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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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Got an iPad? We’re Speaking Your Language.

When it comes to discovering available resources, Apple and WiFi networks can quite literally speak a different language. Apple has always done things a little differently. That’s one reason Apple is Apple. But with the ballooning share of iPhone and iPads on the enterprise network, it’s time for a little cross platform diplomacy.

To explain, let’s think of a network as a mall. Read more

Mobile Learning: How Technology is Transforming Education Around the Globe

 

K-12

Wireless Brings the Freedom to Learn Anywhere, Anytime

Mobile Learning and technology in the classroom may just be the game-changer that gives students around the world equal access to learning.  This week on Netflix I watched “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary that follows the lives of several American students that strive to be accepted into charter schools. The movie is highly controversial, so I won’t give my opinion in this forum, but one theme that resonated with me as a parent of three elementary school students is that the parents in this movie wanted to get the best education for their children in order to ensure their success later in life. I think that’s a global theme that resonates with all parents who are invested in the success of their children’s education.  In addition to parental involvement, technology plays a key role in leveling the playing field for students. Technology can help schools overcome distance and financial barriers by providing equal access to information whether you are a student in the Bronx or in Jordan.  Online learning helps students learn at their own pace, and may even help students with parents who don’t review or assist with homework.  I personally am thrilled with PearsonSuccessNet.  My 3rd grader uses this website to review his math lessons the night before a test.  He can sit at the computer and listen to the audio and watch animated lessons, while I fix dinner or help my other children with their homework.  Technology in education can help to decrease absenteeism, lower dropout rates, and motivate students to continue on to college. I’d like to share with you three examples of technology changing the lives of students and teachers around the world.

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