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The Foundation for a Business Relevant Network

With the growing influx of new mobile devices, connected things, bandwidth intensive applications and more data, the network is more relevant to business success than ever before.  Back in June of 2012, Cisco saw that we needed to move away from multiple network systems loosely linked together to an agile and simple infrastructure, streamlined policy and centralized management would be needed to support new business demands. We called it Cisco Unified Access and we aligned the solution to three pillars: One Network, One Policy and One Management.

For the last few years, we have focused on delivering new products and functionality under this Unified Access model. Below is a timeline of products released as part of the Unified Access framework. Cisco lead the way in delivering gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi., converged wireless control in access switches and through the acquisition of Meraki – a complete cloud-managed network solution.

foundation

The timeline above doesn’t represent every feature and function we have delivered, but it shows Cisco’s commitment to this Unified Access model, both from a cloud-managed and on-premise solution perspective.

Today, Cisco is announcing a number of new products and new functionality to existing products that will help mobilize the workforce, secure the business and increase IT agility. The announcement includes the following: Read More »

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Globe University rolls out innovation over Cisco WLAN

September 30, 2014 at 12:21 pm PST

For the past 125 years, Globe University has focused on hands-on training to ensure the career success of students offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as diploma and certificate programs.  A recent article from the magazine Campus Technology showcases how they are pioneers in adopting new technology in the classroom. They have a systematic program dubbed as edUX (Educational User Experience) to integrate tablets into every program they offer. In addition, they work with an e-book platform called VitalSource and use Blackboard technology in the classrooms. Students are also encouraged to use technology. For example, math and science instructors use videos from the Khan Academy, the business school recommends Twitter accounts and the librarian encourages using EasyBib for book citations.

Campus Technology

In the past few years Apple introduced mDNS services such as AppleTV, file servers and printers that use a Zero Config-based technology for service advertisement and discovery called Bonjour. While this technology works well in the home, which is a flat L2 network, when it is deployed in a K-12 or enterprise, it does not lend well over a L3 network. In 2013, Cisco introduced Bonjour Services Directory on the AireOS 7.4 and Service Discovery Gateway (SDG) on the Catalyst 3K, 4K, 6K and 5760 Series controllers with release IOS-XE 3.3. The future releases further optimized the functionality in 7.5 release, 8.0 release and IOS-XE 3.6 release. In this blog, I will share deployment details of unified access at Globe University and how they use Application Visibility and Control (Cisco AVC) to track applications in their network and the Bonjour Services Directory to manage AppleTVs in the classroom.

Read More »

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Cisco Wins Best of Show IPv6 Product!

The North American IPv6 Summit is the largest annual IPv6 event in North America, designed to educate about IPv6 and the current state of IPv6 adoption. We were honored to receive industry recognition of the Cisco’s IPv6 leadership and continued innovation with the Best of Show Award of Product and Service for the Cisco Wireless Controller.

IPv6-Bestofshow-Award

As you read about earlier this summer, Wireless Release 8.0 added a cornucopia of features to our wireless offering, many of which are targeted specifically for upcoming technologies, including IPv6. Let’s look back to see how far we’ve come:

Anticipating the growing demand of the next generation IP and eyeing the arrival of World IPv6 day, Cisco released the first support for IPv6 in its’ Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) software version 7.0 in 2011. There has been a steady progression of feature support ever since. Client mobility appeared in version 7.2 a year later in time to celebrate the launch of IPv6 on the global Internet.Then came the release of 7.4 and it’s support of First Hop Security tools, enabling organization’s to go beyond the lab and deploy IPv6 in a safe, secure manner. Read More »

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Cisco Meraki Systems Manager Extends Enterprise Mobility Management to the Cloud

The industry is going beyond BYOD—it’s not just about simply connecting the device anymore: the mobile landscape has grown to include apps, devices and content, all of which require security and management. This is no easy task. Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is no longer a nice-to-have for our customers—it is a necessity. You need a mobile strategy.

We at Cisco have been steadily building out our mobility portfolio across infrastructure, policy and management over the past few years to provide our customers with what they need to get ahead of the mobile trend.

It has always been Cisco’s strategy to use open API’s with ISE to integrate with host of 3rd party EMM vendors, including Citrix, MobileIron, Airwatch and many more. We are now extending that flexibility to create a cloud-managed EMM offering with our Cisco Meraki solution.  The latest addition to the Cisco mobility portfolio, the Cisco Meraki Systems Manager Enterprise is an evolution of Cisco Meraki’s existing MDM cloud offer, and a natural extension of the Cisco Meraki network management solution (e.g. extending management of wireless access points to the management of devices connecting to the enterprise domain).

Cisco is committed to customer choice, and will continue to offer different options to the market, including ecosystem EMM partner solutions. The addition of the Cisco Meraki Systems Manager broadens that portfolio to strengthen our offering and empower our customers attain the mobility solution best suited for their specific requirements.

For more information on the Cisco Meraki Systems Manager, read the full announcement blog here.

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LTE-U By Any Other Name is Licensed-Assisted

I recently read the rather interesting announcement from NTT DoCoMo where they demonstrated LTE running over the unlicensed 5GHz band.  They report a 60% increase in spectral efficiency over IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi.  The article also noticed that LTE-U is now referred to as Licensed-Assisted Access using LTE or LAA-LTE.  This caused me to pause, and think about several things.

The comparison between LAA-LTE and Wi-Fi is not (and should not be) about spectral efficiency. Rather it is about several other factors:

  • A robust network with a diverse client ecosystem (does anybody reading this blog own an IP device without Wi-Fi? How many of those devices contain LTE? How many are Wi-Fi only, without any SIM card?)
  • The ability to support neutral host deployments (are stadium owners willing to deploy LAA-LTE if it only supports one operator?)
  • The ability to co-exist in a multi-operator environment (how would LAA-LTE operate in dense environments when it has to co-exist with LAA-LTE APs from other operators?)
  • The ability to co-exist in a multi-technology environment (would if it adversely affects the existing and extensive deployments of Wi-Fi infrastructure?)
  • A number of Mobile operators have agreements with Wi-Fi providers for offloading cellular traffic (how does one enable such a scenario with LAA-LTE?)

And if you really want to talk about speeds and feeds, it’s interesting that the test was done against 802.11n, when 802.11ac is now widely available, providing speeds that exceed LTE-Advanced speeds of 1 Gbps (IEEE 802.11 ac Wave 1 provides maximum speed of 1.3 Gbps and Wave 2 provides maximum speed of 3.5 Gbps).  It’s also important to note that LAA-LTE has not been defined yet and so it’s very likely that the LAA-LTE implementation tested here does not have the politeness mechanisms required in certain regulatory domains like Europe. These mechanisms allow fair usage of the unlicensed spectrum by allowing other users an opportunity to transmit and share the spectrum.  These mechanisms already integrated into Wi-Fi will add additional overhead to LAA-LTE that will reduce its spectral efficiency, a factor that needs to be taken into account in any comparison.

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Reality Check

Hype is interesting, but Read More »

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