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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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Cisco Small Business Online Device Emulators

How do you get a feel for things? Perhaps a little research online, a review or two, maybe a referral from a friend or co-worker. But big purchases, such as a new car may require more; more information.  So you go to take a test drive. Well, we have something similar to a test drive.

As you may know, it is not often you get a chance to check out how an IT device’s graphical user interface (GUI) looks and feels. Sure you might see a couple of static screen capture and be able to point how the navigation menu is laid out. But beyond that, it is not until the device is purchased and in the installation process, that the real user experience is realized. It’s hard to get a grasp on on the level of complexity for set-up and deployment, let alone configure a VLAN or set-up a secure VPN.

EM page shot

Well, we have offered something better. Our team has delivered a set of device emulators, including switches, access points and routers. You can actually navigate through the actual menus, see how the wizards look and work, and truly get a sense of how easy the small business products are to configure, install, deploy and manage.

Here is what the emulators/GUI’s look like:
Emulator screenshot


Small Business Online Device Emulators

You will notice that all of the small business product user interfaces share the same look and feel, as well as similar general navigation principles. With our Small Business product line, we truly take to heart the need for a great user experience and are always looking to make our products easier to use.

Please, leave us a comment or suggestion good, bad or otherwise to help us improve our products.

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Right-Sizing Network Solutions for Small Businesses

This is a guest blog post from Cisco Product Manager Marc Nagao. Marc has spent close to two decades in high tech, with a mix of storage, managed services and of course networking. He is currently managing the Small Business RV Series Routers.

Network connectivity is a pretty big concern for any business, let alone a small, growing business. How many small business owners do you know that have turned to IT-savvy Cousin Jimmy for help, or called a “computer expert” they found on Yelp, or tried to find the right network solutions doing only a few quick Google searches? Picking the right network solution can be a daunting task.

But that’s where right sizing a small business’ networking solution comes into play – it saves money now and saves more money in the future. Small businesses have the benefit of being nimble; a successful, single-person business can very quickly transform into a multiple-person small business, with an office and a warehouse and a dozen or even a few dozen folks. But that business’ network connectivity solution doesn’t seem to move as quickly. A consumer wireless router could probably do the job for a single person home office adequately. But for a business looking to use its network for more than just accessing the Internet, the choice is not so obvious.

Read More »

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Cisco Messages on Hannover Messe Part 3 – That knowing look between ODVA and Cisco

Adrienne Meyer, ODVA, Manager of Member Services and Guy Denis, Business Development Manager at Cisco Systems, explain the value and integration that Cisco brings to ODVA for the past decade at Hannover Messe 2013.

Here is the third and final installment from the recent Cisco presence at Hanover Messe presence. The first installment can be viewed here: Cisco Messages on Hannover Messe Part 1, Guy Denis talks about the Cisco Booth, and the second here: Messages on Hannover Messe Part 2 – Rudolph Maly and 4th Industrial Revolution.

Adrienne is asked about the value that Cisco brings to the ODVA, and how long Cisco has been working with the ODVA. Adrienne talks about the decade long relationship and how Cisco works with a number of the ODVA technical working groups. Adrienne goes on to talk about how the ODVA manages the development of the Ethernet IP technology that Cisco Supports, and how Cisco is showing the breadth of the technology that has been developed and is available at the event.

Guy Denis talks about the strategic nature of the relationship and how Cisco supports the open-standards-based approach of the ODVA. This is very important to Cisco, our partners, and, of course, to our customers. Cisco strongly believes in the open-standards approach to TCP-IP for industrial networking moving forward, for the benefit of all parties.

As I mentioned in my last blog, this is another example of the Internet of Things which is the part of The Internet of Everything and the part that is already with us today in the manufacturing industry. Read More »

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Messages on Hannover Messe Part 2 – Rudolph Maly and 4th Industrial Revolution

Rudolph Maly, Head of Cisco Connected Industries for EMEAR, talks about the 2013 Hannover Messe event in Germany and says “Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution!”

Here is the second installment from the recent Cisco presence at Hannover Messe presence. The first installment can be viewed here: Cisco Messages on Hannover Messe Part 1, Guy Denis talks about the Cisco Booth.

As I mentioned in a recent blog about Power over Ethernet, IP devices are becoming ubiquitous, and the Internet of Things is upon us, and the predictions are for billions of devices connected over the Internet of Everything. So, in this case, what does this mean in terms of connectivity and what Cisco is talking about at the fair?

More and more traditional industries are connected to the worldwide internet. This is all helping to improve efficiencies, increase productivity, and help drive product development and facilitate new business models.

At Cisco, and particularly at the Cisco Connected Industries Group, Rudolph talks about how Cisco is building products and architectures that reach into production plants and machinery in order to enable robust, reliable and secure connections to the internet and to business systems, both inside the organization and externally to suppliers and customers. Read More »

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