PoC on Network API’s

PoC on Network API’s

At Cisco Live 2018 Barcelona, Cisco Systems announced API’s to get network assurance data from Cisco DNA Center. The possibility to get information from the status of the network, its connected clients via an API is very powerful.

The power of network API’s started me thinking in what could be possible if you bring these network API’s to the software developer world, where using API’s (also known as frameworks) are as common as a simple if-statement.

Around the same time, Apple Systems announced a major upgrade of their Augmented Reality framework (Also a set of API’s which allows a developer to create a virtual reality overlay to a camera shot).

I talked with a System Engineer working with DNAC in Barcelona and shortly afterward of that idea and we agreed that I could demonstrate an application that showcases such possibilities in one of his sessions in 2019. 

And that plan came true. I was a speaker at a Cisco Live breakout session in Barcelona this year and demonstrated this application. I will write down that experience at a later time (if there is interest). But since that demonstration, I have received a number of requests to either publish the application or make that video available for demonstration purposes. So here it is.

PoC: Visual Wireless Troubleshooting App

The troubleshooting of a wireless network can be quite difficult, because of its dynamics and specifically, remote troubleshooting is challenging, checking out your laptop, determining to which Access Point it is connected and which clients are connected.

I created an application that uses a number of new emerging technologies, such as machine learning, augmented reality and of course the Network Intent API’s to demonstrate how an application can make that life easier.

The flow for the user is quite simple.

  1. Start the app
  2. Point the camera to a Cisco Access Point
  3. Machine Learning / Image Recognition will recognize that it is an Access Point
  4. Determine the access point name (on Apple iOS is that more than Android)
  5. Go to DNA Center and get all clients connected to that AP
  6. And show that in an AR experience

I built this app and demonstrated it at Cisco Live 2019 in Barcelona and used Cisco Live’s own DNA Center for the data. The screen recording I made for the app is shown below.

As you can see, I point my camera up to the ceiling, the AP is recognized and the client data is retrieved. If there is interest, I can share more insights in how I connect to DNA Center (using Swift) and how to get that data. As said this is just a proof of concept and a lot more can be built if you bring the programmable network to the software engineering world!

If you have some ideas, please share them. Who knows, somebody might build your dream App, or.. Start coding on your own. Check out Cisco’s DevNet for network programming API’s and Apple’s Swift Playground  and start coding!

Swift & Network programmability, a good combo? An introduction.

Swift & Network programmability, a good combo? An introduction.

Swift is commonly known by iOS and MacOSX Software developers as Apple introduced the language in 2014 for MacOSX, iOS and Linux application development.
In my role as software engineer I’ve used different programming languages to build small tools, solutions or prototypes. For network programmability I’ve used Java as my primary language. I have my reasons, which I might share later in another post.

Network Programmability on the web pretty much evolves around Python. Is Swift mature enough and powerfull enough to be used for programming the network? Time to write up my experiences in a blog series. The first post is an introduction to Swift. (more…)

Using scrivener as a blogging tool

Using scrivener as a blogging tool

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. Time has just flown by and I can’t even believe that it’s almost October! I do have enough ideas to blog on but finding the time has been difficult. Today we had an ad hoc coffee hour with the Cisco Champions and the conversation was about which tool you use to write as well. Reason for this was of course also that I’ve started to author a CiscoPress book on Intent-based networking. (more…)

Updating DNA-Center experiences

Updating DNA-Center experiences

So I am in the lucky position that in the past few weeks I’ve been working with the DNA-Center solution in different ways in a primarily automation focused project. One of the new philosophies of the Cisco DNA-C BU is to deliver updates more frequently and in a micro-update based strategy. E.g. if a package has a bug, only that package can be updated, on the fly. So DNA-Center needs to have a connection to the Internet. And it’s time to share my experiences. (more…)

Intent Based Networking is a journey: Tip #1

Intent Based Networking is a journey: Tip #1

In a previous blog post I explained that Intent Based Networking not only intoduces new technology but that it also requires change in the way we operate network infrastructures. And that it is in fact a journey, but how do you get started on that journey? With your existing network infrastructure? It’s impossible to throw away every piece of equiment and design and start greenfield.

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Deploying a Cisco Mobility Express network

Deploying a Cisco Mobility Express network

My wireless network has been based on a WLC2504 controller with two 2602 AP’s. The network has been running quite well, with of course the caveats that came with the different WLC releases. With the maturity of Mobility Express (ME), the need for a dedicated controller for such as small sized wireless network has basically become obsolete as one of the AP’s becomes the master controller in the network. I was able to acquire 2 1852 AP’s with ME, time to upgrade my wireless network to 802.11ac with ME..
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