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IPv6 Sensing on Your (and Our) Web Site

You may have noticed that on our Support page, we have a small banner at the top in preparation for World IPv6 Day, which is a galactic test flight of the next generation Internet Protocol.

The banner on our support page tests whether you’re on an IPv4 network (which is the vast majority of our visitors) or on a new IPv6 network (which is the future).

When you first come onto the support page, you’ll see the banner checking your network status:

Then, once the quick test completes, if you’re on an IPv4 network, you’ll get this:

If you’re on an IPv6 network, well, first you already know you are very cool. And second, you’ll see this banner:

If you’re on an IPv6 network but there’s a problem somewhere between here are there, you’ll see this:

We don’t expect many people will see the “problem banner” above. But, the whole purpose of IPv6 Day is to test the end to end behavior and performance of IPv6. It’s the “shakedown cruise” like they do on a brand new oceanliner.

Here’s a little more on the idea behind the banner:

  1. The goal was to inform people about ipv6 and World IPv6 Day and collect statistics to understand how many visitors we would see on IPv6.
  2. As we were discussing as to how to inform people, we got inspired by http://www.getipv6.info/index.php/Warning_broken_users_with_JavaScript.
  3. Inspired by this service, we choose to implement a basic test rather than displaying plain vanilla message.
  4. To support this pre-test service, we created an IPv4-only site, and IPv6-only site and dual-stack enabled site. We choose not to rely on publicly hosted sites.
  5. Based on the success of 1pixel image request from each of the above sites, we display the appropriate message. (This banner and test loads after everything else on the page, by the way, so it doesn’t slow down the page.)
  6. If you can reach IPv4 only sites but cannot reach the dual stack site, this is a mark of brokenness, meaning that your device is probably trying to attach with IPv6 to the dual-stack site and failing.  As part of the logic,  we also report the same error if you can reach IPv6 only sites but not the dual stack site.  This is rarer still
  7. In the process we also send a tag to our analytics server for data capture – which is one of the main goals of the setup.
  8. We have kept the test basic and simple, linking you to a Support Community entry to get more information https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-16692.

If your company is participating in World IPv6 Day, you can implement this same kind of logic on your own web sites. It’s easy!

For a more comprehensive IPv6 test, you can use http://test-ipv6.com.

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Cisco.com Toolbar Update

As I mentioned recently, based on your input we are planning to remove the toolbar at the bottom of Cisco.com pages. This change will happen in mid April.

I am counting the days with a sign on my office door:

Toolbat countdown picture

We’re currently on schedule to remove the toolbar at the end of the day PDT on Friday, April 15th. The My Cisco menu will move to the top of the page, and will be docked with a companion link to the My Cisco Workspace next to it.

For now, if you want to reduce the size of the toolbar, you can click on the little arrow on the left side of the toolbar, to collapse it. It will stay collapsed until the next time you delete your cookies.

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iPad2 Featured App on WebEx.com

On WebEx.com, there’s no missing the fact that the Apple App Store is featuring the brand new WebEx iPad and iPad2 app this week.

It’s a really cool new app, too, by the way.  (It changed how I do online meetings!)

More info about all of this on the Collaboration blog.  And nice work WebEx and WebEx.com teams.

Enjoy!

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Cisco.com Product Category Pages: New, Better, Live

You’ve probably noticed the new product category pages on Cisco.com, which we updated last week. That’s pages like the ones for Switches, Routers, Voice and Unified Communication, Security, Wireless and about a dozen others.

We’ve made a number of new enhancements (see below), and one of the ones I like the best is how we’ve begun to link directly to specific relevant areas that support the product.

Support: If you click on the Support button, it expands out to reveal links that do directly to relevant downloads, troubleshooting and other information that support the products in this category (and of course, we also link from specific product pages — which is an extremely handy way to jump to the correct place).

Follow Us: Relevant community links, twitter feeds, podcasts, blogs, etc are grouped together under the Follow Us button. This is the first time we’ve consistently grouped this information together by category, and you may be surprised at the rich information available via social feeds by product category.

Here’s a recap of additional enhancements, which I mentioned on the blog last week:

1. Faster performance load time. The pages are faster to load, thanks to sleeker pages.

2. Clearer linking to the “All products” listing. It’s easier to get to the full list of all products in a category, thanks to more obvious links that go directly.

3. Consistent treatment for Contact Us and related information.

4. Consistent navigation to related Communities, Support, How to Buy functions, as shown above.

5. Clearer linkages to reference designs and other important functions.

6. Elevated technology and business benefits areas – so you don’t have to go hunting for them.

7. More ROI information, and in more obvious places.

8. Better information about services and solutions related to product areas.

9. Consistent routes to segments/size-specific views of products where it applies (e.g. small business).

10. Removing the left nav at this top level, which confused new customers (you can more easily move using the flydown megamenus at the top)

11. Improved writing – We rewrote some things that… well to be honest, were confusing.

12. Ongoing improvements–We’ll be making additional improvements based on your feedback, and what we see in site metrics.

Let us know what you think.

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Enhancements to My Cisco Workspace

You probably already know about My Cisco Workspace, which is an area of Cisco.com that’s full of useful support and partner tools.  The My Cisco Workspace is designed as a personalized  venue for our Partners and Customers — a single stop to access applications/modules that enables a holistic, personalized, “One Cisco” view of support applications and online resources to manage their ongoing business with Cisco. The Workspace is especially popular with Partners who can access their deals and quotes, find events and check Partner news. The button link to the My Cisco Workspace is found in the upper right links at the top of most every page.

We’re constantly looking to improve and simplify the My Cisco Workspace experience for our users, and we’ve recently released some enhancements:

More Flexibility: We’ve added new features that allow you to configure your workspace with modules in two columns.

Easier to Find Modules: Within the My Cisco Catalog, you can get a filtered view of available modules based on your role. We also alert you of new modules added within the catalog.

Help for Partners: And we’ve added a new module just for our Partners, “Help for Partners.” This module includes Online Chat and Contact Center Support. The “Help for Partners” module is also available from the Partner Central pages and the Small Medium Business pages.

We would love to hear your comments and suggestions on improvements to the capabilities available through My Cisco.

– Laura Melchionne,  Cisco.com team.

P.S. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you also know that soon we’re removing the toolbar at the bottom of the page, and moving all functions there to the top, including the My Cisco pulldown/popup menu.  Later in April, that My Cisco popup menu will be available right next to the My Cisco Workspace button link that takes you to the workspace.

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