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Get your Wi-Fi network ready for Windows 8

October 12, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

Microsoft will launch Windows 8 in late October. Along with a slew of other features, it will be among the first to support the 802.11w standard to protect Management Frames for client devices on Wi-Fi networks.

Customers running old Cisco unified releases (between 4.2 to 7.2) in local, Flex or mesh mode will run into an interoperability bug (CSCua29504, to be exact) that prevents 802.11w enabled clients from connecting to a Cisco WLAN with Management Frame Protection (MFP) enabled. This bug does not affect customers running autonomous access point deployments or customers running Cisco unified releases older than 4.2.

What are the possible solutions for you?

1. Please upgrade your production environment to one of the following releases, which will interoperate with Windows 8.

  • 7.3.101.0
  • 7.2.111.3
  • 7.0.235.3

2. Roll back to pre-windows 8 drivers as identified in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article.
3. Fall back to TKIP
4. Sign up for a beta release for Cisco’s upcoming feature release 7.4 (beta available now!) that supports the 802.11w feature in local mode.

What is 802.11w ?

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Maple Leaf Wi-Fi

I recently returned from meeting with the majority of Canada’s service providers to share the results of our recent Cisco IBSG research, “What Canadians Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile.” Wi-Fi is everywhere in Canada, as exemplified by the photo that I took at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Our study confirms this, as Canadians seem to be content with coverage in first-tier locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants, but are now looking for Wi-Fi to be just as pervasive in other places where they spend their lives. Parks, bus stops, retail stores, shopping malls, and hospitals top the list of additional locations where Canadians would like to be able to access Wi-Fi.

The study revealed that mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled “nomadic” devices. Canadians own an average of 2.4 mobile devices, almost all of which are Wi-Fi-enabled.  Canadians spend an average of 2.8 hours per day using their mobile devices in their homes, compared to only 0.5 hours per day in a typical “mobile” on-the-go world.

The Cisco IBSG study also revealed that mobile users are connecting their devices predominantly via Wi-Fi, including 75 percent of smartphone owners. In fact, on average, smartphone users use Wi-Fi one-third of the time to Read More »

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Cisco Acquires ThinkSmart Technologies

The widespread proliferation of mobile devices and services provides opportunities for enterprises and service providers to better serve their end users based on location and preferences inside venues and retail spaces. With Cisco’s acquisition of ThinkSmart’s network and Wi-Fi location analytics capabilities announced today, the customer experience in public venues such as retail locations, hotels and airports, is about to get much better.

ThinkSmart Technologies, based in Cork, Ireland, is a software company that delivers location data analysis using Wi-Fi technology. Together, Cisco and ThinkSmart will enhance the wireless network by providing location intelligence and analytics to service provider and enterprise customers to know what is happening in their environments and to better engage end users.

ThinkSmart’s location analytics collects information on movement within a venue including time of day, traffic patterns and dwell times. This information helps enterprises and venue operators improve the customer experience by identifying appropriate staffing levels, reducing wait times, optimizing business processes, and improving customer flows.

Cisco’s vision for mobility solutions will be accelerated by the acquisition of ThinkSmart enabling customers to analyze location data from wireless networks and provide insight that can be used to drive new commercial opportunities and enhance end-user experiences.

ThinkSmart, initially formed at the Incubation Centre of University College Cork, joins Cisco’s Wireless Networking Group. The acquisition closed in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2013.

The acquisition of ThinkSmart reinforces Cisco’s commitment to deliver an intelligent network by providing customers with enhanced tools, such as location analytics, that increase the value of the network. This aligns with the core; one of Cisco’s five foundational priorities, by providing differentiated solutions within the infrastructure of the network.

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Consumer Spending Priorities: Translating Consumers’ Broadband Addiction into Mobile Data Spending

By Gaetano Pellegrino, Senior Manager, IBSG Service Provider (Western Europe)

According to new research from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), fixed broadband Internet access is the highest priority service in consumers’ entertainment and communication portfolio. Despite the advent of smartphones, they view mobile data as more expendable.

Cisco IBSG regularly tracks such issues in its Connected Life Market Watch research platform. In the fall 2011 edition, it surveyed some 3,900 broadband consumers in North America (including Canada) and France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Consumers Love Their Smartphones—but Rely on Fixed Access

According to Read More »

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Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Cisco Wireless Network for the Apple iPhone 5 & Other Dual Band Smartphones

Last week Apple dominated tech headlines when it announced details of the iPhone 5. With its release today, thousands of fans will line up across the globe to be the first to try the new smartphone.

There have been a number of iPhone improvements, but the one I find significant is the fact that the iPhone 5 will have dual band Wi-Fi. This means that in addition to supporting the 2.4GHz band, it will now support the 5GHz band. Why is this significant? Well, the iPhone joins a number of other smartphone vendors who now have products capable of operating in both the 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) and 802,11a/n (5GHz) Wi-Fi bands. Other vendors that stack up include Samsung’s Galaxy S III and HTC’s One X.

Why is this 5GHz important? There is certainly nothing wrong with the 2.4GHz band. Both bands are unlicensed in most regions of the world. However, with the proliferation of devices due to the growing BYOD trend, the 2.4GHz band is getting real crowded. Remember: the 2.4GHz band only has 3 non-overlapping channels available. Think about it: all these devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and access points are competing for the available bandwidth while interference increases.  In short, the 2.4GHz band just doesn’t have enough capacity for all these competing devices.

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