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Architecting a Reliable Wireless Network

Few question that the age of mobility is upon us. The emergence of a global economy is facilitated by the basic mobility of goods, services and people. For many, the idea of mobility has become second nature. Of course, the structures for mobility -transportation, logistics, infrastructure -must be robust and reliable lest the mobile quickly become immobile. Given this, it is critical that the wireless industry focus R&D on improving network performance and reliability. What makes this challenging is the need to do this from applications, to the network, and very importantly, to a wide range of mobile devices. To achieve this, businesses should focus on the following key areas when designing a highly available wireless network:- Managing the growth in wireless devices -Managing the growth and diversity of devices connecting to the network requires a continued focus on device compatibility and testing. Through its Cisco Compatible Extensions program, Cisco works with leading Wi-Fi silicon manufacturers to ensure simple, secure connections for a broad range of mobile devices. Another key need is ongoing interoperability testing and validation. While not widely known, Cisco has a very robust program in place, called Assurewave, to achieve just this. Read More »

Responding to CRN’s 802.11n Testing

CRN recently published an article profiling 802.11n performance testing of the Aironet 1250 Series access point. The article titled”Where’s Cisco with Wireless N?” (http://www.crn.com/networking/206905063#community) profiles the results of their testing of Cisco’s 802.11n solution. The article was part of a larger story testing 802.11n products including Meru and Ruckus. Cisco declined to participate in the CRN product review due to basic differences in product testing methodology. Cisco asserts that the review of its 802.11n access point as presented by CRN misses some of the basic principles of product testing and as such is inconclusive on many levels. Firstly, CRN tested a product that was operating with an early version of software. As with any new hardware, users should seek the latest software to ensure optimal performance. The code for Cisco’s 802.11n access point has evolved quickly and the version used by CRN had already been through 4 subsequent releases. The most recent product code is always available for download from the Cisco website -a point that was overlooked by the CRN staff. Read More »

Is 802.11n Right for You?

The debate over the readiness of 802.11n and whether businesses should adopt or wait is nothing new. Remember when Ethernet was too unpredictable to displace ATM? IP VPNs too unreliable for critical business data? The adoption rate of new technologies is commensurate with the benefits they deliver. 802.11n offers significant performance improvements over existing standards. Still, for most, the benefits must be evaluated in combination with longevity. In other words, few want to deploy a technology that may soon be obsolete -no matter how great the benefit. Read More »

The Power of 802.11N

One can barely open a trade rag these days without reading about the arrival of the next generation of wireless standards -- 802.11n. It’s always exciting when new technology hits the market, especially when that new technology truly lives up to the hype. Of course, as with anything new there’s always a bit of misinformation that exists before folks have made it through the learning curve. As I follow the comments of various industry pundits, I’m starting to see a reoccuring theme -- misinformation on how to power 802.11n access points. Read More »

WLAN Market Claims vs Reality

There have been enterprise WLAN vendor claims recently relating to market performance and market share. In particular, Aruba Networks has been making bold statements about major market share gains at the expense of Cisco. Wanted to provide, to quote that food critic from Ratatouille (ok — yes, I’ve watched it twice recently — my kids love it) “some perspective”The Claim: Aruba’s CEO, Dominic Orr, claimed on their earnings call last week that his company was rapidly gaining market share in the Enterprise WLAN market.Some perspective: The Dell’Oro Group, a widely respected industry analyst firm, just released new market share numbers last week. The results: The Dell’Oro Group reported that Cisco extended its market share lead to 63 percent in the Enterprise WLAN market, which includes WLAN controllers and access points. This performance came at the expense of the No. 2 (Aruba) and No. 3 (Motorola) vendors in the market, who both hold market share positions of under 10 percent and showed sequential declines in revenue from Q2 2007 to Q3 2007. Some more perspective: In the critical WLAN controller market, Dell’Oro reported that Cisco sequentially gained 4 points of share in Q3, while the distant No. 2 player Aruba Networks lost more than 3 points of share due to declining controller shipments. In the past two years since the introduction of Cisco’s Unified Wireless Network, Cisco has gone from 31% share to today’s 54%. Aruba has gone from 9% to 13% over the same time period.And from another source: Synergy Research, another respected, indepedent authority, reported Enterprise WLAN market share for Cisco of 64 percent. Synergy also reports that Cisco’s share has grown from 46 percent in Q1 2005, the quarter when Cisco acquired Airespace, to the most recent quarter share at 64 percent. These 18 points of market share gain over the past three years significantly outpace all competitors, which according to Synergy all individually fall below 10 percent of share.Everything listed above is based on independent, non-commissioned analyst data, with permission given by each firm for me to cite here. www.delloro.comwww.srgresearch.comMy point? That Cisco continues to strongly lead this market, and grow its share over time? Well .. yes. But also to provide a counter to claims that big companies can’t be agile and compete in fast-growing markets. Both topics were addressed by Aruba’s CEO in what I felt was in misleading fashion, particularly in light of the data just released above. So I post this not with chest-thumping, but to offer up a more facts-based response to some public statements. Plus, it’s fun when the numbers are on your side :)