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Wi-Fi Roaming 101

Wi-Fi roaming is often a tumultuous subject.  The crux of the issue is, with Wi-Fi the roaming decision is left to the client.

In the recent years, there have been great strides in improving Wi-Fi roaming with the creation of standards-based roaming technologies.  Cisco first pioneered fast roaming many years ago with CCKM (Cisco Centralized Key Management), which was the foundation for 802.11r.  11r which was ratified by the IEEE in 2008, allows for fast roaming, even on a secure 802.1X SSID.  With 802.11r it is possible to roam without disruption during a voice or video call.

While client support of 802.11r is largely lacking in the laptop space,  there is large support in the smartphone realm.  Apple iOS devices have supported 11r since iOS 6 (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5535).  The recent Samsung smartphones, such as the Galaxy S4, S5, and Note 3, also support 11r.

Note: Some non-802.11r clients can react adversely when connected to an 11r WLAN.  The current recommendation from Cisco is to have a separate WLAN for 802.11r clients.

802.11k is another amendment from the IEEE that helps to improve roaming.  802.11k provides a whole slew of information to the client, which allows the client to understand the RF environment and make an informed roaming decision.  This information can include channel load and AP neighbor lists.

11r and 11k help, however, that does not mean the infrastructure is irrelevant in the roaming picture.  With the help of a model train, we did some testing to figure out just how much impact the infrastructure could have.  We compared Cisco to one of our competitors, whom we will call Vendor A.

This video summarizes the results and shows the train in action, or continue reading for more details:
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Work is What You Do (Not Where You Go)

June 5, 2014 at 10:31 am PST

As I wrapped up my monthly forecast call last week, it struck me just how drastically work has changed in the last decade. It was 10 p.m. and I was in my hotel room in Macau, face-to-face with sales team leads in Singapore, the U.K., Switzerland, and the U.S., over video. Ten years ago, mobile phones were just phones, and for many, the office was where you met with co-workers and got your work done.

Today we’re mobile. Our workforce is globally distributed. Deadlines are shorter than ever. We need to make decisions faster. With multiple generations in the workforce, we must accommodate a wide range of behaviors, outlooks, expectations, and work styles. To stay competitive, we need to look beyond commute distance to find the best talent.

I’ve said before that embedding collaboration technology into workplace design is critical to the success of any workplace transformation effort. Our activity-based  work spaces must give employees secure, seamless access to the information they need to get their jobs done. But this must also extend beyond the walls of our offices so we can collaborate no matter where we are – at home, at a customer site, inflight at 30,000 feet, or in a hotel room in Macau.

And we’re not the only ones who think so.

  • Almost half of professionals worldwide are already working remotely at least some of the time
  • Globally, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion by 2015
  • 61% of employees globally believe they don’t need to be in the office to be productive and efficient
  • 70% of aspiring executives who plan to manage large teams say they will rely more heavily on video in the next 5 to 10 years

Work Is What We Do, Not Where We Go

At Cisco, our own work profile surveys show that among Cisco employees: Read More »

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When Minutes Matter, You Can’t Afford to be Lost in Translation

On a recent visit to my doctor’s office, I observed something that I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to in the past:  When a nurse called the next patient back for her appointment, a young girl also stood up and explained that her mother didn’t speak English well and asked to accompany her to interpret.

I live right outside of Washington, D.C., which is fortunately a culturally diverse area so I am used to hearing different languages on a day-to-day basis.  I guess I never really considered the impact of not speaking English when it comes to seeking medical care.  Luckily, the example above, seemed like a routine office visit, but it got me thinking about what would happen in an emergency situation where seconds count.

Paras and Associates know this scenario all too well as they provide real-time language interpreters for healthcare environments using video collaboration. PAA’s service ensures that patients anywhere in the country, who speak any language, can gain access to high quality medical interpretation in an instant. Video communications has played a significant role in their practice and has significantly reduced “lost in translation” errors by allowing doctor, patient and interpreter to see each other’s faces. The power of video overcomes language barriers that can often be misinterpreted over the phone … and herein lies my passion.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Melinda Paras, PAA’s president and CEO.  Melinda is a veteran of the medical industry and saw a need to deliver a better “business outcome” to patients and medical staff.  In this case, the business outcome could mean the difference between life and death.

Video communications can Read More »

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Delivering More Personalized Customer Service

At Cisco Live, Hans Hwang, VP of Cisco Advanced Services spoke with Todd Walthall, Vice President, Digital Servicing Integration from American Express about how they are taking their customer service to the next level. By partnering with Cisco, American Express is piloting video chat capabilities in their American Express iPad application. With a push of a video icon button on an iPad, a video window appears, and a customer connects directly to a customer service representative to receive concierge service.

AmEx at Cisco Live 3c

Seeing this demo reminded me of a recent session I had the opportunity to attend where Rob Honts from Accenture presented on customer retention and loyalty, which is part of their annual Global Consumer Pulse Research survey. One of the key findings that Rob highlighted from the survey is that the number one reason customers stay with and switch their service provider is due to customer service. Not convenience. Not product.  Dare, I say it? Not brand. But customer service. Read More »

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Getting Started with Cisco CMX 7.6 Analytics

First we rolled out the MSE tech blog series to give our customers an in depth look at the various features of the location-based technology behind Cisco’s Mobility Services Engine (MSE) and Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution. Now, we’re kicking off a CMX Techtorial video series to provide a visual and helpful walkthrough of how to maneuver and get started with CMX and location-based services.

First up, we have the charismatic Darryl Sladden, Technical Marketing Manager for CMX, taking us through CMX 7.6 Analytics. In this quick video, Darryl will cover:

  • What is CMX 7.6 Analytics?
  • What is the analytics dashboard?
  • How do I visualize dwell time, heat maps, device density?
  • What kinds of reports can you get with CMX 7.6 Analytics?

Read More »

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