Cisco in May will launch its OfficeExtend platform, which is designed to make telecommuting easier and more secure for both the teleworker and the company.
officials, who have been vocal about the issues surrounding the rapidly growing
telecommuting trend, are unveiling new products designed to increase the
manageability and security around teleworkers who want to wirelessly connect to
their companies' networks.
Cisco on March
21 introduced its OfficeExtend solution, which includes new access points and
wireless controllers-including a dual-band 802.11n access point designed for
teleworkers-that will start shipping in May. The new offerings are part of
Cisco's larger Borderless Network initiative
, which aims to
enable network connectivity from any device at any time from any location.
products come at a time when a greater percentage of employees are working out
of the office, either telecommuting from home or on the road. The proliferation
of mobile devices, cloud-computing architectures and the push by companies to
drive down costs are helping to fuel the trend, which analysts say is gaining
steam. Some market research firms have said that currently as much as 40
percent of information workers in the United States work from home at least
Cisco's own look at the market indicates that trend will only go up. In a
workplace study released in October 2010, Cisco found that three of five
workers worldwide say they don't need to be in an office to be productive, and
that some would choose lower-paying jobs if it meant greater flexibility in
where they could work.
two out of every three of the 2,000 workers surveyed say their IT staffs should
allow them to use any device-whether personal or issued by the company-to
access corporate networks, applications and information.
interview with eWEEK, Sylvia Hooks, senior manager of mobile marketing at
Cisco, said the vendor's OfficeExtend platform enables IT staffs to "extend the
same network found inside the company's office into the teleworker's home."
make it easier for employees to work outside of the office, while enabling IT
staffs to ensure the same type of security and manageability for teleworkers
that are found within the company's walls, Hooks said. Some of the key hurdles
to telecommuting-from complicated setups in the house to security issues to
remote management, are addressed by the platform, Hooks said.
The key is
that products within the OfficeExtend platform are enterprise-level, she said.
using consumer-grade appliances and trying to band-aid [a] work-at-home
[solution]," Hooks said.
Cisco's Aironet 600 Series OfficeExtend access points are designed to let
teleworkers use separate SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers) to separate corporate
and personal network traffic. Hooks said it was the first dual-band 802.11n offering,
supporting both a 2.4GHz radio band for home network traffic and a 5GHz band
for corporate traffic. There also are four Ethernet ports for connecting such
network devices as IP phones and printers.
6500 Series Wireless Services Module chassis supports up to 500 corporate and
teleworking access points, enabling easy scalability of wireless LANs for
businesses as the number of mobile devices running rich-media applications like
video conferencing and virtual desktops and accessing the network increases.
The chassis also supports such Cisco technology as CleanAir for managing
interference, VideoStream multicast video over wireless networks and ClientLink
to boost client performance.
Cisco's 2500 Series Wireless Controllers and software for the vendor's ISR G2
Services-Ready Engine offer smaller networks 802.11n service for up to 50
access points and 500 clients.