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With Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol, seamless mobile handoffs

At Cisco Live, Cisco CEO John Chambers highlighted the Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol as a method to seamlessly move applications between cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

SAN DIEGO -- Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP), a promising technology that decouples the locator and identifier in IP addresses for improved routing scalability and mobility, enjoyed a coming-out party of sorts during Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers' Cisco Live keynote presentation.

Cisco developed LISP in 2006 and released it as an open protocol for standardization by the IETF, but it's had a relatively low profile since its inception, making Chambers' decision to demonstrate the technology during his high-profile speech so notable.

Cisco's chief demonstration officer Jim Grubb joined Chambers on the stage to show how LISP enables new applications on the network, including seamless handoffs from one mobile network to another.

LISP uses a centralized mapping database system that will be "as significant as DNS was," Grubb claimed. "It allows you to get one IP address and never have to change it."

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Grubb demonstrated how a user on a Samsung tablet could begin a video conferencing session on his home Wi-Fi network. In the demonstration, Grubb forced the tablet off the Wi-Fi network, triggering it to automatically connect to a cellular network, sending its location to the LISP mapping database system, which then instructed the network on how to route packets via the new network connection. The video conference froze for less than a second during the transition.

"LISP separates your physical location from the device on the network so that we can allow you to move around," Grubb said. "It enables a whole new set of applications."

Then Grubb simulated another transition to a corporate Wi-Fi network, again with only a brief interruption in the video stream but no loss of the session.

Finally, Grubb demonstrated LISP virtual machine (VM) mobility. Using LISP an enterprise can launch a video collaboration application as a VM in a data center, then migrate that VM to a branch Integrated Services Router (ISR) G2 with a UCS-Express module.

"The virtual server then sends a new update to the mapping database system, and that system tells the client and the server where each other are," Grubb said. "And now we have packet flow between them, no matter where they are."

The VM migration occurred with only a few moments of delay in the video stream.

"If it wasn't video you wouldn't even know the VM is moving from the data center to the branch," Grubb said.

Chambers said LISP gets the industry "pretty close" to being able to build an architecture that is future proof.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Shamus McGillicuddy, News Director


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