Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Apr 23 2010   10:29AM GMT

Borderless Networks: Accelerating the Workplace Transformation (Sponsored)



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This sponsored guest is from Cisco Systems and was written by Mark Leary, a Cisco senior strategist and Chief Marketing Officer – Network Systems.

We work, live, play, and learn in a world that has no boundaries and knows no borders. We expect to connect to anyone, anywhere, using any device, to any resource — securely, reliably, seamlessly. That is the promise of Borderless Networks.

In order to fully deliver on this promise, Cisco is advancing along three critical fronts – Workplace Transformation, Technology Leadership, and Operational Excellence. In this blog, let’s focus on Workplace Transformation and how Cisco is working to accelerate technology advancements and customer success along this front.

The new workplace is visual, mobile, and in-the-moment. And for the end user, the quality of the experience is everything. Network service levels are judged purely by the quality of this “customer” experience. And remember, this “customer” could be running any application, in any location, from any device. And in this borderless world, this “customer” may be internal workers, business partners, or external end customers.

Here, the network must respond to onrushing video traffic demands, meet the rising expectations of an increasingly mobile user population, and last, but not at all least, ensure the integrity of critical business exchanges – no matter the business application, no matter the user location, no matter network conditions… no matter what!

The New Workplace is Visual.

Video drives high impact in business and applies high pressure on the network.

And video is growing dramatically across all networks — big and small, local and global, public and private. 65% of the traffic on Cisco’s own network is video – and that figure is climbing!

Medianet capabilities ensure that your network not only delivers a high-quality video experience to the end user when needed, but also helps ensure that your network is ready for on-rushing video demands and applications. Built-in intelligence offers adaptability and predictability, reliably and transparently providing high-quality media experiences to any device on the network.  With medianet, your Borderless Network optimizes traffic flow and bandwidth utilization, while reducing the impact of network congestion. And it does all this while lowering the complexity and risk associated with video rollouts.

You can bet that Cisco IT makes effective use of medianet capabilities within our own internal network. Without medianet readiness, our own network and IT staff wouldn’t be able to deliver the kind of experience our workers, partners, and customers have come to expect from Cisco’s network and systems.

Cisco’s medianet solution is further bolstered by key networking services such as Multicast, QoS, and mobile VideoStream. These key services combined with such critical built-in switch and router device capabilities as port buffering and video streaming are put to effective use by a broad range of video applications, ranging from the interactive Cisco TelePresence and WebEx to the one-way IP video broadcast or distance learning session.

Providing both the infrastructure and demanding applications such as Cisco TelePresence has taught us a lot about how to do video right across the network. Cisco Validated Designs and public cloud-based services from Cisco and service provider partners are offered in support of the specific needs of our customers. Cisco IT’s experience, proven network engineering practices and designs, specialized support services, and an extensive ecosystem further heighten the positive impact of business video within Borderless Networks.

The New Workplace is Mobile.

The explosion of mobility devices, users, and applications raises the stakes in wireless scalability, security, and support requirements.

Radio frequency (RF) interference is a growing concern for organizations deploying indoor and outdoor wireless networks. Left unaddressed, RF interference can result in low data rates and throughput, lack of sufficient WLAN coverage, WLAN performance degradation, poor voice quality, and low end-user satisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to decreased network capacity, network downtime, and potential security vulnerabilities from malicious interference. Cisco offers industry-leading RF management capabilities in its mobility solutions. Cisco technologies such as ClientLink, Spectrum Intelligence, and VideoStream ensure clear and efficient communications at all times – even when faced with onrushing mobile video demands.

With rising demand for connections and increased traffic volumes, mobility solutions that readily adapt to meet new service demands are of high value. Cisco offers unmatched scalability and service intelligence in wireless networks. For example, Cisco’s 802.11n product portfolio combined with 802.11n design and support services are evidence of our drive to boost performance, while easing adoption of new mobility capabilities. Cisco’s context-aware capabilities and strong security services are yet other areas of mobility leadership.

And given Cisco’s architectural approach to Borderless Networks, it should come as no surprise to find Cisco leading in bringing together wired and wireless networks. Here, we offer physical integration via Catalyst-based WLAN controllers and ISR-based WLAN access points. Integration is further heightened through the consolidation of wired/wireless security systems and policies, enabling access and user protection no matter the connection.

The New Workplace is In-The-Moment.

Application-layer traffic controls within the network work to ensure consistent response times and “always-on” access. QoS, NBAR, NAM, and PISA technologies are just some of the key technologies Cisco provides in support of the quality application experience. Each provides its own unique boost to the customer experience.

For remote and branch offices, Cisco’s WAAS solution optimizes applications across the WAN. Offered as both a standalone solution and one that is integrated with the Cisco Integrated Services Router, WAAS minimizes WAN traffic volumes, supports efficient content delivery and user exchanges, and enables new remote systems such as video kiosks. Most importantly, WAAS provides for a first-class application experience to the remote user. Given that this remote user can often times be a worker interacting with end customers or an actual end customer interacting with on-line transaction systems, a good experience translates directly to heightened customer satisfaction – and likely, repeat and referral business.

Taking application optimization one step further are solutions aimed at supporting applications within the network itself. This not only improves the performance of applications, but also helps minimize the complexity associated with deploying and operating network-based applications. The Cisco ISR hosts applications via its Application eXtension Platform (AXP) – a service module inside the ISR. The Cisco ASR serves as a web conference manager via its WebEx Node service module.

The aim of these network-hosted applications is to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of premium service – no matter location or application.

As stated previously, network service levels are judged purely by the quality of the “customer” experience with any and all networked applications. No borders. No limits.

Are you doing all you can to make sure your “customers” are completely satisfied with their networked experience? Do onrushing video applications represent a significant challenge to your network? Do mobile users and devices represent opportunities or threats to your network? Do additional business applications represent heightened productivity improvements or lowered service levels? Let us know where you stand. And how we can help improve not only your status quo, but also your future outlook.

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  • Guest Author
    [...] Technology Leadership, and Operational Excellence. I also offered a detailed view into how Borderless Networks accelerates the transformation of the workplace by enabling the visual, mobile, and in-the-moment user [...]
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  • Guest Author
    [...] this blog series, I focused on two of the three cornerstones to success in Borderless Networks – Workplace Transformation, and Technology Leadership. The former targeted the connected user and the latter took aim at the [...]
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