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Mobility by the Numbers

These days it seems like practically every networking conversation I have involves mobility.  It makes sense because with this “always on” lifestyle, people have a wide variety of motivations and desires to connect to one another near and far in both fixed, nomadic, and truly mobile situations, whenever they want, wherever they want. And in many developing areas of the world which may not necessarily have the need for “constant connectivity,” they are turning to mobility for “connectivity” in general since it is possible to get much more broadband coverage, so quickly.  In fact, our Cisco VNI team forecasts that there will soon be more people connected to the Internet, largely through mobile means, than there will be connected to electricity.  Pretty amazing.

But with all of this talk of mobility whether it be discussions of  NGH or advances in EPC innovations and architectures or competing market claims of this vs. that, it can at times be confusing (editor note:  this author most certainly not exempt from that….)

So to break through that noise of all the mobility talk, we looked for truth in numbers – numbers on the market, where it’s been and where it’s going, and what’s Cisco’s role in enabling it all.  Here is what we found: Read More »

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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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