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Cisco and Illinois School District Make Learning Fun

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Morris (IL) Elementary School District 54 had a problem. The district had recently purchased and outfitted their students with 450 Chromebooks but only five of the computers would connect to a single WiFi coverage area. This spotty connection was frustrating students and teachers alike.

“We learned very quickly that we couldn’t have an effective one-to-one rollout without the infrastructure to support the number of devices we have,” says Dr. Teri Shaw, superintendent, Morris Elementary School District 54. “We needed to change gears and recover quickly before our one-to-one initiative turned into an epic failure.”

Shaw and the rest of the district turned to Cisco.

Thanks to Cisco and delivery partner Unified Concepts, Morris Elementary School District 54 was outfitted with a state-of-the-art wireless mobility solution. The solution was made up of the following Cisco products:

  • Cisco Aironet 3700 Series Access Point with integrated 802.11ac
  • Cisco 5508 Wireless Controller
  • Routing and Switching
  • Cisco Catalyst 3750-X Series Switches

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Miercom Agrees: Cisco Controllers with Dynamic Bandwidth Selection are the Tops

Cisco recently introduced another addition to its Radio Resource Management (RRM) algorithm – Dynamic Bandwidth Selection (DBS). Previously, controllers only had the ability to automatically assign channels and power levels, while the AP channel widths were manually assigned for each AP Group. A choice of 20MHz, 40MHz, or 80MHz channel widths were offered within the Access Point (AP) groups, allowing for the APs to all be on the same chosen channel width. With the addition of DBS, the APs can now be automatically assigned to individual channel widths. This allows the radio resources more opportunities to fine-tune the network according to changing RF conditions for higher granularity.

Independent testing company Miercom recently carried out a full scale RRM testing to run Cisco’s DBS RRM against Aruba’s Adaptive Radio Management (ARM). This testing was performed to validate and benchmark the best-in-class radio resource management feature in Enterprise Wireless. The RRM testbed was designed to achieve real world apples-to-apples comparison between the Cisco 5520 controller with five AP 2702i against the Aruba 7210 controller with five AP 225.

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The result was a runaway win for the Cisco controllers over Aruba.

RRM is a vital element for strong performance and reliability of a wireless network. RRM involves intelligent management of the channels and power transmission of AP radios based on the environment Radio Frequency (RF) conditions. Cisco introduced RRM on its WLAN Controllers in 2005, and since then has been an industry pioneer in automatic AP channel and power management. Cisco’s RRM has evolved over the last decade to become one of the most important WLAN features. RRM is especially helpful for high-density networks where scores of APs need to assign the best possible channel and power plans. These channels and power plans create minimum RF interference and maximum RF performance.

Miercom independently verified the functionality of both the RRM and ARM over a period of several days to analyze the overall performance impact on the network. They observed each controller with different channel width conditions ranging from 20MHz to 80MHz. Typically the radio management algorithms for both RRM and ARM take a few hours to zero-in on what is considered to be the best channel and power plan by the respective vendor controller. Miercom allowed each test setup a period of 12 hours to settle down to the best possible AP channel and power plan. Read More »

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Miercom Verified: The Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller is Ready for Your Next Generation of Wireless Networks!

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Businesses around the world are moving their focus from Mobile Apps to Mobile Experience. With Wi-Fi extending reliable coverage into public places, your users are going to expect the same service from you—a dependable high-speed user experience. The problem is, user devices are increasingly demanding more bandwidth.

How are you going to meet that demand?

To help increase the bandwidth needed to take wireless networks into support of the next generation of devices, Cisco Wireless Controller’s Control Plane scale has improved tremendously. A comparison between the Cisco’s older 5508 and the newer 5520 wireless controller platforms illustrates this improvement. Due to new hardware capabilities in the forms of CPU, memory and software updates, the user authentication per second rate has jumped from 235 users on the 5508 to 764 users on the 5520, or an increase of 225% of user authentication capacity.

This increased authentication rate matters because the faster a device is authenticated, the quicker it gets to access the network resources and better the user experience becomes. Read More »

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Cisco’s Approach to Telehealth White Paper

Telehealth is an important initiative for healthcare organizations today. It is generally accepted that telehealth deployments can help reduce costs and improve patient services while expanding the geographic footprint of the organization.

Cisco’s robust interoperability, security, and video technology have put us at the forefront of telehealth.  Over the years, our teams have seen a recurring theme of limited deployments in a small handful of areas across healthcare organization.  These limited or siloed deployments typically lack a unifying strategy or architecture to be able to accommodate a telehealth deployment at scale. Cisco can help your organization to establish a vision and architecture strategy for deploying a telehealth program.

This new white paper, Cisco’s Approach to Telehealth, describes how Cisco can help you define:

  • strategic imperatives that your telehealth program will address
  • financial and reimbursement goals
  • revenue and workflow outcomes
  • a go forward strategy for a telehealth platform that can scale to fulfill needs from multiple service lines

Contact us today to learn how Cisco can help you extend your delivery of quality care to whenever and wherever it is needed.

The direct URL for the white paper is and more information on Cisco’s Care-at-a-Distance solutions can be found at

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.



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.

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