Cisco Live London: 40 and 100 GbE, souped up WLAN

At Cisco Live London, Cisco launched 40 and 100 GbE switching, a souped-up 4-antenna WLAN access point, and a host of network virtualisation technologies.

At Cisco Live London last week, the company made a series of technology releases with one overall message: CEO John Chambers is sticking to his vow to refocus on Cisco's core mission of switching and routing. That vow came after Cisco took quite a beating in the market along with harsh criticism that it had strayed so far into side businesses like the Flip video camera.

Among the technology releases last week were 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) line cards for both Catalyst and Nexus lines. Also announced were new network virtualisation strategies and a 4-antenna WLAN access point (AP) that aims to increase throughput at longer ranges.

While the technologies seemed varied, Cisco execs said that together they formed an architecture-wide technology approach that addresses data centre, campus and branch networking, in addition to the all-wireless enterprise.

Here is a rundown of technology released at Cisco Live London from sister site

Cisco 40 and 100 GbE switching arrive

Cisco launched 40 GbE and 100 GbE capabilities across its Nexus and Catalyst switching lines this week at Cisco Live London. If customers actually buy into Cisco's new world order, 10 GbE switches could become basic access switches. Meanwhile, 40 GbE would be used for the data centre backbone and 100 GbE for interconnecting data centres and in service provider networks.

Cisco also launched a series of network virtualisation strategies that aim to help engineers better harness all of this new capacity with an eye on optimising application performance and enabling the cloud. Among the Cisco virtualisation technologies are the Easy Virtual Network (EVN), a WAN segmenting technology, as well as the addition of VXLAN to the Cisco 1000v switch, which will enable engineers to overcome VLAN challenges in the data centre.

Read the details of Cisco's 40 and 100 GbE switching capabilities and network virtualisation technologies.


Cisco opts into software-defined networking … but not with OpenFlow

During Cisco Live London, CTO Padmasree Warrior said Cisco will make software one of its “core competencies” this year, and that the company would make operating system APIs available to users for better network programmability. She stopped short of calling the strategy software-defined networking (SDN), but made it clear that Cisco will answer the needs of users who are seeking a separate network control plane that enables integrated network virtualisation and automation.

Nevertheless, company executives said that the OpenFlow protocol is not yet production ready, and they expressed no OpenFlow plans in the near future.

Read more about Cisco's new software strategy.


Cisco beefs up WLAN with new 4-antenna access point

Cisco Systems introduced the first 4x4 MIMO design for a three-spatial-stream 802.11n wireless LAN access point at Cisco Live London today. The Aironet 3600 series features a four-antenna radio design that Cisco claims can boost performance and range, although some analysts question whether the access point will be too late to market before the next generation of wireless LAN technology is available.

The majority of enterprise wireless LAN vendors have introduced three-spatial-stream access points (APs) to the market, but they have generally relied on three-antenna, or 3x3 MIMO, designs. 

Cisco uses an algorithm for its 4x4 MIMO wireless LAN access point that determines which spatial stream needs a boost. The algorithm then instructs the fourth antenna to boost the transmission or reception of that stream.

Read more about Cisco's new 4-antenna AP.

Read more on Data centre networking