Cisco Introduces 802.11ac Wave 2 Multi-Gigabit Technology Solutions

Cisco Introduces 802.11ac Wave 2 Multi-Gigabit Technology Solutions









Jeff Reed, VP and GM at Cisco introduced last week some new tech designed to ease jitters over migrating to 802.11ac Wave 2.

The big problem that’s coming with wave 2 is that a lot of businesses’ and organizations’ wired infrastructure will suddenly be outclassed by wireless access points theoretically capable of up to 6.8G. Reed demonstrates the severity of the issue with the following:

“How can you enable 6.8G wireless speeds being promised by 11ac Wave 2 when your wired port is limited to 1G because of Cat 5e cables? Even if you have cables that support faster speeds, how do you deliver PoE to the wireless APs? Can you do all this without expensive rip and replace of your existing cabling plant?”

Cisco’s solution? Catalyst Multigigabit technology in the forms of the 4500E, 3850 and 3560-CX Campus Switches. The switches achieve these results in a couple of ways, according to Cisco.

First, Cisco claims that their new technology “delivers speeds of 1G, 2.5G, 5G, and 10G on existing Cat 5e / 6 cabling.” Cisco backs up the claim by saying that the calculations behind that statement are based on NBASE-T Specifications. This means that you may not need to rip and replace all those wires after all. Cisco cites potential cost savings of $200 to $1,000 per port as a result.

Second, the solutions deliver “PoE, PoE+ & Cisco UPOE” to endpoints on multigigabit networks in order to power all those 802.11ac Wave 2 Access Points. That simplifies network design and installation. Third, the tech is interoperable with existing Catalyst Access Switches. Finally, Cisco says that it has “doubled the 10G density with new higher density line cards on our backbone switches, Catalyst 6800 and 6500-E.” That last improvement can be installed on any Catalyst 6500-E chassis that Cisco customers are using now.

With this announcement, it appears to me that Cisco is trying to achieve a first mover advantage and may try to lock as much of the market as it can into its brand of 802.11ac Wave 2 solutions. Notice how no mention was made of these new switches working well with competitors’ wireless access points. That said, many companies are still in the process of upgrading from 11n and wide-scale Wave 2 adoption is still a few years off, so competitors will have plenty of time to respond.

Doug Atkinson
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