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Cisco goes all in on WiFi 6

Cisco has taken the wraps off a family of WiFi 6 access points, roaming technology and developer-community support all to make wireless a solid enterprise equal with the wired world.

Bringing a wireless-first enterprise world together is one of the drivers behind a new family of WiFi 6-based access points (AP) for Cisco’s Catalyst and Meraki portfolios. WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is designed for high-density public or private environments. But it also will be beneficial in internet of things (IoT) deployments, and in offices that use bandwidth-hogging applications like videoconferencing.

The Cisco Catalyst 9100 family and Meraki MR 45/55 WiFi-6 access points are built on Cisco silicon and communicate via pre-802.1ax protocols. The silicon in these access points now acts a rich sensor providing IT with insights about what is going on the wireless network in real-time, and that enables faster reactions to problems and security concerns, Harrell said.
Aside from WiFi 6, the boxes include support for visibility and communicationswith Zigbee, BLE and Thread protocols. The Catalyst APs support uplink speeds of 2.5 Gbps, in addition to 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps. All speeds are supported on Category 5e cabling for an industry first, as well as 10GBASE-T (IEEE 802.3bz) cabling, Cisco said.

Wireless traffic aggregates to wired networks so and the wired network must also evolve. Technology like multi-gigabit Ethernet must be driven into the access layer, which in turn drives higher bandwidth needs at the aggregation and core layers, Harrell said.

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