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Cisco Mobility Express aims to make wireless easier

In this week's blogs, analysts discuss Cisco Mobility Express and examine whether enterprise networks can really handle an explosion of Internet of Things devices.

British network architect Nico Vibert is a believer in picking apart marketing jargon. Last week, on the "PacketPushers" blog, he offered an early introduction to Cisco's new wireless architecture, Cisco Mobility Express (CME), as an alternative to Aruba Instant. Like Instant, CME is designed to let companies quickly provision a WLAN. Cisco claims a CME customer can set up a wireless network in less than 10 minutes; the package, which doesn't require a controller, can support up to 25 access points (APs) and 500 clients. Vibert says it's too early to determine the success of Cisco Mobility Express, but he writes that Cisco built CME with a good mix of capabilities borrowed from other Cisco WLAN products -- including the all-important single point of management.

For small businesses and retailers that want to tap into Cisco's line of 1850 and 1830 APs, Cisco Mobility Express offers integration advantages, Vibert says.

See what else Vibert has to say about Cisco Mobility Express.

Dell expands campus area network presence

Dan Conde, an enterprise networking technologies analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. (ESG) in Milford, Mass., shares his thoughts about Dell Networking's new campus and data networking products, terming them "future-ready for the demands placed on campus infrastructure."

The products -- the C9010 networking director, C1048P rapid access node and S6100-ON switch -- reflect Dell's strategy of being open and providing customers with choice, Conde says.

With many enterprises beginning to examine how they will migrate their campus networks from traditional networking hardware to software-defined networking, getting to know transitional systems like Dell's will be essential, Conde says. The products -- in particular, the ON switch -- are consistent with a recent ESG study that indicates when it comes to white box switching, "freedom of choice is as important as CapEx and OpEx in driving interest."

Check out more of Conde's advice on what campus IT managers should expect from the new Dell system.

Counting wireless protocols for IoT implementation

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, but before Internet-enabled gadgets become widespread, there will be substantial radio protocol hurdles to overcome. This is the message from Mike Fratto, principal analyst at Current Analysis Inc., based in Sterling, Va.

According to Fratto, the cost of rewiring buildings means that wireless gateways will be used to implement connected sensors, switches, lights and even HVAC controls. But achieving the goal of distributed wireless gateways will mean overcoming a mess of pre-existing protocols.

To quantify the problem, Fratto tallied proprietary protocols, standards-based protocols and protocols that combine both. The final tally for different protocols came to 19 in total, including protocols such as 820.15.14, BLE/Bluetooth, Thread and ISO/IEC 14543-3-10.

Making sense of these complicated protocols for the rollout of the Internet of Things will require APIs, Fratto says.

Get Fratto's opinion on the complexities of IoT network integration.

Next Steps

Network administrators learn how to configure wireless access points

Internet of Things poses new challenges to wireless networks

Dell gears up for SDN with open-source options on switch hardware

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