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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cisco Plans First Major Acquisition Since Strategy Overhaul

Cisco Systems today announced its intent to acquire AXIOSS software from Helsinki-based Comptel Corporation for approximately $31 million in cash.

The acquisition will enable Cisco to extend network and service management technology across its Internet Protocol (IP) network platforms. AXIOSS software will also aid in enhancing Cisco Prime—a unified network management solution for enterprises and service providers.

This acquisition is in line with the re-focus CEO John Chambers called for in an April internal memo. In it, Chambers vowed to get the company back to its core enterprise networking roots and to focus on five areas driving the growth of networks and the Internet: core routing, switching, and services; collaboration; data center virtualization and cloud; video; and architectures for business transformation.

The AXIOSS software suite will provide management capabilities for network services across these five areas, according to a statement by Cisco. The goal is to ease launching and management of new video, data, mobility, and cloud services for solution providers to customers.

Although AXIOSS' software has already been integrated into Cisco's managed services
solutions, the acquisition will strengthen Cisco Prime, particularly for solutions/service providers with automated ordering and fulfillment.

"As more users, connected mobile Internet devices and bandwidth intensive applications drive the explosive growth in IP-based networks, service providers continue to invest in their infrastructure to support customers' needs," said Jesper Anderson, senior vice president and general manager for
Cisco's Network Management Technology Group (NMTG). "With the acquisition of AXIOSS software and talent, we will help enable service providers to generate greater profits using a single management architecture to drive quick monetization and optimization of their Cisco network investments."

The networking giant's last acquisition was newScale Inc. in March—a software provider of business cloud services.

Monday, August 22, 2011

ASR9000/XR : Drops for unrecognized upper-level protocol error

By Alexander Thuijs


In this articile I will describe the issue of unrecognized protocol drops reported on an interface on the ASR9000. Some steps for remediation are provide and a few things to check before opening a tac case.
Core Issue

NMS stations looking at interface statistics may get confused or report unnecessary alarms when they are seeing "errors" on the interface. It is recognized that these protocol errors are not well documented and these are raising a larger then normal amount of support cases. In this article I am trying to describe when you see these errors reported and what you can do about it.

The following example shows what you might see:

RP/0/RSP0/CPU0:A9K-TOP#sh int te 0/3/0/0
Fri Mar  4 01:25:16.691 UTC
TenGigE0/3/0/0 is up, line protocol is up
  Interface state transitions: 3
  Hardware is TenGigE, address is 0026.9800.15b0 (bia 0026.9800.15b0)
  Layer 1 Transport Mode is LAN
  Internet address is Unknown
  MTU 1514 bytes, BW 10000000 Kbit (Max: 10000000 Kbit)
     reliability 255/255, txload 0/255, rxload 0/255
  Encapsulation ARPA,
  Full-duplex, 10000Mb/s, LR, link type is force-up
  output flow control is off, input flow control is off
  loopback not set,
  ARP type ARPA, ARP timeout 04:00:00
  Last input 00:00:00, output 00:00:00
  Last clearing of "show interface" counters 2d06h
  30 second input rate 0 bits/sec, 0 packets/sec
  30 second output rate 2000 bits/sec, 3 packets/sec
     151224 packets input, 17290273 bytes, 0 total input drops
    3247 drops for unrecognized upper-level protocol     Received 1 broadcast packets, 136817 multicast packets
              0 runts, 0 giants, 0 throttles, 0 parity
     0 input errors, 0 CRC, 0 frame, 0 overrun, 0 ignored, 0 abort
     753409 packets output, 73257197 bytes, 0 total output drops
     Output 34 broadcast packets, 750081 multicast packets
     0 output errors, 0 underruns, 0 applique, 0 resets
     0 output buffer failures, 0 output buffers swapped out
     2 carrier transitions

"Drops for unrecognized upper-level protocol" means that we've received packets of a type that you haven't configured and therefore don't have a handler for in the interface protocol handling chain.

 That may be (and most likely is) expected and purely cosmetic.


- other side (switch) has CDP configured but you don't have CDP configured on this end
- someone on the Ethernet is sending IS-IS hellos but you don't have IS-IS configured on this end
- someone on the Ethernet is sending IPv6 neigbor discovery packets but you don't have IPv6 configured on this end

 It may be worth checking:
 - do these packets increment periodically (i.e. one packet every 30 sec or so)?
- are there any obvious features (CDP is a good candidate) that you haven't configured but the far-end (switch, or if it's a crosslink, then the connected peer) has?

Otherwise capture & decode the packets, and perhaps reviewing the config will already give the answer in a couple of seconds.

If a 7600/ 6500 port is connected to the ASR9000 and input error increment due to 'unrecognized upper-level protocol', then to avoid various l2 packets reaching ASR9000, you can use:

switchport nonegotiate - disable Dynamic Trunk Protocol (DTP) on the port
no cdp enable - to disable running Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP)
no vtp - to disable sending VLAN Trunking Protocol(VTP) frame
spanning-tree bpdfilter enable - To enable BPDU filtering on the interface
UDLD: If you are running CatOS try “set udld disable x/y” or “udld port disable” under the interface if you have IOS on the 6500.

LLDP: (new addition) switches by default have lldp enabled that could be, like CDP, be perceived as an unrecognized upper level protocol on the ASR9000.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Troubleshooting Switch License Install Issues

Catalyst 4500:
Cat4k IOS SW licenses are as follows:
 - for 4503/4506, one enhanced L3 license for the supervisor
 - for 4507R/4510R, one enhanced L3 license for the chassis
Issue 1: Failed: Specified UDI not found

You get an error message akin to "Failed:Specified UDI not found"
 Make sure the license was generated per the above rules for the 4500.   The folks in licensing do not always know which serial number and part  ID to use and will often generate the license mismatched (ie chassis  serial # and Sup Part ID).
Here are the contents of a sample license file.  You'll see the serial number & PID in bold.  Make sure they match.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><CISCO_WT_ARTIFACTS version="1.0"><CISCO_WT_LICENSE

Install Command:
license install bootflash:SPE12345678_20110113112345678.lic
license install tftp://<ip address>/SPE12345678_20110113112345678.lic

Issue 2: License file parsing failed

The license often comes as a Zip file.  If they are not unzipped prior to installation the 4500 will generate the following message:

License file parsing failed with err type 0, reason 2 Fail tag  NULL, Fail attr NULL, Fail errmsg Bad XML form, Last State INIT_BLDG,  Last Known tag 'NotARealTag'
 % Error: License installation failed with error: XML parsing failed
 % Error: License installation failed with error: XML parsing failed

You guessed it.  Unzip the file.

Nexus 7000:
Issue 1: SERVER line in license should have "this_host ANY"

On a N7K you will often see the error:
Installing license failed: SERVER line in license should have "this_host ANY"
 This is usually caused by a corrupt license file.  To resolve it, follow these steps:
 - Open the .lic file, copy and past its contents into notepad, and save it as type "all files" (encoding ANSI)
 - Transfer the file on the N7k and run the install command
N7K# install license bootflash:MDS20110730051234567.lic
Issue 2: License Incorrectly Generated
The licensing team may sometimes incorrectly generate the license for the N7K bundle and not for the chassis. 
 Contact licensing and have them issue the correct license for the chassis serial number.

Issue 3: Missing License

If you end up seeing the following:

nexus#sh license usage
Feature                      Ins  Lic   Status Expiry Date Comments
LAN_ADVANCED_SERVICES_PKG     No    -   Unused             -
LAN_ENTERPRISE_SERVICES_PKG   Yes   -   In use Never       license missing
**** WARNING: License file(s) missing. ****

This means that the license file is not in the bootflash.  This issue can be seen when a customer with multiple N7Ks receives supervisors with pre-installed licenses and moves the Sup from one chassis to another. Since the license is tied to the chassis, the  above message is reported.
To get around this you simply need to put the file in the bootflash for that supervisor.

You can determine which supervisor belongs to which license by running the following command:
show license host-id
You can take the output of this command and compare it to the name of the .lic file.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Differences between 2G vs 3G Network Technology

2G and 3G technologies denote the second and third generation technologies used in wireless communication. In modern world increasing demand for communication has resulted in several standards for mobile communication. Among them 2G and 3G are dominant standards which revolutionize the mobile communication industry in past few years. Both standards emphasize on various targets and as a result various technologies have been introduced.

2G (GSM) Technology
Global System for Mobile communication is also known as 2G which is the first step towards the digital wireless communication over existing analog mobile communication prevailing. Technology standard was first introduced in 1991 and from that onwards number of subscribers has grown over 200 million during 1998. In this technology for the first time SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) is introduced and a more secured and clear communication was established. This has been widely adopted all over the world and currently the most area of the globe is covered with GSM. In GSM the multiple techniques used are TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) and FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) so that many subscribers are allowed to make calls at a given time. The cell concept is also introduced here and each cell is responsible for covering a small area. Spectrum utilization for GSM falls in to several bands like GSM 900 and GSM 1800 (DCS) used in areas like Asia, Europe etc and GSM 850 and GSM 1900 used mainly in USA and Canada. The bandwidth of the channel allocated per user is 200kHz and the GSM air interface data rate is 270kbps.

3G Technology
3G is the mobile standard specification released which are compatible with the IMT (International Mobile Telecommunications-2000) specifications for multimedia supporting. Since the GSM air interface data rates are not enough to provide high quality multimedia applications through mobile phones 3G specifications are released and paved way for the next generation standard. Applications like video calls, high speed internet, multimedia applications, video streaming, video conferencing, and location based services can be given to the mobile phones. The first commercial 3G network was launched in 2001 in Japan. Here the air interface technology which is also known as the multiple access technique is a variation of CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) called as WCDMA which utilizes a bandwidth of 5MHz offering high data rates. Also the other CDMA technologies like CDMA2000, CDMA2000 1x EV-DO are used in various places over the world. The data rates for the 3G are a minimum of 2Mbps for stationary mobile users and 384Kbps for moving subscribers in downlink.

Difference between 2G and 3G Technologies
1. 2G is the GSM specification intended for providing mobile communication for voice and 3G is the specification for mobile communication with enhanced capabilities for mobile users other than voice.

2. GSM air interface data rate is 270Kbps and 3G allows a minimum of 2Mbps downlink in stationary mobile and 384Kbps while moving.

3. GSM uses TDMA and FDMA for multiple access technology and 3G utilizes variations of CDMA technology like WCDMA, CDMA2000, CDA2000 1X EV-DO.

4. A5 ciphering algorithm is used in 2G and a more secured KASUMI encryption is used in 3G mobile communication.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Mobile Device Management (MDM) Solutions

Mobile device management ideally should be a combination of general management and security. It should have the ability to make company wide changes from one central interface and to have the functionality to enable and enforce security such as wiping a mobile device clean or being able to wipe off just the corporate settings and data.

The usual aspects should be taken into consideration such as the ability to support many smart phones (Blackberry, Android, Apple, Symbian, Windows Mobile, etc), a granular and functionally powerful management system as well as being easy to install and administer.

Mobile device management for various smart phones is a fairly new aspect that organisations have just started to invest in to. We expect more vendors to come on board in the future and to integrate mobile management into their existing solutions.

 Absolute Software specialises in security software for endpoints and mobile devices and deliver a product known as Absolute Manage MDM which can remotely manage Apple mobile devices.
AirWatch provide an MDM solution designed for Apple iOS users which include the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices.

Blackberry Enterprise Server supports Exchange, Lotus Domino and GroupWise. This product is for Blackberry devices only. Blackberry provide an in-house solution as well as a hosted service.

Boxtone software includes the support of Apple, Android and Windows Mobile. Boxtone is a dedicated mobility device management vendor.

Dell have introduced a portfolio of mobility services which includes a MDM solution.

F-Secure known for their malware protection for home and business users offer mobile phone security and management.

Good is a dedicated mobile phone security and control vendor. Good support various mobile phone devices and offer mobile phone management in the cloud as a services.

Kaspersky have a mobile device management software that is also integrated with it's anti-virus for mobile devices. It is capable of locating a mobile device using Google maps and able to sense when the SIM card has been changed and providing the administrator with the new phone number.

LANDesk specialise in life cycle management, endpoint security management and IT service management. LANDesk Mobility Management is a mobile device management software product solution.

MaaS360 by Fibrelink deliver mobile device management as a cloud based service. The technology supports Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows phone and Symbian devices.

Mcafee Enterprise Mobility Management software provides management and security for various mobile devices. Mcafee have integrated this technology in to their central management system.
Microsoft Exchange provide basic mobile device management through their ActiveSync protocol.

 Mformation is a mobile device management software solutions vendor. Mformation's solution is known as Mobile Device Manager.

 Mobile Iron is an MDM vendor with a powerful mobile management and security solution.

Mobiquant Technologies deliver security and management solutions for mobile devices. MobileNX Enterprise Suite is a smartphone security and management appliance suited for medium to large networks.

Pointsec Mobile Security is a product by Check Point Software Technologies that is more of a dedicated encryption product for mobile devices.

Sophos Mobile Control supports management of iPhones, iPads, Androids and Windows smartphones. Sophos Mobile Control is a new solution introduced in April 2011.

Sybase is a large vendor with a number of services and solutions including an MDM solution as well as other mobile solutions and services.

 Symantec is one of the largest software vendors in the world and specialise in storage and security solutions. Symantec offer an MDM solution known as Symantec Mobile Management.

Zenprise specialise in mobile device management solutions.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

5 Load Balancers You Need to Know

Load balancing refers to spreading a service load among multiple server computers. Balancing ensures maximum service availability by offering network traffic distribution services. For example, if your business has a primary business domain (e.g.,, you want your site available to your current customers and your potential customers 100-percent of the time. Using load balancers will provide this level of availability.

When technical folks discuss load balancing, they generally mean hardware devices dedicated to the task of balancing network traffic loads. A load balancer is a server computer with a very specialized operating system tuned to manage network traffic using user-created rules. Enterprises and hosting companies rely on load-balancing devices to distribute traffic to create highly available services. This list highlights five of those products.

In addition to providing simple distributed service to multiple servers, load balancers help prevent denial-of-service attacks, allow legitimate users uninterrupted service access, protect against single point of failure outages and prevent traffic bottlenecks to systems.

1. F5 BIG-IP Load Traffic Manager (LTM)
 The BIG-IP product family has a solution for almost any budget and application. If you're an F5 shop, the good news is you'll enjoy the same easy web-based administration interface included with other F5 equipment. Your load balancers can also handle your SSL certificates, which removes the pressure from your web servers and places it on network gear where it belongs.

One of F5's major features is its WAN Optimization Manager, which speeds data transfers over the WAN and enables traffic between data centers to be optimized, encrypted and highly available. This feature makes creating a WAN-based disaster recovery (DR) solution easy and almost automatic.
2. Cisco

Every Cisco IOS-based router product has load balancing capabilities. This is exciting for Cisco shops because they don't have to buy separate hardware; simply add load balancing rules to your current equipment. Cisco is the clear leader in the router space, and included features like load-balancing capabilities is one of the reasons why.

 Cisco's IOS includes every possible server load balancing feature possible, including port-bound servers, sticky sessions, TCP session reassignment, automatic unfail, slow start, SynGuard, dynamic feedback protocol, NAT, maximum connections and complete server load balancing algorithms to name a few.

 Cisco's service and support are also second to none. Similar to another large company's time-tested adage, you'll never get fired for buying Cisco.
3. Radware AppDirector OnDemand Switch Series

Radware offers an array of network appliances to suit any load balancing requirement. Units are affordable, scalable, and smart. Smart goes a long way in contemporary data centers and Radware employs such smart technologies as health monitoring and detection, stateful persistency, high availability, redundancy, traffic redirection, global load balancing, denial of service mitigation, and significant performance optimizations.

Some notable features of Radware devices are easy updates and upgrades, application-aware services, and improved application response time through smart caching.
4. CoyotePoint Equalizer Appliances

CoyotePoint offers enterprise-level load balancing solutions at affordable prices. If your business sites and applications aren't enterprise-sized but require enterprise capability, you're in luck with CoyotePoint's array of products.

CoyotePoint's appliances support all web-based applications, including PHP, ASP, Oracle and Apache; Microsoft products, including SharePoint, Exchange, Outlook Web Access and Remote Desktop; and SSL VPN, Database clustering, Email services and Streaming Media.
The appliances fully support industry standard round-robin and weighted load-balancing algorithms.
5. Barracuda Load Balancer

The Barracuda Load Balancer includes standard load balancer features, plus intrusion prevention. That's right, intrusion prevention, not just detection. Prevention means your network has protection, even if you miss a critical patch or update. Barracuda's update service keeps your system ready to protect you from new threats automatically.

The Barracuda Load Balancer also includes service autodiscovery to ease the pain of initial configuration. Manage your changes, updates and configuration maintenance through the easy-to-use web interface. Other notable features are global load balancing and content caching.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pros and Cons of OSPF

OSPF is by far the most deployed IGP in enterprise networks today (aside from proprietary IGPs). Some folks don’t know that there are a couple of versions of OSPF. When engineers talk about OSPF they are actually referring to OSPF version 2, or OSPFv2. The original RFC for OSPFv1 is RFC1131 published in October 1989. RFC1247 updated OSPF to version 2 in July 1991 and the current RFC is RFC2328. There have been small updates to OSPF to keep up with changing network trends – like traffic engineering extensions (RFC4203). OSPF has proven to be adaptable and flexible over the years.

So lets get down to the brass tacks.

What are the pros of OSPF?

The primary benefit to OSPF is it ubiquitous use in the Enterprise network today. Almost every trained network engineer, CCNA, JNCIA, ETC, have had some exposure to basic theory and operation of OSPF. Most people understand the concept of areas and how an area help the network scale. OSPF is comfortable to most engineers.

Speaking of scale, OSPF scales very well in almost every network out there today. The availability and use of different types of areas (normal, stubby, not-so-stubby, and totally stubby/nssa) allows you to manipulate to amount of prefixes in specific parts of the network. Only ISIS gives similar options. When network segmentation is required, OSPF offers flexibility. On the flip side, most networks today only require a single OSPF area.

Another pro for OSPF is it’s ability to support traffic engineering extensions. If you think you are going to run MPLS in your network and want to do traffic engineering – you will need a IGP that supports traffic engineering extensions. While not turned on by default (like ISIS) a simple command under your OSPF configuration usually remedies that problem. In OSPF, traffic engineering allows your LSPs to support features such as fast reroute, node & link protection, and standby links.

What are the cons of OSPF?

The first “con” that comes to mind is that OSPFv2 does not support multiple protocols. OSPFv2 supports IPv4. You need a IGP for IPv6 – you need something else like OSPFv3. They work the same, but that is still two protocols to support for “IP”. (Well, they may work the same – but Cisco for example implemented them differently in the IOS CLI.)

Another con is the backbone area (area 0). The backbone area is always designated as the number 0. You must be sure not to segment the backbone area. Sometimes this is easy and other times, based on the topology, it can be difficult. In the event of a merger or acquisition, you may have to redesign your OSPF deployment to deal with two area 0′s (<- bad).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taking Your Managed Services Business to the Next Level

The MSP market is booming, and new players arrive every day. Some do very well, others struggle, but all share one element in common – the desire to achieve growth that leads to increased revenue. However, growth is complicated and can be somewhat risky, often following a torturous path that ultimately ends in uncertainty. That is just the nature of the IT services industry today.

Nevertheless, many have overcome the odds and have made the transition from a boutique MSP to an enterprise-class MSP. Growth comes at a price, however, namely significant investments in personnel, software and hardware, as well as increased bandwidth costs and maintenance contracts. It’s a situation that has scared many away from the MSP market and caused others to hang up their hats and abandon MSP-related opportunities in favor of sticking with more traditional IT services. That creates a question – has the opportunity to become a high-end MSP now passed?

The High-End MSP Opportunity
The short answer is no. Opportunities abound for solution providers looking to build successful MSP practices, and better yet, the path to the high end is no longer blocked by a requirement for hefty investments. Solution providers can thank the cloud for that, where economies of scale have made high-end services affordable, easier to get and most importantly, rebrand-able. The cloud can deliver elasticity that allows data centers and services to grow and shrink as needed.

That elimination of waste and the ability to almost instantly reconfigure to change scale brings an affordability to the channel that can be translated into high-end services, which can be bundled and resold by even the smallest of solution providers.

A solution provider looking to dive into the MSP market can turn to large providers such as Rackspace, Amazon elastic cloud and several other large hosts to build out a virtual infrastructure leveraging cloud-based services to start. However, that is not where the magic truly lies simply because most any solution provider can do the same thing.

The magic comes down to what services you are looking to provide as a MSP and how you combine and formulate those services. Traditionally, MSPs were defined as little more than remote support agents, who offered desktop and server maintenance via remote management. In effect, that was the managed service. However, with the plethora of cloud-based solutions ranging from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to Desktops as a Service (DaaS) to Software as a Service (SaaS), the definition of the MSP has expanded. All IT, whether physical or cloud-based still needs management.

That expanding definition is driving the opportunity for growth. To seize that opportunity, solution providers must redefine themselves, and that is the tricky part. Moving upstream requires planning, forethought and of course, the appropriate, channel-friendly cloud services vendors.

Building alliances with cloud services vendors will become the foundation for any high-end MSP. The trick is to leverage those alliances to create a suite of integrated services that are unique for your particular market target (think vertical markets), yet adaptable enough to support a la carte offerings. Perhaps the biggest challenge is finding a way to manage it all – the “all” being the services, the vendors, the customers and the revenue picture.

Professional Services Automation Tools

That is exactly where PSA (professional services automation) tools fit into the picture. The bad news is that PSA is yet another layer that must be added to the foundation of an offering. The good news is that PSA is now available as a cloud service from vendors such as ConnectWise, Autotask and others. PSA in the cloud simplifies management and reduces the need for a significant upfront investment. What’s more, many cloud services vendors have formed alliances with PSA vendors, baking in the integration with PSA platforms and offering channel programs that support rebranding. An MSP want-to-be can build a relationship with a PSA vendor as the first step to building a customized managed services offering, and that offering will have the advantage of simplified billing, profit analytics, and high efficiency that benefits from an economy of scale, all at a palatable price point that a solution provider can markup and for an ongoing revenue stream.

While competition in the MSP market is on the rise, driven by cloud services and the low barrier to entry, there are still opportunities for solution providers to differentiate themselves. Look at technologies that are still new to cloud services such as disaster recovery, unified communications, desktops in the cloud, infrastructure as a service, security as a service and even hardware as a service. Each of those offerings has the potential to replace traditional solutions, but that potential relies highly on the solution provider and not the vendor.

It’s Still About the Relationship

Whatever the offering, solution providers need to sell themselves before selling the technology. Of course, platforms and technologies are important, but with managed services a relationship built on trust is the single most important element for success. Nevertheless, there are still important considerations that a solution provider must address.

Solution providers must build relationships with their cloud vendors and carefully vet which vendors fit well for the solution provider’s MSP business model. Solution providers can leverage vendor channel programs to do just that.

Solution providers must carefully examine the channel programs of potential cloud services vendor partners. Simple questions to consider include how to rebrand a service, what are the upfront costs, what are the billing cycles, what training is required and available and so on. More complex questions will focus on customer ownership, the price of scaling, cost escalation, support responsibilities and service level agreements. Vetting cloud services vendors is not that different from vetting traditional vendors, yet many solution providers seem to overlook the obvious and take a leap of faith when it comes to partnering with cloud vendors.

The key term here is due diligence. Carefully check the viability of a cloud vendor, validate exit strategies in case the relationship fails, and of course, protect your customers. The technology to become a high-end MSP is already out there, it all comes down to how you roll it and sell it – and that may be the biggest secret for success.

Juniper Wireless LAN Portfolio Product

The Trapeze Networks product line has now been integrated into the Juniper Networks product solutions. Traditional Trapeze customers can use the table below to find the Juniper Wireless LAN Portfolio name of the products they have previously purchased.
Trapeze to Juniper product mapping.

The Juniper Wireless LAN Portfolio includes the WLC Series (Wireless LAN Controllers), the WLA Series (Wireless LAN Access Points), and the WLM Series (Wireless LAN Management) products.
Trapeze ProductJuniper Wireless LAN Portfolio Product
WLAN ControllersWLC Series Wireless LAN Controllers
Wireless LAN Access PointsWLA Series Wireless LAN Access Points
MP-371 - 802.11WLA371
MP-422B - 802.11WLA422
MP-522 - 802.11nWLA522
MP-432 - 802.11nWLA432
MP-632 - 802.11nWLA632
Wireless LAN ManagementWireless LAN Management
RingMaster ApplianceWLM1200
Location ApplianceWLM1200
RingMaster GlobalRingMaster Global
Ringmaster SoftwareRingMaster Software

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cloud Computing Tutorial - Part 1

Cloud computing is defined as "a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet." The website says cloud computing got its name from the cloud symbol often used to represent the Internet in network diagrams.

What is cloud computing beyond that? Yankee Group's Zeus Kerravala outlines seven essential features of a cloud computing service that differentiate it from traditional hosted services:

SLA supported

Despite the list, cloud computing means different things to different people. Many providers claim to have cloud computing services but don’t offer usage-based pricing for customers to pay as they go. Matthew Edwards, TM Forum's Cloud Services Initiative director, said: "One supplier might name things a certain way while another may use different terms for the same things -- or use the same term to mean several things. If the cloud service providers can't agree on terms, there's no way that you as a buyer can compare the services against one another to meet the needs of your company." One way or another, the industry needs to come to a consensus on the vocabulary of cloud computing in order to eliminate confusion about what cloud computing is.

Riverbed's chief scientist, Mark Day, says that a WAN manager can think about cloud computing as effectively connecting data centers to the end of the WAN.

"The difference between an enterprise WAN and private cloud is fairly small, and people are already on that blurry line,” Day said. “I think a lot of people will wake up one morning and discover they used to think of themselves as enterprise WAN managers and now [see themselves as] private cloud managers, and very little of what they do will change. To be fair, I wouldn't call it a simple re-labeling, but the distance between them is not as great as people think."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Junos Certification 50% OFF

If you are having trouble reading this email, read the online version.

Juniper Certification -
More valuable than ever.

Juniper Logo
Get Junos Certified

More valuable than ever
The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in the demand for Juniper Certification by employers** - as more and more businesses harness the power of Junos, the value of holding Juniper Certification is becoming increasingly clear. That’s why we’re pleased to confirm we’re continuing our FastTrack program.

“The study guides are all one needs to get the job done” Certified Engineer. JNCIA-M
Get ahead of the curve
With the FastTrack Portal, you’ll find it easier than ever to stay at the forefront of networking – you’re already registered, so can benefit right now from the study guides, revision notes and other resources, picked to give you the information you need to pass your exams.

Now 50% off
We’re currently offering a voucher worth 50% off the cost of your final exam – simply pass the pre-assessment exam on the learning portal and you’ll receive your 50% off voucher. Vouchers are redeemable at your nearest Prometric testing centre.

*Conditions apply

The unique advantages of Junos ensure that businesses will benefit from:
  • One OS
  • One Release Train
  • One Modular Architecture
More and more businesses are turning to Junos to make their network:
  • Faster
  • Flexible
  • Economical
  • More Secure
Junos Ceritfication

Pros and Cons of ISIS

Like OSPF, ISIS uses the Dijkstra algorithm to compute the best paths to destinations within the network. 

What are the pros of ISIS?

The most appealing thing about ISIS is that this IGP has ability to support multiple protocols. ISIS can support IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously. If IPv6 migration isn’t on your mind then you are going to be shocked when the requirements come down from on high in the near future. That means a single IGP for your network instead of two, like OSPFv2 and OSPFv3.

ISIS is very scalable – some would say more scalable than it’s SPF counterpart OSPF.  The benefit of ISIS over OSPF is that there is no mandatory backbone area. Essentially, a router belongs to a single specific area. The area boundaries are not determined by the router itself (like an OSPF ABR) but rather the boundary exists on the links that interconnect the areas (between routers). Level 1 interfaces are used for INTRA area communications and level 2 interfaces are used for INTER area communications.

ISIS is highly extensible with its TLV (type, length, value) PDU format. Traffic engineering is turned on by default. If you are looking to deploy MPLS-TE and IPv6 in the near future, you can do it all with ISIS.  The fact that TLV 137 dynamically shares the hostname of the routers in the network. The slew of available features on ISIS are extremely refreshing.

What are some cons of ISIS?

ISIS is so close to OSPF, yet very different – that’s why we get ourselves into trouble. ISIS uses course metrics by default. If you have two circuits that are different speeds they will be treated equally – a default interface metric of 10 is used. If still haven’t figured out that you are using the course metrics, the max metric will be set at 63 regardless of the aggregate or configured value. The upside is that wide-metrics are available allowing for a maximum interface value of 16,777,215. Don’t forget to use wide-metrics.

The last con for ISIS is the NET address. Just when you thought you could forget all that useless LANE information, you can now refresh your memory is remembering about the NET address. Essentially, the NET address has several functions so lets break one down.
  • 49.0002 is the Area ID
  • 1921.6810.0001 is the system ID (I embedded the IP address
  • 00 is the selector byte (keep it 00)
Finally, you need to enable CLNS routing on your network. ISIS does not use IP transport like OSPF – It requires that your router understand and process CLNS packets. This is probably the thing that gets most CCIE candidates when it comes to ISIS.

Well, theses are pros and cons for ISIS in a nutshell.  ISIS protocol has serious potential in the future for Enterprise networks as we migrate to IPv6. Additionally, as more Enterprises deploy MPLS, the idea that a single IGP can support all of your interior gateway functions is appealing. There will be a learning curve, but with all things the more experience you have working with something the more proficient you become.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Has Cisco CRS-3 caused network outages at both Comcast and AT&T?

By Brad Reese

The Cisco CRS-3 has caused network outages at both Comcast and AT&T while Cisco continues to deny any problems with the CRS-3, blaming carrier configs for the issue.

Meanwhile, Comcast and AT&T have formally petitioned both Cisco and Broadcom on the issue...
And so what's exactly the issue?

Well, its called bit flipping.

The bit flip is an interesting phenomenon because the Cisco CRS-3 is rumored to have used Broadcom 3rd party silicon (view Cisco Systems' Fear of a Broadcom Planet), which did not use ECC protected memory subsystems and did not use low-alpha particle lead. Normal lead occasionally kicks out an alpha particle and with transistor densities being what they are today it can cause a bit to "stick" in a memory subsystem. This then causes the memory to corrupt and then pretty much snowballs into at least a minimum of having the ASIC being reset, and then possibly having an entire system reset.
This happened most famously with the Cisco 4500 and 6500 and the Toshiba SRAMs back in the 2002-2004 time frame, causing tens of millions of dollars of hardware recall.

Bottom line: There's no real "field fix" in most cases and a line card swap out is called for.

I find this interesting because Cisco CEO John Chambers stated during Cisco's Q1'FY11 earnings conference call:

"Just as an update, the customer acceptance from the pilot perspective on the CRS-3 is off to a great start. In Q1, we shipped our first CRS-3 system. We received $51 million in orders from 30 customers. However, we expect there will probably be several more quarter before we see rapid increase in these accounts from dual high-end routers as they test out all the new systems of this magnitude before they begin volume commitments."

Finally in my opinion, the above Cisco CRS-3 bit flipping issue should be brought to the attention of Cisco's customers.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cisco: Global Internet Traffic Projected to Quadruple by 2015

Cisco Visual Networking Index Projects Network-Connected Devices Will Outnumber People 2 to 1; a Million Minutes of Internet Video to Be Transmitted Per Second

Cisco predicts that the number of network-connected devices will be more than 15 billion, twice the world’s population, by 2015. In the fifth annual Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2010-2015) released today, the company also said the total amount of global Internet traffic will quadruple by 2015 and reach 966 exabytes per year.

The projected increase of Internet traffic between 2014 and 2015 alone is 200 exabytes, which is greater than the total amount of Internet Protocol traffic generated globally in 2010. On the verge of reaching 1 zettabyte, which is equal to a sextillion bytes, or a trillion gigabytes by 2015, global IP traffic growth is driven by four primary factors, according to Cisco. They are:

An increasing number of devices: The proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, connected appliances and other smart machines is driving up the demand for connectivity. By 2015, there will be nearly 15 billion network connections via devices — including machine-to-machine — and more than two connections for each person on earth.

More Internet users: By 2015, there will be nearly 3 billion Internet users –more than 40 percent of the world’s projected population.

Faster broadband speed: The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase four-fold, from 7 megabits per second in 2010 to 28 Mbps in 2015. The average broadband speed has already doubled within the past year from 3.5 Mbps to 7 Mbps.

More video: By 2015, 1 million video minutes –the equivalent of 674 days –will traverse the Internet every second.


The annual Cisco VNI Forecast was developed to estimate global Internet Protocol traffic growth and trends. Widely used by service providers, regulators, and industry influencers alike, the Cisco VNI Forecast is based on in-depth analysis and modeling of traffic, usage and device data from independent analyst forecasts. Cisco validates its forecast, inputs and methodology with actual traffic data provided voluntarily by global service providers and consumers alike.

To help customers learn more and visualize IP traffic growth drivers and trends, Cisco VNI Forecast can provide customized views relevant to customer needs.

The Cisco VNI Forecast widget provides customized views of the growth of various network traffic types around the globe (revised for this 2010 – 2015 forecast period).

Cisco VNI Forecast and Methodology, 2010 – 2015 White Paper provides the full detailed findings of the study.

The new Cisco VNI Forecast Highlights Tool provides key forecast predictions in short sound bites that can be chosen on a global, regional or country level (these include device, traffic and network speed projections).
The Cisco VNI Forecast Infographic provides a downloadable image available for use in blogs and social media.

Total Global IP Traffic in “Bytes”
Global IP traffic is expected to reach 80.5 exabytes per month by 2015, up from approximately 20.2 exabytes per month in 2010.
Average global IP traffic in 2015 will reach 245 terabytes per second, equivalent to 200 million people streaming an HD movie (1.2 Mbps) simultaneously every day.

Regional IP Traffic Trends
By 2015, the Asia Pacific region will generate the most IP traffic (24.1 exabytes per month), surpassing last year’s leader, North America (22.3 exabytes per month), for the top spot.

The fastest-growing IP-traffic regions for the forecast period (2010 – 2015) are the Middle East and Africa (which had a 52-percent compound annual growth rate, for an eightfold growth), surpassing last year’s leader Latin America (48 percent CAGR, sevenfold growth).

Primary Growth Driver: Consumer Video
The global online video community will increase by approximately 500 million users by 2015, up from more than 1 billion Internet video users in 2010.

Global Device Growth
In 2010, PCs generated 97 percent of consumer Internet traffic. This will fall to 87 percent by 2015, demonstrating the impact that devices like tablets, smartphones and connected TVs are having on how consumers access and use the Internet.

Accessing the Internet on Web-enabled TVs continues to grow and by 2015, 10 percent of global consumer Internet traffic and 18 percent of Internet video traffic will be consumed via TVs.

3DTV and HD (Advanced Video)
Global advanced video traffic, including three-dimensional (3-D) and high-definition TV (HDTV), is projected to increase 14 times between 2010 and 2015.

Mobile Broadband
Global mobile Internet data traffic will increase 26 times from 2010 to 2015, to 6.3 exabytes per month (or 75 exabytes annually).

Global File Sharing
By 2015, global peer-to-peer traffic will account for 16 percent of global consumer Internet traffic, down from 40 percent in 2010.

Global Business IP Traffic
Business IP video conferencing is projected to grow sixfold over the forecast period, growing more than two times as fast as overall business IP traffic, at a CAGR of 41 percent from 2010 to 2015.

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