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The Network After 25 Years of Cisco Live!

#clus1A lot can change in 25 years. At the first Cisco Live (then known as Networkers conferences) in 1989, 200 geeks gathered for the inaugural event. Fast forward to three weeks ago, when we welcomed a whopping 25,000 attendees into the arms of our namesake, beautiful San Francisco.

We heard there was some interest in how the network performed at the show, so I wanted to share some of the interesting statistics about the network at Cisco Live! I shudder at the thought of the ancient network from 25 years ago. So here we go:

Wi-Fi Client Devices

This year we saw 30,705 unique devices, with 7000 in the theater for John Chambers’ keynote.

# of Unique Clients

# of Sessions

# of Unique Users

# of Unique APs

Avg Users per AP

30705

1396239

30705

859

33.64

Max. Concurrent Connected Wi-Fi Devices

There was a peak of 14216 concurrently connected device at SF this year.

clients2 Read More »

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How Does a Cisco Aironet AP2700 Perform Under Stress?

There’s been some speculation about the performance of the AP2700--just how good could our latest AP fly under stress? We were talking with Blake Krone and Sam Clements from the No Strings Attached Show, where they produce independent discussion and commentary on a variety of wireless equipment and technology across vendors. The idea came up that they could do an independent performance test on the Cisco Aironet AP2700. The guys received no compensation for the testing with the exception of arranging their travel out to Richfield, OH facility for the testing. We also provided 2 AP’s per person just in case they wanted to do some further testing.  

Sam & Blake along with several Cisco TMEs loaded up an AP2700 with 100 real clients to see what happens.   The testing was meant to be as real world as possible, so they did things like setup the clients at varying distances and angles, use a mix of 11n and 11ac clients, tested with CCO code (7.6MR2), and even factory reset and configured the controller then in front of Blake and Sam to show there’s no funny business.  The idea being, if you had 100 clients, and wanted to do the testing yourself and repeat the results, you could. I don’t want to spoil the results, so head to www.nsashow.com/AP2700/ to check out the whitepaper. 

Here’s a sneak peek at the client setup:

test

For full details as well as the results, visit www.nsashow.com/AP2700/

 

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Wi-Fi Roaming 101

Wi-Fi roaming is often a tumultuous subject.  The crux of the issue is, with Wi-Fi the roaming decision is left to the client.

In the recent years, there have been great strides in improving Wi-Fi roaming with the creation of standards-based roaming technologies.  Cisco first pioneered fast roaming many years ago with CCKM (Cisco Centralized Key Management), which was the foundation for 802.11r.  11r which was ratified by the IEEE in 2008, allows for fast roaming, even on a secure 802.1X SSID.  With 802.11r it is possible to roam without disruption during a voice or video call.

While client support of 802.11r is largely lacking in the laptop space,  there is large support in the smartphone realm.  Apple iOS devices have supported 11r since iOS 6 (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5535).  The recent Samsung smartphones, such as the Galaxy S4, S5, and Note 3, also support 11r.

Note: Some non-802.11r clients can react adversely when connected to an 11r WLAN.  The current recommendation from Cisco is to have a separate WLAN for 802.11r clients.

802.11k is another amendment from the IEEE that helps to improve roaming.  802.11k provides a whole slew of information to the client, which allows the client to understand the RF environment and make an informed roaming decision.  This information can include channel load and AP neighbor lists.

11r and 11k help, however, that does not mean the infrastructure is irrelevant in the roaming picture.  With the help of a model train, we did some testing to figure out just how much impact the infrastructure could have.  We compared Cisco to one of our competitors, whom we will call Vendor A.

This video summarizes the results and shows the train in action, or continue reading for more details:
Read More »

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Summary: Renewable Energy Agency Deploys Scalable, Power-Resilient Network

With its fast-growing economy, India faces significant challenges in meeting the energy needs of its population and industry. And given the growth of the renewable energy sector, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) was established in 1987  to promote, develop, and extend financial assistance for projects involving renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, and conservation. IREDA recognized the need to optimize use of its resources and leverage technology advances to better serve its constituents.

To improve the efficiency of its increasingly complex operations, IREDA sought to replace its aging heterogeneous campus network infrastructure with a scalable, unified solution. Key requirements included superior reliability and security as well as energy efficiency to foster the agency’s values while providing cost savings. There was an immediate benefit in lowering network energy consumption and the network would be the tool to both help ensure the security of confidential information and provide high performance for applications such as video.

How did this renewable energy agency approach deploying a network that would be scalable and power resilient while optimizing network efficiency? Click to read the full blog

 

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802.11ac: That’s the Answer. What’s the question?

Everybody’s talking about 802.11ac, but we’ve sensed some confusion for next steps as far as how CIO’s and IT organizations should be approaching the new standard.

3700internal2Should I move to 802.11ac?

You’re probably thinking: Chris, you’re a leader at Cisco, of course you want me to migrate to 802.11ac. That, my friends, is where you are wrong. There is no simple answer to the question of whether you should move your network to 802.11ac. Here’s my simple rule of thumb:

There is no premium for 802.11ac from Cisco. If you are deploying new Access Points’s today, you should be buying 802.11ac. If you’re not buying, you are probably satisfied with your network and how it will handle the growth of more and more clients associating with your network and the bandwidth demands that come with that client demand. If you feel you have a plan to handle this demand, then you are one of the few that can pass on 802.11ac.

That said, there is a strong ramp up for Cisco 802.11ac products in the market, the AP3700 is the fastest ramping access point in our history and we have yet to see if the AP2700 will claim that crown in the coming months. ABI Research estimates that currently 50% of new device introductions are 802.11ac enabled, a statistic expected to increase to 75% by the end of 2015.  This is enough proof of the overwhelming interest in adding the benefits of 11ac to networks. Let’s take a step back and consider the basics of why people are moving to the new standard.

Why .11ac?

Today, everything is about getting what we want, when we want it. Instant gratification. It’s not just the millennials—we’ve all been conditioned to expect things within seconds. Could you imagine the days pre-Internet if you had the capability for on-demand movies? Read More »

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