As organisations in South Africa face the ever-growing challenge of managing the growth of mobile devices and business applications across multiple networks, businesses are finding it difficult to consistently find time to address issues that are enabling innovation and agility.
To help simplify network operation issues, Cisco has introduced new solutions under the Cisco Unified Access umbrella that simplify network design by converging wired and wireless networks:

New Cisco Catalyst 3850 Unified Access Switch with built-in wireless LAN (WLAN) controller functionality; and
* New Cisco 5760 Unified Access WLAN Controller appliance featuring IOS-based software and 60Gbps performance.
Additionally, Cisco announced new versions of the Cisco Unified Access policy and management solutions:
New Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) 1.2; and
* New Cisco Prime Infrastructure 2.0.
The new Unified Access products deliver consistent simplicity and intelligence across the entire network, enabling IT organisations to shift the focus away from time-consuming operational activities to those that enable innovative smart business processes.
Cisco Unified Access also includes features such as software-defined networking (SDN) open interfaces, which offer greater investment protection through support of new features in the future.
Previously, wireless networks have been built as overlays to the wired network, resulting in two logical networks to manage, in disparate features and services, and in increased complexity.
These problems have been compounded as users have brought multiple devices onto the network, leading to difficulty within IT of implementing common access policies, enabling bring your own device (BYOD), securing the network and providing an uncompromised experience.
Cisco Unified Access is Cisco’s strategy to unify wired, wireless and virtual private networks (VPNs), into a single, highly secure network infrastructure based on one policy source and one management solution for the entire campus network.
The Cisco Unified Access network architecture converges processing of wired and wireless traffic into a single data plane, based on the new Cisco Unified Access Data Plane (UADP) application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).
This new ASIC terminates wired and wireless traffic, provides high performance and scale, and enables consistent services to be applied to both wired and wireless, simplifying life for network administrators. The UADP ASIC features a programmable data plane, enabling deployment of software-defined networking services.
With the increasing need to connect more people, data, processes and things to the network, the role of wireless and wired networks is growing and network operations and feature requirements are becoming more complex. The new enhancements to Cisco Unified Access allow IT organisations to rapidly manage changing network demands and greater services innovations.
“Customers want a simple, highly secure network with reduced total cost of ownership that allows them to address new access requirements such as BYOD and new innovative line of business applications,” says Leon Wright, chief technology officer, Cisco South Africa.
“Cisco Unified Access allows customers to achieve these goals by moving away from individual vertical stacks of technology and disparate components toward a single architecture for an intelligent network.”