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Thinking Outside of the Building

You’ve all heard the saying “think outside the box” when encouraging someone to be creative and come up with new ideas, new ways to do things, new ways to…..just about anything.  Well, I’d like to take a small twist on the well-known saying and talk for a moment on how deploying outdoor Wi-Fi access points should be something you should be “thinking” about.

We all know that here in late 2013 almost everywhere you go, you can pull out your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and you will find Wi-Fi coverage, be it at your workplace, at a coffee shop, or in a retail store.  Why is Wi-Fi coverage so pervasive in these areas?  Because connecting to Wi-Fi access points and the data network behind them makes employees more productive, enables the coffee shop to be the new remote office (while selling more coffee and cakes), and provides the retail store the ability to gather analytics to better target offers for their customers.

Now let’s think about expanding this coverage to outdoors….outside the buildings.  The same holds true.  Providing Wi-Fi access in the surrounding outdoor locations frees up employees to take their laptops outside and enjoy a nice, sunny day while still being “online” for secure corporate email and business tools.  It allows the employee to connect to that important WebEx meeting he is running late for as he pulls into the parking lot. It allows the retail store to engage with customers thru Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) earlier and push offers to them as they walk in from the parking lot, perhaps pulling customers headed to nearby stores who might otherwise not have stopped in.

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Aironet 1530 Series Outdoor Wireless Access Points: Click to see comparison table

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A Powerful Network Simplifies Adoption of New Mobile Devices

It’s a critical time for enterprise IT as new mobile devices from Apple, Samsung and Google enter the market and operating systems are updated almost weekly. Apart from the new color and form factor options, this round of new technology features new operating systems and a proliferation of app updates, which IT leaders must be prepared to meet head on.

It’s an exciting time for mobile technology, but it’s also an important time for enterprises to look at not only meet the demands of today’s mobile-enabled workforce, but tomorrow’s as well. Basic mobility functionality is not and will not be enough, and a solid framework must be put in place to support the growth.

In this inaugural post of a four-part Network Matters blog series, I’ll be discussing how IT leaders can rely on a network, built for all kinds of devices, to simplify the process of onboarding new mobile technology and free up precious IT resources. I would like to provide you with a deeper look at how having the right network in place can help ease the challenges of tomorrow that will be presented to IT departments due to device evolution and enable a culture of self-service for employee-owned devices.

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Cisco Leads the Gartner Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure Magic Quadrant Again!

Gartner has released their 2013 Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure Magic Quadrant.  For the 2nd time in a row, Cisco is recognized as a leader in this highly anticipated publication.

Here is the 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure (Authors: Tim Zimmerman and Mark Fabbi; Published 3rd September 2013).

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.

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.

There are two primary criteria for the Gartner MQ — (a) the Completeness of Vision (b) Ability to Execute.

From a vision perspective, Cisco unveiled its vision of Unified Access – One Policy, One Management, One Network — more than a year back (last June, to be precise). This vision was the first step in helping our customers drive business innovations and achieving IT simplicity while addressing the rapid growth of BYOD and Mobility in their organizations.

We were also ahead of the times by having a vision for the network to be a strategic asset (and not a cost center) for our customers. And the way to make this happen was to leverage the network intelligence to drive new customer experiences and revenue opportunities. That’s where our vision of Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) came about. The idea behind CMX was to enable organizations to improve customer loyalty and increase revenue by delivering context-aware mobile information that matches their customers’ real-time needs and preferences. A retail store, for example, can use the CMX solution to enhance mobile shopping experience, increase loyalty app usage, create targeted personalized marketing and context-rich notifications, and use on-premise visibility to understand and adapt to customer behavior. Its no surprise that the majority of our customers have jointly embraced this Cisco vision and a lot of our competitors are now trying to follow suit.

But the proof is in the pudding.. Read the full blog to find out how Cisco has executed on this vision.

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Get Your Network Ready For iOS7

September 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm PST

In their highly anticipated announcement this week, Apple introduced two new phones, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, and confirmed that iOS 7 would be released on September 18th. Techies like myself took note that iOS 7 will include quite a number of new features. We at Cisco want to help you understand what iOS 7 means for your network, so here’s a quick blog to sum it up:

How does iOS 7 impact your wireless networks?

Soon your employees and guests will be upgrading to IOS 7. Did you know up to 20% of traffic to mobile devices is software upgrades, application updates and synchronizing your devices via the cloud? Cisco’s Application Visibility and Control technology can help you identify and tame these applications and is available on the routers, Wireless LAN and visible via Prime Infrastructure. In addition, Cisco’s ISR can cache these updates to reserve valuable and expensive WAN bandwidth. More details about protecting the WAN is available in another blog.

If you leverage a Captive Portal, you will experience a change in behavior. Apple has enhanced the Captive Network Assistant (CNA) functionality iOS 7 making it more robust. Cisco has proactively developed and tested a new version of wireless LAN controller code to interoperate with Apple’s new implementation while ensuring a seamless experience for all other clients.

Finally iOS 7 also has significant security and manageability enhancements to improve productivity for the enterprise.

What do you need to do in order to optimize for iOS 7? Read More »

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Cisco Aironet 3600 AP Passes 1 Million Units Shipped!

Hey folks, I’m back in the blogosphere to make a super exciting announcement.

The Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point with its purpose built best-in-class Wireless performance, industry’s first and only Enterprise Class AP to support 802.11n with 4x4 MIMO architecture, and signature modular design was launched in January 2012 at Cisco Live! London. Cisco was first to market with an 802.11ac wave 1 solution and first to be published with WiFi Alliance certification. Just 18 months since launching, the flagship 3600 AP has now surpassed the ONE MILLION mark in units shipped!

We designed the access point with modular architecture in mind to give our customers more flexibility for upcoming technological innovations in the wireless space. Since the initial launch, we have announced three exciting modules tailored to help our customers meet their wireless needs: Wireless Security and Spectrum Intelligence, 3G Small Cell, and most recently 802.11ac Wave 1. The modules have been extremely successful, having deployed 40K units of the .11ac module and 10K units of the Wireless Security and Spectrum Intelligence module, which speaks volumes about the versatility of the 3600 Access Point. Read More »

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