[Solution] Speed / Duplex auto-negotiation fails between Cisco and Tandberg

In the last weeks I was working closely with a Cisco Telepresence team to identify a issue regarding poor performance of the video systems. We did find pretty quickly the issue as being the failure of auto-negotiation of Speed and Duplex on the connection between Cisco switch port and Tandberg endpoint devices.

This was the easy part. We though it will be fixed in minutes, but after a few days we did recognized that there is something we do not understand. We did change the settings everywhere to have auto-negotiation on, but we still had problems. For example with Cisco and Tandberg ports set on auto-negotiation on both sides, I’ve seen the most uncommon results:
– Cisco 1000Mbps – Tandberg 1000Mbps = negotiation 1000Mbps / Full
– Cisco 1000Mbps – Tandberg 100Mbps = negotiation 1000Mbps / Full on Cisco + 100Mbps / Full on Tandberg
– Cisco 100Mbps – Tandberg 100Mbps = negotiation 100Mbps / Half on Cisco + 100Mbps / Full on Tandberg

These are just a few of the strange results that we got. Myself as part of the network team I turn my attention to search bugs in IOS, configuration issues, faulty hardware. The Telepresence team was doing their job to search on their systems. Nothing was working.

We turn our attention to TAC engineers. They did try to simulate in a lab environment our problems, but failed. Their system were not having this kind of issue. Internet, search engines and boards could not help as well. I was about to think that we are somewhere in the Bermuda triangle and we are the only one with this kind of problem.

Then the solution came from a Cisco engineer when we least expect it. I quote from his e-mail in which he gave us some suggestion to try:

Are you aware that Tandberg endpoints running newer versions of software 
need to be rebooted before changes to speed settings take effect? 
This can sometimes cause confusion.

We stopped for a second and ask “Did we reload any Tandberg device during troubleshooting sessions?” The answer was “No”. After reload all devices, one by one, everything was working expect a few devices.

We discovered that these Tandberg devices didn’t want to auto-negotiate because of lack of a Cat6 cabling. It seems that all 8 wires need to be there and connected. So, if you have a cable that is patched to transport data and telephony for example to spare some wires, then you may be in trouble.

Why did I add this thing here? For sure it will bring some ironic smile on some faces, but I like to learn from my mistakes or from not paying close attention to some small line in the documentation. OK, if I made you laugh it’s fine, but the reason of this article is different. When I did search Internet for possible solution, I could not find anywhere a line with “reload the damn Tandberg device after you modify Speed / Duplex” settings.

Cisco may be forced to drop the acquisition of Tandberg

After one month ago Cisco announced that will offer $3 billion for Tandberg, today there are rumors that this acquisition will not work as expected. It seems that after Tandberg’s board of directors recommended to accept the price offered, for 153.5 Norwegian Kroner per share, now this still requires approval by 90 percent of the company’s shareholders by 9th of November.

The problem get more complicated as shareholders, representing 24 percent of Tandberg’s shares, don’t plan to accept the deal, with arguments that Tandberg can succeed on it’s own. Another opinion would be that Cisco, or another bidder, has to offer a bigger price per share.

Checking now (4th of November 2009) the stocks price for Tandberg is aprox. 149.50 Norwegian Kroner per share, which is less that Cisco,s offer. Cisco’s Chief Strategy Officer Ned Hooper is reserved in regard to Cisco’s position about a new offer considering the actual price fair and admitting that the company will act with fiscal prudence.

In any way this dispute and the possibility that Cisco will not acquire Tandberg made a lot of people thinking about Cisco’s place in future of video communication.

Read more on NetworkWorld.com and Ned Hooper’s blog page.

Cisco acquire TANDBERG (for $3 billion)

Cisco today announced a definitive agreement for Cisco to launch a recommended voluntary cash offer to acquire TANDBERG (OSLO: TAA.OL).  TANDBERG, based in Oslo, Norway, and New York, is a global leader in video communications, including a broad range of world-class video endpoint and network infrastructure solutions with intercompany and multi-vendor interoperability. With this proposed acquisition, Cisco will expand its collaboration portfolio to offer more solutions to a greater number of customers, further accelerating market adoption globally.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will commence a cash tender offer to purchase all the outstanding shares of TANDBERG for 153.5 Norwegian Kroner per share for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $3.0 billion.  This represents an 11.0% premium to the previous day closing price of TANDBERG’s stock, and a 25.2% premium to the 3-month volume weighted average closing price for TANDBERG’s stock.  The proposal was recommended unanimously by TANDBERG’s board of directors.

Source: Cisco.com