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This Summer’s Blockbuster starring Cisco Wireless

Last summer Cisco embarked on the ‘WLAN Express’ journey with the introduction of WLAN Express Setup. As I wrote about here, the Express Setup provides an easy three-step wizard to establish a best-in-class Enterprise wireless solution. These best practices are enabled by default, meaning that the solution is Cisco-powered and ready to go in matter of minutes once you take it out of the box.

When AireOS software release 8.1 debuted earlier this summer, Cisco introduced an enhanced WLAN Express Setup packed with over-the-air provisioning, enhanced search, new monitoring dashboards and companion mobile apps (iOS & Android). These new features took the user-experience to the next level.

Cisco Wireless Mobile App

As a busy network admin, there are times when your computer is unavailable but you need access to your wireless network. With that in mind, stay connected by using these newly created mobile apps for both Apple iOS and Android devices.

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The app allows for:

  • Over-The-Air Provisioning of compatible Wireless LAN Controller that enables configuration of best-in-class wireless network with best practices enabled by default in matter of minutes. Watch a demo here.
  • Monitor multiple wireless LAN controllers from same place. It provides real-time network issues with intuitive dashboards for network and client performance
  • Troubleshoot client and network issues through enhanced search functionality, enhanced RF and network details for APs and clients.

Read More »

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Aislelabs and Cisco Take Off

A CMX Partner Ecosystem Blog

Ecosystem partners are an important adjunct to Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX). They augment the analytic and customer engagement capabilities of the solution with innovative business outcomes. This blog is one in a series that will highlight several of our CMX Ecosystem Partners. Today—Aislelabs.

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Based in Toronto, Canada, Aislelabs is a Cisco Solutions partner with a portfolio of advanced location-based technologies serving large indoor venues such as shopping malls, airports, big box retail stores, convention centers, and other large spaces. Working with the Connected Mobile Experiences solution, their portfolio leverages the Wi-Fi and BLE beacon location information collected and calculated by Cisco.

Aislelabs Flow: Detailed venue analytics utilizing anonymous Wi-Fi data with no required app. Taps directly into existing Wi-Fi and delivers highly granular, customizable analytics around customer behavior.

Aislelabs Social Wi-Fi: Social analytics for the physical space to further understand guest’s interests, demographics, and where they spend most of their time. Enables email and social marketing campaigns targeting guests as well as advanced re-targeting (social, display ads) once they have left the venue. Read More »

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Passpoint™ Wi-Fi and CMX Connect – Seamless and Secure

Throughout the next couple of months, I’ve decided to blog about the great technology Passpoint™ Wi-Fi and how CMX Connect can help. Since this is a series of blogs I’d like to focus this first installment primarily on what Passpoint Wi-Fi is. First thing to understand about Passpoint is that it is an industry standard that allows devices to connect to hotspots effortlessly and securely. Because of this, it’s a technology that businesses (and its customers) have long been waiting for.

The following charts depict top barriers for wider adoption, implementation and usage of Guest Wi-Fi. As you can see the seamless authentication is the top barrier.

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I’m personally excited about Passpoint because of the seamless authentication and security it provides. For example, today’s mobile banking apps have become so easy to use that desktop versions seem difficult to use in comparison. My bank’s app even allows me to take a photo of a check and directly deposit the funds to my account within a matter of seconds. However, I’m only comfortable with mobile banking when using my home or office Wi-Fi because I know they’re WPA2 encrypted. Accessing private financial information is definitely not something I’m comfortable with within a public venue, using an unknown Wi-Fi portal.

So while the idea of providing guests with Wi-Fi is a generous one, using it can actually put personal information and devices at risk. Guest Wi-Fi is almost always open and rarely secured at Layer 2 due to the fact that deployment and operation is difficult when username/password or certificates are required. Furthermore, if a business uses username/password to secure their guest Wi-Fi they’re left with the challenge of knowing how to smoothly create and distribute user credentials without losing the guests’ attention.

The process of accessing Guest Wi-Fi for me, and many out there, is less than appealing because of these security issues and the lengthy process they require before allowing access the Internet. To combat this, businesses need to provide guests with a no-hassle way to maintain and distribute credentials to the guests using Layer 2 secured Guest Wi-Fi. This is where Passpoint comes into play.

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint will transform the way users connect to Wi-Fi hotspot networks by making the process of finding and getting access to the right network seamless…when you are in a Passpoint-enabled hotspot, you’ll discover a newly smooth connectivity experience.” Read More »

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Cisco 5520 and 8540 Wireless Controllers – Powering Next-Generation Wireless Networks

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Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller

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Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller

Recent trends suggest that unless upgrades are made to current wireless infrastructures, these networks are going to get bogged down in the coming years. By 2019, the way people use their devices are expected to change as more devices—which will all be incrementally faster—will enter the workplace. In addition to the overall number of devices increasing, the tasks that they perform will also evolve. Video streaming usage is expected to increase 13-fold and take up to 74% of total mobile data traffic, according to the 2015 Cisco Visual Networking Index Mobile Forecast Study (CMFS).

And while bandwidth intensive applications, such as video, will be the main culprits that chew up your wireless infrastructure, there are other factors that will slow down your networks too. The CMFS reports that by 2019, 53% of fixed IP traffic will be Wi-Fi, which means that wireless will be exceeding wired traffic by 21%. Couple that with an estimated 85% of enterprises implementing some sort of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy by the end of the decade—perhaps tripling the amount of devices on your workplace LAN—and increased video isn’t the only thing you will be worried about.

But it’s all not just extra laptops, mobile devices and streaming videos, the Internet of Everything (IoE) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) traffic will be vying for your wireless network too. The CMFS study says that 28% of device connections will be from M2M traffic. Read More »

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Putting Cisco on the Map at ONS

ONS1When one of the oil and gas industry’s largest events needed a solution to save resources, time and money, they called Cisco. At the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) conference, organizers wanted to find a way to eliminate the paper maps, guides and updates that needed to be printed for the over 90,000 attendees and 1,300 exhibitors participating at the event. Forgoing the printed material, ONS came up with the idea of a digital app to guide conference goers around their show.

With the help of Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) ecosystem partner, MazeMap, ONS had the searchable and linkable maps it needed. With Cisco CMX Location Analytics, ONS identified and addressed congestion at the venue.

“Cisco CMX is a key component of our wayfinding solutions,” says Thomas Jelle, CEO at MazeMap. “Attendees can search for exhibitors on the ONS app and maps guide them to the booth they’re looking for.”

The next part of their solution was installing the hardware needed to make sure those maps made it to their attendees’ wireless devices. Using Cisco switches and wireless access points (APs) with integrated 802.11ac, ONS was able to provide their members with the ability to navigate the 40,000 square meters of conference space spread out over multiple buildings. Read More »

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