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A spot of Wi-Fi, dear?

Connectivity Underground!

After just one day in London, I began to take the Tube system of transportation for granted. It’s just so easy to zip from one side of town to the other – no traffic, continuous service and more destinations than any person can hit during one vacation.

I felt savvy and confident using the Tube given my previous experience commuting on the NYC subway for 7 years. But I had a moment of panic when I remembered that I was without an international data plan; could I really survive 5 days without my “data”? Not being able to make calls or to send or receive texts was scary enough, but finding my way around a new city without a mapping app in my hand? Unimaginable! Turns out the Tube was the solution to my problem. Wi-Fi was readily available, for FREE, in Tube stations around the city. Since I was constantly out and on the go, I actually found myself relying on my underground travel time to connect with friends, make plans, post to Twitter and Facebook and even buy a new book for my e-reader! Read More »

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BYOD and Government Certifications

It’s summer and my kids have been testing for swim certification so they can swim in the big pool. When they complain about the swim exam, I assure them that it’s not only to be safe, but also  to validate that they have reached a recognized standard of performance.  Similarly, governments worldwide require proof of certification before allowing equipment, including commercial wireless devices and technology, to be deployed on their networks.

With the growing trend towards BYOD, countless organizations must strategize how to best protect data in-transit across wireless networks, while optimizing the benefits of a mobile workforce.  For government and public sector organizations, it is especially imperative that the solutions employed to mitigate risks associated with BYOD and WLAN are compliant with the highest standards and certifications.

Certification is an ongoing effort in a changing landscape.  Cisco maintains an active product certification program for government customers by staying as current as possible with certifications to enable our customers to confidently deploy our solution.  As of July 26, 2012, we are proud to announce the Common Criteria Certification award to one of our recent 7.0 software releases.

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Innovations that give your network a boost.

As technology consumers, we take almost every aspect of wireless connectivity, network technology innovation and performance for granted. As technology workers, we tend to think about standards more than most people. But even so, do you really think about standards much when you use one of your many wireless devices? When you bought your tablet, did you wonder whether it supported 802.11n or 802.11a/g? Did you think it would matter when you started using it? And when a new standard gets introduced, do you jump online or race to the tech shop to swap out all of your devices so they support that new standard. I’ve never seen an ad for a device that uses standards compliance as a feature or benefit, just as no one has ever said to me, “Hey, check out my new smart phone! It’s 802.11n compliant, man! It’s so cool!” My point: we generally choose our devices based on features and price, rather than on standards compliance. (Well, there are many who are paid to test new devices for standards compliance, so my opinion will not be without some controversy to someone.)

The reality we face, however, is that wireless networks need to account for and support multiple standards, just as they must support multiple device types. The challenge for IT managers is to ensure that they are providing the best experience for users wherever they are on the network, efficiently, so that a user with an older device has the same experience as a user with a newer device. Cisco ClientLink 2.0 Technology does just that.

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BYOD on a University Campus: A Student’s Perspective

There is a new generation of college students out there, I would know as I recently was one of them.  Information being at your fingertips is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  Professors’ expectations of their students have increased dramatically due to the wealth of information on mobile devices.  Every class I attended leveraged some form of wireless access to the web.  Instant message in response to real-time questions and online submissions are just two of many examples of how network access has been integrated into the education system.  Professors would consistently use online tools such as online drop boxes for projects and web conferencing tools.  According to MarketWire 92% of college students feel a laptop is a necessity, this indicates that the requirement of mobile access at a university is a given and the college experience is defined by the ease of that access. 

Professors are on tight schedules and are generally available only at certain times of the day.  Imagine- wanting to contact a professor during open hours only to fall short because your laptop had difficulty getting any kind of connection.  I remember the frustrations of wanting to revisit PowerPoint presentations on a class website in the library, only to realize that I was sitting by the one window notorious for being a wireless dead zone.  Dorms were infamous for spotty coverage.  Having the dorm room located closest to the access point for best access was purely by luck of the draw.  I was not so lucky.  In my dorm, you would not get any wireless access unless you were sitting right next to the hallway.  That’s why I am especially envious of the students of Colorado University, whose alma mater upgraded to enterprise-class coverage. 

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Don’t Fall Victim to Staff Absenteeism This Summer

With fewer than 50 days to go until London 2012, are you prepared for the potential staffing issues that could be caused by the Games coming to London this summer?  Cisco’s online ‘Games ready’ test found that although 42% of businesses already have existing flexi-time policies that will operate as normal during Games time, 34% are not changing business work hours to avoid the travel chaos.

No doubt some of your staff have already booked time off, whilst the rest will want to watch the action online and if your network infrastructure’s not up to scratch, you could be heading for a crash.  So, here are some top tips for your business to capitalise on these events:

Plan ahead 

Now is the time to start looking at what you are doing internally and share the magic of the Games with your team.  I’m not saying that during Games time the office should come to a standstill whilst everyone enjoys the action – but if managed correctly, London 2012 has the potential to be uniting rather than disruptive. Of course employers need their businesses to continue trading as normal so it’s important to start putting plans in place now on the best way to engage with your workforce during this time.

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