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BYOD on a University Campus: A Student’s Perspective

There is a new generation of college students out there, I would know as I recently was one of them.  Information being at your fingertips is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  Professors’ expectations of their students have increased dramatically due to the wealth of information on mobile devices.  Every class I attended leveraged some form of wireless access to the web.  Instant message in response to real-time questions and online submissions are just two of many examples of how network access has been integrated into the education system.  Professors would consistently use online tools such as online drop boxes for projects and web conferencing tools.  According to MarketWire 92% of college students feel a laptop is a necessity, this indicates that the requirement of mobile access at a university is a given and the college experience is defined by the ease of that access. 

Professors are on tight schedules and are generally available only at certain times of the day.  Imagine- wanting to contact a professor during open hours only to fall short because your laptop had difficulty getting any kind of connection.  I remember the frustrations of wanting to revisit PowerPoint presentations on a class website in the library, only to realize that I was sitting by the one window notorious for being a wireless dead zone.  Dorms were infamous for spotty coverage.  Having the dorm room located closest to the access point for best access was purely by luck of the draw.  I was not so lucky.  In my dorm, you would not get any wireless access unless you were sitting right next to the hallway.  That’s why I am especially envious of the students of Colorado University, whose alma mater upgraded to enterprise-class coverage. 

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Cisco Repeats in “2012 Best in KLAS Awards for Medical Equipment and Infrastructure”

July 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm PST

KLAS recently released its “2012 Best in KLAS Awards: Medical Equipment & Infrastructure” reportand for second year in a row, Cisco’s wireless infrastructure, specifically the Cisco 7900 series phones earned the top spot in the industry.  As stated by KLAS, the Best in KLAS awards are based solely on the data from customers who provide feedback with the goal to ultimately improve healthcare through better technology. The awards recognize companies that offer excellent service and meet provider needs with product functionality. This report includes a total of 3,765 provider evaluations, including interviews with hospital and clinic executives, administrators, physicians, nurses, clinicians, directors, and managers interacting with healthcare equipment and infrastructure solutions.   Specific details on Cisco wireless products and infrastructure can be found in KLAS’s wireless infrastructure report.

Certainly this is very exciting news for Cisco, but I am even more excited about the fact that technology continues to improve quality of patient care and clinical workflows that ultimately enables a superior patient experience.   Wireless continues to be one of the key technologies that is truly transforming  the healthcare arena – whether it’s a doctor accessing patient records (in a secure manner) on his/her mobile device from any place -- any time or a smart pill ingested by a patient that is wirelessly dispensing the appropriate medication dosage based on patient vitals.  The graph below illustrates some of the key examples of patient care improvement that are being impacted by wireless technology. 

Examples of Patient Care Improvements

Source: KLAS

We can all have differing opinions on what is the most effective way of lowering cost within our healthcare system, but one undisputable fact is that technology continues to improve every aspect of the healthcare eco-system and I am really excited as to what awaits us in the next few years.  What do you think?

 

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Can BYOD Be Simple, Affordable, and Secure for the Medium-Business?

Do you have an iPhone,  Android, Samsung , or any other mobile phone? Not surprising since there will be 15 billion networked devices by 20151. With employees (yes, even IT themselves) bringing their mobile phones to work, businesses are seeing at least a doubling of mobile devices per employee; from laptop-only to laptop + mobile phone (+ tablet)2.

The IT department is faced with an increased burden on their existing wireless network, while securing email access from any platform and simultaneously ensuring an optimal, reliable user mobile experience. Offering a reliable, consistent user mobile experience used to be a luxury ask; today, it impacts employee productivity. Mobile employee productivity can range from wireless laptop access from conference rooms to roaming the within the building accessing corporate email from any mobile device. This is true for me (working at a large enterprise) and my husband (working at a medium-sized business).

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Unified Access: 50 Shades of Gray

Okay, maybe networking isn’t quite as hot as the best-selling book.  But figuring out what “unified access” means is definitely not straight-forward.  So how do you sift through the many claims around “unified” solutions, to find out which one really is?

First, start by reading the Gartner Magic Quadrant report on wired/wireless networking. As we’ve discussed earlier, Cisco is a leader in this report.  It just came out, and it’s the first time Gartner has combined LAN switching and Wireless LAN – a good indicator that it’s time to get serious about evaluating unified access layer connectivity solutions.

Next, ask your vendor these questions to see how unified their solutions really are — “one network” or several silos.

1. Do you truly have one policy interface to manage guests and context-aware network access across wired, wireless and VPN?

  • You should have one single source of truth for policy, else you’re prone to inconsistencies that can lead to security holes, and your IT staff spends too much time manually entering policies for VPN client, guest access, wired access and wireless access.  Most vendors claim “one interface” for a narrow piece of functionality, like guest access, but can’t claim integration with VPN and management.
  • Cisco offers the Identity Services Engine , that converges policy administration across the organization, for wired, wireless and remote access – no other vendor offers that level of unification.

2. Does one security infrastructure support wired and wireless?

  • Some architectures treat wireless as a pure overlay, with separate firewall and VPN capability. This approach does not scale well, burdening the wireless controller with firewall transactions and requiring additional controllers to support the wireless traffic.  You should extend the same security from the core of your network to the WLAN seamlessly, with the power to scale up to enterprise-class demands.
  • Cisco offers the SecureX framework, with 802.1x, VPN client and context-aware firewall with massive scalability.  The always-on AnyConnect client requires no user intervention and works across the industry’s broadest client platform, not just iOS.  At the head end is a context-aware ASA firewall, capable of fine-grained control down to the application level.

3. Can you track and troubleshoot end user experience end to end, across any network?

  • Both from a user satisfaction perspective and from an IT productivity standpoint, the BYOD era requires management tools to quickly identify issues a user may have in access networked resources.  With so many diverse platforms on the network, IT has to have visibility and diagnostics at a new level of efficiency and completeness.  When a problem arises, the fastest way to resolve it is a single source of truth.
  • Cisco offers Prime Infrastructure, a single entry point into converged wired/wireless monitoring and troubleshooting, with integrated policy information from ISE.  Not only do IT managers have a simple dashboard view for application performance across the entire network, they have a one-click troubleshooting tool based on user ID (or IP address or any other piece of information) to work backward from the client to find issues – be they wired or wirelessly connected.

4. Is there a strong track record of innovation and excellence in both wired and wireless networking?

  • The list of network vendors is long if you include anyone who has made a switch or access point.  When you look at companies that have years of research and support invested in the largest networks in the world – both wired networks and wireless networks—the list shortens considerably. To scale your infrastructure into the future, to support evolving 802.11ac throughput and burgeoning mobile device density, you need solid technology on both wired and wireless.  To ensure both platform stability and reliability, look for companies that have industry-leading innovation, a track record of years of investment and customer success across both enterprise and Service Provider and have participated in and helped develop and support global industry standards  in both wired and wireless .,
  • Cisco leads the switching industry with decades of experience, unsurpassed network scalability, and innovations that offer real business value for customers –such as Power over Ethernet, Secure Group Tagging, and integrated wireless modules.  In parallel, Cisco has delivered wireless industry firsts like hardware-based CleanAir spectrum intelligence, mobile client acceleration with ClientLink, and an alphabet soup of standards delivered first (including 802.11n, 802.11u, 802.11r and now 802.11ac). There is no compromise on wired or wireless.

If your networking vendor can answer Yes to all of these, congrats — it means you’re on solid footing for the future, because you’ve got a truly unified infrastructure with no “gray areas”.  Oh, and it means you’ve got “One Network” from Cisco.

Cisco leads 2012 Gartner Wired Wireless Magic Quadrant

Cisco leads 2012 Gartner Wired Wireless Magic Quadrant

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Cisco.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Management and the Gartner Magic Quadrant

As we’ve been discussing this week, Gartner just came out with their Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure Magic Quadrant report. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read the report, you should.

We address the subject of the report—the converged wired/wireless network—through a “One Policy, One Management, One Network” approach. “One Management” is made possible with Prime Infrastructure which provides the “best-of-breed” management for end-to-end wired and wireless lifecycle management. That means one place to manage, design, deploy, monitor, optimize, and administer your entire network—regardless of whether the connection is wired or wireless.

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