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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.

Read More »

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CMX Connect – An Innovative, Location Aware Guest Captive Portal

connect1With the explosion of smart mobile devices, consumers expect to have Wi-Fi access at pubic venues everywhere they go. Venue owners are under pressure to provide reliable Wi-Fi guest access in a simple and easy way. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that AND extract some value out of your investment in setting up the Wi-Fi network as well? Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) is an industry leading solution provides just that: an easy, customizable and location-aware way to onboard guests using CMX Connect, an ability to gain insights into guest behaviors using CMX Location Analytics and an opportunity to engage guests in meaningful ways using CMX Browser Engage.

With MSE Release 7.6 coming out later this year, we wanted to give you a closer look at new feature CMX Connect.  Read More »

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Deep Dive: Mobility Services APIs (with Sample Code!)

Last week, my colleague Rajiv walked you through an overview of how our Mobility Services API now supports REST based APIs. As a developer for the Mobility Services Engine (MSE) team, I am very excited about this update because it means that it will be easier for developers to create apps using the MS-API, which hopefully means that more and more organizations will be able to take advantage of the location-based services and functionalities of the MSE. I’m going use this blog to walk you through some of the more technical aspects of the change.

The Basics

The REST API is now widely used in the field of API based web applications. The REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. It is an architecture that is based on set of six rules, and APIs that support REST follow all those rules, making them RESTful.

Compared to SOAP, REST has better performance, scalability, simplicity, modifiability, visibility, portability, and reliability. For secured REST API transactions, HTTPS is recommended.

RESTful Mobility Services API

7.5 applications, including features from the Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution such as Browser Engage and CMX Analytics, are now supporting REST APIs in addition to the existing SOAP APIs previous releases (backward compatibility).

CMX utilizes the basic authentication scheme to authenticate each REST API request. It utilizes the Authorization header in the HTTP packet. The Authorization header is composed as follows:

- Username and password are combined into a string “username:password”.
- The resulting string literal is then encoded using Base64.
- The authorization method, a space and the string “Basic” is then put before the encoded string.

The API credentials can be accessed from Prime Infrastructure (PI), which manages CMX (page is located under Mobility Services > Specific MSE > System > Users).

As Rajiv mentioned last week, the Mobility Services REST APIs can be grouped in the following way:

-          MAP APIs

-          Real time location APIs

-          Location history APIs

-          Notification APIs

Let’s break them down with use cases to get a better picture of when you’d use which. Read More »

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Cisco CMX Solution In Action at the Internet of Things World Forum

Today’s events at the IoT World Forum included a very interesting keynote address by Cisco’s CEO John Chambers, as well as some exciting breakout sessions. Leading business executives shared their ideas and visions, which in turn are shaping IoT across their industries.

It’s been a special treat to show off the power of the Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution to attendees at the event. We deployed CMX in the beautiful event venue, during John Chambers’ keynote, and during break out sessions. Let’s take a closer look at how attendees have been seeing CMX in action:

IoT Venue: Hotel Arts

IoT World Forum is taking place at the Hotel Arts on the seafront in Barcelona. The lower ground floor houses the Keynote room, the conference rooms, registration, demo showcase and partner rooms.

The latest version of CMX, V7.6, in a pre-release form has been running at the Hotel Arts IoT venue all week. CMX allows organizations to gather and analyze aggregate location data on devices from their Cisco Wi-Fi network. For example, we can see device count and dwell time in total and by location.  The new CMX analytics dashboard (available with CMX 7.6, to be released later this year), looks like this:

iotwf5 Read More »

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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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