazine that offers in-depth information highlighting technology advances in healthcare through reports, relevant case studies, video and more.

iOS

4+

Cisco VNI

Cisco VNI provides global, regional, and select country-level forecast projections and data based on Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecasts. Cisco VNI Forecast data is updated annually and covers a five-year forecast period (currently 2012 –2017) focused on mobile and fixed IP network traffic growth, trends, and service adoption.

Google

3.5

Cisco Technical Support

Technical Support app provides access to comprehensive Cisco technical support content, including support contract management information, leverage the communities for collaboration and share documents about configuring and troubleshooting Cisco products and solutions.

2012 Web Marketing Association Best Advocacy Mobile App award winner

2012 Forrester Groundswell B2B Mobile App award winner

iOS | Android

4+

I think: you can't go wrong with these 10.  Try one or try them all.  Or, you can check out all of the Cisco apps available.

Let me know which apps you like from the Cisco catalog.

Also feel free to shine a spotlight on little-known business, tech, news, and productivity apps you find especially helpful, interesting, or just plain cool (bonus points if they’re not well-known!).

 

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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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Wi-Fi & Taxes: Digging into the 802.11b Penalty

It’s that time of year again in the US – Tax Time!  That time of year where we review the previous year's bounty, calculate what’s due, and re-evaluate our strategies to see if we can keep more of what we worked for.  Things change; rules, the economy, time to retirement, and before you know it you find yourself working through alternatives and making some new decisions.

Anyway, as I was working through the schedules and rule sheets, my mind wandered and I started to think about Wi-Fi and the taxes associated with it.  In my day job, I often play the role of forensic accountant.  Like a tax accountant, I’m always looking for a way to get more or understand why there isn’t more already.  So along those lines, lets talk about a little known tax that you may well be paying needlessly.  I’m talking of course about the dreaded 802.11b Penalty.

Wi-Fi protocols like 802.11b are referenced by standards committees for the workgroup that develops them.  In the 2.4 GHz spectrum, there is 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n.  Back in 1997, 802.11b  was the first modern Wi-Fi protocol ratified by the IEEE and it allowed transmissions of 11 Mbps, a major jump forward from the previous 2 Mbps  that was possible with the original 802.11 standard.

tax1

After 802.11b came 802.11a, and then 802.11g.  Both of these protocols where a radical departure from the simplistic 802.11b structure and employed Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation (now standard in every 802.11 protocol created since then).  OFDM allowed for Read More »

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