Cisco revamps enterprise mobility architecture

The 3300 Mobility Services Engine lies at the heart of the newly rebranded Cisco Motion strategy, and comes with open APIs for a wide developer ecosystem

The networking company Cisco has launched a new architecture for unifying disparate networks, clients and access technologies.

The company also announced on Wednesday a rebranding of its entire mobility strategy, which is now called Cisco Motion.The centrepiece of the new architecture, and the strategy, is the Cisco 3300 Mobility Services Engine (MSE), an appliance-based platform with an open application programming interface (API) for developers.

Partner companies that have, or intend to integrate their applications with, the MSE include HP, IBM, Nokia and Oracle.

"Today's business mobility challenges cannot be solved using only traditional wireless LAN solutions when multiple network elements are converging and need to collaborate," said Brett Galloway, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's wireless and security technology group. "Cisco's Motion approach is a true Services Oriented Network Architecture that creates a mobility network as a platform for integrating key business strategies, processes and goals."

Cisco also released details of four software packages to run on the MSE. The Context-Aware Software service relays location or environmental information to the engine, ranging from temperature in manufacturing environments to motion and pressure. The Adaptive Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (wIPS) operates at the physical layer of the network and, according to Bryan Pelham, Cisco's European business development manager, "provides capabilities to be able to secure beyond what we [Cisco] offer today". Pelham added that wIPS could also detect and report on potential sources of Wi-Fi interference.

The Secure Client Manager package is for provisioning and managing client devices, which can range from laptops to smartphones and scanners, and the Mobile Intelligent Roaming package is, according to Pelham, for providing roaming that is "as seamless as possible". Acknowledging that the word "seamless" has been somewhat overused by communications vendors, Pelham admitted that flawless handing-off between networks and connectivity types was a "tough problem to solve".

The 3350 MSE will begin shipping in June — at the same time as the Context-Aware Software package — at prices starting from $19,995 (£10,132). The Mobile Intelligent Roaming and wIPS packages will ship in the second half of the year, and the Secure Client Manager package will become available in the first half of next year.