How I Learned to Love the Dial Plan

Postedby Jason Guel on July 14, 2014 | 5 Comments

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EXC_BAD_ACCESS Issue with the Lync client for Mac crashing after login

One of our clients reported an issue with the 2011 Lync client for Mac that was very interesting. It seemed that logging into an account using the Mac client on OSX Mavericks would log in and then crash within 5 seconds.

The crash log would show the error: EXC_BAD_ACCESS. There are many websites and blog posts related to this error and some of the fixes may work for you. These include but are not limited to deleting the keys from the keychain, doing a manual uninstall/reinstall, and even trying an older version of the client.

In our client’s case, none of these options resolved the issue!

During my investigation the problem became even stranger. The client had Lync Server 2010 and was up to date on the latest patches. However, I found that if I used the same exact Mac computer and client, I could successfully log into and use the 2011 Lync client if I logged into a completely different Lync server system.

Let me explain. If I logged in as user@company1.com — where company1 is the domain of the organization having the issue — the client would crash within 5 seconds after logging in. If I logged in as user@company2.com — where company2 is a completely different organization — the client worked just fine. It would not crash, I could IM other people, share my screen, make calls, etc. Whatever the policy allowed me to do I could do without any issues.

Obviously this meant there was something with the server was causing the client to crash. What that was however, I had no idea.

At this point I opened a case with Microsoft, and after explaining all of this to them, they still had me concentrate on the client and what it was doing. Microsoft had me send them all kinds of logs which were not very helpful in discovering the issue. I had also found out there had been a previous MS case on this very same issue for this company that had eventually been abandoned. This made me determined to keep pressing them for a resolution — which got my issue escalated to a senior engineer.

After going back and forth for a while and still not getting any traction on this issue, even after the escalation, I gave the engineer the username and password to the account I was using to test with, so he could see for himself what I was seeing. This is where a breakthrough finally came.

I got an email back from the MS engineer, and he said after attaching a debugger to the client to get more details, that the client was crashing during phone number normalization and thought the issue might have been with the line URI of the account.

Checking the line URI of that account, and the other accounts, I could find no issue with them and they were just like any other Lync deployment I had seen — formatted in proper E.164 specifications. But when he said normalization that got me thinking … so I started looking at their dial plan.

They had three 7-digit number normalization rules for their dial plan. I found that a bit odd — especially since I usually only see one 7-digit normalization rule, and then maybe one to three 10 digit normalization rules. As I looked more closely I realized that the 7-digit rule was written in a slightly odd manner — meaning it had a “!” in front of it followed by all possible area codes and ended with a “d\{7}.” It appeared it was trying to do a match based on what it shouldn’t contain.

In addition the other two 7-digit rules were for different, but neighboring area codes. Clearly these were meant to be 10-digit rules. Not only that, in testing the rules in the Lync Control Panel, I found that the second and third 7-digit rules were never hit, because of the way they were written. They would just be bypassed and would hit the national rule which would catch any other 10-digit number and add a +1 to the number!

I further discovered that these rules were implemented by use of a script generated by doing some basic inputs into a form. I retested this form and sure enough it generated the same kinds of rules that were put in place here. This is why it’s so important, if you are in the Lync world, that you really understand regex and the different ways it can be implemented — especially from a script — because it will let you put in rules that are not valid even if they look valid.

At this point I created a user-level dial plan, copied all of the normalization rules into that dial plan from the other dial plan, except for the three 7-digit normalization rules. I then rewrote those rules into a single 7-digit rule for those numbers they could 7 digit dial within the area code. Then I manually created two 10-digit dialing rules for the neighboring area codes that did not require a 1 to dial.

Once my user test plan was complete I assigned it to my test account and forced replication. Once that was complete I logged into the test account on the Mac and lo and behold it didn’t crash! Everything worked perfectly.

There are lessons to be learned here:

  • Scripts, and script generators that help you implement Lync are great, but be sure you actually understand what they are doing before you start using them. If you can do that, you will become a much better Lync engineer.
  • Remember, whether you are implementing from the LCP or the powershell, that LCP/powershell will let you create invalid expressions


Which is why you:

Always validate all of your normalization rules. Make sure they are doing what you want them to do, and not something else. Don’t just test expected positives, but also test expected negatives.

 

 

Thank you for reading!
Jason Guel, MCSA 2012, MCSE Communications & Messaging

 

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The Value of Customer Experience

Postedby Tracy Wessel on June 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

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How Cerium Contact Center creates and fosters a unique customer experience.

The concept of developing a unique customer experience is not a new one. Some attribute the introduction of this concept to a 1998 Harvard Business Review article by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore titled “Welcome to the Experience Economy.” The two management consultants conceived and documented the rise of Mass Customization, the Experience Economy and Authenticity as the new business imperative, and most recently the “infinite possibility” of virtual experiences. They suggest that businesses must create memorable events for their customers, and that the experience itself becomes a significant part of the product.

But what do we know about the Customer Experience, and what it means to your business? For starters, we know that the Customer Experience defines a relationship between the customer and the organization. Strong relationships increase customer retention, reduce acquisition costs and increase profitability. But to what degree?

Losing a customer carries several economic burdens. In terms of measuring customer dissatisfaction against the cost of implementation of technology and innovation, we can consider some of the following:

  • Economic impact of losing a customer

  • Cost associated with replacement (the cost of acquiring a new customer is five to 10 times greater than the cost of keeping an existing one)1

  • Economic impact of negative word of mouth (a single unhappy customer generally tells many other people about the poor experience)

  • Economic impact of the reach of negative social media

In a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, some interesting statistics come to light:

86% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience

86 percent

“The White House Offi ce of Consumer Affairs reports that most dissatisfied customers will tell nine to 15 people and 13 percent of those will tell over 20. Considering the viral nature of social media, a preferred channel for sharing brand dissatisfaction stories, the number of eyes seeing that negative feedback could be astonishingly high. The risk in not asking for this vital experience feedback is simply too great.”
— Guerrilla Sales & Marketing - Customers Pay More for Better Experience, By Lori Turner-Wilson

 

A similar report conducted in 2006 showed that only 68% of consumers would walk away after a single bad experience – but this number increased to 89% in 2011. MCorp Consulting’s independent research shows that this increase has trended closely alongside consumer adoption of smartphones. “Put another way, the ‘smarter’ the average customer becomes, the greater the likelihood to leave after a poor experience. And why not? Almost everything about your competitors are in their pockets. It’s a click of the mobile browser to find an acceptable alternative.”2

89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience

89 percent

79% of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored.

79 percent

How Satisfied are Your Customers?

The Contact Center is pivotal in the overall customer experience within most organizations. It is the front line for providing an introduction to your company, providing essential support for your existing customer base, and/or ensuring quality response to customer concerns or issues. Tailoring Contact Center solutions to align with your objectives allows your agent resources to provide the experience your customers deserve and demand, creating high customer satisfaction ratings and reducing customer dissatisfaction. Performance management tools allow for in-depth analysis of service both from an internal and external perspective. Effective utilization and understanding of this data helps organizations drive improvements, and provide the services that are in line with expectations. The old adage for Call Centers is that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” This includes your customers’ satisfaction with the customer experience your organization is providing. Do you know how satisfied your customers are with the service you are providing?

“In a world where disruptive innovation is leading to perceptual commoditization in many industries, customer experience is one of the greatest opportunities for differentiation there is.”

— Michael Hinshaw, Managing Director, MCorp Consulting 

On a smaller scale, the customer experience directly impacts the return on investment for innovations and solutions deployed to enhance that very customer experience. “Advanced technology that is not deployed effectively can have an adverse effect on your overall return, directing customers to ineffective channels and creating disjointed experience and information flow, therefore lowering satisfaction ratings,” says Susan Anderson, Cerium’s Contact Center Business Practice Leader. “Proper use of solutions all starts will a well-defined strategy and understanding of your customer base, your organization, and your customer’s lifetime value.” 

“The full customer experience is a differentiator between you and the competition. This is a defining strategy to success in the marketplace.”
— Susan Anderson, Contact Center Business Practice Leader, Cerium Networks 

How Can Cerium Contact Center Help My Business?

Cerium’s existing customer base for Contact Center is very organic. Our Contact Center practice consultants bring a depth of experience which comes not only from a technical base of education and experience, but from an equally valued experiential curriculum in marketing and mid-market business practices. Cerium is the one of only a few locally based Contact Center solution providers in the PNW. We have a rich heritage of providing Unified Communications, telephony and network solutions over the last 14 years. In addition to our technical capabilities, we have a depth of resources that includes the best of the best in industry practitioners, and successful long term relationships with our customers, some extending well over a dozen years. Being locally based allows us to interact with our customers on a regular bases and fosters these long term partner relationships. “We are here [in the Contact Center Practice] to work with you to define where your organization is, and where you want to be on the customer experience spectrum of solutions. Each business has a different definition and requirements for Customer Experience,” says Anderson. “Cerium’s consulting capabilities allow us to understand your organization and design the right solutions vs deployment of cookie cutter technology.”

Currently in our market space we are seeing many trends that enhance customer experience and create efficiencies within organizations. Trends include some of the following Contact Center deployment models:

  • Consolidation of resources for work such as scheduling in the healthcare industry

  • Delivery of a multichannel service in fi nancial institutions

  • Development of new call centers to handle voice strategies where calls were previously handled as “other duties”

  • Notifications for utility companies on items like bills and outages

  • Automated customer surveys for State and local governments

  • Automated basic transactions for all industries

  • Automated payment processing for Insurance Companies

  • Migrating transactions from being agent assisted to being handled by automation

  • Evolution of cost containment drivers for transactions to experience driven drivers

We’ve worked hand in hand with our customers to deploy effective solutions under all of these models, and transitioned customers from a model that entraps the customer experience in an IVR unable to get to a live body, to creating persistent conversations through the blending of agent assisted and automated services with integration to web and mobile interactions. Proactively communicating with customers through effectively designed automation can reduce contact center volumes allowing for efficiencies and cost containment. Often we see the contact center having the ability to take on more without the need to grow through these strategies.

Cerium consultants can help you develop a strategy, define requirements, create a design, deploy your solutions, and create an effective administration plan or provide managed services. With so many options in the market surrounding customer experience management solutions for contact centers it is important to have a plan for where you need to be today and where you want to go in the future. “You can’t boil the ocean” says Susan Anderson, “you have to start with a foundation and a plan to get to your long term goals. Deploy solutions that will help you grow as your needs expand. Cerium can help you develop this plan and define where to start!”

Cerium will also help you align your contact center strategy with that of your organization. Aligning with marketing, back office, and other service delivery groups is key to creating a consistent customer experience and increased customer satisfaction. Helping other business units understand the impact of their initiatives on the Contact Center can help ensure effective campaigns and deployments, increasing both internal and external satisfaction.

What to measure, how to measure it, and what it means to your organization is critical to defining the success of your Contact Center strategy. Is your solution and configuration meeting business objectives? Are customers getting the experience they want? Do agent have the tools to provide an effective experience and are customers satisfied? As part of a Cerium engagement we can help you define and answers these questions and more around performance and metrics. 

“Contact Center support doesn’t end with planning and deploying. At Cerium we consider the Contact Center a solution that should continually grow and change with your organizations requirements, and we are here to create the proper support structure.”
— Susan Anderson, Contact Center Business Practice Leader, Cerium Networks

Technology alone does not provide the customer experience and create customer satisfaction. Proper utilization, knowledgeable administrators, and performance management expertise are key in creating long term success.

What is the Deployment Time?

But how long does all this take? Contact Center deployments can be lengthy by technology standards. Because Contact Center is a practice programmed and developed uniquely for your organization, the time to launch is dependent on the complexity of tasks. Will the solution support skills based routing, or will advance integration be needed to authenticate customers, produce screen pops, or automatically populate data fields in customer applications? Will automated services provide basic transactional information or require customized experience based on customer status or previous transactions?

What is the Consulting Expertise Behind Contact Center?

Our Contact Center Practice is managed by Susan Anderson. Ms. Anderson brings more than 22 years of high level and varied industry experience, including experience with some of the top Contact Center solution providers. To fully develop the customer experience within the Contact Center environment, practitioners should have a broad range of experience to facilitate understanding the process behind aligning customer experience with client goals and best practices across multiple verticals. “You can’t be just a tech head,” says Ms. Anderson. “We are able to bring this expertise to our customers because we have a deep base of experience within the practice. This expertise is hard to learn in one place.” 

Pamela Treischel is a Contact Center Consultant with more than 20 years of Contact Center Management experience. Her expertise lies in workforce management implementations, staffing needs analysis, quality program development and implementation, measuring and assessing key performance indicators, customer experience management and multi-channel access strategies, process improvement methodology, and business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. 

Angela Krisinger recently joined the Cerium team as a Contact Center Consultant. Angela brings nearly 20 years of Contact Center experience and a resume that includes mid-market to large customers in a wide range of industries, including health, utility and technology. Susan’s strong skill set expands the Contact Center Practice capability as our customer base grows. Angela supports the Contact Center consulting offerings along with Pam, providing application support across our portfolio, and serving as an overlay to our advanced application projects where our ecosystem partners are engaged to ensure Cerium quality Contact Center solutions are delivered. 

Our Contact Center Engineering and Support staff also provide critical roles in our practice success. Their product experience allows our designed solutions to be deployed and managed to Cerium’s high standards. You are only as good as your team which makes the Cerium Contact Center Practice excellent! 

1Get Customer-Centric/ Strategic Planning — CMO EXCLUSIVES | September 17,
2013 “Just How High Is The Price For Delivering A Poor Customer Experience?”
Michael Hinshaw Managing Director for MCorp Consulting
2Ibid

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New Street Cred for Cisco Security

Postedby John Whalen on December 27, 2013 | 1 Comments

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Cisco Adds Teeth to its Security Portfolio

 

"With the close of this acquisition, Cisco will provide one of the industry's most comprehensive advanced threat protection portfolios, as well as a broad set of enforcement and remediation options that are integrated, pervasive, continuous and open."

— Cisco, press release

 

On October 1, 2013 Cisco finalized its acquisition of Sourcefire, the most innovative and highly respected intrusion prevention (IPS) firm in the industry. This is great news for Cisco partners and customers. 

With recent platform changes in the Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) product line, Cisco has demonstrated a renewed commitment and focus in security. Cisco added to the original ASA the capabilities of built-in IPS and web filtering, as well as layer-7 application awareness. As customers reinvest in their perimeter security, the ASA provides state-of-the-art next-generation firewalling. Even so, Cisco sometimes seems to be in confusion of its own overall security strategy. The Sourcefire team will add energy and focus, as well as industry credibility. 

Famous for IPS, Sourcefire has also developed a strategy of making visible all things related to network security. Their newest solutions have centered around next-generation firewalls and malware detection and mitigation. 

For Cisco the benefits of the acquisition lie in the potential melding of Sourcefire’s advanced intrusion prevention system (IPS) and anti-malware technology into its security, network, and wireless solutions. In addition, the talent of Sourcefire’s engineers represents an unlimited brain trust should Cisco be nimble enough and savvy enough to keep them feeling interested and valued. For Sourcefire, a company with a reportedly inconsistent channel strategy and a best-of-breed solution for a declining market (that of standalone IPS), joining one of the industry’s largest and best-capitalized firms will provide a way to port its technology onto new platforms and reach new customers. Though its IPS is outstanding, customers are turning toward next-generation firewalls (NGFW), instead of free-standing IPS solutions. 

Led by CTO and founder, Martin Roesch, Sourcefire has provided IPS solutions for over a decade, while at the same time nurturing the open-source framework of ClamAV anti-virus and SNORT, the most widely deployed IPS in the world. 

 

"As one team, we will provide a broad portfolio of integrated solutions that deliver unmatched visibility and continuous advanced threat protection across the entire attack continuum, allowing customers to act smarter and more quickly – before, during, and after an attack. It’s the new model of security I’ve been talking about for some time."

— Martin Roesch, CTO, Sourcefire blog

 

In many ways, Cisco’s 2007 acquisition of Ironport was handled very smoothly. Cisco seemed to leave the Ironport team—sales, channel and engineering—alone long enough for a successful transition. Today the reputation-based web and malware filtering that Ironport pioneered is present throughout Cisco’s security solutions, while still existing in its pure form in Cisco’s web security appliance and email security appliance. 

Roesch believes that security equals visibility and that with knowledge of what is occurring on the network administrators can accomplish threat detection and mitigation. Today Mr. Roesch has assumed his new position as the vice president and chief architect of Cisco’s Security Business Group. Roesch’s challenge will be to find a way to remain effective and strategic within a very large organization. 

In 2003 Cisco acquired Okena and continued the development of its flagship host-based intrusion product as Cisco Security Agent. In 2005 Cisco acquired Protego and developed its security monitoring product into Cisco MARS. Both products sold well and fit into Cisco’s self-proclaimed strategy of the self-defending network. However, in 2010 Cisco abruptly changed directions and killed both products lines, confounding industry analysts, as well as Cisco channel partners, who championed these solutions, and Cisco customers, who had invested in them. Cisco has been without a clear security strategy ever since. 

Cisco’s opportunity and challenge with the Sourcefire acquisition will be to retain Roesch and his team, and, more importantly, to listen to their ideas and give them the resources they need to innovate, invent and solve the business problem of digital risk management. In a larger sense, if Cisco can seize the opportunity they now have to become a truly strategic security leader, the whole industry will benefit. It is unlikely that every Cisco product will be best-of-breed. However, given its world-wide installed base and loyal customers from small-to-medium business to enterprise, if Cisco can get security right, or even more right, we all will benefit. We are all members of, or are customers of, organizations who depend on Cisco to meet information security threats. Ultimately, it is our data and our transactions which need to be safeguarded, now and going forward.

Next-Generation IPS

The Sourcefire Next-Generation IPS sets a new standard for advanced threat protection integrating real-time contextual awareness, full-stack visibility and intelligent security automation to deliver industry-leading security effectiveness, performance and low total cost of ownership.

Passive intrusion detection (IDS) mode notifies of suspicious network traffic and behavior while inline IPS mode blocks threats. The NGIPS solution can be further expanded with optional subscription licenses to add Application Control/URL Filtering and Advanced Malware Protection.

Next-Generation Firewall

The Sourcefire NGFW includes the world’s most powerful NGIPS, granular application control and advanced firewall functionality in a flexible, high-performance security appliance, bringing together control and effective prevention.

In NSS Labs’ 2012 NGFW Product Analysis Report the Sourcefire NGFW set a new standard in security effectiveness, protecting against 99 percent of all attacks and demonstrating superior performance and total cost of ownership. The Sourcefire NGFW also received top ranking in NSS Labs’ 2013 Security Value Map for NGFW security effectiveness and TCO.

Advanced Malware Protection for Networks

Sourcefire delivers inline network protection against advanced malware with two deployment options: Defend against sophisticated network malware – from the point of entry, through propagation, to post-infection remediation Detect a threat, confirm an infection, trace its path, remediate its targets and report on its impact Extend network protection to cover all threat vectors – endpoint devices, mobile and virtual – by integrating with Sourcefire FireAMP™, maximizing security and minimizing TCO.

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Prepare or Beware 802.11 AC/AD Wireless- The Next Wave

Postedby Kevin Mayo on December 06, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Prepare or Beware

802.11AC/AD Wireless—The Next Wave

 

By Kevin Mayo

Cerium Networks Solutions Architect

 

kevin mayo blog image

Can you believe that it has been almost five years since the industry adopted the IEEE 802.11n standard?  In that time, the wireless networking landscape has undergone tremendous change.  Smartphones and their use on the production 802.11 wireless network is now the norm, and the wireless tablet has become the preferred business networking tool. 

 

Cisco predicts that there will be more Internet-connected mobile devices than people in the world by the end of 2013.  With the stress of 7 billion smartphones and tablets already on the world’s network infrastructure, network providers and their supporting IT administrators must adapt if they are to survive and thrive in this new bring your own device (BYOD) marketplace.

 

Some of the most dramatic changes observed are:

 

  • More than half of the Internet data transmitted worldwide is mobile video. By 2017, this amount is projected to increase to two-thirds.
  • Smartphones consumed 92% of the global mobile data traffic while only making up 18% of handsets globally.
  • In 2011, the average smartphone used 189 MB of data per month. By 2012, their monthly usage went up to 342 MB. By 2017, average smartphone data usage is projected to reach 2.7 GB of data per month.
  • The fastest growth in device adoption over the next five years will be tablets, Cisco says. It predicts a 46% growth year-on-year and data growth more than doubling, by 113% annually.

 

To stay ahead of this mobility trend, manufacturers like Cisco and Meraki have released their new access points supporting the new wireless standard, 802.11ac.  802.11ac is the fifth generation of Wi-Fi, combining the freedom of wireless with the capabilities of Gigabit Ethernet.  Manufacturers like Cisco aim to deliver significant improvements in the number of clients supported by an access point, a better experience for each client, and more available bandwidth for content like video.

 

Some of the benefits of the new 802.11ac standard are:

 

  • More channel bonding from the maximum of 40 MHz in 802.11n now up to 160 MHz or a 333% increase.
  • More multiple input, multiple output (MIMO).  802.11n uses up to 4 spatial streams while the new 802.11ac uses 8 spatial streams.
  • Per access point bandwidth now exceeds 1.3 Gbps.

 

The wireless advancements of 802.11ac could not come at a more opportune time to address the density and bandwidth constraints of the legacy 802.11 Wi-Fi first generation environments. These second generation wireless products also come with a new (MU-MIMO) multiuser MIMO, allowing an AP to send multiple frames to multiple clients at the same time over the same frequency.  With Mu-MIMO, an AP can behave like a wireless switch where with 802.11n, the AP acts as a wireless hub which can only transfer a single frame at a time to all its ports.

 

Another interesting shift with the new standard is in regard to frequency allocation—802.11ac operates in the 5 GHz 802.11a spectrum only. This frequency shift from the b/g bands to now 802.11a only, allows for more non-overlapping channels, in significantly less used contention space, while being backwards compatible with 802.11a/n.

 

However, with all new adoptions and roll-outs of new technology, there are challenges.  If an access point now can deliver 1.3 Gbps, the access point and the network must be able to support 1 Gbps Ethernet link aggregation (port-channeling) to provide non-blocking wire-rate speeds.  And if a network administrator wants to connect multiple 802.11ac access points to the same wiring closet, then uplink aggregation needs to similarly not be oversubscribed so welcome to 10Gbps in your closets.

 

Further, the new 802.11ac access points require Enhanced POE.  Enhanced POE or 802.3atPOE+ are now the minimums to provide inline power over Ethernet to these power hungry units.  If one relies on the legacy 802.3af POE standard, the access point will dynamically shift from 4x4 to 2x2 spatial streams, defeating one of the primary advancements of the new standard.

 

If that were not enough to worry about, there is a silent whisper in the marketplace about the rapid development of 802.11ad.  Depending upon who you talk to, 802.11ad will change everything we know about wireless networking and we might see early market entries as early as late 2014, early 2015.  The future 802.11ad claims to deliver upwards of 7.7 Gbps per wireless access point.  Imagine, your network requires you to deliver 10Gbps wired connectivity to an access point, which then means you need  100Gbps for your upstream connectivity to avoid oversubscription and on, and on, and on. 

 

What is a network guy to do?  Fiber to the desktop and 10G wireless?  Prepare or beware?

 

The advancements in the industry are truly something to behold.  And these advancements mean it’s a challenging and personally rewarding time to be in the networking business.  Stale is definitely not an adjective you can use to describe the nature of IT in this business.

 

As a Cerium Networks Solutions Architect and a Network Designer, I have the following word of advice: Prepare.  We have heard for too many years that we are running out of IPv4 address space and our industry and its leaders need to adopt IPv6.  With now more than 7 billion mobile devices on the Internet, its official, and the IPv4 space is all but exhausted.  If we don’t have our arms around IPv6, our value, the company, and the industry we support will be diminished.

 

If your network is not ready for BYOD and mobility: Prepare.  How are you going to address the speeds and feeds of these new technologies?  How will you power them?  How will you provide back-up power?  And how does this new power grid affect your cooling, ventilation and HVAC?

 

And how robust is your cable plant?  Even if you wanted to adopt 10G, the now shipping 40G, and 100G network connectivity interfaces are gaining adoption.  How to get there: Prepare.

 

The Cerium Networks Team is here to help.  From consulting and design, to implementation and training, Cerium Networks can help you plan, prepare, and execute on your organization’s mobility and networking roadmap. Prepare or Beware.

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Successfully Deploying Avaya one-X Mobile Lite on Android & Blackberry

Postedby Ken Gaugush on September 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Avaya one-X Mobile Lite significantly improves the end user Avaya Extension to Cellular (EC500) experience.  Providing access to features in a much more user friendly manner.  Avaya one-X Mobile Lite does not require the deployment of a client server, rather simplified user access to EC500 is through an intuitive smartphone app that is freely downloadable from your smartphone store (search “Avaya”).

Avaya one-X Mobile Lite is also available on Avaya Communications Server 1000 to improve the Mobile Extension experience for the user.

onex

If you have EC500 (or Mobile Extension) enabled for your users and are at Avaya Aura Communication Manager 5.2.1 or better (or Avaya Communications Server 1000 7.5 or better), then you are ready to take the next step to deploy one-X Mobile Lite for those users.

Critical to a successful deployment is providing the correct feature access dial string settings (FNE’s or FFC’s) out to your users.  Unsuccessful deployments have expected the end users to populate these settings manually into their smartphones. This has resulted in user dissatisfaction as well as additional help desk calls.  Successful deployments auto-populate these settings.

On the Avaya Support Site download the Administering Avaya one-X Mobile document that is appropriate for your environment.  After familiarizing yourself with the document’s contents, you will note that there is an XML Template that you need to copy into a .txt file.  This is what you will use to auto-populate the settings for your end user’s smartphones.  Note that this capability is not available for iPhone and those end-users will still need to manually populate the settings on their iPhones.  A partial example of what that file looks like this:

code

You’ll want to populate this file with the relevant data (replaces the “xxxx”).  Once the document is complete you can post it to a file server or email it out to the end users requiring the one-X Mobile Lite service.  (Note -- It is advisable to verify the document’s accuracy by first testing on your smartphone, duplicating the end user’s retrieval process)

Improving the end user’s BYOD experience with Avaya one-X Mobile Lite is very easy.  If you haven’t done so already trial it yourself or with a select group of users.  Aside from improving end user satisfaction, a successful deployment will minimize the impact on administration and help desk. 

 

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Setting up Routing on Windows Server 2012 for Your Labs

Postedby Jason Guel on September 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Keeping up with new technologies is the hallmark of most of us that work in the field of Information Technology. Often to keep up with these new technologies we set up lab environments on a server using virtualization. Of course usually we have to keep these lab environments separate from our production environments but you still want those virtual machines to be able to access the internet to do things such as download and install patches or prerequisites.

This is a tutorial on how you can use Routing in Windows Server 2012 on a Windows Server 2012 host using Hyper-V.

1. Configure your virtual switches:

In your Hyper-v manager under actions click on Virtual Switch Manager. As you can see here we already have a virtual switch set up that is set up as an External Network and uses the hardware NIC to allow outside access.

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Why You Should Upgrade Microsoft Exchange

Postedby Rob Husted on September 06, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Microsoft has announced that the 2003 versions of Exchange and Outlook will reach end-of-life on April 8, 2014, meaning that support and security updates will no longer be offered for these products. Small Business Server has already been discontinued.

The writing is on the wall. Upgrading Exchange should be considered an absolute must if you’re still using Exchange 2003. It’s time to make the decision to move forward.

If you continue to use unsupported technology, you have to live with the risks. These risks include greater susceptibility to emerging security threats, and failure to take advantage of new features and services that can enhance business processes and help you operate more cost-efficiently.

Obviously, taking the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach is a risky proposition. Why not begin developing an upgrade strategy now instead of reacting to a crisis later?

Upgrading your servers is not a process that happens overnight. If you begin to plan and budget now, and take the time to learn how you can fully leverage Exchange 2013 to improve the way you do business, you’ll get much more value from your investment.

Making the case to upgrade soon-to-be-unsupported technology is relatively simple. However, you should also consider upgrading to Exchange 2013 even if your system isn’t very old.

That’s because Exchange 2013 offers a number of business-enabling features not available in older versions of Exchange. These features include:

  • Simple, web-based administration for all services

  • Virtualization, which creates significant capital and operational cost savings through server consolidation

  • The Outlook Web App, which enables email access from any device or browser

  • A simplified process for writing, controlling and deploying apps

  • Enhanced security measures to protect business information

  • Data loss prevention, which uses preset rules to monitor and protect sensitive data and alerts users to policy violations

This direct comparison of Exchange 2013 with earlier versions offers a thorough rundown of new and enhanced features and services. Cerium’s Microsoft-certified experts can also help you determine if the latest version of Exchange is right for your business.

If you currently have Exchange deployed onsite, you might also want to explore the possibility of switching to a hosted Exchange platform such as Office 365. A hosted solution moves the messaging infrastructure – and the cost of purchasing, monitoring, maintaining, securing and upgrading that infrastructure – to an offsite service provider. Office 365 is proving to be an appealing option with its cloud-based email and collaboration technology. Look for more about Office 365 in an upcoming post.

Of course, it helps to have a trusted advisor when making these kinds of decisions. Cerium Networks has achieved Microsoft Gold Messaging, Gold Communications and Silver Server Platform Competencies, specializing in Lync and Exchange solutions. This means Cerium is expertly qualified to help companies upgrade their Microsoft Exchange servers, from consulting to implementation to support services.

Let us put this expertise to work so you can take full advantage of the latest features of Microsoft Exchange.

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Introducing Cisco Meraki MR34

Posted on August 26, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Wi-Fi certified 802.11ac products that push maximum data rates up to 1.3 Gbps and operates exclusively in the less crowded 5-GHz band are starting to hit the market and setting the standards for future Wi-Fi deployments. Nearly all new devices will connect only at 5 GHz, and it is an ideal time to start considering your options and planning your 802.11ac strategy.

An excellent place to start your planning is by checking out the Cisco Meraki MR34.

802.11ac and the Cisco Meraki MR34

The Cisco Meraki MR34 is the new standard in wireless. Designed specifically for high density and next generation deployments, it's the world's fastest cloud-managed wireless access point.

Enhancements to modulation, channel bandwidth, and operation at 5 GHz help the MR34 achieve record breaking speeds of 1.3 Gbps, while also providing industry-leading visibility and management.

Channel Bandwidth

The MR34 doubles the size of the pipeline used to transmit data by increasing channel bandwidth to 80 MHz. Wider channels allow 802.11ac to use a larger slice of the limited available spectrum for transmission.

Modulation

Do more in the same airspace previously used by 11n. The MR34 uses enhanced modulation techniques to increase the density of information transmitted to end clients, effectively increasing the efficiency of WiFi signals.

Spectrum

One MR34 radio operates on the less crowded 5 GHz band, enabling the wider channel bandwidths of 802.11ac and avoiding interference of the 2.4 GHz band. The second client-serving radio supports 802.11b/g/n clients on 2.4 GHz.

Auto RF

Auto RF aggregates network-wide spectrum analytics through the Meraki cloud platform to automatically determine access point power levels and channel assignments. The full-time scanning capabilities of the dedicated third radio allow the MR34 to dynamically adjust and optimize the RF environment for connecting clients.

The MR34 integrates seamlessly into existing wireless environments

Upgrading a wireless network has never been easier. The MR34 supports existing 11a/b/g/n clients to make migration simple. Deploy the MR34 to add 802.11ac capacity into an existing WiFi network, and manage everything from the dashboard. Even use existing PoE infrastructure and upgrade to PoE+ (802.3at) when you’re ready to take advantage of advanced third radio security and optimization.

For more information contact your Cerium representative for a discussion and demonstration of the Meraki solution.

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Continual Product Training is Cerium’s Strong Suit

Postedby Doug Wiest, Inside Sales Representative on August 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Upon joining the Cerium Networks Inside Sales Team, I was informed of the certifications I must earn from each of our partners. The most in-depth and comprehensive training is by far the Cisco Sales Expert certificate. This certificate is the only one required by our partners that must be taken in person, including a test proctor, which gives the whole ordeal a semblance of the SAT.

The intriguing part of the test is the knowledge that the velocity of technology change is so high! New technologies are becoming obsolete quicker than ever before and most of the things I’ve learned in the test preparation will soon be out-of-date. In spite of this, the networking and hardware designs that Cisco has developed are far more advanced than one’s home consumer network would ever hope to be. As a result, I am now awash in acronyms and buzz-words and furiously scribbling notes in hopes that I will be able to retain all this information for the test.

The point of all this is to ensure that when I am talking to customers, I will be able to stay in the ring and talk at their level. Luckily, technology is hurtling forward at a constant rate for all users, including the customers, such that once I am up to speed, I will only need to learn about new products as they come out in the future. Product knowledge is essential in sales, and the more knowledgeable I am, the easier the sales process will be.

Cerium Networks brings to the table a focus on certifying ALL of their employees, especially those that interact directly with customers. The drive to continue one’s education and deepen the certification path is constant. The immersion experience in the Cerium office serves as a constant reminder that I will never know everything. With everyone on phones talking to customers and colleagues about systems, networks, and devices I sometimes feel like an undergraduate student that walked into a Computer Science department meeting.

The constant education of its people allows Cerium to look to the future. An atmosphere of constant learning gives Cerium an enormous advantage. As a corporation that prides itself on being an innovative, knowledgeable, and responsive partner to its customers, Cerium has developed the ideal design to allow its employees to stay current and ahead of the technology curve.

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The Driving Force behind a High-Performance Wireless LAN

Postedby Kevin Mayo, Cisco Solutions Architect on August 07, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Having a high-performance wireless LAN in today’s business world is an absolute must. Your wireless LAN needs to be fast, reliable and accessible. It needs to meet the increasing demands of cloud services and BYOD (bring your own device), with laptops, mobile phones and tablets constantly clamoring for bandwidth.

Applications that cause bandwidth bottlenecks — such as streaming video, IP telephony and web conferencing — have made it difficult for many wireless LANs to maintain optimal performance levels. Spotty connectivity, slow speeds and network interference result in wasted time and money … and frustrated users and customers.

The 802.11n standard has helped to address these concerns by improving wireless LAN throughput to at least 100 Mbps. Unlike older Wi-Fi standards, 802.11n is comparable to wired LAN technology and provides the capacity to handle high-bandwidth applications.

802.11n is powered by MIMO (multiple input, multiple output), which uses spatial multiplexing to send and receive data through multiple antennas and radios. This increases bandwidth and provides more coverage, allowing for high-speed connections from 150 feet or more. 802.11n can also improve performance by tapping into more of the wireless spectrum when it’s available.

The Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point (AP) takes this performance a big step further — an improvement of up to 30 percent for any wireless device at greater distances. Cisco Aironet 3600 is the first 802.11n AP with 4x4 MIMO (a fourth antenna) and three spatial streams, which enables that incredible jump in performance along with more capacity and reliability.

Other benefits of the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP include:

  • ClientLink 2.0 improves performance on any wireless device, even if it has a weak wireless signal.

  • A flexible design allows for customization and add-ons to suit your specific business requirements.

  • Cisco CleanAir technology protects performance, reliability and high-speed radio frequency (RF) spectrum intelligence for maximum security.

  • Cisco offers support for seamless, fast roaming and Voice over Wi-FI support with IEEE 802.11r, as well as enhanced mobile experiences with 802.11u.

  • Cisco Prime Network Control System and Cisco Identity Service Engine support BYOD environments by simplifying management and bolstering security.

  • The Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP supports breakthrough 802.11ac technology, a next-generation wireless standard that transfers data at a speed of 1Gbps. Look for an upcoming post about how your business can take advantage of this new standard for wireless connectivity.

Today’s business landscape requires a high-performance wireless LAN. Users and customers won’t settle for anything less. Let us show you how the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP meets and exceeds these demands.

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