Irfan Salam

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Next-level Cisco certifications

Cisco, in a massive change, has announced Next-level Cisco Certifications starting Feb 24, 2020. In this surprise move Cisco has dropped all CCNA concentrations (R&S, Security, Wireless, Collab etc.,) and announced one Consolidated CCNA covering basic of all IT Services.

CCDA and CCDP certifications are also dropped, and DevNet certifications are announced sensing the growing need of Development Operations and Automation everywhere. DevNet Associate and DevNet Professional has been announced to validate the skills of professional-level software developers, DevOps engineers, automation specialists, and other software professionals.

The program certifies key emerging technical skills for a new kind of IT professional, empowering organizations to embrace the potential of applications, automation, APIs and infrastructure for the network, Internet of Things (IoT), DevOps, and Webex.



Cisco Certifications Path – Infographic

3 Steps to Tuning a Cisco WLAN Controller From Default Settings

When I asked a few Cisco Wireless Consulting Systems Engineers if they’d ever trust a controller’s default config for any time of AP deployment beyond 1 or 2 AP’s the typical answer (when they stop…

Source: 3 Steps to Tuning a Cisco WLAN Controller From Default Settings

Opinion: The benefits of moving from NOC to SOC


With the growth of MBB (Mobile Broadband) surpassing expectations, operators and CSPs (Communication Service Providers) are finding it tough to manage and ensure customer experience in real-time. People are using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, streaming videos, and opening multiple websites at the same time on their mobile phone, and often complaining about poor speed and coverage.

Due to changing market dynamics – such as the emergence of MBB – complexities are increasing for service providers. Almost every day, hundreds of applications are being launched supporting many different connectivity protocols and offloading scenarios for operators. Most operators still rely on network metrics provided by NOC (Network Operations Center) to understand how the network is behaving and monitor the end-user experience. Operators needs to fix issues in advance before customers report them, which requires applying new predictive analysis techniques to avoid losing valuable customers to competition.

I have a firm belief that customers will be the kings of telecoms in the near future. Customer dissatisfaction and lack of action from operators will soon be a thing of past. Operators need to reach-out to customers faster than ever before and resolve issues before it begins to impact them economically (in the form of churn) and through word of mouth (via social media or people perception.)

On top of this, operators are facing heat from OTT and messaging players like WhatsApp, Viber, and Hike, so they need to find new ways of addressing issues faced by the customer.

Figure 1: QoE is the single most important factor for service providers

Reports suggest that customer experience will decide the future of telecom services. QoE (Quality of Experience) will be the single most important factor affecting customers’ loyalty towards CSPs. According to Forrester Research, surveying enterprises in Europe and North America, 86% said that customer experience is a top strategic priority. When asked why, 76% said that it is to differentiate them in order to have a competitive edge.

The benefits of moving from NOC to SOC

To overcome these complexities, many CSPs are moving from a Network Centric view (NOC) to a Service Centric view (SOC) of their network. SOC provides a real-time view of the each service the customer is using such as Facebook, YouTube, Skype, web, or voice calls. If the user is facing an issue in some particular application, at a specific location, with a certain device, or during a set time of the day, all of these can be addressed by using SOC. This way, CSPs can effectively manage services that generate more revenue. Social media feeds and Voice of Customer (VOC) feeds integrated into SOC will provide an even better picture of overall customer experience .

Figure 2: Moving from Network metrics to Service Key Quality Indicators (SKQI)

SOC also provides proactive assurance, faster time to solve issues, increased productivity, and a better understanding of how customers are using mobile services in general. It also helps to show which apps are most popular, customers’ perception about the network, and how behaviors are evolving over time.

Challenges with implementation

Moving from NOC to SOC it’s easier said than done as it involves complex real-time monitoring of hundreds of gigabytes of data every few minutes. This data subsequently needs to be collected from different data sources, processed, and correlated to provide a service-level view of the network. This also involves data mining over huge data sets that may not be related, and implementation of Big Data solutions to effectively manage a SOC.

Having a new breed of engineers with the required skill set is also a challenge as SOC is still a new concept – although in developed telecom markets like the US – CEM professionals are already creating a niche market for themselves.

Futuristic approach

No doubt the world has moved beyond the analysis of bits and bytes moving across the network and network KPI’s. Customer experience and service-oriented approach is the next wave of revenue generation for telecom companies. We’ll soon be seeing SOC entering into wireline technologies such as VoIP, IPTV, and broadband.

With a clearer understanding of real-time and changing customer behaviors, companies can optimize revenue and cost models to maximize profitability, and the customer will also benefit.

VCE Simulator Alternative

Workaround for VCE Player

Ghufran Abbasi

From couple of months, am finding a solution for VCE exam simulator. here it is;

On Android, we have an app A+ VCE which is “in-purchase” list, but you may find its free version also. However, app cost you PKR 1200 for unlimited use, is available on both your mobile and desktop of choice.

For desktop, we have to use an Android Player “Bluestacks” which has a lot more easy to use features of android on windows platform.

Steps to follow

  • Download and install Bluestacks (it’s an Android App Player)
  • Start the application
  • Click on the Search button
  • Type “A+ VCE” and click on the “Search Play for”-button
  • Click on the application of your choice

The first two listed applications are the payed and unpayed version. You can easily use the unpayed version to decide if this approach works for you.
Within the A+ VCE player:

  • Click on Add
  • Click…

View original post 63 more words

Switch Where You Can, Route Where You Must

Pravin Mahajan - headshotBy Pravin Mahajan

Director, Corporate Marketing

Back in the days of FDDI optical and 10Base5 Thick Ethernet technologies (you remember them, don’t you?), I came across the phrase, “Switch where you can, route where you must.” As a young professional I wondered about it, and applied it to the situation at hand – designing a campus network for a mobile operator. The Synoptics 5000 system was deployed at several places in the network providing Layer 1 and 2 transmission hub and switching functions, while a single Wellfleet Backbone Concentrator Node (BCN) system provided Layer 3 routing (the two companies had actually merged several months before to form Bay Networks). The operator’s campus infrastructure worked perfectly, scaling as traffic volume exploded driven by the mobile revolution.

Route Where 1

I recalled having debates with my manager on the role of OSI Layer 1, 2, 3 technologies in network devices – can or should…

View original post 745 more words

5.5-Inch iPhone 6 mockup compared to iPhone 5s and other Android phablets (Video)

Network Highways – A Road without map

Network Highways - A Road without map

Level 3, du introduce ME fibre broadcast solution


Dubai-based telecoms operator du and US-based carrier Level 3 Communications today introduced the expansion of Level 3’s Vyvx Solutions in the UAE market.

“This marks a welcome addition for international broadcasters to better meet viewers’ demand for high-quality content, such as major sporting events,” du said in a statement.

In delivering the service, Level 3 established a Point of Presence (PoP) at datamena, du’s UAE-based carrier-neutral data centre and connectivity platform that serves the MEA region.
The Level 3 suite of Vyvx services is intended to complement du’s existing broadcast services with global fibre-based video transport services, designed to meet expanding bandwidth needs. As a result, du hopes to provide broadcast network customers with on-net access from the local node to Level 3’s global network footprint.

Du and Level 3 have a joint presence at this year’s Cabsat, the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)-hosted conference focusing on professional content management in the Middle East.
“These are exciting times – the UAE is well-known for hosting major sporting events and concerts as well as some of the world’s newest production studios which focus the world’s attention on the country”, said Martin Ford, senior vice president, Sales, Europe Middle East and Africa, Level 3 Communications.

“Our first Vyvx PoP in the Middle East will enable regional broadcasters and content producers to send and receive their content globally over Level 3’s secure, reliable and high-speed media network.”

“Level 3’s growing broadcast infrastructure and network scalability is helping us expand our business,” said Mahesh Jaishankar, vice president, datamena and Broadcast, du.

“As a leading provider of media broadcast solutions in the UAE, we service the major broadcasters. The introduction of Vyvx will play a critical role in delivering our customers the international reach they need, and to meet expectations of viewers for high quality content.”

Compared to traditional satellite services, fibre cables are considered less prone to interference, while also offering greater bandwidth capacity at a price point that has become more accessible. The Level 3 Vyvx service will use the new local PoP, as well as subsea cables reaching the UAE.

Top Security Techniques That Work For The Masters

Author: Robert Siciliano CEO of

Banks know security just about better than anyone. Find out what they can teach you about safeguarding your small business.

Security is a journey, not a destination. This is a security industry axiom that means we can strive for security, and by making this effort, we can put ourselves on a path to security. But while we may achieve a relative degree of security, our businesses will never be 100 percent secure—the destination we all strive for. Even Fort Knox, the White House and the New York Stock Exchange are vulnerable.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to reach our destination. In order to protect our businesses, we can apply strategies that significantly reduce our risk level. One of the best security techniques is layering. Layers of security make a criminal’s job more difficult, as they are forced to address all the vulnerabilities in our business.

Helen Keller once said, “Security is an illusion; life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Her quote has significance, although it’s not entirely accurate. That’s because security is part illusion and part theater. The illusion, like a magic act, seems believable in many cases.

Security theater, on the other hand, refers to security intended to provide a sense of security while not entirely improving it. The theater gives the illusion of impact. Both play a role in deterring criminals, but neither can provide 100 percent security, as complete security is unattainable. Hence, security is a journey, not a destination.

Banks know security, both the illusion and the theater. They have to, because robbers target these buildings daily. Because banks want to promote a friendly and inviting environment, consumers are mostly oblivious to the various layers of security that financial institutions utilize to protect their bank accounts. And that’s not a bad model to follow.

What Banks Know About Security

Banks have multiple layers of security. The perimeter of most banks are often designed to include large windows, so passersby and law enforcement can easily see any problems occurring inside. The bank’s doors also have locks. There is, of course, an alarm system, which includes panic buttons, glass-break detectors and motion sensors. These are all layers, as are the security cameras, bulletproof glass and armed guards. Ideally, the tellers and members of management should have robbery-response training. Many banks also use dye packs or GPS devices to track stolen cash.

All banks have safes, because banks know that a well-constructed safe is the ultimate layer of security. A safe not only makes it extremely difficult for a bank robber to steal the bank’s money, but it also protects the cash in the event of a fire.

And then there are the multiple layers of computer security. The basics include antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing and firewalls. However, there are numerous additional layers of protection that monitor who is accessing data and why, and numerous detectors that look for red flags which indicate possible identity theft.

Banks also recognize that a simple username/password is insufficient, so they require their clients to adopt multifactor authentication. Multifactor authentication is generally something the user knows, such as a password or answers to knowledge-based questions, plus something the user has, such as a smart card, token or additional SMS password, and/or something the user is, such as identification through a biometric fingerprint, facial recognition, hand geometry or iris scan. In its simplest forms, multifactor authentication occurs when a website asks for a four-digit security code from a credit card or installs a cookie on your machine, or when a bank requires a client to add a second password to his or her account. Some institutions also offer or require a key fob that provides a changeable second password (a one-time password) to access accounts, or it might require a reply to a text message in order to approve a transaction.

Every layer of protection the bank adds is designed to make it harder for a criminal to get paid.

Consider a layered approach for your small-business security plan. Think about the current layers of business protection you have in place, and then consider how many more layers you might want to install to ensure a seamless customer experience and a security-minded culture.

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