Cisco Fusion is not the latest high-speed networking device from Cisco. Rather, it is an integrated network architecture designed to solve networking problems in small- to medium-size businesses.

Cisco Fusion leverages multiple Cisco products operating at different network layers to solve networking issues. Analyzing and designing solutions that solve problems at disparate network layers is complex. So to help simplify the process, Cisco divides network problems into three categories:

  • Media problems
  • Protocol problems
  • Transport problems

Each category involves a different networking layer, and different solutions are deployed to solve each of these problems.

Media problems
Media problems occur when there are too many devices on the same segment. Having numerous devices on a single LAN segment causes excessive collisions in Ethernet networks and long delays in Token Passing networks. To solve media contention problems, Cisco suggests the use of LAN switching.

Protocol problems
Protocol problems occur when network protocols generate excessive network traffic, which can come in the form of multi-cast or broadcast packets. Another example of a protocol problem is simply running out of network layer addresses. Cisco solves protocol-related problems by implementing layer three routing.

Transport problems
In today’s modern networks carrying video, voice, and data, transport problems can occur. Carrying heavy payloads across the network, such as streaming video or audio, requires a lot of bandwidth. To solve transport problems, Cisco suggests using high-bandwidth solutions, such as Fast Ethernet or ATM.

Problem identification
Now comes the most difficult part of network design and problem resolution: determining to which of the three categories your problem belongs and then implementing a solution. Over the next three weeks, join me for a series of articles covering network analysis, design, and problem resolution. I will examine media, protocol, and transport problems in greater detail and identify Cisco products that can solve your networking troubles.

Warren Heaton CCDA, CCNA, MCSE+I is the Cisco Program Manager for A Technological Advantage in Louisville, KY.

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