Cisco Phones on HP Comware Switches

I ran into this again last week and I thought it might be a good idea to put this in writing for people who have made the choice to move to HP switches and still want to use the Cisco UC&C platform.  This is the HP Comware platforms configuration, I hope to hit the lab and write up a ProVision configuration as well in the near future. This is ONE way of doing this. For anyone considering implementing this, or any other technology, please read the documentation and try and understand what you’re typing in. There are a couple of different ways to get this to work, this is just the one I prefer as it’s easy for legacy Cisco folk to understand what’s been done in the configuration.

 

Debunking the Myths

Cisco Phones need Cisco PoE

It’s true that Cisco was the first vendor to release Power Over Ethernet Switches. Inline power ( as it was called in those days ) was first released on the Cisco 3500XL switches back in the day. This was different and proprietary version of the 802.3af standard that we all know and love today. Fortunately for Cisco, and unfortunately for many customers, the second generation of Cisco Phones, the 7940/7960 era was only powered by Cisco’s Inline Power standard. They just wouldn’t come up with standards-based 802.3af power.

This means that many customers had no choice but to buy the Cisco switches to support the Cisco phones. You always had the option of buying a power brick per phone at a cost of about 60$ a piece. Management nightmare. I only saw one customer ever do that. ( twitch twitch… twitch twitch… ok. I’m ok now )

There are a LOT of customers who still have those device in their environments, So the question becomes:

Can I still use HP switches if I have old Cisco phones? Cisco told me that my Cisco phones don’t work on HP switches.

The answer is: Yes. They will absolutely work!   HP has done the work to get older phones to work on both the Comware and ProVision devices. This blog is Comware focused, but I’ll try to get back with a ProVision configuration soon!

Configuring your HP Comware Switch to deliver PoE to Cisco Phones

On a Comware based switch, the commands you’ll need to use to get this working are the following at the global level

[HP_E5500EI]poe legacy enable pse 4

At the port level, you may also have to enable PoE on the port

[HP_E5500EI-GigabitEthernet1/0/1]poe enable 


Cisco Phones need CDP to work

Once upon a time, CDP was the only neighbour discovery protocol in town. Cisco needed a way to push the voice vlan to their pre-standard phones, and CDP became the easiest way for them to do this. Most other vendors at this time were using specific DHCP options in a standards based environment. Then along came LLDP and LLDP-MED.  Other than the isolated cases where the customer still has the original second generation Cisco Phones in place, there is virtually no reason to be using CDP for the voice vlan today. LLDP works great and is supported by all the leading telephony vendors, including Cisco phones since around 2007. (You might need newer firmware on your phones.)

So the question is:

How do I setup my HP switch to send the right voice vlan to my cisco phone using LLDP? And what about my older phones? Are you telling me I have to buy all new phones to move to HP?

The answer: Yes, we can use lldp, and No, you don’t have to buy new phones. 

Especially in an era of Microsoft Lync, I’m starting to see more and more customers with a mobile work force who are starting to abandon the traditional handset mentality. Or in some cases, it’s even better for the business because employees are actually bringing in their own mobile devices and installing the Microsoft Lync client. Who would have thought we would ever be happy having to buy our own phones for work? 🙂

So on to the configuration, I’m going to do two configurations here and it will quickly become clear why.  For older Cisco CDP phones, HP Comware switches use the MAC Address  OUI (object unique identifier ) which is basically the first half of the MAC address that is assigned to a specific vendor.  What this means is that for some Cisco environments who have been buying phones over a few years, you could end up having to manage a TON of MAC addresses OUIs in your switch configurations. The first example will be the quick way, although arguably slightly less insecure, to assign Voice VLANs to legacy Cisco Phones.  Although arguably, if you’re concerned about security in your environment, I would recommend that you replace all your legacy Cisco phones anyways considering the ( Legacy Cisco Phones allowed a packet capture on the PC port to capture Voice VLAN traffic as well.  ) 

For those who really want to do this the “right way”, you’ll still need to run the undo commands and replace the single voice clan mac-address statement in this configuration snippet with the 128 lines included at the end of this blog. ( Anyone know why Cisco burned through so many? Seriously? That’s a LOT of OUIs! I’m SURE they could have handled this with a lot less!). 

 VLAN leaking issues.

The Environment

 

Screen Shot 2012 10 31 at 12 16 02 AM

As you can see this is a pretty simple environment. CCM in VLAN10 connected to a HP 5500EI switch. The phone is directly connected to the switch on interface gigabit 1/0/5 and the PC is plugged into the phone.  The Phone should be sending all Voice traffic tagged on VLAN 20 and the PC should be sending all traffic untagged on VLAN 30.

Any questions?

 

Configuring your HP Comware Switch to deliver the Voice VLAN to Cisco Phones

The following commands are all performed at the global level.

  • #The following commands are used to disable the factory mac-address OUIs.
  • undo voice vlan mac-address 0001-e300-0000
  • undo voice vlan mac-address 0003-6b00-0000
  • undo voice vlan mac-address 0004-0d00-0000
  • undo voice vlan mac-address 0060-b900-0000
  • undo voice vlan mac-address 00d0-1e00-0000
  • undo voice vlan mac-address 00e0-7500-0000
  • undo voice vlan mac-address 00e0-bb00-0000
  • #These command creates a couple of  mac-oui’s which will respond to any LLDP-MED or CDP capable phone plugs into the network. 
  • voice vlan mac-address 0000-0000-0000 mask ff00-0000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 8000-0000-0000 mask ff00-0000-0000
  • undo voice vlan security enable

 

note: We need the large “any oui” wildcards to support the number of non-contiguous and broad range of Cisco Prefixes. 

  • # You must Globally enable LLDP
  • lldp enable
  • # You must enable LLDP for CDP Compliance mode
  • lldp compliance cdp

 

As you can see above, instead of having hundreds of voice vlan mac-address… with all of the Cisco OUI  ( scroll to the bottom for a list of the different Cisco specific mac-address OUIs that my peers and I have collected over the years ),  you can instead put in a single statement that will allow you to send out the voice VLAN when any Cisco phone plugs into the network.

Now for the interface specific commands

 

  • interface GigabitEthernet1/0/5
  • port link-mode bridge    <–  Switchport, Could be a routed port, but that won’t work here.
  • port link-type trunk    <–  Turns the port into a dot1q trunk. You need this to carry a tagged VLAN across the wire
  • port trunk pvid vlan 30    <–  Tells the port that it’s untagged VLAN is 30.
  • undo port trunk permit vlan 1    <– Removes VLAN 1  from the trunk port. Not necessary for this to work.
  • port trunk permit vlan 20 30    <– Allows the trunk to carry traffic from both the designated Voice and the Data VLANs.  
  • undo voice vlan mode auto   <– Turns off voice clan auto mode. 
  • voice vlan 20 enable       <– Tells the switch to advertise dot1q VLAN 20 as the Voice VLAN via LLDP-MED and CDP on this port.
  • broadcast-suppression pps 3000
  • undo jumboframe enable
  • apply poe-profile index 1   <– This calls to a centrally defined PoE profile.
  • stp edged-port enable   <– similar to port fast in Cisco terms.
  • lldp compliance admin-status cdp txrx    <– Allows read/write of CDPv2 packets on this port.

 

 

The Right Way vs. Reality

 

As most of you already know, the real world is messy. There are very often tradeoffs in the world, mostly in the way of time. The method I showed above does indeed work, and it removes the operation burden of having to keep track of Cisco’s unique mac-address OUIs. Is it the most secure method in the world? Probably not, but security is always a tradeoff between how difficult it is to implement and operate and how important it is to secure the information asset in question. 

 

Most phone calls just aren’t that important to be honest. 

 

But… for those of you who really insist on doing this the “right way”, I’ve included this non exhaustive list of the unique mac-address OUIs that Cisco has put on their phone models over the years. This is something that my peers and I have put together over the years and hopefully it might help someone out there.  If anyone does have additional Cisco Phone OUIs that are not included in this list. Please post them in the comments and I would be happy to update them here! 

 

Hopefully someone will find this helpful. If you do notice that something has changed and this configuration doesn’t work for you; Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know. I’ll be happy to update my blog. I’d rather be wrong and someone tell me than just thinking I’m right. : )

 

@netmanchris

 

List of Cisco Phone Mac-address OUIs

  • voice vlan mac-address 0002-B900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0003-6B00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0003-E300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0005-3200-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0005-9A00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0005-9B00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0006-D700-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0007-0E00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0007-5000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0008-2100-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000B-5F00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000B-BE00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000B-BF00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000c-ce00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000D-2900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000D-6500-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000D-BC00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000D-ED00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000E-3800-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000E-8400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000E-D700-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000F-2300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000F-3400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 000F-8F00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0011-2000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0011-2100-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0011-5C00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0011-9300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0011-BB00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0012-0000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0012-7F00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0013-1900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0013-1A00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0013-7F00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0013-8000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0013-C300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0013-C400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0014-1C00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0014-6900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0014-6A00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0014-A900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0014-F200-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0015-6200-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0015-2B00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0015-F900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0015-FA00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0016-4600-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0016-4700-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0016-C800-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0017-0E00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0017-5900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0017-5A00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0017-9400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0017-9500-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0017-E000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0018-1800-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0018-1900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0018-1D00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0018-7300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0018-B900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0018-BA00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0019-0600-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0019-2F00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0019-3000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0019-AA00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0019-E700-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0019-E800-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001A-2F00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001A-6D00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001A-A100-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001A-A200-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001B-0C00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001B-2A00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001B-5300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001B-5400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001B-D400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001B-D500-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001C-5800-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001D-4500-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001D-A200-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001E-1300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001E-4A00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001E-7A00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001E-F700-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001F-6C00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 001F-9E00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0021-1B00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0021-5500-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0021-A000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0022-5500-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0022-9000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0023-0400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0023-5E00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0023-EB00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0024-9700-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0025-8400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0026-0B00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0026-9900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0026-CB00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0030-9400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 04C5-A400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 04FE-7F00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 0817-3500-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 081F-F300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 108C-CF00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 18EF-6300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 1C17-D300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 2893-FE00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 3037-A600-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 5475-D000-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 58BC-2700-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 6416-8D00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 68BD-AB00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 68EF-BD00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 6C50-4D00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address 9CAF-CA00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address A40C-C300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address A8B1-D400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address B414-8900-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address B4A4-E300-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address B8BE-BF00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address D057-4C00-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address DC7B-9400-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address E804-6200-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address EC44-7600-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address ECC8-8200-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address F025-7200-0000
  • voice vlan mac-address FCFB-FB00-0000





 

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From Cisco to HP – Quick Start

It’s not uncommon that I have customer who are making the jump to HP networking gear from a Cisco  background.

This post is just a way for me to put together some resources for them to quickly get up to speed and to help make their lives easier.

Resources

CLI Reference Guide

If you’ve got a reasonable background in Cisco networking, the first thing you’ll want to check out is the HP Networking and Cisco CLI reference guide. Someone ( thankfully not me!) went through and created 292 pages of goodness in basically what is a small rosetta stone for a dual-vendor network.

If you know the command on a cisco IOS device. Do a quick search and you’ll find the HPN equivalent.

Interoperability Cook book

It’s VERY rare that I ever get involved in a greenfield environment. Most customers have a legacy network around, and many of those were built on Cisco equipment.  HP has taken this into consideration and put together the HP/Cisco Switching and Routing Interoperability Cookbook  which gives some clear guidelines on setting up both sides of the connections.

HP Press

A lot of people still haven’t caught on that HP Press was launched last year. There are already books out covering the major HP networking certifications, not to mention other HP product lines as well.  These are great resources to have on a shelf for those times when you just have to look something up.

Tips and Tricks

Spanning-tree is turned off by default

Whether or not you agree with this decision, HP has made it and you should be aware of it. If you’d like your new switch to participate in a (r/s/pv/TP ) environment. You’ll need to turn it on.

Command Aliases

I’ll admit it. After spending years in a Cisco world, the word ” show ” jumps out of my fingers faster and onto a keyboard faster than just about anything else except perhaps ” wr”   (  write mem for those of you who grew up in a copy running-configuration startup-configuration” era.  )

Even after years working with the comware products, ( which use the word display in place of show ) I still hit situations where the reflex just kicks in.

Luckily, HP has included a nice alias function which allows you to map new keywords to existing commands.
Included here is my list of commands which I keep on all my comware lab equipment. To say this outloud, there’s no excuse to not learn the new CLI. You will be a better engineer for it. But… it’s also nice to have a safety net for those moments when you’re fingers think faster than your brain.

HP Comware Cisco Alias command List

command-alias enable

command-alias mapping undo no

command-alias mapping reboot reload

command-alias mapping header banner

command-alias mapping reset clear

command-alias mapping acl access-list

command-alias mapping port switchport

command-alias mapping stp spanning-tree

command-alias mapping snmp-agent snmp-server

command-alias mapping user-interface line

command-alias mapping display show

command-alias mapping return end

command-alias mapping quit exit

command-alias mapping sysname hostname

command-alias mapping acl access-list

command-alias mapping save write

command-alias mapping delete erase

command-alias mapping info-center logging

 

note: If anyone has any I’ve missed here, please feel free to post in the comments and I’ll try and update the post.

Hotkeys

One of the other nice touches that HP has done with Comware is to include system hotkeys. This allows you a VERY quick way to input commands without typing the whole thing out. Wonderful for those situations where you can’t see where you are typing. Turned on too many debugs? CTRL_O will perform an “undebugging all” command for you and you get your terminal session back.

There are some default system ( unchangeable ) as well as some user-definable hotkeys which are listed here.

            =Defined hotkeys=

Hotkeys Command

CTRL_G  display current-configuration

CTRL_L  display ip routing-table

CTRL_O  undo debugging all

 

           =Undefined hotkeys=

Hotkeys Command

CTRL_T  NULL

CTRL_U  NULL

 

            =System hotkeys=

Hotkeys Function

CTRL_A  Move the cursor to the beginning of the current line.

CTRL_B  Move the cursor one character left.

CTRL_C  Stop current command function.

CTRL_D  Erase current character.

CTRL_E  Move the cursor to the end of the current line.

CTRL_F  Move the cursor one character right.

CTRL_H  Erase the character left of the cursor.

CTRL_K  Kill outgoing connection.

CTRL_N  Display the next command from the history buffer.

CTRL_P  Display the previous command from the history buffer.

CTRL_R  Redisplay the current line.

CTRL_V  Paste text from the clipboard.

CTRL_W  Delete the word left of the cursor.

CTRL_X  Delete all characters up to the cursor.

CTRL_Y  Delete all characters after the cursor.

CTRL_Z  Return to the User View.

CTRL_]  Kill incoming connection or redirect connection.

ESC_B   Move the cursor one word back.

ESC_D   Delete remainder of word.

ESC_F   Move the cursor forward one word.

ESC_N   Move the cursor down a line.

ESC_P   Move the cursor up a line.

ESC_<   Specify the beginning of clipboard.

ESC_>   Specify the end of clipboard.

Display this

Wow. I can’t say enough about how much I love this command. In a nutshell, display this ( or show this if you have the alias function turned on ) is a context sensitive command that will show you the configuration elements applicable to exactly where you are in the operating system hierarchy.

You want to see what configurations is applied to a specific port? No more  ” do show run inter gig 1/5″.  You just type in “display this” and you get the output.  What about when you’re in the RADIUS configuration mode?  Yup. Display this. Configuring OSPF or BGP on a switch? Display this.

It may seem like a very minor thing, but trust me, you will appreciate the consistency and the simplicity in a very short time.

This post is not intended to make you an expert on HP’s Comware OS, but hopefully, if you’re already a reasonably good networking professional, this will give you a leg up in getting up to speed quickly.

Misc

As with most modern Network OS’s, I would also remind everyone that

  • piping is supported

ex.  display running-configuration | include SNMP

  • the TAB key does auto-complete.
  • The question mark (?) is your friend. When it doubt use it and you will probably see what you’re looking for.

 

Did I miss any other getting started tips? Please feel free to post in the comments!

@netmanchris

Rethinking the UPoE value proposition

First, full disclosure: I am an HP Networking employee. All of the opinions comments and general snarkiness in this blog are my own though. I am writing this from my own personal perspective, not as an HP employee, but I think it's important that anyone reading this knows that I do have some skin in the game, at least in the big picture.

 

So a couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with someone at an HP event about VDI, UPoE, Thin Clients etc.. and I said “Yes! We've been talking to customers about the total solutions for Months! ”

Not many people realize how truly broad the HP portfolio is when you look at the entire company. So we have been talking for months about the ability to put together a complete VDI solution from HP.

Basically, you pick your flavour of Virtualization and then pick the appropriate Virtual System configuration. For those of you who don't know, Virtual System is an HP validated configuration specifically for different virtualization workloads. You do have options, either Xenserver on Hyper-V or VMWare View.

Then you can choose the appropriate HP Networking switch for your infrastructure, then you just need to attach one of the HP Thin Clients to connect your users to your applications.

So what does this have to do with rethinking the value prop of UPoE. When I first saw the 60 Watts per port blades that Cisco released on the 4500E last year, I thought

” Wow… I wonder how hot those cables will be?”

After I got past that though, I started thinking about what applications or devices would start to appear in the market to take advantage of these new capabilities? There were some examples out there, but I've noticed something interesting in the last year: Devices are using LESS power, not MORE power.

Do you remember when 802.11n access points first came out? They were one of the first devices that actually justified powering up to 803.3at devices. If you wanted 11n, you needed either power injectors or AT switches. Fast forward and today you can buy 3×3 MIMO with 3 spacial stream access points that will work on 11af Poe ports @ 15.4 watts or less. That's right, they will work on the same switches that you've probably had for years. No need to upgrade your infrastructure to support a new device. Just buy the new access points, get more throughput on your wireless and life is good.

The HP t410 All-in-one Thin Client

So a couple of weeks later, I was invited to a meeting with someone from the personal systems group division of HP to talk about how we had been evangelizing the products and then amazingly… he offered me a HP t410 AIO unit to play with!

I, of course, said

Heck yeah!!!

One week later, a couple of customer meetings and a skeptical twitter conversation, and it seems there's a lot of interest on the t410 at the moment. Mostly around the disbelief that anyone could get an all-in-one Thin client to actually run below 15.4 watts!

So I have collected some pictures of the experience to show you how easy this thing was to setup which was SILLY easy. I didn't include a picture of the box, but I think we've all seen an 18″ monitor and the link above also had some nice pictures of the unit. It's got a small foot print and a nice screen.

So without further ado…

1) Here's a picture of the Unit's Model Name. ( This was the last picture I took, but it's the one I have with the model name ).

Image 12

2) After I took it out of the box and plugged it into an old 3Com 4120 9 port PoE switch ( it's what I had ).

I got the following login page. From what I've read, if I had a “real” vdi solution that was broadcasting it's services, it would automatically detect the connection type and then connect to the server broadcasting the available sessions I think – No VDI in my home lab ( yet ) though so I get to manually select which type of VDI I would like to connect to. ( I chose RDP7 for a window 2008R2 server)

Image

3) It now prompts me for the Server name or address.

Image 1

4) I put in my username and password. ( I didn't need the other options ) and seconds later, I'm logged in.

Image 3

 

Pretty cool, right? (I'll save you the screen cap of a windows server desktop. ). I didn't get to test out the internal speakers since the VM I was connecting against had no sound cards.

 

So what about the PoE part? This is the awesome part.

Screen Shot 2012 09 28 at 10 10 54 PM

 

yup. That's right 10.6 watts while fully operating. Max of 13 watts, Average of 10.9 watts. Can you see why I question UPoE? Somehow the guys in the PC division at HP actually managed to put together a full all-in-one thin client with monitor and left JUST enough power for the keyboard, mouse, and the speakers as well ( I presume on the last one, never tested it ).

Caveats

Are the tradeoffs here? Of course! I've only playing with this for a few hours now, but so far. It's great. No issues at all. According to the data sheet, there are a few things that you will sacrifice in PoE mode though.

Specifically, there's the speed drop from Gig to 10/100. But in the case of a thin client, most of the streams are less than 2Mb +/-, so the whole speed drop is PROBABLY not going to cause anyone any issues.

The other thing, which I haven't experienced, is that the screen brightness will actually come down in the event that there's not enough power budget left on the switch to be able to fully power the unit.

 

Final Thoughts

This is a nice unit. It's got a small foot print. Nice screen. The out-of-box setup was extremely easy and the fact that it only draws 13 watts of power ( I'm using the max draw value I saw ) is absolutely AMAZING to me. It would have been easy for HP to start making Thin Clients that consumed more and more power to try and drive customers into purchasing new switches. Instead, HP threw some engineers at the problem and instead came out with a product that will work in customers existing environments without a costly upgrade.

As an HP Networking pre-sales engineer, I have to say it would be nice to have another reason for our customers to upgrade their switches, but as a human being, it makes me proud to work for a company that does the right thing for their customer and the environment.

 

 

BYOD – The other implications

WARNING – MIDNIGHT POST.  I’ll come back and fix this in a couple of days, but it’s been banging around in my head and I needed to get it out.

 

So I’m going to get a little controversial here. I’m actually hoping to have my thought process attacked on this one. Hopefully, not personally attacked, but I guess that’s the danger of blogging.

 

Open Disclosure: I don’t work for Cisco.  I guess that’s why I can write this piece and think this through as I’ve got nothing to lose here. I’m sure someone will point and say “Hey! HP GUY!” but I truly don’t feel that whom I work for is going to change the power of this argument.  But because some people get wrapped around those things, I wanted to state that loud and clearly. I am an HP employee. This blog is purely my own thoughts and musings and i no way represents that of my employer in any way shape or form. 🙂

 

So I was at HP discover last week and had a chance to catch up with a TON of customers and partners, as well as have some great conversations with the independent bloggers. To be honest, those are my favorite, because they are the last people to drink the koolaid.If you are trying to convince them of anything, you better have a well constructed argument and proof to support it.

 

So the other topic on everyone’s minds was of course BYOD. Bring Your own Device. Other than Openflow and SDN, I think this is one of the most talked about waves that’s hitting our industry right now. Of course we had the usual discussions about access control, DHCP finger printing, user-agent finger printing, dot1x , web portal, etc… but we also got into some VERY interesting discussions about the greater implications of BYOD.

Now keep in mind, I’m an old voice guy too. My voice books are so old, they’re actually blue, and not that snazzy purple color that you kids use to color coordinate your bookshelves. I know what the SEP in the Callmanagler stands for, and I remember CCM when it shipped on CDs. ( yes, it actually did kids ).

 

So in some ways, I feel like I’m watching my past wash away when I type the following words.

Voice is dead.

Now it might be a few years before everyone realizes it, but there are a lot of forces going on in our industry right now and they seem to all be pointing to a place where handsets are obsolete.

The argument goes something like this

 

1) BYOD is here and it’s not going away.

2) If BYOD is here, then employees are probably teleworking and using their cel phones.

3) If customers are teleworking and using their cel phones, they don’t need desk phones.

4) If customers don’t need desk phones…. they don’t need desk phones.

 

The implications of this really started to hit me and I did a self check and realized, I don’t remember the last time I used a “normal” handset. I work out of a home office. I use a cel phone with unlimited calling.

Not to mention the fact that HP has hooked us up with Microsoft Lync, which means plugin the headset and escalate that IM call to voice or video whenever I need it. and NO handset involved. Oh.. and the Lync client for the iPhone was released too.

The last time I looked, this was an approx $1-2B business for Cisco, so I’m fairly sure they don’t want anyone to realize that investing in new handsets is probably not the wisest move right now. This is a Billion dollar market that they are going to have to replace with something else, or continue to milk it for as long as they can.

Now to be honest, there’s always the Call Center argument which I’ll try and stop right now. Call Centers are not going away. There’s always going to be a business need. Voicemail systems? They might just become part of the cloud, I don’t know. But traditional handset deployments? I think maybe people just haven’t realized they have been throwing money away.

 

On with the rambling midnight logic!

 

The extension to this logic is that if we’re done with handsets, then

why do we need all this POE everywhere?

 

To be honest, I think the only phone that every used anywhere close to the 15.4 watts of 802.3af was the Cisco 7970 series. Most other phones used 2-3 watts, maybe up to 7 with a speaker phone on. So the whole ” I need all 24 ports running full 802.3af class 3 devices at the same time ” is a something that never actually happened ( or at least I’ve never seen it ). 

Now we’re seeing RFP disqualifiers requiring 740 watts per switch ( full 15 watts on all 48 ports ), and I’m sure we will soon be seeing new models coming out with 1,440 watts of POE+ power!!! ( 30 watts per port on a 48 port switch ).

Now POE is an enabling tool, we still need it for access points at the least, but other than that? I can’t name one practical business tool that runs on POE right now that would not qualify as a corner case.

And I don’t see anyone plugging in 24 or 48 access points into the same switch.

 

I would love a sanity check here guys. Is it just me? I’m making an informed prediction throw a crystal ball. Feel free to let me know if my ball’s broken. 🙂

 

@netmanchris