Cisco Speaks Enterprise

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), the No. 1 enterprise wireless LAN vendor in the world, is attempting to extend its dominance in the market through wireless VOIP technology partnerships that should help to improve the quality of voice-over-WiFi services for enterprise users.

The networking giant has teamed up with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and BlackBerry to implement new software updates for wireless voice applications called Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX), designed to be used in conjunction with Cisco WLAN gear.

Like Cisco's original CCX wireless security extensions, introduced in February 2004, the updates will be implemented at the system level on client devices and chipsets, promising power-saving capabilities, better roaming, and improved call prioritization, as well as improvements to sound quality thanks to reduced "packet jitter."

"These are critical upgrades to get to voice-over-wireless LAN," Ben Gibson, director of wireless and mobility marketing at Cisco, tells Unstrung.

"The key to successful voice deployement is QOS end-to-end, and if you don't have it end-to-end then you're in trouble," agrees Gary Goerke, information systems manager at Farmington Hills, Mich.-based real estate firm Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust. "A residental user can stand a lesser performance for a cheaper price -- a business user doesn't have near the tolerance." Equally critical is network latency, which the Cisco initiative purports to address.

"Voice has unique requirements, not the least of which is a critical need to avoid latency," adds Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group , "and they appear to be pushing extensions that let the network optimize itself for voice traffic."

This sort of capability is only possible with extensions on the client side that can "talk" to the wireless LAN network. In essence, Cisco is once again using its weight in the enterprise marketplace to drive what some would call de-facto standards.

"Cisco is incredibly aggressive on voice and is already arguably the company that owns VOIP," says Enderle. "They are working to consolidate and strengthen that ownership."

The move could shake up others in the marketplace.

"Cisco, because of its size and weight in the industry can drive some of these 'standards,'" says Jack Gold, of J.Gold Associates. "Of course, this means that Alcatel, Avaya, Nortel and others may decide to do their own things in competition to Cisco, causing some confusion in the market, and potentially causing a lack of product interaction/compatibility, which [exists] already in this marketplace."

Cisco's Gibson says that compatibility fears are unfounded and that "a non-CCX WiFi handset will work with a Cisco network, and vice versa.

"This is all standards-based," he adds.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

jgreen1024 12/5/2012 | 3:56:06 AM
re: Cisco Speaks Enterprise You know, that standard that lets everyone work with everyone else and doesn't confuse the user... novel concept I know.
lrmobile_rusty 12/5/2012 | 3:56:04 AM
re: Cisco Speaks Enterprise .ccx v4 is really based on 802.11e. There are just a few additional integration requirements with existing Cisco VoIP protocols. It's not really a competing standard to 802.11e. It looks more like a few additional requirements on top of 802.11e.
whatupwireless 12/5/2012 | 3:56:03 AM
re: Cisco Speaks Enterprise Isn't ccx tested on both ends by Cisco? so that would it make it "Wi-Fi logo"-like. Or at least that seems to be the goal...
belikejones 12/5/2012 | 3:55:58 AM
re: Cisco Speaks Enterprise ccx was first announced in feb 2004. More than 2 years later, it has had zero impact on startups or cisco's value proposition for that matter. Deals are not being won or lost today because of CCX. Cisco is now reduced to Marketing messages without any engineering follow up or sales traction due to those marketing messages. Their immovable stock is a reflection of their lack on progress in implementing their vision/marketing on their key billion dollar markets. How many of you know Cisco employees who work less than 9 to 5, and think this is secure government job? (Ben Gibson, dir Cisco, if you are really good, Go get a real job). Marketing without execution just creates a market for someone else to take. VoWLAN is pretty much in the doldrums right now. If cisco manages to hype it and get adoption going, more power to them. I think there are plenty of venture funded startups willing to provide the products.

- blj
RBMartin 12/5/2012 | 3:54:53 AM
re: Cisco Speaks Enterprise You could also ask , 'What's wrong with 802.11n?' based on this week's IEEE - but see Craig Mathias' blog, on this page, for more on that.
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