Is Your WLAN Ready for Unified Communications & Collaboration?
As Wi-Fi continues to be the primary mode of access, enterprise Unified Communication(UC) applications usage is increasing with smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Customers are asking, is there anything I can do to prioritize Jabber or Lync traffic over others or even identify how much of the traffic is really collaboration traffic vs. other types of media. The recently introduced Wireless Release 7.6 enhances the ability to classify Microsoft Lync 2013 and Jabber with Cisco WLAN Infrastructure.
In the first blog about Application Visibility and Control over Cisco WLAN, I captured what is AVC and the capabilities included in the release 7.4. In a subsequent blog, I had captured a success story about a customer who benefited from the reliability by deprioritizing scavenger level applications as well as captured highlights of the enhancements in release 7.5. This blog captures how the release 7.6 allows popular collaboration applications to be accurately classified and prioritized as well as provides a teaser to some of the innovations that can be expected in the future.
What exact capabilities AireOS 7.6 provide ?
The protocol pack 6.3 introduced in AireOS 7.6 allows you to identify and prioritize not just Jabber but also sub-classify Cisco Jabber Audio, Cisco Jabber IM and Cisco Jabber Video. Customers may want to prioritize the Cisco Jabber Audio as the highest priority while the others may be lower priority. Similarly you can classify not just Microsoft Lync but also Microsoft Lync Audio, rtcp and Microsoft Lync Video and thereby prioritize them separately.
In addition to these two protocols, the protocol pack 6.3 also allows you to classify and track Apple AirPlay(AirTunes), Dropbox, Outlook Web Service, ESPN Browsing, ESPN Video, WhatsApp and QQ Accounts traffic.
This picture shows how the controller WEBGUI displays Microsoft Lync traffic:
For more details please review this white paper Microsoft Lync Client/Server in a Cisco Wireless LAN.
I thought you already supported Microsoft Lync ?
Lync 2010, Lync 2013 and the previous versions Microsoft Call Manager run with any controller code. With 7.4’s support of AVC we have improved the user quality of experience with the ability to remark the QoS values of voice, video, and control frames. AireOS release 7.6 and Protocol Pack 6.3 has enhanced our support for Lync 2013. In addition, Cisco has achieved the Microsoft Lync Certification under the networking section. See for yourself, here!
Which controller models support the Protocol Pack 6.3 ?
AireOS 7.6 ships with default NBAR2 protocol pack 4.1.1. Customers that need support for functionality such as Jabber/Lync need to download and upgrade the protocol pack. Remember that only the models 5508, WiSM2, 8500, Flex7500 controllers support dynamic NBAR2 protocol pack updates.
How can I download the latest protocol pack on my wireless LAN Controller ?
You can download Protocol Pack 6.3 at the same location, as you will upgrade your controller software at Download.cisco.com
Other vendors talk about Microsoft Lync over their WLAN. How is this different?
Cisco WLAN using AVC classifies not only Microsoft Lync but also many other collaboration tools such as the Cisco Jabber, Cisco Webex Connect, Microsoft Skype, Google voice, yahoo messenger and Microsoft messenger. Even among the suite of Microsoft products that are focused on the campus; Cisco classifies and prioritizes business-ready applications such as Office-365 as well as Microsoft Skype.
I love AVC classification but want to apply granular policies per user or user-group and want to limit access to applications based upon device-type.
In an upcoming AireOS release, granular policies with AVC will be enabled:
- Differentiated Per User Policies: The CXO asked me to turn off Neflix for all users in this company. Can I the IT person be an exception and can be allowed to use it 😉 Yes now you can have different policies based upon user-group(derived from Radius Server) on the same SSID.
- Differentiated Policies based upon Device-type: User can use Jabber on a (IT provisioned) Laptop but cannot on (unsecure) tablet.
- Rate Limiting Applications: User has limited access (rate limit) to Skype on idevices so that it does not overwhelm the network.
The above granular policies provide you more control so that you allow more of the traffic that you want over your network.
I am sold, can I get a beta code for the same ?
Starting mid February 2014, you can get access to the beta code to trial this functionality. Please reach out to your Cisco account team or partners to access to the same.
What about the IOS based WLAN infrastructure ?
To find out more about how Cisco supports Unified Communication and Collaboration Applications visit UC&C for Wireless.