Cisco Live 2019 Technical Conference Update

by Robinson Roca, Practice Leader – Network Infrastructure

Helient Systems recently attended the 2019 Cisco Live Technical conference in beautiful San Diego, CA. Cisco Live equips technical personnel with the knowledge and skills to play an essential role in delivering innovation to their client’s infrastructure and technical capabilities. During our attendance, we were made privy to recently announced innovations. As Helient’s Network Infrastructure Practice maintains a tight partnership with Cisco, we were introduced to up and coming technologies still in development. It was truly amazing to see the marvels that Cisco is working on — most we cannot share because of our non-disclosure agreement with Cisco, but rest assured they do not disappoint.

One of the amazing innovations Cisco publicly announced was regarding changes to the Cisco Umbrella product. Cisco is announcing the addition of CASB services, Cloud Based Firewall Services, Threat Intelligence Access, and a secure Web Gateway providing Web Filtering services. These become extensions to the current DNS-Layer security currently offered by Cisco Umbrella. Cisco will also offer Cisco Umbrella integration with their current SD-WAN offerings. These will bring a major upgrade to customers currently using Umbrella and increases ROI with just a simple upgrade.

Another impressive Cisco Innovation is the advent of their Artificial Intelligence network analytics. This amazing network technology uses machine learning to create an ever changing baseline of network operations. It keeps running tabs on throughput, as well as the status of network equipment, and will alert on deviations that spike outside of the learned norms.  This technology is similar to the methodology used by IPS.  Typically IPS will run a baseline of the traffic it sees. When IPS forms it’s baseline, it remains a static baseline, unless you run another baseline scan.  Machine learning allows for the constant learning of network norms to minimize the typical “noise” found on standard threshold based alerting.  This Machine learning covers the network from LAN, WAN, and security.

See the following link for an explanation from Daniel Lozado, Product Manager for Artificial Learning: https://dms.licdn.com/playback/C4D05AQH0URQI6HBwvQ/feedshare-aws-analyzed_servable_progressive_video?e=1561561200&v=beta&t=ZVfkSQls4k1WIEENWSnLCKCDqd2RyylSfLrlZfgTteI

For quite some time now, Cisco has had a void in their lower end Enterprise Security offerings. The Cisco ASA5505 became end of routine failure analysis in 2018, and will be end of support in 2022. Since 2018, the specific void left by the EoL announcement of the 5505 has not been filled. Cisco has announced the new FPR-1010 Next Generation Firewall appliance. This firewall sports (8) 1 gigabit “switched” ethernet interfaces, can run ASA or FTD software and supports 650Mbps of throughput; even with IPS services enabled (in FTD mode only). It even supports 802.3at power (when paired with the appropriate power supply.

Cisco has also announced several new innovations in the Catalyst 9000 Series of switches.

Cisco’s 9200 and 9300 Series switches are the new and revamped versions of the Cisco 2960x and 3850 series switches. Cisco listened to their customers and produced a 48 port SFP switch to aggregate 1G fiber uplinks (I wish they had this when I had designed and built the network for a very tall building in NY that will remain nameless 😉).

Cisco has also refreshed the Cisco 4500 Series chassis with the Cisco 9400 series Chassis. This switch is capable of 9 terabits of throughput, and this chassis is so powerful it provides greater throughput than the Cisco 6500 loaded with a Sup 6T supervisor which supports a measly 6.16 Tbps. Not only is this switch powerful, but capable of supporting multiple PoE capabilities -802.3af 15W, 802.3at 30W, UPOE 60W and the newly minted UPOE+ 90W per port. Just think, you can power the lighting in your office from this switch (PoE Lighting of Course).

Cisco 9400 Chassis

Lastly we have the advent of 802.11ax a.k.a Wifi 6. Cisco has developed several Wifi 6 Certifiable, and Wifi 6 Compatible access-points. These APs are capable of all aspects of the 802.11ax RFC, and offer what we all have been waiting for in the Wifi community. This includes greater density users per AP, the capability of communicating data back to multiple Access-Point clients at the same time, and bundling data frames into multiple streams. Wifi 6 is the biggest game changer since 802.11G. Cisco not only developed a more powerful access-point, but they have done an excellent job of developing a smaller, lighter access-point which fits into any firms décor.

Cisco Live was eye opening, and a critical part of my career development — but most importantly, it allows Helient to empower our customers with information. We enjoy sharing these details with our customers, and providing tidbits of information, that offer the details they need to make educated decisions regarding their technology tracks. If you need any assistance or have additional questions on Cisco contact service@helient.com.

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