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Innovation: Wireless Networking Ingenuity from Cisco!

April 20, 2011 - 2 Comments

Wow – I’m impressed. We have the best folks in Cisco. I’m sure of it. The best in the industry. And I don’t just mean me (he jests)!

No, really, Cisco’s innovation is ‘on fire’ as John Chambers puts it. I’m not just saying that because I work at Cisco. I’m saying it because I meet up with folks every day at Cisco who simply impress me with their down-and-out inventiveness. It might be products, processes or business architectures. Whatever it is, I’m often left thinking we have to tell our customers about that.

Innovators – here are just a couple I found at Cisco –  more where they came from! Actually Neil Dieder, Tech Leader, and Walt Shaw, Sr. Prod. Line Mgr, both from WNBU, the Cisco Wireless Networking Business Unit.

I speak to many customers at Executive Briefings (EBCs) and they echo my sentiment. When I talk about what we’re doing in the manufacturing industry, many of them say ‘Wow, I didn’t know Cisco did that!’  Well, I guess that’s the purpose of the EBC. Bring the customer to Cisco to tell them stuff they don’t know. Add that to what they do know and, well, they’re going to make a more informed decision.

It’s hard to choose one innovation since there are so many, but since my blogs are about manufacturing, I decided to talk about something that, on the surface is not all that exciting. Wireless Networking. Been around for years right? Right. Easy-peasy, right? Wrong!

If you want to have a reliable network then there are challenges.  Manufacturers want reliable and available systems. Cisco has responded by introducing ‘CleanAir’ – functionality into the Access Points and the Wireless Control System (WCS) that can identify network interference and mitigate it. That microwave in the break-room next to the foreman’s office, or that blue-tooth device that a worker carries around – maybe on their forklift truck – can cause interference. The CleanAir functionality from Cisco identifies interference, where it’s coming and can be set to mitigate it, providing a more reliable network. You’ll see more about Clean-air in the Video.

That’s not all.  The 802.11n adoption trend continues to grow. These are higher performance than the older networks, but manufacturers IT departments may still have legacy deployments. Cisco has introduced ‘ClientLink’ to cope with both the old and new. Put simply, it’s a way of improving the network performance of legacy 802.11a and g devices (the older kind of Wi-Fi networks), whilst still enjoying the benefits of a higher performance 802.11n Wi-Fi network.

And there’s more.  Cisco has recognized the pervasiveness of video, even on the plant floor. Videos of faulty machines, pictures of prototypes, and digital signage all add up to more, potentially disruptive, loading on the network. VideoStream technology from Cisco helps manage the load, prioritize the activities on the network, and give a better quality of service.

Talking management, that too is progressing. The management of the wireless network and the fixed LAN (local Area Network) is now converged, so that manufacturers and their IT departments can use one system for both wired and wireless management.

There’s so much more to say about innovation, wireless, and, of course,  manufacturing, and  yet so little blogosphere time to say it.  Let me know what you think. I know you agree 100% with everything I say. Or do you? Let me know…

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  1. Really Cisco doing very good work.

    • Thank you Maria – Cisco really is a great place to be right now for talented people – lots of innovation and lots of focus on products, innovation, execution and customer satisfaction.