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Lighting up Cisco Live 2011 Vegas!

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday here at Cisco Live! The time certainly flies by when you’re having fun and working hard. If you’re here, I hope you’ve been enjoying all the activities and sessions. More importantly, I hope you’re using the pervasive Cisco WiFi network my team has deployed in this venue.

Events like this have always been a big challenge for wireless coverage. You have the logistical challenges of lighting up a huge venue in a very short period of time to support high-densities of users. Many of these venues aren’t built and configured in ways that are conducive to good RF coverage practices. My team has a lot of experience lighting up these venues with wireless over the years and the requirements just keep getting more intense. A couple of years ago, WiFi was usually considered nice to have; now it’s not just expected, but most people carry multiple devices and they expect a great networked experience for their applications. I only expect this trend to continue as people get more and more networked and applications become more and more collaborative, media-rich and interactive. One thing that hasn’t changed though is that the WiFi gets blamed for all networked evils! Client driver problems? Routing issues? DNS down? Doesn’t matter, everyone blames the WiFi!

For Cisco Live this year, we’ve deployed ubiquitous WiFi, featuring 191 of our AP3500e and AP3500i access points. If you’re around the venue, you can see the APs strategically mounted on stands. The AP3500s are our flagship 802.11n APs, with our best indoor performance and, of course, Cisco CleanAir technology. If you aren’t familiar with CleanAir, it’s the coolest thing in the WiFi industry right now. CleanAir leverages powerful ASIC-based spectrum intelligence in the APs to detect RF interference in degrees other systems can’t, identify and locate interference sources, and automatically adjust and optimize the wireless coverage. The benefits of the technology include a self-healing and self-optimizing WiFi network, faster troubleshooting, and less downtime. You can learn more here: Or better, come by the NOC and the Cisco booth and check it out yourself.

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Tablets Welcomed: How Cisco IT created a mobile access policy for any device

Hope you found last week’s inaugural blog on the “Tablet Welcomed.” series interesting enough to come back.

Today, I am sitting down for an interview with Brett Belding, who was instrumental in designing a mobile device access policy for Cisco, in his role as the Senior Manager of IT.

I met Brett over Cisco Telepresence one early morning (when I typically I am still asleep, let alone in the office) to accommodate his Eastern time zone schedule. For the videophile readers, I should say that I pointed my camera directly to the Telepresence screen, which is why you may notice my reflection at certain points. However, this amateur video alone could be a case study for the quality of Cisco Telepresence.

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The Lone Admin and The Cisco Technical Support iPad App

Authored by : Kent Wong, Product Manager, Technical Services

It was a evening like any other.  The Lone Admin walks into a his local watering hole to relax after a full day of battling issues and keeping his company’s network safe and secure.  He is known somewhat as a miracle worker, a conundrum wrapped in an enigma.  Even against the most sinister of network issues he is able to stand his ground and find resolution all by himself.  How does he do it?  None of his peers know.

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Tablets Welcomed: Part 1

Eighteen months ago, when the original Apple iPad was announced, I posted a blog here posing a simple question: “Apple iPad, in the enterprise?”  The obvious answer, to me at least, was a resounding “Yes”. Today, it seems that professionals and employers alike would agree. The former like to bring and operate their own devices at work, and the latter are buying these devices to boost employee productivity.

In this six-part blog series titled “Tablets Welcomed.” I will be posting short video clips (3 questions in 3 minutes) of interviews with Cisco leaders, that walk you through the Cisco solution for providing access to any device, securely, reliably, and seamlessly.

Today, I am talking to Tom Wilburn, Vice President of Sales for Cisco Wireless, who has experienced this market transition firsthand. Watch Tom here as he answers:
–    How has the influx of new mobile devices changed IT?
–    What are the consequences companies need to confront?
–    What are some compelling tablet use cases?

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Finally! Great Wi-Fi at Big Events

Today, you may be able to walk into in a convention hall, or university classroom, or baseball park and connect your mobile device.  Maybe.  But you’re likely competing for that connection with all the people around you.   Can you join an online conversation while attending  a large class at school?  Can you view a live stream of the keynote address while sitting in a convention hall, or see the homerun hit while in line at the beer stand?

Today, chances are the answer is no.  But that’s changing.

The reason that the answer is no, today, is that you’re sharing a finite cellular or Wi-Fi connection with all your fellow consumers in that train, convention or stadium.  If you’ve got 50,000 fans, and off-the-shelf access points with “floodlight-like” unidirectional coverage areas, you’re likely sharing your one AP with 1000 other people!  And if you simply put more of those APs in, the overlapping airwaves would all be competing for the same limited number of Wi-Fi channels.  And when that happens, performance gets much, much worse.

But luckily, Cisco is announcing a brand new solution that addresses this issue, called Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, and it’s debuting in the Sporting Kansas City stadium.  We’ve got the new Aironet 3500p access point with a very special antenna with a directional, “spotlight-like” coverage pattern.  This means each AP has minimal interference with the AP next to it, and is shared by fewer fans.  Everyone gets a bigger piece of the pie – and therefore more predictable levels of performance to run cool new video apps.  Translation:  twice as much video-viewing, iPad-carrying  performance for you and me!

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