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Cisco Brings Gigabit Wireless to Life with the AP3600 + 802.11ac Module: Demo Highlights

The question isn’t IF your users will need more bandwidth, but WHEN they will need more bandwidth. 802.11ac represents the next evolution of the 802.11 standard, and, as you’ve heard, this one really pegs the gas petal in the quest for speed. Offering a link-rate of up to 1.3Gbps, 802.11ac represents the first wireless standard that surpasses the gigabit barrier.

But what makes 802.11ac unique isn’t just bandwidth. The new standard represents a forced push to the cleaner 5GHz spectrum, as well as extended battery life, made possible by getting devices on and off the air more quickly. To learn more about the technical details under the hood of 802.11ac reference this whitepaper.

Cisco’s Aironet Access Point 3600 and an alpha version of the 802.11ac module were demonstrated during Cisco’s presentation during Wireless Field Day 3 (the demo occurs at timestamp 15:30 in the video). Keep in mind that this is a demonstration of a pre-released product so it is expected that throughput and functionality will change and likely increase when the product is available for customers in early 2013.

The test goal was to measure one client, one Access Point 802.11ac performance and leveraged Ixia’s IxChariot to generate UDP traffic over the air. The test was done in an open real world environment, so the achieved throughput is less than what would be expected in a clean RF environment typical of a benchmark test.

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Harsh Wireless Environment? Not a Problem.

It’s a fact – everyone wants wireless access.  Recent research indicates that by 2015, more US internet users will be accessing the internet over their mobile devices than on traditional computers.   With that many people online and on their mobile devices not having stable, secure wireless access is surely an impediment for companies as well as every day users. Companies leverage mobile devices to enable a more efficient workforce. Mobile devices are used to leverage “always-on” applications, increasing access for employees and as a better means of time management. Both of which increase employee productivity.  Companies also often rely on their wireless network for regulating employee safety.  Such is the case for the iron manufacturing company, North American Hoganas Inc.

With 11 production facilities across four continents in eight countries including the United States, where it staffs 250 employees, North American Hoganas Inc. needed to deploy an end-to-end wireless network in order to keep up with market demands and target new operational efficiencies.  Up to the minute communication is vital not only for business operations, but also for the safety of their plant employees.  Updating employees on risk assessments, proper product handling techniques, and work schedules are just some examples of mission-critical, daily communication from management to employees.  There was one problem that stood between North American Hoganas Inc and a successfully deploying a pervasive wireless network: North American Hoganas Inc. itself.

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Petco Park Stadium Hits a Home Run in High-Tech

Planning to go to the World Series this year? If you are lucky enough to attend, think about using your mobile device to enhance the experience.

Last month, my colleague used an iPad during our team outing at a San Francisco Giants game to watch his favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, live via streaming media on Major League Baseball’s MLB.TV app. Thanks to the Cisco network infrastructure and Wi-Fi technology deployed in AT&T Park, he was able to catch both games simultaneously.

Down in Southern California, while unfortunately the San Diego Padres didn’t make the playoffs – one thing is for certain – this season Petco Park Stadium saw a trend with the increase in mobile device usage at games by their fans.

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Leveling the Playing Field

What’s a poor brick-and-mortar retailer supposed to do? The competitive landscape seems to be permanently titled toward online retailers. Virtual sellers seem to enjoy facility and inventory advantages unavailable to their physical kin. They even get favorable tax policies from states that want to encourage internet growth.

Even with these asymmetric advantages, it’s the real-time insights available to online enterprises that provide a real game changer. By better understanding customer what a customer is viewing and their past history, a virtual store can provide guided advice specifically tailored to the individual shopper. Talk about targeted marketing.

Sure, the physical enterprise has strengths the online world doesn’t. Like first-person customer service and products that customers can touch, feel, and try on. But that real-time insight the retailers use so well? Out of reach.

Until now. With our acquisition of ThinkSmart, Cisco can help level the playing field.

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Get your Wi-Fi network ready for Windows 8

October 12, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

Microsoft will launch Windows 8 in late October. Along with a slew of other features, it will be among the first to support the 802.11w standard to protect Management Frames for client devices on Wi-Fi networks.

Customers running old Cisco unified releases (between 4.2 to 7.2) in local, Flex or mesh mode will run into an interoperability bug (CSCua29504, to be exact) that prevents 802.11w enabled clients from connecting to a Cisco WLAN with Management Frame Protection (MFP) enabled. This bug does not affect customers running autonomous access point deployments or customers running Cisco unified releases older than 4.2.

What are the possible solutions for you?

1. Please upgrade your production environment to one of the following releases, which will interoperate with Windows 8.

  • 7.3.101.0
  • 7.2.111.3
  • 7.0.235.3

2. Roll back to pre-windows 8 drivers as identified in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article.
3. Fall back to TKIP
4. Sign up for a beta release for Cisco’s upcoming feature release 7.4 (beta available now!) that supports the 802.11w feature in local mode.

What is 802.11w ?

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