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The Future of Wireless: Times are Changing Before Our Eyes

We live in amazing times, ask anyone who ever had to look up a phone number in a phone book. In the past this was the only way you could find the number to your favorite restaurant if you wanted to make a reservation. Today, all we need to do is reach into our pocket or purse and grab our mobile device, open an application and in a few seconds (not minutes) we have the phone number. Not only that, but we can see the menu and make a reservation right from the device. Over time we have become dependent on carrying the world (both personal and professional) in our pocket. With mobility, we are always on, always connected: nothing—whether it’s your team’s latest score or that email from a vendor you need to send to your boss—is more than a quick search away.

What once seemed unfathomable, this way of always being connected is now commonplace. However, as the application developers sit and think of the next killer app, the IT team has to make sure the network can not only support this new app, but also assure the performance meets the higher and higher demands of new apps. This requires the network to be more application-aware. And the reality is that more applications that require higher network performance are coming at a faster rate. Add to it new devices that use these applications are becoming accessible to everyone. On top of that, the people that use these applications and devices are becoming more demanding in terms of reliability and experience. So what is an IT person to do?

“We were ahead of the times,” says Joseph Tufano, VP and CIO of St. John’s University. “But times have changed. You see it everywhere: for example, if you go to a basketball game on campus, and there’s a timeout, everybody is using their mobile devices.”

IT is always working to increase the wireless performance of the network. However, as more bandwidth becomes available, users increase their usage and consume that bandwidth. Read More »

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Bring Out Yer Dead: 5 Steps to Eliminate 802.11b From Your Networks

Now that US tax day is over, we in the wireless field can get back to focusing on P1: optimizing and maintaining network performance. Keeping your network in good shape is like gardening: if you don’t pull out the weeds, it’ll never look as good as it could. My friend Jim Florwick detailed the gory bits of the 802.11b penalty with its awful lag in efficiency and absolute waste of spectrum. I write today to help give you the steps to act on Jim’s order to stop the madness.

I liken this process to a memorable scene from Monty Python: You must “Bring out yer dead.” However much the first standard insists it’s still alive, let’s all be honest with ourselves: 802.11b is dead.

In memoriam of the first amendment to the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard hailing all the way since 1999, 802.11b was superseded by 802.11a and g in 2003 which are much more efficient.  802.11n was available in draft form in 2007 and was ratified in 2009 while 802.11ac was ratified last September. A few years from now we should be planning the wake for 802.11a and 802.11g as well.

Now is the right time to bury 802.11b and reduce the drag on your network. Let’s be real: there is a reason cyclists are not allowed on the freeway, and an 802.11b device will slow everyone down. Here are 5 easy steps for eradicating your network of 802.11b and getting on your way towards higher speed wireless:

STEP    1.         Identify any 802.11b devices on your network

All of the latest Wi-Fi connecting devices are 802.11a/b/g/n capable. So how do you hunt down the 802.11b-only devices? You’ll be looking for older laptop and mobile clients (mostly before the year 2005).

Cisco Prime Infrastructure makes this easy for you with a report on clients by protocol. It will look like this:

prime1 Read More »

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Connected Healthcare: How Mobility Drives Better Care and a Healthier Society

As advancements in mobility continue to accelerate across all industries, one area that appears poised for some of the deepest transformation is healthcare.

Already, we are seeing how mobility adoption in hospitals — along with new personal health-monitoring devices — is enabling better patient care and a healthier society. And all of these breakthroughs dovetail into the revolution that we call the Internet of Everything (IoE) — the explosion in connectivity among people, process, data, and things that is transforming our world.

A great example is Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Sergipe, which is utilizing telehealth technology to provide patients with specialty healthcare. In the United States, nearly 70 percent of surveyed healthcare leaders say that clinicians at their organizations use mobile technology to view patient data, according to a new survey from HIMSS Analytics.

It’s also estimated that more than 17 million wearable bands will ship this year, putting new health-monitoring tools directly in the hands — or on the wrists — of patients. And with the deployment of strong wireless networks, such as the one used by Miami Children’s Hospital, hospitals are supporting a holistic mobile-enabled patient-care experience that is providing strides in electronic health records. Another intriguing breakthough involves devices such as the Scanadu Scout, which makes the handheld medical “tricorder” of Star Trek fame a consumer reality. Such advances are helping doctors, nurses, and patients reduce errors in miscommunication, while cutting costs.

Cisco_HealthcareMobility_Joseph Bradley

It isn’t about just becoming more mobilized; it’s about improving patient care and individual well-being. As Addison McGuffin, vice president of business technology innovation at Health Care Service Corporation, said, “Some of the things we’re looking at is a trend toward technology that is helping patients toward health performance and improvement on a daily basis.”

These examples show how mobility is reshaping the healthcare industry. Yet, according to a recent Forbes article, many hospital administrators perceive a “double-edged sword” when balancing the need to invest in technology with regulatory constraints. This topic also drove conversation at the recent HIMSS conference. At Kaiser Permanente’s booth, they asked the question: “Is Health IT Really Worth It?” With advancements in mobility shaping IT strategy and investments, I’d take Kaiser’s question a step further by asking, “Is Mobility in Healthcare Really Worth It?” Read More »

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Non-Stop Wireless Network at John Muir Health

April 15, 2014 at 8:12 am PST

Previously I have blogged about No SSID Outage and No Client Reauthentication whereby even if your Cisco Wireless Controllers were to fail due to any reason, the clients will NOT experience any downtime due to Stateful Failover functionality to a Standby Controller. What could be better than that? Controllers that never go down! 


A picture is worth a thousand words! As you can see the above the WEBGUI on a 5508 series wireless controller shows that, it is running 7.0 code which was an MD release, has been operational for over a thousand days or over three years! Read More »

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Wi-Fi & Taxes: Digging into the 802.11b Penalty

It’s that time of year again in the US – Tax Time!  That time of year where we review the previous year’s bounty, calculate what’s due, and re-evaluate our strategies to see if we can keep more of what we worked for.  Things change; rules, the economy, time to retirement, and before you know it you find yourself working through alternatives and making some new decisions.

Anyway, as I was working through the schedules and rule sheets, my mind wandered and I started to think about Wi-Fi and the taxes associated with it.  In my day job, I often play the role of forensic accountant.  Like a tax accountant, I’m always looking for a way to get more or understand why there isn’t more already.  So along those lines, lets talk about a little known tax that you may well be paying needlessly.  I’m talking of course about the dreaded 802.11b Penalty.

Wi-Fi protocols like 802.11b are referenced by standards committees for the workgroup that develops them.  In the 2.4 GHz spectrum, there is 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n.  Back in 1997, 802.11b  was the first modern Wi-Fi protocol ratified by the IEEE and it allowed transmissions of 11 Mbps, a major jump forward from the previous 2 Mbps  that was possible with the original 802.11 standard.


After 802.11b came 802.11a, and then 802.11g.  Both of these protocols where a radical departure from the simplistic 802.11b structure and employed Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation (now standard in every 802.11 protocol created since then).  OFDM allowed for Read More »

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