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Passpoint Delivers a New Level of Wi-Fi Usability

The rise of new Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices and the growing ubiquity of Wi-Fi access points in most countries has been astounding.  Recent mobile consumer research by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) clearly demonstrates that most mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled, and that approximately 70 to 80 percent of the time that consumers use these devices, they are potentially within range of a Wi-Fi access point. In fact, the research shows that one-third of the time, smartphone users are choosing Wi-Fi—rather than their mobile cellular network—to connect to the Internet. We expect that within the next two years, the number of Wi-Fi connections will reach parity with mobile cellular network connections. Wi-Fi has truly become a part of the mobile equation as consumers increasingly look to it to connect to rich mobile media experiences and to power their new, essential nomadic devices, such as tablets and eReaders.

While Wi-Fi is truly becoming a viable and essential complement to mobile, the user experience is certainly not without its challenges. Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of having to log on to a splash page and enter a complex passcode to gain Wi-Fi access at a public hotspot. And you have to repeat this complicated process every time you return for your morning cappuccino. The Cisco IBSG research clearly demonstrates that people also want seamless integration among Wi-Fi hotspots, and increasingly between mobile cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

The recent launch of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint program by the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) offers to make this integration a reality. This industrywide, interoperable platform, supported across a range of networks and devices, will revolutionize the Wi-Fi user experience and become a key enabler of seamless data offload from mobile networks to public hotspots.

Here are the key Passpoint features planned for mid-2012: Read More »

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Wi-Fi Goes Public

It seems that everywhere you go these days, the little Wi-Fi icon on your mobile device lights up to show that an access point is nearby. In fact, The Wireless Broadband Alliance predicts that the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots globally will grow more than fourfold, to 5.8 million, by 2015. This increasing availability of public hotspots is creating a new “nomadic” network to rival traditional mobile networks and support new mobile devices and their owners’ lifestyles (see blog posting “A New Type of Mobility”). Consumers now expect to have Wi-Fi access when they are sipping a latte in their favorite coffee shop, watching their team score the winning touchdown at the local stadium, or even when they are waiting in line to pay for their groceries.

To learn more about what consumers are doing with their mobile devices, and how and where they are using them, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) recently conducted a survey of U.S. mobile users. Following are our top three findings related to the use of public Wi-Fi: Read More »

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A New Type of Mobility

Mobile used to mean the connectivity service that you bought from your local mobile network operator that freed you from the wire connected to the wall. The rise of Wi-Fi has changed all that. Most mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled (see blog posting “What Is a Mobile Device Anymore?”). Wi-Fi has broken the MNO’s monopoly of providing wireless freedom to consumers. While Wi-Fi may not provide all of the features of mobile cellular technology, consumers now have a choice in how they want to connect their devices wirelessly to the Internet – mobile cellular or Wi-Fi.

To learn more about what consumers are doing with their mobile devices, and how and where they are using them, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) recently conducted a survey of U.S. mobile users. Following are our top three findings related to mobile connectivity: Read More »

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Software Defined Networking for Service Providers: Data Center Fabric Analogies breakdown in the WAN

Lately I’ve been seeing some industry people trying to apply the principles of data center network fabric models to their Wide Area Networks (WANs), and implying that such can be extended through service provider WANs.  Data center fabrics and WANs are horses of very different colors with way too many differences for these perspectives to hold up.

Fundamentally they are different beasts with one more easily tamed than the other.   Data center networks generally have well known end points and well-ordered designs.

Multi-tenant Data Center Designs

Bandwidth within data centers is virtually unlimited relative to WAN bandwidth.  It is much more stable and constrained in its characteristics when it comes to things like latency, loss, jitter, capacity, restoration capabilities – all of which have significant influence on WAN services delivery.  The same data center network assumptions exist between each of the end points, which makes fabric modeling for data centers generally a good approximation and thus possible to use.

Some private WANs that interconnect data centers may align closely enough with a fabric model, making it a good enough approximation.  But this is a unique case and is essentially Read More »

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Upgrade to 100G/400G/1T Without Upgrading the Fiber Infrastructure

We talked before about how over 150 customers from 50 different network operators and enterprises met last month at Cisco’s campus in Richardson, Texas, to attend the Spring 2012 Packet Optical Networking Conference (PONC). Besides collaborating on best practices and future requirements in IP and optical solutions, attendees also had an opportunity to view Cisco’s extensive “brownfield” 100G DWDM demo setup. It consists of over 1000 km of fiber, with 10G services and shows how we can plug-n-play 100G services onto existing live systems. This is a critical requirement for customers who must maintain business continuity while still upgrading the capacity of the network. It’s also using the same technology we showed with EANTC that could go to Read More »

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