Cisco Switzerland Technology Blog

Understanding WLAN-Controller Release-Numbering

I regularly get questions with regards to AireOS-Software Releases and in this little blog-entry I would like shed some light on this topic.

As example I will use one of the latest Software-Releases that we have published to www.cisco.com – AireOS 8.2.110.0

First let’s have a look at the number of this AireOS-Release:
AireOS-Number

Some people will immediately recognize that this number is representing the first Maintenance-Release of the the 8.2-Software-Train.
But how would you determine that?

To explain, let me split this number in 3 elements:
AireOS-Number_colored

I’ve used different colors to make it a bit easier to differentiate the different parts.

ELEMENT 1 – Train-Number

The first element consists of the first two numbers (in blue) and defines the Software-Train – in this case, the 8.2-Train.

One typical question in this area is, what triggers a change in this very first element.
Or to say it a bit more practical: What’s the deciding factor, that a release is called “8.2” and not for example “9.0”?

There are several aspects that are considered, when the Train-Number of a release gets defined.
If we take a simplified look at this, it comes down to a Marketing-Decision of the Product Managers.

So, depending on the marketing-decision of the PMs, the “8.0” release could have also been “7.7”; or “7.6” could have been named “8.0”.

 

ELEMENT 2 – Candidate-Number

The second element is the third number (in green).
Since the 7.x releases this number has been following certain rules

Rule 1:
The first release candidate that is pushed to “cisco.com” will always get the number “.100”

Example:
8.1.100.0 was the very first release published in the 8.1-Train

Rule 2:
Each Maintenance-Release-Candidate will then get ten more added to the previous candidate number.

Examples:
8.1.110.0 was the first Maintenance-Release of the 8.1-Train
8.1.130.0 was the third Maintenance-Release of the 8.1-Train

NB:

Cisco-People sometimes refer to Maintenance-Releases as “MR” – so, 8.1.130.0 could also be referred to as “8.1MR3”.

Rule 3:
If there are some bugs or problems recognized and a rebuild is published, those specific release numbers will be incremented.
Typically these releases will have additional critical bug-fixes included.

Example:
8.1.135.0 is the currently latest rebuild of  8.1MR3.

 

In all cases, I would highly recommend reading the Release-Notes carefully.
Take care especially about supported Hardware, open and fixed caveats, etc.

 

ELEMENT 3 – Interim-Build

The last element and the forth number (in red) is what’s called an “Interim-Build”.

AireOS-Releases published on “cisco.com” will always have an “Interim-Build” equal to “0”.
If the Software running on your WLC shows anything other than a “0” in this position, you are running a special release.

These special releases are exclusively published by Cisco TAC and should only be used based on the recommendation of TAC.
Usually TAC distributes them to solve critical bugs before the next official MR is being released.

If they have been published by TAC there is also no problem related with running such an image – TAC will fully support you on this SW-Release.
Of course, with availability of official MRs solving the same bug, it’s recommended to move to that official MR.

 

So I hope, this clarified a bit, how to read AireOS-Numbers.

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Are you ready?

We’re ready! Are you?

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The evolution of Cisco Wireless Licensing

18 years went by since IEEE released the first WLAN standard 802.11. It offered only meek performance and didn’t become a big hit.
The following standard, IEEE 802.11b, started to change that and especially with one further evolution, IEEE 802.11g, WLANs started to become popular.

Customers started to deploy more and more WLAN-AccessPoints and at some time they realized – the management of these AccessPoints became a hassle.

For this reasons, we at Cisco over 10 years ago started to develop WLAN-Controllers, which would relieve the Network-Engineers from some configuration and operational tasks around WLANs. Now you didn’t need to be an extremely skilled Radio-Frequency-Expert anymore to deploy and operate an enterprise-scale WLAN.

But back in 2005 many customers shied away from purchasing WLAN-Controllers, because it was not very easy to select the right one.

In this blog I give a personal view into how Controller-Licensing has changed over time.
Also the phases I mention are not official Cisco-Terminology, but should help you identify the various steps we have taken.

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The Meeting Room – designed by Cisco

At Cisco, we believe collaboration is not a set of technologies – it’s a human activity focused around getting teams to work better together to reach common goals.

Cisco’s mission is simple : we want to provide a no-compromise collaboration experience into Every Room, on Every Desk, and into Every Pocket. In this post I will concentrate on the Meeting Room designed by Cisco.

every_room_desk_pocket

When it comes to Collaboration, the focus is on getting the experience right – it’s not just about IT making sure that things are deployed. If employees don’t adopt your new technologies, where’s the return on investment?

Meeting Rooms today

Currently we see a lot of meeting rooms around in business and organizations like this one, or with similar siloed technologies and usage applications. One solution for local meetings, one for audio conference, one for multimedia, one for video and one for whiteboard and content creation.

old_room

This is the typical meeting room I personally see when I visit customers. You can find an audioconference endpoint with external microphones. This audioconference device has an audio corporate directory and can be reached via a PSTN phone number. In one corner, there is a “wheel base” videoconference endpoint also with its own external microphones and a remote control. This device can be reached by dialling an H.323 IP address and also has a video corporate directory. For local meetings, you also have ceiling speakers in addition to the beamer which adds another remote control on the table. Also, fifty percent of the time this beamer has a PC connected which adds keyboard, mouse, webcam, etc.

When an end-user enters this room, the first thing which comes to its mind is “oh, my god ! It looks difficult, I’m gonna call IT to setup my meeting”. If you think about it, it’s not really obvious for most of the business users : I’d like to show my content locally but also remotely for people joining via video, which VGA cable do I use ? which remote ? which video source ? I’m doing a videoconference, but I also need to bring someone on its cell-phone, should I use the audioconference device in parallel ?

Things does not work very well together or not at all, and it is a lot of friction and pain to utilize everything in an efficient manner, and overall this creates a very bad user experience.

The Meeting Room designed by Cisco

We worked at redefining the meeting room experience, making it simpler, more user centric and optimized for user scenarios, but also more intelligent and capable, and here is the result :

cisco_mx800

Basically, we took every accessories from the previous room and integrate them into a single device : the Cisco MX Series.

The MX series integrates the beamer, the speakers, the microphones, the audio and video conference endpoints, the different cables inside a single device.

MX800D

Remote controls  have been replaced by a Touch panel which gives access to a single audio/video corporate directory, a dial-pad, and the list of scheduled meetings. You don’t see any phone in this room, because you can reach the MX via a PSTN phone number as well as a SIP address such as room1@company.com.

The iconic aluminium frame encloses the speaker grill with integrated camera and the large screen area while concealing the cables. There is no VGA/HDMI cables on the table because users can share content from their laptop screen wirelessly with the room system using Cisco Proximity. This is useful both for local meetings, where content is presented only to people in the same room, and during video calls, when you can present both locally and to remote participants.

proximity_mac

Cisco MX700 and MX800 endpoints employ a unique dual-camera approach named SpeakerTrack. With one camera, it quickly locates the active speaker and presents a close-up of that speaker. At the same time, the other camera readies to seek and display the next active speaker. This results in very fast camera switching and an uninterrupted meeting experience.

Industrial Design

The new industrial design language is developed hand in hand with a new user and graphical interface. It is designed to blend into the office environment with reduced, clean surfaces and carefully crafted details. The overall design combines light and minimalist aesthetics with a calm and inviting expression.

By the way, Cisco’s industrial design was recognised in 2014 by multiple Red Dot Design Awards.

Just like when you go to Apple Store, it is emotional ! End-users get attracted and immediately give a try because they have the feeling this is going to be easy use. Purpose built: Designed with video collaboration in mind. All aspects of the system, from the height of the camera, the size of the screen, and the positioning of the loudspeakers have been considered to make sure you have the best possible quality and consistent user experience every time.

If you would like to live this delightful experience from our offices in Rolle (VD) or Wallisellen (ZH), do no hesitate to contact us !

Cisco Mobility Express Bundle

As most of you recognize Cisco is heavily fighting in the WLAN / Enterprise Mobility market were especially many new players attacking us in the lower end of the market,
many of them position their controller-less WLAN solution and claim that the Cisco solution is too complex.

NOW – We launched the “Mobillty Express Bundles” including a WLC2504 controller with a 25 AP_license.
Partners and enduser can take advantage from very high discounts !!!

Cisco Mobility Express Aironet 1700 Bundle Cisco Mobility Express Aironet 2700 Bundle Cisco Mobility Express Aironet 3700 Bundle
Ideal for as midsize offices, schools & warehouses that need high performance 802.11ac.


AIR-AP1702i-x-WLC *
$1490

Includes:

  • (2) Cisco Aironet AP1700
  • (1) WLC 2504 controller
  • (25) AP Licenses

* note that “x” within the SKU denotes the AP domain selected

A rich feature set and superior performance to support higher numbers of clients


AIR-AP2702i-UX-WLC
$2290

Includes:

  • (2) Aironet AP2700
  • (1) WLC2504 controller
  • (25) AP Licenses
Ideal for midsize or large enterprises that have mission-critical and high density environments. The industry’s only enterprise-class 802.11ac access point with a 4×4 MIMO and a modular design for investment protection.

AIR-AP3702i-UX-WLC
$3090

Includes:

  • (2) Aironet AP3700
  • (1) WLC2504 controller
  • (25) AP Licenses

Feel free to contact me if there are any questions.

Stefan Leemann
stleeman@cisco.com
Phone: +41 44 878 7392
Mobile: +41 79 430 5841

A next step to MD – AireOS 8.0.110.0 is out

Just before the end of 2014, actually in the week of Christmas 2014 we published on our Webservers the latest SW-Release for AireOS-based WLAN-Controllers: 8.0.110.0 – some people refer to it as “8.0 MR1”.
This Release is the first Maintenance-Release in the 8.0-Track and brings the 8.0-Release-Train closer to MD-Status.

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Mini-Series Cisco Live 2015 (7): Whisper Suites

I recently got an MTE-Request (see earlier post) from a customer – in the description the customer mentioned, that he would like to meet with me to discuss “some” Wireless-Topics.
He also requested that I would organize some Product-Managers and/or Technical Marketing Engineers to join the meeting, as he would like get in direct touch with these folks.

Unfortunately, this last part of the request is blowing the borders of a MTE-Meeting – it is not possible to do that.
The MTE-Process is not prepared to accommodate such requests.

However, I still could help this customer.

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Mini-Series Cisco Live 2015 (6): Infrastructure

Beside being a speaker, I’m also part of the Infrastructure-Team at CiscoLive! 2015, Milan.

While I can ensure you, that the planning and preparation of the infrastructure of the event is going on since several months, ….
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Mini-Series Cisco Live 2015 (5): MTE

Yesterday evening it happened – I got the first request for a MTE in the upcoming CiscoLive! 2015 Milan.
Some of you might now think: “What the heck is a MTE?”
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Power for SMB (KMU) with the Cisco Collaboration Business Edition 6000s

Der Swiss Cisco Community

Cisco has announced an extension to the well established Cisco Collaboration Business Edition Portfolio platform.

Its newest family member is the Business Edition 6000s (BE6Ks, or BE6000s)

Cisco Business Edition 6000 is a family of purpose-built, all in one collaboration solutions that are right-sized and affordable for companies ranging from 25 up to 1000 employees.

The solutions provide core capabilities that small and midsize businesses need for improved collaboration and productivity among employees, customers, and business partners. Fully integrated platforms deliver premium voice, video, messaging, instant messaging and presence, conferencing, and mobility capabilities, and a variety of advanced collaboration options, including video conferencing and contact center services, in single-platform designs that scale with business growth.

The Cisco Business Edition 6000 family now offers three packaged model options:

NEW! Small (S)(Availability from Q1 CY2015) – BE6000S is a centralized, voice-centric call processing platform for smaller-scale deployments of up to 150 usersand 300 devices. The solution supports 5 fixed core UC applications – CUCM, CUC, PCP, IM&P, and Paging Server – and any combination of IP and DX series endpoints – including 7800 and 8800 series phones, and DX video endpoints. BE6000S migrates to BE6000M/H, BE7000M/H, hybrid environments, or fully to Cisco Cloud services.

BE6KS(click to enlarge)

Medium Density (M) (Shipping since Dec 2011) – BE6000M is an integrated, centrally-managed voice+video call control platform for midsize deployments of 25 to 1000 users, 1200 devices, and 100 contact center agents. The solution supports up to 5 concurrent applications (4 UC/Collab + 1 mgmt.) and a combination of IP and video endpoints – including, 7800 and 8800 series phones, and DX and EX video endpoints. BE6000M migrates to BE6000H, BE7000M/H, hybrid environments, or fully to Cisco Cloud services.

High Density (H) (Shipping since May 2013) – BE6000H is an integrated, centrally-managed voice+video call control platform purpose-built for conferencing-intensive midsize deployments of 25 to 1000 users, 2500 devices, and 100 contact center agents. The solution supports up to 9 concurrent applications (8 UC/Collab + 1 mgmt.) – including a fully integrated video conferencing applications suite – and any combination of IP and video endpoints – including 7800, 8800 and 9900 series phones, and DX, EX, SX, and MX series video endpoints and room systems. BE6000H migrates to BE7000M/H, hybrid environments, or fully to Cisco Cloud services.

For more and detailed information please follow this link: BE6000

Cheers, Niema

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