Friday, September 4, 2009

MiFi Testing

Just received a test unit for MiFi. Looking forward to testing it, and I'll post the results.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Problem with POTS

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service - for the kids) is often viewed as the only continuously reliable source of voice service. Fundamentally, I don't disagree. However, we just experienced a week-long outage on a line - probably due to an "upgrade."

Long story short, we returned from a short trip and found a lot of AC hum on one of our residential lines. After a good deal of troubleshooting, it became fairly obvious that the problem was coming from the telco.

Customer service: It took from Friday evening until Thurday morning before a repair person showed up sunce it was a residential service. THANK GOODNESS we had a second line! At the same time, a large crew was deployed in the neighborhood "upgrading" the pedistals in order to offer TV service.

Technical solution: Took the tecnician less than an hour. Turns out that the pair was grounded somewhere between the pedistal and the demarc. (Most likely due to the "upgrade" at the pedistal.) So far as I know, since a spare pair was available, the service was simply switched to another pair.

Moral of the story: Would VoIP have been any better or worse? Verdict it out. But at least there are multiple options for Internet access...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Additional information from Webtorials blog

One of the problems with blogs - imho - is that one must manage the RSS feeds. And LinkedIn is SO much simpler. So we'll be working on the possibilities of having the blog feed to the Webtorials Water Cooler to see if this really works!

More to follow...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Possibly moving soon...

Hi folks...

After a couple of months of attempting to move from "simplex" to at least "half duplex" communications on various topics, I'm starting to wonder whether blogs are the answer. The bottom line is that, imVho, blogs are not overly interactive, and we really need to build more community. (Also, in some research that we've just finished collecting data for, it seems that most people prefer to be notified of updates via email rather than RSS feeds.)

So I'm spending time looking for a more interactive format.

More coming soon...

Ideas/comments welcome - if anybody happens to read this. :-)



Thursday, July 16, 2009

Business Continuity Plans Critical For Today’s Enterprise

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

2009 Business Continuity State-of-the-Market Report

Webtorials Editorial/Analyst Division


In May of 2009, Webtorials invited members of its community to participate in a survey about their business continuity plans and practices. In difficult times, stability and reliability become more important than ever, and so businesses must attempt to plan for the unexpected and unlikely or risk handing their competitors a marketing point. Our data suggest that many businesses know very well the importance of business continuity and have made strides to ensure that they can survive the unforeseen, but may lack important capabilities or be underprepared.

The key findings of this analysis are as follows:
  • Business continuity is important and will get only more important.
  • Some of the leading causes of outages are unaccounted for by current business continuity plans, and current plans in general better account for hardware failures than other kinds of failures.
  • Business continuity plans are planned or tested less often than initially intended.
  • Generally, respondents report that the importance of business continuity planning is high for all network assets, and their satisfaction is moderate with their current continuity capabilities.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Switching Kitchen

(Click on the title above to access the materials.)

Abstract: The Switching Kitchen
By Cisco

Quickly learn to activate and use the basic features of Cisco switches in our Switching Kitchen, a series of short, technically-focused videos.

- Cisco Catalyst NSF/SSO Features: Learn how to enable nonstop forwarding with stateful switchover (NSF/SSO). Approximately 7 minutes.

- Queuing with Cisco Catalyst 4500: Configuring varying sizes port-level queues on the Catalyst 4500. Learn how to configure port level queuing (8 queues on the 4000). Approximately 7 minutes.

- Catalyst Smart Call Home Feature: Proactively alert Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) of issues by enabling Smart Call Home on a switch. Approximately 9 minutes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

How to Virtualize

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)



Virtualization projects are under consideration or already in progress at many organizations looking to decrease their capital and real estate expenses and to launch energy-conservation initiatives. Through the use of special virtualization products and services, data center managers can apportion computing hardware resources to operating systems and applications on a time-sharing basis. In doing so, they can significantly boost the utilization and efficiency of servers, network equipment and storage devices. Such projects reduce the overall number of physical devices needed, the floor and rack space needed to house them and physical equipment management requirements.

Virtualization, then, holds a number of potential capital and operational cost-saving benefits. But it raises a few questions, too. For example, a mature virtual infrastructure will cross many traditionally separate internal groups of employees, such as those responsible for servers, networks, storage and security. So a virtualization project is likely to have an impact on organizational structure and responsibilities. Therefore, getting executive commitment and support, particularly from chief financial executives able to see the big-picture savings potential of going virtual, is critical to organization-wide buy-in and cooperation.

There are basic technical and logistical questions to consider when considering a virtualization plan:
  • How do you calculate the appropriate ratio to use when consolidating physical servers and other devices into software-based virtual machines (VMs)?
  • What is the impact of VMs on current disaster recovery and high-availability plans?
  • Do security requirements shift in a virtual environment?
  • How might software licensing/pricing models, power requirements and patch management processes need to change?

Preparing a well-documented business case based on an assessment of the current environment will help answer some of these questions. In your assessment and business case, you’ll need to calculate the physical host metrics needed – such as processor type and speed; RAM amount and utilization; network interface speeds and quantities; disk resources and other metrics.

The business case should also delineate the problems you expect virtualization to solve. For example, are you currently experiencing low utilization rates on servers while growing numbers of servers are becoming unwieldy to house and manage? Going through the exercise of calculating the hard benefits will help you answer some of these questions and drive acceptance and adoption of the virtualization project throughout the organization.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Use of Social Media in the Workplace

We are in the midst of an extensive study of the use of social media in the workplace.

If you were directed here because you just finished the survey, let me offer my sincere thanks and invite you to provide further comments below.

If you have not yet participated in the survey, please click here to access the survey.

Thanks for being a part of this discussion! And please consider subscribing to the feed for continued updates.



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to Effectively Transition to VoIP and IMS

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Big Bang or Phased Approach?

By Alcatel-Lucent


The IMS architecture provides a framework for developing large, converged service provider networks offering support of legacy fixed line and wireless access along with newer IP-based, 3G capabilities and blended services that span the different access devices. While not all service providers will benefit from the complex services portfolio IMS offers, many larger service providers are interested in evolving their networks to a full IMS architecture.

There are several approaches to moving a legacy network to full IMS architecture. A complete transition from a legacy TDM architecture is one option, which some service providers are selecting. For others, who have already implemented pre-IMS partial VoIP networks there may be the possibility of re-using the existing infrastructure to evolve to a full IMS network. Even for operators who have not yet ventured into IP voice networks it may be more effective to initially deploy a partial VoIP solution with a plan to evolve over time to full IMS.

For either of the partial VoIP paths there are several issues which most be addressed before proceeding. When starting with a earlier implementation of a partial VoIP network it is most important to evaluate the IMS readiness of equipment, infrastructure and operations processes. If planning a new partial VoIP network as a preliminary step to a full IMS transformation, it is important to work first through the details of the final IMS design so that the partial VoIP design can incorporate IMS network ready components and IT infrastructure that will facility re-use and ease of expansion during the transition to the final IMS network.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cisco Catalyst 6500 High Availability: Deploying Redundant Supervisors for Maximum Uptime

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Cisco Systems


The Cisco® Catalyst® 6500 is deployed in the most critical parts of enterprise and service provider networks. Having such a vital position in the network, the Cisco Catalyst 6500 must provide the highest levels of availability. To achieve these levels of availability network engineers employ both network wide technologies as well as device level redundancy. This includes network designs with redundant switches, redundant paths using Cisco EtherChannel® technology, First Hop Redundancy Protocols, the Cisco Virtual Switching System (VSS) and of course redundant system components including power supplies, fans and Supervisor modules.

This paper discusses the Redundant Supervisor technologies for the Cisco Catalyst 6500. These technologies have evolved over time from nonstateful, Route Processor Redundancy mode (RPR) to the current Stateful Switchover (SSO) mode with Nonstop Forwarding (NSF).

The newest addition to the suite of Redundant Supervisor technologies is the In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) technology which enables redundant Supervisors to use the SSO redundancy mode even when running different versions of Cisco IOS® Software. The new ISSU versioning infrastructure allows for a streamlined software upgrade process with minimal downtime when performing full image software upgrades. The ISSU process can also be used to activate Maintenance Packs within Cisco IOS Software Modularity. The new ISSU infrastructure provides a significant improvement for full image software upgrades when performed with the Cisco Virtual Switching System (VSS).

This paper describes the NSF and SSO platform-specific details. Although it is not the primary goal of this paper, it is very important for readers to understand how to design a highly available network with NSF and SSO. For high-availability campus network design information, in-depth information about generic NSF with SSO operations and Multicast Multilayer Switching (MMLS) NSF with SSO is included.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Facebook Security Issues

For what it's worth, I've documented what see as some of the not-so-obvious privacy issues in Facebook.

It's a great service, so long as you know what you are and what you are not sharing...

You may access the information by clicking here, or on the title above.

Please comment, correct, and augment.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Managing the “Cloud” in Cloud Computing with Route Analytics

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Packet Design


The latest evolution in enterprise IT outsourcing, cloud computing leverages the ubiquity of the Internet, the flexibility of server virtualization, and the massive scale of today’s data centers to provide low-cost IT infrastructure as a network-based service. Though cloud computing is still in the early stages of adoption, enterprises are rightly concerned with how to manage infrastructure that resides on the Internet or shared service provider networks. But while much industry attention has been paid to systems, applications, storage and security issues, relatively little has been directed to the network management challenges of cloud computing. Cloud computing’s placement of critical infrastructure components outside traditional network boundaries greatly increases enterprise IT dependence on the complex interactions between enterprise and public IP networks.

To ensure reliable application delivery, network managers need visibility into the routing and traffic dynamics spanning enterprise and Internet domains. But traditional network management tools are incapable of providing this sort of insight. Route analytics, a network management technology adopted and deployed by hundreds of the world’s leading enterprises, service providers and government agencies, fills this visibility gap by providing routing and traffic monitoring, analysis and planning for both internal and external IP networks. Routing visibility is critical to ensuring the success of cloud computing deployments, Route analytics can provide this visibility and enhance network management best practices.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why Virtualize? Can Virtualization Benefit your Enterprise?

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)



Virtualization projects are the focus of many IT professionals who are trying to consolidate servers or data centers, decrease costs and launch successful “green” conservation initiatives. Virtualizing IT resources can be thought of as squeezing an enterprise’s computer processing power, memory, network bandwidth and storage capacity onto the smallest number of hardware platforms possible and then apportioning those resources to operating systems and applications on a time-sharing basis.

This approach aims to make the most efficient possible use of IT resources. It differs from historical computing and networking models, which have typically involved inextricably binding a given software application or service to a specific operating system (OS), which, in turn, has been developed to run on a particular hardware platform. By contrast, virtualization decouples these components, making them available from a common resource pool. In this respect, virtualization prevents IT departments from having to worry about the particular hardware or software platforms installed as they deploy additional services. The decoupling and optimization of these components is possible whether you are virtualizing servers, desktops, applications, storage devices or networks.

To virtualize some or all of a computing infrastructure’s resources, IT departments require special virtualization software, firmware or a third-party service that makes use of virtualization software or firmware. This software/firmware component, called the hypervisor or the virtualization layer, performs the mapping between virtual and physical resources. It is what enables the various resources to be decoupled, then aggregated and dispensed, irrespective of the underlying hardware and, in some cases, the software OS. In effect, the hypervisor takes over hardware management from the OS. In addition to the hypervisor virtualization technology, the organization overseeing the virtualization project requires a virtualization management tool – which might be procured from the same or a different supplier – to set up and manage virtual devices and policies.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Interop Reports

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Jim Metzler in Cisco Fact-or-Fiction Series


2009 Interop Reports

The Cloud: Jennifer Geisler and industry analyst Jim Metzler discuss all the hype around "The Cloud". Jim points out that customers must first invest in virtualization, automation and standardization. This will position them to do things faster and cheaper and make "The Cloud" a natural extension of their business process.

Applications: Jennifer Geisler and industry analyst Jim Metzler discuss the role of the network in delivering applications. Jim specifically calls out how technologies such as virtualization can have a dramatic effect on user experience and explores how IT professionals need look at application performance across the network.

Switching: Jennifer Geisler and industry analyst Jim Metzler discuss the drivers for the next generation LAN switch and how the Catalyst line of switches already deliver much of what businesses are looking for.

Routing: Jennifer Geisler and Jim Metzler discuss the dynamics of the WAN routing market and the changes driving innovations. Specific topics include the need for greater availability and security while optimizing price for performance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to Successfully Transform the Organization during IP Network Transformation

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Alcatel-Lucent


IP transformation is a complex and challenging journey that impacts all the service provider’s assets and activities. As in any major business undertaking, people are central to a successful outcome; therefore, close attention to human resources requirements is key during IP Transformation. The organization must be able to successfully integrate and transfer staff into the new environment and provide the means for the successful creation and implementation of methodologies for building teams to support each step in the business process. This paper provides an overview of guidelines for addressing the organizational change that must accompany transformation to an IP-based network and business.

2009 Mobile Unified Communications Buyer’s Guide

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Peter Brockmann, Brockmann & Company


This Buyer’s Guide defines the availability of features for mobile unified communications from an array of vendors each with unique target markets, channels and customers. The fact that customers have so many choices, even given one or more brand of telephony system suggests that the mobile unified communications application has in fact progressed to the point of consistently delivering capabilities that improve the productivity and security of mobile workers.
Buyers should note that not all features work the same way on all devices or may not be supported on all devices. The actual user experience will depend on the combination of system features presented here, the mobile operator services and the devices supported any of which can and frequently do change at any time, without warning. Buyers should always check with vendors for the latest feature availability, use case definition and device support and should always verify claimed functionality with product demonstrations and product trial prior to purchase.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Future-Proof Networking: Making Decisions That Last

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Cisco Systems


A funny thing happened on the way to the recession. As the global economy slowed in 2008, then came to a screeching halt in 2009, it sent a wave of change through the IT community. A mind shift gradually began to take place and CIOs found themselves pausing and reevaluating their investment decisions, realizing that now was the time to make sure every investment being made was not only in line with their company’s strategic vision, but also driving them diligently toward their goals.

IT infrastructure purchasing everywhere decisions were being scrutinized. Is this purchase strategic to our business? What will we really gain in the long run? Are we applying resources in the right areas? Will this investment proactively prepare us for the inevitable upturn as well as the next downturn? Every investment decision was being revisited to evaluate its worth.

IT has matured and become pervasive. The recognition of its value, the growing dependence companies have on IT and the role it plays as an integral part of business success is no longer debated. A company’s IT infrastructure is now recognized as vital to business growth and productivity. As a strategic part of doing business, many organizations have become more thoughtful in their IT investments and less apt to cut IT budgets and resources as a way to reduce costs.

Value is today’s challenge and motivator. The new test of a good value in IT has shifted from how inexpensively something can be purchased to how this investment serves the company’s strategic vision. If there is a silver lining to be found in this economic downturn, it might be that it brought us back to a more balanced way of making IT investments.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dedicated Distributed Sensing - The Right Approach to Wireless Intrusion Prevention

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Motorola


Some vendors are offering integrated WIPS. These solutions provide only "check-box" functionality. Part-time scanning, typically used by these systems, has significant frequency and time holes. APs and sensors have different functional requirements and integrated solutions that try to use APs as sensors will have several limitations.

While it may seem that integrated solutions have lower cost, in fact, the normalized cost as well as the TCO is lower for Motorola’s dedicated WIPS.

Finally, WIPS is not just about rogue device management, it also encompasses everything from mobile worker protection to forensic analysis capabilities. Motorola’s dedicated distributed collaborative intelligence based WIPS offers the most comprehensive solution with the highest return on investment.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ten Top Problems Network Techs Encounter

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Fluke Networks


Networks today have evolved quickly to include business critical applications and services, relied on heavily by users in the organization. In this environment, network technicians are required to do more than simply add new machines to the network. Often they are called on to troubleshoot more complex issues, thus keeping the network up and running at top speed. This whitepaper discusses ten common problems encountered by technicians today and their symptoms, causes, and resolutions.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Impact of Virtualization on Application Delivery

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

A Webtorials Brief
Jim Metzler, Cofounder, Webtorials Editorial/Analyst Division


Desktop virtualization is a classic good news/bad news situation. The good news is that because it simplifies some management tasks, improves security, and increases the reliability of desktop services, desktop virtualization helps IT organizations achieve some of the goals of application delivery. The bad news is that if IT organizations don’t implement the appropriate optimization, control and management functionality, the deployment of virtualized desktops will result in unacceptable application performance.

Relative to optimization functionality, techniques such as TCP optimization as well as compression and caching can provide some performance improvement, primarily for applications that are not part of the VDI traffic stream. The real performance gains come from deploying QoS and bandwidth management in order to ensure that screens refresh in a reasonable amount of time as well as to ensure the acceptable performance of applications video.

Control functionality is needed in order to automatically protect keyboard strokes and screen refreshes from other traffic types and to also ensure sufficient capacity to effectively support audio and video traffic. Because of the complications created by both CGP and session sharing mode, it is not possible to implement this type of control by utilizing the ICA priority packet tag or by prioritizing flows based on the published application. This leaves prioritizing flows automatically according to their behavior as the most viable option.

The lack of management visibility is a barrier to application delivery independent of the IT infrastructure. However, a virtualized IT infrastructure is more complex than in a non-virtualized environment. This results in more sources of delay that can lead to unacceptable application performance. To compensate for this, IT organizations must implement solutions that give them the visibility to understand the user’s experience in real time. This type of visibility is necessary in order for IT organizations to focus on the company’s key applications and not just on the technology domains that support those applications.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

RFC 2544 Latency Testing on Cisco ASR 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Cisco Systems


This whitepaper examines and analyses traffic latency on the Cisco ASR 1000 Series Routers. The Cisco ASR 1000 has three forwarding engines known as Cisco ASR 1000 Series Embedded Services Processors (ESPs). This document will review the latency of two of those ESP forwarding engines, specifically the 10-Gbps Cisco ASR 1000 Series ESP (ASR1000-ESP10) and 20-Gbps Cisco ASR 1000 Series ESP (ASR1000-ESP20) forwarding engines. The goal of this whitepaper is to highlight how different forwarding rates impact the latency of the Cisco ASR 1000. This document highlights some of the choices that you must make while designing your network. This document covers the impact on overall latency relating to queuing, shaping and QoS which can impact the overall performance of your network.

The ASR1000-ESP20 was profiled in a WAN aggregation topology with services enabled to gain insight of how the system latency is affected while approaching the throughput non-drop rate (NDR).

This paper delivers results in two parts:
Phase 1: Reporting RFC 2544 latency results for IP routing with and without services enabled as detailed in the RFC 2544 Test Setup. The results reported are the latency at the calculated NDR for that packet size/test.
Phase 2: Profiling latency for different frame sizes at data points approaching the NDR in a WAN aggregation topology, in order to clearly illustrate and analyze the behaviour of the system.

Test results obtained from this testing are based on Cisco IOS XE release 2.2.2 for all tests. The routers were tested using procedures based on RFC 2544 Latency Testing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wireless LANs: Is My Enterprise At Risk?

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

By Motorola


Wireless technology is exploding in popularity. Businesses are not only migrating to wireless networking, they are steadily integrating wireless technology and associated components into their wired infrastructure. The demand for wireless access to LANs is fueled by the growth of mobile computing devices, such as laptops and personal digital assistants, and a desire by users for continual connections to the network without having to “plug in.”

Like most innovative technologies, using wireless LANs poses both opportunities and risks. The wireless explosion has given momentum to a new generation of hackers who specialize in inventing and deploying innovative methods of hijacking wireless communications, and in using the wireless network to breach the wired infrastructure. In fact, hackers have never had it so easy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Telecommunications and IT Darwin Award Candidates

As a complement to our discussion on specific Darwin Award candidates for Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity, this space is offered for sharing general telecomm and IT candidates.

And while these examples may be somewhat humorous, one of the best ways to learn is from our own mistakes. And it's even better to learn from the mistakes of others.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Darwin Awards for Disaster Recovery

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Gary Audin, Delphi, Inc.


“The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it...”

No matter how smart the technologist, there are always glitches and gotchas when planning for a disaster. The problems I have seen and stories I have collected always demonstrate that the best laid plans are not necessarily the best plans.

The problems stems from assumptions made in the planning process or the exclusion of non-technical personnel from the planning process. I have encountered remarks from the non-technical person that when considered, are insightful and right on the mark.

The following 16 situations have been collected from clients, seminar and conference attendees, and friends. They may seem funny, even ridiculous. Remember they are real occurrences, not from a joke writer. I hope these will stimulate you to brainstorm your planning process with a wide number of personnel and consider what appear to be off the wall or outrageous thoughts.

Become an Expert Troubleshooter with Advanced OTDR Trace Analysis

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Ensuring the Health of Tomorrow’s Fiber LANs
Fluke Networks


Experience designing cable and network testers has enabled a breakthrough in automated fiber trace analysis.

Automated OTDR trace analysis improves a user’s ability to determine the health of the fiber LAN by translating raw data into simple pass/fail results.

This white paper discusses how an OTDR detects and analyzes test results, and explains expected, as well as unexpected, trace data from fiber networks.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Preview! Is Best of Breed Security the Best of Both Worlds?

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Fact or Fiction Series
Sponsored by Cisco Systems

With Fred Kost, Director of Marketing, Security Solutions. Jennifer Geisler explores the different security segments, threat intelligence and tactical versus an integrated solution purchase.

Approximately 11 minutes

Is Green Switching a Red Herring?

(Click on the title above to access the webcast.)

Fact or Fiction Series

Sponsored by Cisco Systems

With Marie Hattar, Cisco VP of Marketing. Jennifer Geisler discusses green switching, the role of information technology in green initiatives, and device power consumption.

Approximately 9 minutes

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Mandate to Re-Engineer Enterprise Routing to Support Today’s Economy

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

A Webtorials Brief
Jim Metzler, Cofounder, Webtorials Editorial/Analyst Division


As IT plays an increasingly important role in the execution of enterprise business strategies, IT executives will need to place greater emphasis on developing technology strategies and initiatives that are tightly linked to, and highly supportive of business requirements. However, as emphasized by both The Architecture VP and The Architecture Manager, in many cases the IT organizations will have to anticipate these requirements with little input from the business unit managers.

The agility and the flexibility of the network to respond to new business priorities is highly dependent on the functionality and capabilities of the fundamental network infrastructure. IT executives can solidify the strategic role of their network by ensuring that the infrastructure’s most critical components, including data center class routers and switch/routers, are capable of supporting both current and emerging initiatives.

Because the infrastructure cannot be refreshed every time there is an adjustment in the business strategy, network designers need to provide some headroom in terms of both functionality and performance that anticipates possible future technology initiatives to the degree that is possible in today’s rapidly changing business and technology environments. While it is not possible to predict with certainty the exact business and technology changes that will impact a given IT organization over the next year or two, it is possible to predict with certainty that change will occur. The router functionality discussed in this white paper is a key enabler to a wide range of technical strategies that will allow IT organizations to respond to these changes.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Unified Communications: Holding Its Own in Tough Economic Times

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

A Webtorials Analysis
by Steven Taylor and David DeWeese


Members of two Nortel user groups - the International Nortel Networks Users Association (INNUA) and the Nortel INSIGHT100 large-campus user group - were invited to participate in a survey about Unified Communications (UC).

The key findings of this analysis are:
  • UC is still a priority for the vast majority of today’s enterprise organizations.
  • Green IT remains important to UC customers despite changing economic conditions.
  • A strong correlation exists between how important users think an aspect of UC is and how satisfied they are with the capabilities UC provides.

61% of the respondents reported that they already have or will have begun deploying UC within two years. This is essentially unchanged from last year when 60% reported plans to deploy within two years. Of course, this does indicate some delay, which is to be expected due to expenditures being frozen or reduced.

Significantly, though, in terms of relative importance for expenditures, UC moved from fifth out of ten options in 2008 to third out of eleven options this year.

Furthermore, only 6% of the respondents described themselves as being among the first to implement new technology, while 81% of the respondents were more mainstream adopters: 37% described themselves as early adopters who tended to wait “until we see the problems others have had” before implementing, while 44% described themselves as those who tend to do so once a new technology has become widely accepted. Moreover, 44% of self-described early adopters have already deployed UC, so organizations that intend to do so mostly fit the profile of the mainstream adopter, a sign of UC’s ongoing maturation.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wi-Fi Lexicon

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Beyond 802.11 Standards

A Wi-Fi Lexicon for the Rest of Us
By Joanie Wexler, Joanie M. Wexler & Associates; Devin Akin, CWNP; and Paul DeBeasi, Burton Group


Every industry has its own vernacular, and the Wi-Fi environment is no different. Many Wi-Fi terms are easily researchable because they have a common meaning from vendor to vendor, context to context. Definitions for these terms often can be found in the formal IEEE 802.11 series of standards as well as in detailed reference guides such as The Official CWNP Dictionary of Wireless Terms and Acronyms.

Beyond the standards, however, most vendors attempt to differentiate themselves with complementary features and products. Some of these enhancements have become common enough that de facto names for them have cropped up in everyday language. In addition to having generic names, these functions might also have any number of brand names assigned to them by Wi-Fi vendor marketing departments.

  • THE VOCABULARY PROBLEM: Having inconsistent terms for the same functions can be confusing and can make it difficult to conduct apples-to-apples vendor and product comparisons.
  • THE SOLUTION: A lexicon of terms that starts on the next page is an attempt to ease this confusion by documenting and defining some common Wi-Fi functions that may be important to you but are not necessarily required by 802.11 technical standards. Different vendors might refer to them by different brand names.
  • THE CAVEAT: We have elected to omit vendor-specific brand names, because many do not have a one-for-one mapping and thus might generate outbursts of protest from vendor marketing departments. For example, some vendors combine a number of RF management and performance optimization tools under an umbrella name and don’t create separate names for each individual feature. Others give separate monikers to every feature, making their features list appear longer. Still other vendors claim that certain features are not needed because their system designs inherently solve the problem at hand.

Hopefully, the lexicon - written in as simple English as possible - will ease the task of accurately comparing capabilities across the disparate vendors and systems in the Wi-Fi market. If the capabilities listed are important to you, ask your vendors whether they support them and if so, what brand name (if any) they use to describe them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Total Economic Impact of Net Monitoring and Management

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: Total Economic Impact of Net Monitoring and Management
The Total Economic Impact™ Of NetQoS Performance Center
By Forrester Consulting for NetQoS

Based on information collected in interviews with a current NetQoS Performance Center customer, Forrester found that organizations can realize benefits in the form of productivity savings through improved efficiency and problem resolution, infrastructure savings through avoiding the need for bandwidth upgrade, and lower costs through avoidance of cost outlays for an alternate solution using probe-based technology.

The financial analysis provided in this study illustrates the potential way an organization can evaluate the value proposition of the NetQoS Performance Center. Based on information collected in the in-depth customer interviews, Forrester calculated a three-year risk-adjusted ROI of 266% for the interviewed organization with a payback period of less than three months. All final estimates are risk-adjusted to incorporate potential uncertainty in the calculation of costs and benefits.

Based on these findings, companies looking to implement the NetQoS Performance Center can see gains around the benefits of improved efficiency in network management and problem resolution, productivity savings, and cost avoidance. Using the TEI framework, many companies may find the potential for a compelling business case to make such an investment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Using a WebEx Node to Enhance Web Conferencing

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: The Cisco WebEx Node for the Cisco ASR 1000 Series Delivers the Best Aspects of On-Premises and On-Demand Web Conferencing
By Cisco Systems

The Cisco WebEx™ Node for the Cisco® ASR 1000 Series, a shared port adapter for the Cisco ASR 1000, can help large enterprises reduce WebEx WAN bandwidth usage by up to 80 percent. The adapter is easy to install and functions transparently as a part of the WebEx Collaboration Cloud. This results in reduced WAN costs and reduced firewall/proxy load.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Business Case for VoIP Readiness Network Assessment

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: Business Case for VoIP Readiness Network Assessment
By Fluke Networks

Over the past several years as enterprises have been deploying voice over IP (VoIP) with more frequency, many have learned the hard way that the first step in the VoIP lifecycle process should be a complete assessment of network readiness. Too often, IT organizations fall into the stereotype of “let’s put it on the network and see what happens.”

As convergence grows, the “let’s see what happens” approach with VoIP will almost certainly not be successful. While it is a data application at the core, VoIP does not act like traditional data applications. In addition, for most enterprises, VoIP will be the highest profile application on the infrastructure, meaning – if the phones do not work, everyone will know.

With early VoIP deployments many enterprises had major issues with initial rollouts. One key reason was a lack of pre-deployment assessment. When there were initial problems, there was “finger-pointing” between the enterprise, VoIP equipment vendors and service providers.

Today, most VoIP equipment vendors, who took most of the blame for poor performance, are now requiring network assessments even before they will sell or service the IP PBX and phone systems. While this is a good first step, many enterprises still do not perform comprehensive assessments.

This white paper will reinforce why readiness assessments are key for successful VoIP deployments. Pre-deployment assessments are the first step in a successful VoIP deployment, which also must include monitoring, management and optimization.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

All about MiFi

In case you haven't heard yet, there's a VERY cool new gadget/service that Verizon just introduced and Sprint will soom be introducing called "MiFi." The naming seems to come from this being a personal ("my") version of of WiFi.

As described, the MiFi "mobile hotspot" consists of a cellular modem and a "micro" WiFi router that supports up to five devices.

The Verizon version has been announced, and information is available at:

The Sprint version sould be announced soon.

I've written a couple of newsletters that will post next week on Network World's WAN newsletter that give an overview of the product/service and also propose some cool uses. In the meantime, I'm waiting for an evaluation unit to give it a try myself.

One of my initial questions about MiFi, and the answers from Verizon, was:

Q: The pricing seems to be the same as the current data service for the 5 GB service, correct?

A: The difference in the data pricing is in the overage charge and the allowance on the $39.99 plan. The $39.99 plan now gives you 250 MB instead of 50 MB with 10 cents per MB for overage versus 25 cents per MB for overage. The $59.99 plan give you the same 5 GB of service but now charges you 5 cents per MB for overage versus 25 cents per MB.

Some questions that I'm interested in learning more about are:

1) What are the major differences between the Verizon and Sprint services? In what ways are these significant?

2) I am assuming, but do not have confirmation, that the five devices may communicate with each other locally and that there is no usage charge for that communication.

I'm sure there will be more to come.

If you would like to do some further readign about this product, I've also found interesting information at the following sites:

Looking forward to your comments and further discussion!


MPLS VPNs: The Foundation for Emerging Apps - 2009 MPLS VPNs State-of-the-Market Report

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: MPLS VPNs: The Foundation for Emerging Apps
2009 MPLS VPNs State-of-the-Market Report
By the Webtorials Editorial/Analyst Division

Collaborative applications ranging from unified messaging to high-end telepresence are finding their way onto MPLS VPNs. Use of these applications is being partially fueled by the expectations set by mobile and social networks, which allow dynamic communications and file sharing and are spilling over from the consumer market to the business environment. In addition, enterprises have an economic need to find less expensive and more streamlined ways to build customer and business partner relationships and streamline productivity. This said, the broadband networks with the required bandwidth, QoS, performance management and privacy capabilities are available to support them. MPLS VPNs, in particular, offer strong support for intranet collaboration because of their bandwidth and low-latency characteristics, including QoS packet prioritization and the ability to route directly from site to site. In addition, MPLS VPNs offer inherent privacy using VRF partitioning. A host of network-based security service add-ons are available for other layers of protection against malware, spyware and DoS attacks that might come from MPLS VPN gateway connections to the public Internet.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Enterprise Options for Fixed Mobile Convergence and Mobile UC

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: Enterprise Options for Fixed Mobile Convergence and Mobile UC

By Michael F. Finneran, dBrn Associates, Inc.

One of the most exciting developments to come about from the new generation of wireless communications technologies is the idea of fixed-mobile convergence. Fixed-mobile convergence or FMC describes the ability to integrate cellular and private network services allowing calls to be transparently handed off between them. While FMC is often portrayed as a mechanism to hand off calls between Wi-Fi-based wireless LANs and cellular services, in reality the “fixed” element in FMC can be any private network, wired or wireless.

It is no secret that mobile cellular telephone service has revolutionized the way that people communicate. Millions of consumers have chosen to do without wired telephone service for their personal use, and for many business people, their cellular number has become their primary number. For enterprise users who must rely on both a wired office phone and cellular service, the ultimate combination would be a service that would allow them to be reached on a single number regardless of where they were located, passed calls transparently between cellular and any other wired or wireless networks with no interruption in the connection, and extended all of the functionality of the wired environment to the mobile.

Many have assumed that providing this type of service would require that the cellular carriers fully embrace the concept and integrate non-cellular technologies with their services. In particular, the cellular carriers would have to treat those other networks like additional cells and handoff calls to/from them in the same way they pass calls between base stations within their own networks. The larger US cellular carriers have not embraced FMC for enterprise customers, though the smaller national carriers, Sprint and T-Mobile , have introduced FMC services in some form. In the meantime, manufacturers of business telephone equipment and equipment adjuncts have developed a number of solutions that deliver many of the capabilities of FMC in spite of the cellular carriers’ reluctance.

In this paper we will provide a structure for understanding and evaluating the various enterprise- and carrier-based FMC solutions that have been introduced. We will begin by looking at the overall benefits that can be derived from an FMC solution, and then describe and categorize the various FMC products and services. In each case we will examine the configuration and operation of the solution, and identify the benefits it can provide. The goal is not to “sell” any particular implementation, but rather to provide enterprise users with a background and a level of understanding they can use in evaluating solutions that fit their particular needs.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Getting 802.11n Ready for Voice and other Real-time Applications

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

In each of these conversations, a panel of industry experts is interviewed by Robin Layland and Joanie Wexler concerning a key area for 802.11n deployment. As a part of our “11n Friday” series, this concludes the series of five weekly conversations.

For today’s conversation, please join panelists
- Luc Roy, Vice President of Wireless Strategy, Enterasys–Siemens
- Mark Cowtan, Director of Marketing, Trapeze Networks
as they discuss:
“Real-time applications require predictable throughput and low latency. Panelists discuss how to tune the RF environment for voice, location, video and other real-time applications.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Performance First - Managing Network and Application Availability and Performance

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: Performance First

Managing Network and Application Availability and Performance
By NetQoS

Over the last two decades, IT organizations have spent billions of dollars implementing fault management tools and processes to maximize network availability. While availability management is critical, infrastructure reliability has improved to the point at which 99.9 percent availability is commonplace. Given these improvements in infrastructure availability, companies are focusing more attention on performance management. By measuring how networked applications and services perform under normal circumstances, understanding how infrastructure and application changes impact performance, and isolating the sources of above-normal latency, IT organizations can ensure problems are resolved quickly, mitigate risk from planned and unplanned changes, and take measured steps to optimize application performance. In this whitepaper, you will learn why this shift is taking place and how a new management model, what NetQoS calls Performance First™, will empower you to advance to the next level in managing your network for application performance.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Full duplex versus simplex

What can be done to make it easier for you to provide feedback?

Are there tools that you can suggest to each other to make it easier to be notified of new posts?

What is your favorite tool for receiving RSS feeds?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Business Case for Better Network Planning and Management

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: The Business Case for Better Network Planning and Management
By Jim Metzler, Webtorials Editorial/Analyst Division, on behalf of Packet Design

IT organizations are caught in a vice. On one side of the vice is the fact that the business value of the network increases daily in large part because on an ever-increasing basis organizations run their key business processes (i.e., sales, manufacturing, customer service) on the network. If the network is either not available or is not performing well, those key business processes are impacted. This results in customer dissatisfaction, lost revenue, higher costs and in some instance, the reduction in the market capitalization of the company.

On the other side of the vice is the fact that networks are becoming increasingly complex. For example, factors such as the need to access multiple data centers and the wide scale implementation of IP Telephony have caused most IT organizations to move away from having a simple hub-and-spoke network to having a meshed network. There is no doubt that a meshed network is more appropriate for the prevailing traffic patterns than is a hub and spoke network. There is also no doubt that a meshed network is notably more complex to plan and manage than is a hub and spoke network.

The bottom line is that just as networks are becoming more central to business operations, the planning and management of those networks is becoming increasingly complex. The goal of this brief is to demonstrate the business value that route analytics provides relative to the planning and management of large, complex meshed networks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

VOIP / IP Telephony: Buy or Lease

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: VOIP / IP Telephony: Buy or Lease
By Gary Audin, Delphi, Inc.

Communications technology is following the path of IT. Call servers/managers, phone and trunk gateways and IP phones are not expected to remain in use much beyond five years. Communications technology life has been shortened considerably. The question for the CIO and CFO becomes, “Should we buy or lease the rapidly changing VoIP/IP Telephony (IPT) communications technologies?”

Technologists often respond: “We have the cash, so why lease? It will cost us money to lease that we can save by buying the IT technologies.” This can make sense from a technical point of view. But this is not necessarily the view of the CFO.

The CFO has to ensure that there is cash is when needed and is not tied up in a technology purchase that cannot be changed. The CIO/communications manager likewise needs to maintain the flexibility to react to changes in technology and the demands of his or her user group. The CIO may be able to acquire more Unified Communications technology if the first year budget is not too great. Leasing can reduce the first year cost thereby increasing the UC functions implemented at an earlier date.

Avoiding interest and financing charges can be very attractive. Putting money in a bank pays interest to the enterprise, whereas leasing costs the enterprise interest. Cash, however, is not really free money to spend. It is a limited enterprise asset that can be applied to many areas of the enterprise, and thus there is an opportunity cost associated with it. The CFO may have better, more profitable uses for the cash on hand than buying communications technology.
Arranging financing can take time when an enterprise wants to take advantage of a business opportunity or business climate change that requires fast action. No cash on hand, then no opportunity and no flexibility to respond to the changes.

In addition, there can be tax advantages to leasing that are not available when the communications technology is purchased. Leasing is also beneficial because of the residual value of the technology—i.e., what the lessor (the provider) can expect to recover from the sale of the technology at the end of the lease period. The residual value will contribute to a reduced lease cost. Further, the residual value of the communications products will reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the enterprise.

The communications technologist may think that “keeping the technology for four years makes purchase more sensible.” Communications technology continues to improve, making earlier systems and devices obsolete sooner. Emerging communications technologies are constantly being offered.

Furthermore, a major shift is occurring in communications towards greener operations. Owning older equipment that consumes more electrical power will result in higher operating costs than the new, more energy-efficient products. Leasing allows the technologist to replace the power hungry equipment with less costly-to-power systems. Replacing the equipment can reduce the power consumption by as mush as 25% according to the “EPA Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency” released in August, 2007. The energy savings will more than pay the interest charges on the lease.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Managing Your Airspace for Optimal Performance

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

In each of these conversations, a panel of industry experts is interviewed by Robin Layland and Joanie Wexler concerning a key area for 802.11n deployment. As a part of our "11n Friday" series, this is the fourth of these five weekly conversations.

For today’s conversation, please join panelists:
- Chris Kozup, Senior Manager for Mobility Solutions, Cisco
- Bruce Miller, Vice President of Product Marketing, Xirrus
- Kevin Goulet, Senior Director of Marketing, Motorola
as they discuss:
"802.11n has the bandwidth potential to support the gamut of enterprise multimedia applications. But given that the RF medium is shared, not switched, and inherently prone to interference, how do you control your airspace to ensure consistent, high-quality performance? Panelists discuss how to apply RF management tools and Wi-Fi QoS mechanisms and also recommend configurations and settings to help you get the most out of 802.11n."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Virtualization Beyond the Data Center

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: Virtualization Beyond the Data Center: Increase network infrastructure utilization and efficiency to reduce operational costs

By Cisco Systems

The concept of virtualization has gotten renewed attention with the advent of server virtualization in the data center, enabling organizations to simplify management and optimize performance of vast computing and networking infrastructures. Server virtualization, part of the Cisco Unified Computing System, leads to significant cost savings, helping organizations address space, power, cooling, and budget constraints.

The current global economic climate presents an opportune time to fully utilize the benefits of virtualization technologies beyond the data center to achieve greater cost savings through increasing network utilization and efficiency. Network virtualization simplifies how IT departments manage entire campus networks. It offers management and cost benefits for increasingly complex, consolidated networks. Fortunately, the technologies for virtualizing network services throughout the campus network are mature and well understood.
Modern campus network architectures support many services, scalable to hundreds of nodes and thousands of users. Administrators need to segment the campus networks for security and traffic management reasons, and traditional switching solutions are insufficient to meet these needs.

Successful network virtualization solutions use proven technologies to reduce management complexity and service rollout time while increasing operational control and service flexibility. Organizations deploy network virtualization solutions to facilitate efforts to comply with industry and government regulations, maintain security, and reduce total cost of ownership as organizations consolidate multiple networks (data, voice, video, physical and logical security, wireless, and building automation) into a single IP infrastructure.

Network virtualization solutions extend the benefits of virtualization technologies throughout campus and distributed networks, reaching every endpoint and managing every user.

This paper spans the following topics:
- The business need for network virtualization
- Definition of network virtualization
- Overview of Cisco campus network virtualization solutions and their business
- Industry scenarios that illustrate Cisco network virtualization solutions

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How to Choose the Right Power Meter Light Source: Top 4 Questions to Ask a PMLS Vendor

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

Abstract: How to Choose the Right Power Meter Light Source: Top 4 Questions to Ask a PMLS Vendor

By Fluke Networks

A power meter light source (PMLS) test set tends to be viewed as a basic device for testing power and loss over fiber links. Such a simple verification device is likely to be considered a must-have tool for any network technician or installer responsible for first-line datacom cabling verification and troubleshooting - and rightly so. However, this basic functionality should not translate into low value or quality indifference, especially considering the majority of optical fiber deployments that require testing support the backbone and high-speed data center links. These communication links make up the most mission-critical portion of the network. Furthermore, these links likely must be able to support the higher-speed network technologies like 1-Gb per second, 10-Gb per second Ethernet, or the high-speed fiber channel. Such high-speed applications demand a relatively small loss limit for the end-to-end link. A measurement error as small as 0.25 dB represents 10% of the channel loss limit, underlying the importance of quality and precision, even in basic functionality PMLS test sets.

With such a wide variety of PMLS manufacturers to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which instrument is right for you. To assist in navigating the research process, here are four questions you should ask yourself - and the vendor - when deciding which PMLS you should purchase.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Business Continuity in Epidemic/Pandemic Conditions

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

The April 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak should serve as a much-needed wakeup call concerning the need for Business Continuity plans to address epidemics and pandemics. As the H1N1 flu outbreak was unfolding, Webtorials conducted a survey to determine both the extent to which organizations have a plan in place to address Business Continuity during a severe medical emergency and, if such a plan exists, the extent to which key business functions would survive.

The key findings showed that:
- The Business Continuity plans for medical epidemic/pandemic are either minimal or non-existent for over half of the respondents.
- The current economic conditions have resulted in a decrease in the ability to plan/implement/support Business Continuity in the event of an epidemic/pandemic.
- The current H1N1 outbreak will have a moderate impact on prompting companies to update/review their business continuity plans.

Business Continuity and disaster recovery are areas that are easily overlooked until the calamity strikes, and by then it’s too late.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Creating a Highly Available 802.11n Environment

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

The conversation on "Creating a Highly Available 802.11n Environment," a part of the “2009 802.11n Challenge,” is available at Webtorials.

In each of these conversations, a panel of industry experts is interviewed by Robin Layland and Joanie Wexler concerning a key area for 802.11n deployment. As a part of our "11n Friday" series, this is the third of these five weekly conversations.

For today’s conversation, please join panelists:
- Mark Cowtan, Director of Marketing, Trapeze Networks
- Kevin Goulet, Senior Director of Marketing, Motorola
as they discuss:
"With 802.11n’s high throughput, Wi-Fi has become a candidate for replacing wired Ethernet in the local-area access network. This makes it even more important that Wi-Fi networks support very high availability. What has the industry done to ensure Ethernet-like availability in 802.11n Wi-Fi systems? Panelists also make some HA configuration recommendations."

Friday, April 24, 2009

How Important Are Wi-Fi Architectures?

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

How Important Are Wi-Fi Architectures?
The conversation on " Important Are Wi-Fi Architectures?," a part of the “2009 802.11n Challenge,” is available at Webtorials.

In each of these conversations, a panel of industry experts is interviewed by Robin Layland and Joanie Wexler concerning a key area for 802.11n deployment. As a part of our "11n Friday" series, this is the second of these five weekly conversations.

For today’s conversation, please join panelists:
Luc Roy, Vice President of Wireless Strategy, Enterasys-Siemens
Geoff Smith, Vice President of Product Management, Proxim Wireless
Bruce Miller, Vice President of Product Marketing, Xirrus
as they discuss:
"How important are different vendors’ 802.11n architectures? What functions should be centralized, and which are best distributed out to Wi-Fi APs? This session takes a look at what design elements are truly relevant to the enterprise and why."

Friday, April 17, 2009

802.11n Migration Best Practices

(Click on the title above to access the paper.)

802.11n Migration Best Practices
The conversation on "802.11n Migration Best Practices," a part of the “2009 802.11n Challenge,” is available at Webtorials.

In each of these conversations, a panel of industry experts is interviewed by Robin Layland and Joanie Wexler concerning a key area for 802.11n deployment. As a part of our "11n Friday" series, this is the first of these five weekly conversations.

For today’s conversation, please join panelists:
Chris Kozup, Senior Manager for Mobility Solutions, Cisco
Geoff Smith, Vice President of Product Management, Proxim Wireless
as they discuss:
"Why and when should you introduce 802.11n into your wireless environment? Panelists shed some light on these questions and also offer tips for how to plan an optimal AP layout in networks that mix new 802.11n with older 802.11a, b and g devices."