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Mythbusters: Unified Access Edition: Part 1

There’s been a lot of buzz around our recent Cisco Unified Access Solution announcement. We understand there is also some confusion around what’s what, what’s required for Unified Access, and what the impact will be on IT.

In true Mythbuster fashion, let’s all discover why no myth is safe – through a 5-part series of posts. In this series, we’ll look at some of the most common myths that have been floating around and unveil the truth.

Myth 1: Moving to the Cisco Unified Access solution requires the complete replacement of the existing access switch infrastructure.

This is pure fiction. Cisco has always promoted that the network infrastructure should evolve and we understand that different organizations will feel the impact of the Internet of Things, mobility and BYOD at different times and will address them differently. The new Cisco Unified Access solution provides you flexible deployment options, including separate wired and wireless, converged access, cloud-managed, and more. The deployment model chosen will depend upon the lifecycle of the existing infrastructure.

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Santa’s Gift for Wireless Admins This Holiday Season

Last week, a friend of mine jokingly asked me, “So, what is Santa bringing to Cisco’s wireless customers this holiday season?”

I couldn’t help but grin because I already knew what many of you are now aware of: Santa’s wireless holiday delivery came early this year, with Release 7.4 now posted on Cisco.com.

We at Cisco’s Wireless Networking Group are really excited to show off this shiny new release. 7.4 is jam-packed with 40+ features to improve the everyday lives of Cisco wireless customers.

You must be thinking: But you just released feature-heavy 7.3 in October AND new products, such as Virtual Wireless Controller and the highly scalable Wireless Controller 8510!

So what makes 7.4 so special? We specifically chose each feature with the goal of creating an uncompromised user-experience while keeping wireless network administrators happy by making it easy manage their WLAN more efficiently. The 7.4 release specifically focuses on four main pillars:

  • Quality of Experience for Wireless Users
  • Improved Security & Spectrum intelligence
  • Improved performance for small deployments
  • Ability to deploy innovative IT services using mobile apps

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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 12): Active-Active Home Lab, What’s on your wish list?

December 12, 2012 at 8:34 am PST

In this episode of Engineers Unplugged, Cisco’s Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) talks to WWT’s Jon Duren (@jduren) about his home lab, including Jon’s plan for expansion and wish list. Let’s watch:

Every home lab needs a spy gnome. With Josh Atwell and Jon Duren.

Every home lab needs a spy gnome. With Josh Atwell and Jon Duren.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

What’s on your home lab wish list this season? How does it impact education and training for you and your team? Join the conversation here or by following along on Twitter with @ciscoDC. Thanks to all--next week’s episode is the last of the season!

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[Podcast] Enhance Wireless with MSE & WSSI Module

We’re featured on the latest episode of No Strings Attached Show!

Don’t miss our own product managers Jagdish Girimaj and Mark Denny take a deep dive with NSA Show hosts Blake Krone and Samuel Clements into the technology behind enhancing wireless with the Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE) and Wireless Security & Spectrum Intelligence (WSSI) AP3600 module.

Listen into the podcast here!

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Are Overlays the Duct Tape of Networking?

October 9, 2012 at 12:50 am PST

Duct tape is pretty amazing stuff because its versatile and easy to use.  That being said, sometimes, that versatility and ease-of-use means it gets used at times when maybe it shouldn’t.

This thought came to mind a couple of weeks ago at VMworld.  Over the course of the show, I had a number of conversations with folks about tunneling and overlay network.  For many (mostly non-networking) folks, it seemed like the best thing since sliced bread—it gave them the holy grail—flexible, agile, one-demand connectivity without having to talk to the network folks.

From a networking perspective, its kinda funny, since the concept of tunnels is a decades old technology. It’s always played a legitimate role in a comprehensive networking strategy (MPLS and IPsec VPNs for example) so its cool to see an old concept find new applications.

However, lest we be lulled into blissful slumber by the unicorns playing lilting melodies through their horns, its good to remember, as with pretty much everything in IT, there is no free lunch.  While overlays networks make life simpler for the server admin or the virtualization admin, there are a couple of things to bear in mind.

From an operational perspective, the overlay environment becomes a second network that needs to be managed—often a dumber, less instrumented network.  Somewhere, someone still needs to maintain a fully functioning, highly available, secure, properly traffic-engineered network that underpins that virtualized connectivity. Think of this as the difference between your checkbook and your checking account—just because you can write a check doesn’t mean there is money in the account to cover it.

Now, if you are not a networking dude or dudette, your first reaction may be “why do I care?”  Well, when you start seeing performance issues on your tunnel, you start to see intermittent drops on your tunnel, or you need to demonstrate auditable regulatory compliance, then you start to care.  While some folks propose that the underlying network becomes irrelevant once you start using overlays, the truth is that the strengths and weaknesses (performance, availability, security, manageability, etc.) of the underlying physical network are going to manifest themselves in in whatever rides on top.  While overlay technology is undeniably useful, having an approach that leverages the intelligence of the underlying infrastructure (assuming any exists) is going to pay off in the long run.

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