#clus1A lot can change in 25 years. At the first Cisco Live (then known as Networkers conferences) in 1989, 200 geeks gathered for the inaugural event. Fast forward to three weeks ago, when we welcomed a whopping 25,000 attendees into the arms of our namesake, beautiful San Francisco.

We heard there was some interest in how the network performed at the show, so I wanted to share some of the interesting statistics about the network at Cisco Live! I shudder at the thought of the ancient network from 25 years ago. So here we go:

Wi-Fi Client Devices

This year we saw 30,705 unique devices, with 7000 in the theater for John Chambers’ keynote.

# of Unique Clients

# of Sessions

# of Unique Users

# of Unique APs

Avg Users per AP






Max. Concurrent Connected Wi-Fi Devices

There was a peak of 14216 concurrently connected device at SF this year.


Total Traffic

Total WiFi Traffic for the show was a massive 22.5 TBytes and a peak of 2.5Gbps!

Peak Throughput



With dual 10Gb Internet connections, the Cisco Live network in San Francisco provided a massive amount of bandwidth. Here are some of the basic network parameters:

  • 320 Catalyst Switches
  • Carrier-class WLC8500 with High Availability mode enabled
  • 870 total Access Points, of which there were 3702P Access Points with HDX technology.
  • This year we provided Wi-Fi that covered over 2.5 MILLION sq ft, 442,000 of which was handled with a high density design and specialized antennas.

The biggest difference in the industry was obviously 802.11ac—and we made sure 11ac was pervasively deployed throughout the show; not to mention IPv6 everywhere over Wi-Fi.

Client Composition

In San Francisco we noticed a significant presence of 5GHz clients, marked growth in adoption of 802.11ac clients. This also enforces the need to disable those legacy data rates to avoid the Wi-Fi penalties.

Protocol Number of Devices %
802.11n (5GHz) 16,563 48.66%
802.11n (2.4GHz) 14,712 43.22%
802.11ac (5GHz) 2,585 7.59%
802.11g (2.4GHz) 132 0.39%
802.11a (5GHz) 47 0.14%
802.11b (2.4GHz) 1 0.00%
Total 34,040 100.00%


We’re happy with how the network performed, but more importantly, we’re ecstatic about what you all thought:

Whether it’s Wi-Fi or power, we’ve got you covered.

Application Visibility and Control

We had full visibility of the network for the duration of the show. One metric that confirmed our suspicion was the significant number of people at the show using VPN to connect to their work portals. Our Cisco Live! attendees know how to work hard and play hard!


Mobility Services Engine & Connected Mobile Experiences(CMX) Analytics

The most notable observation from our analytics reports as pulled from the MSE was the sheer scalability that one single MSE on 7.6MR2 code could level up to. Just that one MSE tracked over 25,000 devices to generate analytics and reports based on device location. There will be a follow up blog to comment on various metrics gathered in CMX Analytics.

If you haven’t seen CMX Analytics before, let me tell you: it’s powerful. With MSE and CMX Analytics, you can clearly visualize for yourself exactly where devices are and where they’re going, the path they take and where they linger. Here is a quick video on how to get started with CMX Analytics v7.6.

That’s an overview of the network we proudly deployed at San Francisco this year. Cheers to 25 years and see you next year!



Chris Spain

VP Product Management