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Is Your K-12 Network Ready for Common Core Standards?

What do IT and K12 Common Core Standards have in common? Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. 100% of each of these states’ schools must update their network infrastructure to support the mandated online testing capabilities. Enter district IT.

Technology is a key component when it comes to achieving the objectives of these standards. The objective is to augment the learning experience through the use of wired and wireless devices and enhance skills such as communication, collaboration, research, critical thinking and tackling problems. The mandate is computer based assessments. This promotes more personalized leaning. The students are also acclimated to use technology effectively for productive life activities in the future.

The combination of common core standards adoption with BYOD or 1:1 initiatives, results in an exponential growth in addressing endpoints, bandwidth, and security. Schools are looking to upgrade their existing networks to be able to handle the current and future requirements of these standards.

Deploy K-12 Common Core-Ready Networks 20140121 Read More »

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Cisco Live Milan 2014 & CMX

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Cisco Live Milan 2014 kicked off this morning with an opening keynote by Rob Lloyd. During the session Rob shared Cisco’s  vision of the Internet of Everything, and explored the industry trends and technologies that are making that vision a reality. One of these areas is enabled by Cisco’s CMX solutions and our growing ecosystem of partners.

To illustrate how this vision is becoming a reality, a CMX demo was shown on stage. The demo related to a wine producer ( we are in Italy by the way..) who was able to engage with their customers via their mobile app. Enabling the customer find the particular wines they are interested in, interact with the wine maker, get location specific promotions and really deliver a highly personalized and location specific service.

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CMX at Cisco Live Day 1:

The whole venue has been designed and setup for WiFi location based services and CMX is running across the complete conference. Read More »

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HDX Blog Series #4: Optimized Roaming

Editor’s Note: This is the last of a four-part deep dive series into High Density Experience (HDX), Cisco’s latest solution suite designed for high density environments and next-generation wireless technologies. For more on Cisco HDX, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.  Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Read part 3 here.

If you’ve been a long time user of Wi-Fi, at some point you have either observed someone encounter (or have personally suffered from) so called “sticky client syndrome”. In this circumstance, a client device tenaciously, doggedly, persistently, and stubbornly stays connected to an AP that it connected to earlier even though the client has physically moved closer to another AP.

Surprisingly, the reason for this is not entirely…errr…ummm…unreasonable. After all, if you are at home, you don’t want to be accidentally connecting to your neighbor’s AP just because the Wi-Fi device you’re using happens to be closer to your neighbor’s AP than to your own.

However, this behavior is completely unacceptable in an enterprise or public Wi-Fi environment where multiple APs are used in support of a wireless LAN and where portability, nomadicity, or mobility is the norm. In this case, the client should typically be regularly attempting to seek the best possible Wi-Fi connection.

Some may argue that regularly scanning for a better Wi-Fi connection unnecessarily consumes battery life for the client device and will interrupt ongoing connectivity. Therefore the “cure is worse than the disease”. But this is true only if the client is very aggressively scanning and actually creates the complete opposite of being “sticky”.

The fundamental issue with “stickiness” is that many client devices simply wait too long to initiate scanning and therefore seeking a better connection. These devices simply insist on maintaining an existing Wi-Fi connection even though that connection may be virtually unusable for anything but the most basic functionality. Read More »

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HDX Blog Series #3: 802.11ac Beamforming At Its Best: ClientLink 3.0

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a four-part deep dive series into High Density Experience (HDX), Cisco’s latest solution suite designed for high density environments and next-generation wireless technologies. For more on Cisco HDX, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.  Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here.

The 802.11ac wireless networking standard is the most recent introduction by the IEEE (now ratified), and is rapidly becoming more accepted and reliable industry standard. The good news is that the client and vendor adoption rate for 802.11ac is growing at a much higher pace as compared to when 802.11n was introduced back in 2009. There has been an accelerated growth seen with the mobile and laptop devices entering the wireless market embedded with an 802.11ac WiFi chipset. Unlike in the past, laptop, smartphone and tablet manufacturers are now acknowledging the fact that staying up to date with the latest Wi-Fi standards is as important for the bandwidth hungry users as having a better camera or a higher resolution display.

With the launch of the new 802.11ac AP 3700, Cisco introduces the Cisco HDX (High Density Experience) Technology. Cisco HDX is a suite of solutions aimed towards augmenting the higher performance, more speed and better client connectivity that 802.11ac standard delivers today.

ClientLink 3.0 features as an integral part of Cisco HDX technology designed to resolve the complexities that comes along with the new BYOD trend driving the high proliferation of 802.11ac capable devices.

So what is ClientLink 3.0 technology and how does it work?

ClientLink 3.0 is a Cisco patented 802.11ac/n/a/g beamforming technology Read More »

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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

Read More »

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