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5 Configuration Changes to Fortify Your WLAN Security

You can protect your small business wireless network from intruders with a few simple tweaks

A wireless network makes sense for small businesses.  It enables you to connect wired and wireless devices, allowing you to expand your network operations and keep employees productive.  Also, a wireless LAN (WLAN) is easier and less expensive to set up than a wired network, and gives employees and guest users quick, convenient access to the Internet from anywhere in your office.

Deploying a wireless network is easy in part because the networking equipment, including wireless routers and wireless access points, ships with important configuration settings preconfigured. However, these preset passwords, along with other improperly set configurations, can lead to catastrophic breaches in network security. To ensure your wireless network is secure, the devices must be configured to block intruders and protect users.

Here are five changes you can make to your WLAN configuration settings to lock down your wireless network and provide business-class security:

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Summertime 2011: Observations of a CTO

By Bob McIntyre, CTO, Cisco Service Provider Group

I was digging around my PowerPoints on the laptop recently, getting ready for our “Cisco Live!” event, and came across a set of predictions I’d made, five years ago.

A CTO, making predictions five years out? What could possibly go wrong, right? Well, I wouldn’t be bringing it up unless it was so off base as to be funny, — or close enough to “correct” to boast a little.

Turns out it was mostly the latter, so allow me to boast a little. – Just a little. I promise.

Back then, in 2006, I said what will make service providers successful would be the delivery to consumers of their own personal HD video stream, on any device, wherever they were. A two-way stream. (This was the year before the iPhone and smart phones hit the market, and four years before “pads” did.)

I also surmised that triple and quad play (voice, video, data and wireless) bundles would continue to be the big thing; that operators needed to move drastically faster on what we now call “apps;” and that what we now call Wi-Fi mobile hot spots and 4th generation wireless (back then, we called it “fixed mobile convergence”) would be critical. Read More »

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It’s Not the Wireless! BYOD and Cisco Live! Customer Guest Blog

This week I’m happy to continue our customer guest-blog series with Blake Krone, CCNA Wireless, CCNP Wireless, and CCIE Wireless candidate. You can read more from Blake on his blog, Digital Lifestyle or connect with him via Twitter @blakekrone. Read on for a Cisco Live perspective from a true wireless professional.

Recently 14,000+ technology geeks invaded Las Vegas for Cisco Live! 2011 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. For me this was my 4th year in a row attending Cisco Live! and the 2nd in a row at Vegas. If you have never attended a Cisco Live! event in person I strongly suggest that you try to budget for it next time around. Not only is this the best week to jump head first into all areas of Cisco’s product portfolio but it is also an opportunity to see how the products can come together to provide connectivity for devices and people.

For every Cisco Live! event that is held Cisco builds their own network to support the conference attendees, sponsors, and speakers. This gives Cisco the opportunity to get a large set of data points regarding their products performance in abusive conditions. Lately we have seen or heard about the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon that is sweeping across the enterprise network and there is no better place to see that than a large IT conference.

One can safely assume that for all the 14,000+ in attendance each person will have at least 1 Wi-Fi connected device. Now let’s assume that a large chunk of those in attendance are like me and also have their laptop and a tablet with them, that’s a lot of connected devices to support! Whenever I talk with customers about wireless deployments the first thing I will say when we get to the point of turning on a network is that the client will cause the best wireless network to fail. We always push to make sure that the latest drivers are applied to the devices going to be used to ensure proper roaming and performance. But how do you manage that when you have no control over the devices being used? In the future we’ll use tools like Cisco NCS and ISE, for now we just hope it works!

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Talkin’ Tech: Wireless and Routing

Defining key terms for understanding the basics of the technology that keeps your small business connected

You probably rarely think about it, but every time you receive an email from a colleague who’s travelling or a request for information from a customer via your website, you have a router to thank for making that connection. Likewise, wireless routers let you access the company network from anywhere in the office, allowing you to be more productive. Routers are essential for keeping your company connected to your business partners, customers, and remote employees.

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Cisco Live 2011 Industrial Intelligence Day Customer feedback – “A Great Success”

Cisco Live’s first ever “Industrial Intelligence Day” focusing on manufacturing and industrial customer needs was judged a great success according to the feedback  given at the sessions in Las Vegas this week. In an action packed day attendees heard about trends in network convergence between business IT and Industrial plant networks, and how standard Ethernet IP protocols were becoming prevalent in industrial and control networks.

As Master of Ceremonies, I had the pleasure of introducing Alan Cohen, Vice President, Global Public Sector & Industry Solutions. Alan kicked off the day talking about the care-abouts of executives in Manufacturers and how Cisco is addressing them. He used real-life customer examples such as Coca-Cola, General Motors, GE, Continental Tire and Anglo Platinum. Alan expressed how Cisco was helping these customers address the challenges of  Growth, Market Transitions, Innovation, Risk and Goverance.  This set up a good interactive environment for Bryce Barnes and John Parello to introduce Energy and Sustainability for the manufacturing sector. Bryce pointed out that 35% of all energy usage in the world is consumed by manufacturing industry and we added that that figure goes over 50% if you include the transportation and distribution of those manufactured goods and materials.

After watching John Chamber’s Insightful Keynote, delegates returned to hear Paul Didier and Chris Haley (both Cisco) and Gregory Wilcox (Rockwell Automation) talk about the status and trends for wired LANs including resilience and security with a fascinating presentation on Motion from Gregory. That was followed by wireless strategies from David Wolf and Scott Friberg from Cisco talking about wireless innovations and real-world testing where wireless is now deemed appropriate for time critical applications. Then delegates went to the main tent for a thought-provoking session. Read More »

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