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Unified Wired and Wireless: History Repeated

August 17, 2006 - 0 Comments

At a recent event hosted by the City Universities of New York (CUNY), I had the privilege of presenting Cisco’s strategy for secure mobility to a team of security experts from the various universities. I enjoyed the opportunity immensely. Primarily because the audience responded very positively to Cisco’s secure mobility story; but also because I had the opportunity to hear Aruba talk about its approach to wireless and security.Aruba opened their presentation by discussing the evolution of wireless technology and by making the point that wireless and wired should never be unified. Rather, they claim, wireless is so different it should always be kept separate from the rest of the enterprise IP network.Hmmm- sound familiar anyone? Think voice.At Cisco, we believe the network is the platform for intelligent business services. We advocate the unification of wired and wireless networks -not the separation of the two. We believe that the user will have different network connectivity profiles based on a variety of parameters including device type, application requirements and physical location. In some instances, connecting wirelessly will be the medium of choice and in others; a wired connection may be preferable. As a result the way the network responds to a user’s request for services and applications should be the same whether wired or wireless. The Cisco approach is to build wireless networks that are on par with the wired network.By forcing a separation between the wired and wireless networks, Aruba is missing the larger picture. Enterprises are on a continual path to simplification and cost reduction. A unified wired and wireless network not only provides a common user experience, but it also decreases the network total cost of ownership. By unifying the two, IT no longer has to support dual networks, train staff on multiple (and often obscure) vendor products, or troubleshoot inconsistencies in the way the two networks support services and applications.Of course it’s easy to understand why Aruba is advocating this approach. You would too if your dinner depended on it. But, the question of whether the wireless network should be unified with or kept separate from the wired network has already been answered. For proof, see how many PBX technicians you can still find that aren’t trained on IP.

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