Networking product datasheet specifications at cursory glance may appear similar when you compare vendors. However, the devil is in the details and the similarities end quickly when testing and measuring their capabilities on performance, security, power efficiency, failover handling, and software programmability.
The demand on today’s enterprise campus infrastructure is continually increasing to meet the growing needs of mobile devices, IoT and data-hungry applications. The network that connects everything has to deliver the performance for superior user experience regardless of the traffic type and connection. Another challenge is the ever increasing malicious and sophisticated attacks from a variety of sources across endpoints, network, cloud, and applications.
Here are key criteria for enterprises to consider when comparing network solutions:
- Security: Cybersecurity is the #1 priority for businesses worldwide because security breaches carry dire consequences for organizations. A long chain needs to establish the root of trust from secure boot to image signing, run time defenses, and securing the control plane. Otherwise the weakest link in the chain becomes susceptible to attack. The ability to identify malware in encrypted traffic is only going to increase. Accuracy and Speed of Detection, Encrypted Traffic Analysis, and Secure Encryption Matters.
- QoS Support, Performance and Packet Loss: Data is made up of text, pictures, audio, speech, and video. While packet loss may not be substantial, it will increase measurably with the number of active clients. Some use cases are forgiving and packets can be identified and resent if lost. However, recurring packet loss can render videos unwatchable and drop phone calls. Quality of Service and Performance Matters.
- Visibility in Identifying Application Traffic and Interference Sources: The biggest network IT expense is operations. The ability to analyze traffic is the first step in identifying sources that could pose threats. The alternative is to look for a needle in a haystack. Identifying Application Data Sources Matters.
- High Availability, Contending with Interference, and Faster Fail-Over: Networks need to be fault-tolerant, able to identify sources of interference, and resilient so they continue to operate properly in the event of a failed link or device failure and restore quickly so time dependent apps can continue without interruption. Redundancy, Identifying Interference and Resiliency Matters.
- Wireless AP Range, Performance, and Transmit Power: Coverage and roaming capability are key for optimal network operation. However, wireless AP’s cannot have excessively high transmit power otherwise you run the risk of running into co-channel interference that can cause client connectivity issues or degraded performance with retransmission. Optimal Transmit Power Matters.
- Software Programmability: The ability to host Linux based applications that simplify automation and provisioning makes the network engineer more efficient. Flexibility in Supporting Linux Based Apps in a Secure Manner Matters.
What does this mean to the CxO, network buyer, procurement buyer, and IT engineers?
Answer: Cisco builds technologies with the future in mind, and offers the scalability, resiliency, and ease of operation with the defensive mechanisms and comprehensive security tools. “The Network. Intuitive.” launch is a good example of how Cisco is preparing our customer for tomorrow’s challenges through powerful automation, analytics and security innovations, so they can respond faster to changing business needs and remain competitive.
Miercom’s evaluation found that while Cisco and Huawei both offer what appears to be comparable components for building a campus-wide, wireless and wired, network infrastructure, the side-by-side testing revealed that the Cisco package offers significant and important advantages that Huawei does not. Cisco showcased superior performance against the Huawei wireless and switching solutions with a highly developed resource management, hardware, software and security platform to provide the most optimized, secure and trustworthy system to every customers.
Miercom, summed it up nicely: “Based on the results of this testing, comparing the campus wired and wireless network architectures and wares of Cisco and Huawei Technologies, we found many businesses enabling capabilities favoring the Cisco solution. We proudly award the Miercom Performance Verified Certification to Cisco’s campus-infrastructure network designs and related packages for monitoring, management, and control.”
For the full details, download the comprehensive Miercom report and accompanying test results.