Last week, I shared with you how to set up WAN networking with Cisco Prime Infrastructure. Today, as the second blog of my 5-part blog series, I’m going to discuss with you how to connect your branch site users to the LAN and wireless network with Prime. Before I go further, just as a quick heads up, here’s my weekly blog series plan on how to set up networking with Prime for a new branch site.

WAN deployment – blog 1
Converged wired and wireless  – blog 2 (this blog)
Application performance – blog 3
Troubleshooting – blog 4
Network health – blog 5
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Your new branch router is up and running. Cisco IWAN is working beautifully. You can’t wait to connect your branch users to their LAN and wireless access network. Mobility is what everyone automatically counts on these days. Cisco forecasts an 18-fold growth in mobile traffic from wearable devices along from 2015 to 2019. Meantime, wired LAN is still critical. IP phones, printing and some business functions depend on rock solid wired LAN access. You want to set up your wired and wireless access for success. A big challenge is how to keep it simple and easy to manage.

Cisco Converged Access combines wired LAN access and wireless access together into a single deployment mode, so you can apply a unified policy and use a unified management method. Furthermore, it allows all your IWAN advantages to be fully utilized. It does so by converting all 802.11 wireless traffic to 802.3 Ethernet traffic without having to use opaque wireless tunnels over the WAN, so you can apply all your IWAN features such as PfR.

You can manually configure Converged Access if you like. However, you can do it more easily with Prime to
– configure Converged Access and
– manage wired and wireless access in one place.

To do so, you simply use Prime Infrastructure to launch a Converged Access configuration workflow. With easy-to-use configuration templates, you can complete most common deployment scenarios from start to finish by following through your workflow. Just a heads up. I have more information on the workflow in the Wireless Technology Pack discussion below.

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Cisco recently released a new Prime Infrastructure Technology Pack which further simplified Converged Access deployments. Technology Packs (also known as Tech Packs for short) are designed to allow customers to add new Cisco Prime Infrastructure functionality without having to wait for a major release. They are also easy to download and install without service interruption. You can download the Prime Infrastructure 2.2.1 Wireless Pack software (under Prime Infrastructure Add-ons) via the software download page. To get more information on this Wireless Technology Pack 2.2.1, go over the Readme document. It contains complete information on how to install the tech pack. It also has detailed information on the three easy-to use templates to complete your workflow for small, large and centralized networks.

After your branch site LAN and wireless access network is up and running, you can use Prime to manage everything from client access to rouge AP detection. It gives you a single-pane-of-glass management for all your access networks. In particular, a tool favored by many customers is a heat map to identify production and rogue mobile devices.

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The heat map provides precise device physical location, along with user and device zoom-in information for troubleshooting and proactive planning. For instance, if an AP is showing warning signs on the map, you can take action to fix the issue before end users are impacted.
Prime can provide information on not only infrastructure devices such as wireless APs or laptops, but also business devices and tools. For instance, our customers tell us that they use Prime to identify and track medical devices such as infusion pumps and EKG carts in hospitals, tools like scanners in retail stores, and teaching devices such as Apple TV in colleges.

Simplified deployments and single-pane-of glass management for converged wired and wireless networks. This is what you can get from Prime Infrastructure. Prime makes converged wired and wireless management an easy task.

I’ll talk to you next week about how Prime helps you with application performance.


Steven Song

Business Manager