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Personal Stocks and (Rock Solid) Wireless Bonds

On the topic of “payback” I’ll mention a personal anecdote and say a few words about Cisco’s focus on wireless as a critical business capabilitiy.It’s not until you lose something, even temporarily, that you realize how valuable it is. My wife and I rely on wireless at home and we go virtually apoplectic when it stops working. A few weeks ago I was making a carefully timed stock trade over breakfast and my wireless connection went down right in the middle of the transaction. I spent ten minutes fiddling our (consumer) access point and tearing my hair out to get it running again. By the time it was back up I lost $300 on the trade. Moral of the story? Never try to time the stock market. And…make sure your wireless network is rock solid if you’re betting your business on it :) I recently spoke with Oisin McAlasdair, one of the guys managing Cisco IT’s internal unified upgrade. There will be 6000 unified access points spread across 400 buildings worldwide with 300 controllers managing them. Why bother with such a major upgrade? It’s not that Cisco’s existing autonomous network is deficient. We’ve been using it for five years, with fifty thousand daily users. In a recent study of twenty five thousand Cisco employees forty two percent claim that the WLAN is their only method for accessing the network and each person gains an average of 1.5 hours of productive time a day using wireless. As with many new technologies, it’s the organization playing catch-up with its people. In this case Cisco recognizes wireless as a business critical network and not just a convenience. A simple outage across even a small number of access points can cause man-days or weeks of lost productive time. There are a number of reasons to upgrade the network to unified (I’ll leave the marketing to other venues). But, it’s the right strategy for Cisco and it’ll be the right strategy for many other organizations as they come to see wireless as a critical business capability. Day trading over breakfast is one thing, but keeping fifty thousand employees productive is quite another.

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