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Heavy Traffic Ahead! Are you prepared?

Tweet with peers and experts Tuesday, May 1 at 10 a.m. PST, about increasing mobile devices on your network and how you’re managing. #ciscowifi (what is a Tweetchat?)

When you live in the Bay Area, few things are consistent. With so many innovators in our midst, technology, culture and food are always evolving. The one thing we can count on is traffic. From Silicon Valley to the Golden Gate Bridge, there is nothing more predictable or aggravating. Which is why we treasure the ability to work from home, keep our hours flexible and leave our cars at home whenever possible. With bridge construction planned for the weekend, I knew I’d be relying on my bike to get around San Francisco without the frustration of getting stuck, waiting for space and looking for parking.

Similar, but slightly more technical, is preparing your network for high density as the influx of tablets and smart phones starts to crowd the network and affect performance. In both cases, the ideal scenario is to understand that there will be roadblocks, but to plan accordingly to maintain steady movement and efficiency. Our recent Mobility Tech Deep Dive Webinar “Understanding the Challenges and Solutions of Increasingly Crowded Networks” discussed the challenges organizations are facing and how they can plan for and avoid these challenges. Read my previous blog for a short introduction to the main points of that webinar.

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The Cisco Aironet 3600 Access Point comes out on top in Miercom’s Performance Test Report

With all that has recently been written about BYOD, it’s clear that enterprise IT managers need to consider performance requirements on the wireless access point. With more clients accessing the network, the performance demands in terms of coverage and client density will increase. Furthermore, consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets may have difficulty connecting to an AP compared to a laptop. This could be attributed to the fact that most of these devices either do not support 802.11n or they support legacy 802.11g/a. If the devices support 802.11n is sometimes limited to 1x1 MIMO. An access point that has superior performance will be needed to address the growing needs of these new clients.

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A better understanding of BYOD without Compromise

As anyone who attended Cisco’s recent “BYOD without Compromise” Webinar noticed, the BYOD phenomenon is changing company priorities, and is bringing up a lot of questions about the solutions available to scale, secure and operate a successful  network. Replay the Webinar

Join us for our upcoming #ciscowifi TweetChat during which you’ll be able to engage in a real time BYOD discussion on Twitter with Cisco Technical Experts. What is a TweetChat?

April 17, 10-11am PST: TweetChat Topic: BYOD and Cisco ISE – use #ciscowifi.

First, I’ve put together just a few details based on the most popular questions posed during the recent webinar about Cisco’s approach to BYOD. And at the end of this post, I’ve also listed upcoming events for even more in depth technical discussions on a variety of BYOD topics.

Enhanced Identity Services Engine (ISE):

Cisco ISE is a context-aware, identity-based platform that gathers real-time information from the network, users, and devices. This enables IT to offer mobile business freedom with policy for when, where and how users may access the network..

ISE integrates with Prime Network Control System and supports BYOD with any 11n Wireless Access Point (even if you’re running your network in FlexConnect -- aka HREAP- mode)

In addition to managing on-boarding, Cisco ISE has full guest lifecycle management.  It also allows IT to deny access to devices for a variety of reasons; such as who you are, what device it is, if you are running the latest OS or anti-malware or how you are accessing  the network..

Posture -- Posture is the component of ISE platform responsible for enforcement of corporate security policies governing access to its enterprise network.  For example, for non-corp owned devices, you can decide what is the minimal requirements based on the device type/OS etc. Setting this up ahead of time will avoid security issues with non-supported devices

ISE also provides real-time endpoint scans based on policy to gain more relevant insight. These automated features result in a better user experience and more secure devices.  Cisco ISE uniquely leverages the network. It is essentially the brains for secure access and provides the policy to the network infrastructure (it is woven into the switches, routers, etc.)

New Prime Infrastructure:

Prime is a single package that provides complete infrastructure – wired and wireless, and mobility lifecycle management– configuration, monitoring, troubleshooting, remediation, and reporting.  This solution includes:  Prime Network Control System (NCS) for converged wired/wireless monitoring and troubleshooting, plus wireless lifecycle management, with new branch network management functionality; and Prime LAN Management Solution, for wired lifecycle management and Borderless Network services management.

Mobile Device Management (MDM):

To protect data on mobile devices and ensure compliance, Cisco is integrating with multiple Mobile Device Management vendors.  This gives IT greater visibility into the endpoint as well control over endpoint access based on the compliance of these devices to company policy (such as requiring pin lock or disallowing jailbroken devices), and the ability to do remote data wipes on lost or stolen mobile devices. If you don’t have a supported vendor, we will not be able to get as rich detail about the status of that device, however, you still get the full wired/wireless policy.

Current MDM third party vendors: Zenprise, Good, Airwatch, MobileIron

Device Operating Systems:

Wondering about which OS is preferred on your mobile device?

Cisco offers broad mobile device OS support in Cisco AnyConnect VPN software, including IOS, Android, and Windows Mobile.

Virtualization:

When it comes to virtualization, Cisco has created the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), an end-to-end systems approach that delivers the next generation virtual workspace by unifying virtual desktops, voice, and video. Check out the link for more information on VXI, VXI with Citrix, VXI with VMware, Virtualization Services and validated Design Guides http://www.cisco.com/web/solutions/trends/virtualization/index.html

This is just a drop in the bucket. To get even more information on taking your organization beyond BYOD, don’t miss our upcoming technical deep dive webinars and in person events that speak directly to managing your growing network while you’re doing your best with limited resources.  You can also check out Cisco’s BYOD solution, Prime and ISE:

Upcoming Events

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Take the BYOD Challenge and Win a Trip to the 2012 London Olympic Games!

Come watch a special edition TechWiseTV, featuring Ike, to learn how Cisco takes you Beyond BYOD. Take the BYOD challenge for a chance to win a trip to the London Olympics or other fun mobility gadgets.

Today’s enterprise mobility requirements go beyond simply connecting mobile devices. It’s about securing any access, simply managing the complexities while scaling efficiently, and ensuring an optimal user experience while easing the IT burden. Gallant Ike does all of this and more with Cisco Enterprise Mobility Solutions.

To participate, here is what you do:

  • Visit http://www.cisco.com/go/challenge
  • Watch the 20-minute video featuring TechWise’s Jimmy Ray Purser and Robb Boyd with IKE
  • Take the Challenge!  Test your knowledge and answer 10 questions. You just may win!

Good luck!

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Moving Beyond BYOD: Connecting the ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ Workforce

With more than seven billion souls set to tote 10 billion mobile-connected devices by 2016, mobility has not just arrived, it’s taken over our schools, businesses and personal lives.

Just ask Mitch Davis, the CIO of Bowdoin College, a private liberal arts college in Maine. Before BYOD ever became a global IT trend, according to Mitch, the vast majority of college students were already bringing their personal devices into the campus environment.

These co-eds expected Bowdoin to fully embrace personal mobility, and, upon graduation, these same post-grads expect that their employers will do the same (this year’s Connected World Technology Report findings back this up, with more than 40 percent of recent college graduates/Gen Y employees choosing BYOD flexibility over higher pay).

Bottom line, the rules of the game are changing, and companies must move beyond basic BYOD connectivity to meet employee demands today and tomorrow. To help companies meet these demands, we’ve introduced a comprehensive approach that unifies policy, supports a better user experience and simplifies management to deliver an uncompromised user experience in any workspace. After all, Cisco wants to empower IT managers to allow employees to have their devices and use them too. That means delivering:

  1. A unified security policy across the whole organization – wired, wireless, VPN and now MDM – helping companies set and enforce policies;
  2. An uncompromised user experience over the entire wired/wireless network, across any type of device; and,
  3. Simplified operations and network management to understand application performance from a user’s perspective, accelerating troubleshooting and lowering operating costs.

Like Ray-Ban aviators, BYOD is here to stay. And done the right way, BYOD demands a comprehensive approach to allow current and future employees to work how they want, when and where they want, and on the devices they want – while still allowing IT the control and visibility to sleep at night.

Learn more about our announcement and new technologies here.

By the way, whether you’re a college student or have been working for 30 years, you’re eligible to take the BYOD Challenge and win a trip to 2012 London Olympics – good luck!

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