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Not All 802.11ac AP’s are Created Equal: Built-for-Purpose vs. Purpose-Built

As more and more 802.11ac devices come to the market this year, businesses need to make sure the best possible 802.11ac wireless infrastructure gets deployed to make sure those 802.11ac end points are performing at both the best possible data rates and application throughputs to maximize the move to  802.11ac.

Cisco’s Aironet 3700 with HDX Technology does just that. If you’re thinking that the 3700 is just another 802.11ac AP,  think again: not all 802.11ac AP’s are created equal.

To demonstrate this, let’s take a Cisco 3700 access point..


When you open a Cisco AP, you will see dedicated memory (RAM) on the radio chipset itself (one on the 2.4 GHz radio, another on the 5 Ghz radio) to ensure the RF packets get processed “onboard” each radio instead of “offboard” in order to reduce latency and any packet processing collision from memory contention on the AP. Additional packet processing can be handled  on the “offboard” memory that is part of the network processor portion of the AP platform as well. This unique, innovative ASIC-based Wi-Fi chipset by Cisco exemplifies the built-for-Purpose design, and is the hallmark of Cisco’s 3700 Series AP.


Contrast this with the competitive landscape that claims to be Purpose-Built, but in reality is leveraging off-the-shelf merchant silicon-based 802.11ac WiFi chipsets. Read More »

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All 802.11ac Vendors are the same…Right?

If you are an Enterprise IT Manager, this is a question that you must ask yourself if you are considering deploying 802.11ac for your enterprise wireless network. 802.11ac has some great benefits such as wirelike speed and being able to handle a high concentration of clients. However, there is more to consider when deploying 802.11ac. For instance, how do I handle RF interference now that 802.11ac support 80MHz channels? Will legacy devices such as 802.11g/a/n allow me to achieve the best performance that 802.11ac advertises? How can I ensure that my users get the best wireless performance when they roam across a building? And lastly, as more clients join the network, is my performance going to suffer? These are all valid concerns and are something that Cisco addresses with HDX. HDX is High Density Experience and is part of Cisco’s 802.11ac solution. We just wrapped up a 4 part blog series on HDX where we answer these questions:

–          For Interference Mitigation, we have CleanAir for 80MHz Channels

–          Getting the best performance out of your network even with legacy clients, we  have ClientLink 3.0 Read More »

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Cisco UCS Claims Six New World Record Benchmark Results with the Intel Xeon Processor E7 v2 Family

On February 18th, 2014 Cisco announced support for the Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 v2 product family on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®). Cisco has designed three new servers based on these new Intel processors: the Cisco UCS B460 M4, UCS B260 M4, and UCS C460 M4 servers. For additional information on the new servers please check the blog New Cisco UCS Servers: Redefining Scale Up, Scale Up and Scale Out.

On the same day as the Intel announcement, Cisco captured six world records on industry benchmarks on Cisco UCS to highlight the way in which Cisco UCS can accelerate performance across the data center. As we know, there is no better way to compare performance than by using industry-standard benchmarks, and with SIX new world record benchmark performance results Cisco has demonstrated Cisco Unified Computing System’s outstanding performance and IT productivity across key data center workloads. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the six new Cisco UCS world record benchmarks. The detailed benchmark disclosure reports are available here. The performance leadership across a wide range of workloads provided by Cisco UCS is validated by the six World records announced this week which include:

It is interesting to note that although all vendors have access to same Intel processors, only Cisco UCS unleashes their power to deliver high performance to applications through the power of unification. The unique, fabric-centric architecture of Cisco UCS integrates the Intel Xeon processors into a system with a better balance of resources that brings processor power to life. Cisco’s results demonstrate the degree to which Cisco servers deliver the power of the new Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family. Cisco UCS maximizes Intel innovations and as a result Cisco UCS with the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family delivered up to 122 percent better performance over the prior generation of Intel Xeon processors, as shown in the graph below:

E7V2 perf 4

Cisco UCS delivers versatility with performance leadership across a wide range of workloads, enabling customers to eliminate infrastructure silos historically driven by unique application needs. Todd Brannon sums up the customer benefits and business advantages delivered by Cisco UCS in his blog post New UCS Servers deliver innovative scaling options and record-breaking power.

So the momentum continues…In five short years, the Cisco UCS has captured over 90 world records for performance and IT productivity taking its place among the most trusted server vendors on the market. Check out the Cisco UCS 90 World-Record Performance Results.

The architectural advantages of a single cohesive system optimized for virtualized environments coupled with the industry leading benchmark performance results  makes the Cisco Unified Computing System an “infrastructure platform of choice” to provide industry-leading performance in your data center. For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.

 Competitive claims based on results posted at, at as of 02/18/2014. SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp and SPEComp are trademarks or registered trademarks of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. VMware VMmark is a product of VMware, Inc.

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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  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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HDX Blog Series #2: Scaling with Turbo Performance

Editor’s Note: This is the second 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  Read part 1 here

With any new technology comes a new set of obstacles to overcome.  802.11ac is no exception.  Last week we talked about CleanAir for 802.11ac and why spectrum intelligence still matters. Another challenge is scalability. In this post I will give you some details on new HDX feature, Turbo Performance, which allows the AP 3700 overcome common scaling issues to scale amazingly well.

What’s Different with 802.11ac?

802.11ac means higher data rates, which means more packets per second (PPS).  There are three reasons for more PPS with 11ac: wider channels, increased modulation and increased aggregation.  Channel width doubled to 80 MHz, modulation increased from 64 QAM to 256 QAM, and aggregation increased from 64k to 1MB!

With 802.11n, an AP might have had to push 30,000 1500 byte packets per second through the APs data plane. Today with 802.11ac that could now be 75,000+ PPS.  More PPS means more load on the APs CPU, so to really keep up with the demands of 802.11ac, we needed to go back to the drawing board.   Read More »

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