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Building a useable Autonomic Networking Infrastructure from the Ground Up

Yep, that’s what we did, and yes we are shipping it today!

As Michael’s blog explained, autonomics are all around us, both in feature implementation (e.g. a routing protocol like OSPF) as well as in architectural frameworks like GANA.  But while the former has created isolated, per feature domains of autonomicity, the latter has never really resulted into a useable implementation used by a network engineer to date!

Lets go back to what we said out the vision of Autonomic Networking was going to be, as in the below figure, which I essentially repeated from my DON’T PANIC blog. The observant reader  will notice that I changed the term ‘simple management tools’ into ‘SDN/NMS Controller across a simplified northbound interface’.  After all we can’t ignore markets trends like SDN.

Autonomic Networking: The Vision

The vision remains the same whether you use an iPAD versus a super-duper controller though: you ingest a network wide behavior into the  network, as we can model the totality of the network in an abstract, location-independent, network-wide manner.  Autonomic Processes turn this network wide behavior into local state, and might invoke control loops between nodes to do this effectively.  This ultimately results into the good-ole legacy network protocols to become self-managing, without changing the protocols themselves.  Genius! But how do we get there in practice?  And can customers trust us to do the right thing from day 1? Read More »

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Autonomic Networking – From Theory to Practice

Autonomic Networking is well understood in theory, but real, consistent and extensible implementations don’t exist. In this post I suggest a reason for the lack in execution, and our vision to provide a working, implementable Autonomic Networking Architecture.

Wipe off the dust…

When asking a researcher about autonomic systems, (s)he might blow the dust off a stack of papers, or proudly pull a couple of old books off his shelf. Or point to IBM’s IEEE paper from 2003. From a research perspective, autonomics is well understood. It’s this self-management thing, with all those self-* properties. Self-configuration and self-optimisation for example. Distribution, control loops, and so on. Even the Wikipedia articles are written. So, we’re done, aren’t we?

No we’re not.

Ask your friendly neighbourhood network engineers about Autonomic Networking. The one that proudly hacks expect scripts at night to make his admin database talk to his routers. Or the front line engineer who applies a network service class to one of his customers. Likely, both of them would look at you with big eyes, and after explaining that the network manages itself, intelligently, you’d hear back: “That’s like Skynet, isn’t it?”

No it’s not. Read More »

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Cisco Quantum SON Suite Wins Best Mobile Product at Leading Lights Award

By Shailesh Shukla, VP & GM, SWAG Global, CiscoShailesh Shukla

Overview
The surging demand for data, and the continued growth of Smartphones consumption forces mobile service providers expand their network in order to provide Quality of Experience and Quality of service to their customers. As a result their network becomes more complex and difficult to manage. Leading Lights Awards has recognized the Cisco Quantum SON Suite as the leading solution and “Best Mobile Product” for 2013, to automatically manage the already complex network from a single point, without extra equipment and guaranting KPI’s?

What is the Cisco Quantum SON? Read More »

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Closing the Small Cell Loop

Folks,

We are in the midst of exciting times. As the small cell industry gathers here in London for the annual Small Cells World Summit, I’m delighted to welcome the world-class team from Ubiquisys into Cisco.  At the same time, we’re announcing the formation of a new Small Cell Wireless Backhaul Ecosystem with the top vendors in the industry.

Let me start with an introduction, since this is my first SP 360 blog.  I’m the VP/GM of the new Cisco Small Cell Technology Group.  Cisco has been investing in both internal engineering development and external acquisitions in small cell technology for several years now, and this moment marks a milestone in our long-term strategic plan.

We have the industry leading carrier-grade SP Wi-Fi solution, and one of the largest residential femto deployments with over 1 million devices deployed by AT&T.  We’ve learned a great deal over the years about how to rapidly deploy licensed and unlicensed small cells with zero touch provisioning, keeping costs low and customer satisfaction high.

We’ve been partnering with Ubiquisys for quite some time because we see them as industry leaders and in fact one of the founders of the small cell industry.  Now that we have their expertise in-house, we’re able to rapidly roll out an expanding portfolio of licensed small cells to meet the widening array of deployment needs.  This also means that we are adding decentralized SON capability to our centralized SON proficiency gained through the recent Intucell acquisition.

In February we announced the ASR 901S, a small cell backhaul router that brings hardened network intelligence into some of the more challenging environments where small cells are being deployed.  Today we are announcing Read More »

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Bringing Licensed and Unlicensed Small Cells Together

The mobile market will be vastly different 10 years from today. We will see two and a half billion more people connected to the internet, but also 50 billion more devices. Those devices are going to have a totally different consumption profile compared with the smartphone or dongle user that we have today. We will have a mobile market with mobile internet which has got to have flexibility in terms of how it supports the massive number of devices, signaling events, and bandwidth that will occur in the future.

To manage this exponential growth in mobile data, effective small cell networks need to take advantage of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Small cells help operators increase coverage, capacity, and services, effectively and have already proven to be vital element in mobile networks.  To better integrate licensed and unlicensed small cells, we have identified 5 fundamentals that are important to remember: Read More »

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