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IP Address Management, Part II: Automation and Inventory

Efficient management of network elements requires that operators track the IP addresses assigned to each device when they are attached to the network.  When discovery is managed manually, an operator may forget to email a confirmation or perform one of the crucial steps in the provisioning process.  Rather than requiring operators to perform these steps manually, the management system can automatically assign and record IP addresses as well as send any confirmations.  In addition, the system can receive commands and trigger flows back downstream to further automate processes and simplify the workflow.

Cisco Prime Network Registrar, for example, offers a broad scope of IP address management (IPAM) capabilities for automating discovery. IP addresses for new devices are immediately added to the network’s IP inventory, guaranteeing that they will not be overlooked or mistyped.

Cisco Prime Network Registrar also locates and identifies unknown devices on the network, including smartphones, routers, and printers users have provisioned themselves.  When an IP address is used without being formally allocated, this creates a potential conflict with mission-critical equipment that could result in network downtime that is difficult and time-consuming to troubleshoot. Operators can either remove these rogue devices from the network or formally discover them to shore up potential security vulnerabilities that might otherwise pass undetected.

The accuracy of the IP address inventory is maintained by refreshing it at regular intervals to ensure it still correlates to the ever-changing configuration of the network.  Maintaining an accurate inventory of IP addresses is critical to reliable network operation.  For example, by Read More »

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5 Predictions for the Future of Wi-Fi and Mobile

Wi-Fi has truly come of age as a viable means to connect mobile devices to the Internet. The past four blogs in this series have highlighted some of the key findings of a recent survey of U.S. mobile users by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). Our survey uncovered some startling revelations about what consumers are doing on their mobile devices, how and where they are using them, and how they are connecting them to the Internet.

The majority of devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled, and the fastest-growing category is “nomadic” devices such as tablets and eReaders. We now need to speak of the “mobile home,” as the home is by far the most popular location for consumers to use their mobile devices. Surprisingly, Wi-Fi is the network connection of choice for most consumers for all of their devices, but they would like to see Wi-Fi more seamlessly integrated with mobile networks. When they are not at home, mobile users are increasingly expecting public hotspots to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to these devices. While service providers are beginning to realize that they need to deploy Wi-Fi networks, our research clearly shows that there are viable monetization opportunities in mobile data off-load, customer retention, and new and innovative business models.

While it is never easy to foresee the future, here are five predictions for key changes in the mobile industry over the next two years as an outcome of the Cisco IBSG research: Read More »

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London 2012: the Olympic Network (part two)

During my recent visit to London, while at the Cisco House — way up on its perch above the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, I had the opportunity to look out across the huge Olympic Park in amazement. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget — for as long as I live.

Most visitors to the Olympic Park will immediately notice the cluster of majestic sports arenas and a plethora of newly planted landscaping. Besides the obvious, there’s the potential for it to become so much more. This community regeneration project could be the basis for a socioeconomic metamorphosis in East London – a very welcomed new beginning.

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IP Address Management, Part I: Agility and Integration

The ability to deploy new equipment and services in a timely and cost-effective manner – a quality known as network agility– is crucial to maintaining profitability.  Bottlenecks that hinder deployment, reduce performance, or result in downtime add cost to every operation. For example, managing thousands of IP addresses by hand creates bottlenecks when provisioning and troubleshooting as well as increases the possibility of service outages caused by human error.

The growing complexity of networks further increases the difficulty of managing today’s networks.  Operators must accommodate new types of servers and clients, potentially from multiple vendors.  TCP/IP continues to connect more devices, resulting in a higher cost to manage each new device as the number of devices added to the network increases.  Furthermore, new technologies like IPv6, virtualization, cloud services, and mobile connectivity which increase management complexity drive the need for comprehensive, integrated, and feature-rich IP address management (IPAM) capabilities.

Agility enables Read More »

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IPv6 Peering, Part 1: Questions For Your Service Provider

Today, many organizations are focusing on how to integrate IPv6 services into their Internet edge. The World IPv6 Launch has come and gone with over 3000 sites now IPv6-enabled.  In addition, the US government has directed that all agencies must enable their Internet facing services for IPv6 by October 1st, 2012. These drivers are pushing organizations to take a harder look at how to approach IPv6 integration.  My next couple of posts will examine how to interface with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

The Internet edge is the point in your network where your organization will interface with the IPv6 Internet, and it is how customers will access your services. It is important that your ISP have the same Service Level Agreement (SLA) as your IPv4 point of attachment. After all, you are going to be running your business over both IPv4 and IPv6 for quite some time. To ensure that your ISP’s IPv6 services meet your business and technical requirements, I’ve compiled a list of questions to ask. The questions are grouped along the lines of how IPv6 is physically delivered, how the control plane is handled, and the services that are offered. The following are several example questions:

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