It is no surprise that Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of wireless standards that is coming to the market. These access points and radios are promising faster speeds and higher capacity wireless networks, while being able to handle more and more wireless clients at the same time. Cisco has not disappointed when it comes to releasing the new tech that will support this new wireless technology. Your first releases of Wi-Fi 6 compatible access points from Cisco looks like this:
There are a few features that I wanted to call out on these new access points that will set them apart from the other access points we are all used to from Cisco. I want to first mention that, in the diagram above, you can see that some of these access points are listed as “compatible” and the others as “certifiable”. Cisco understands that Wi-Fi 6 is still very early in usage with not many devices yet utilizing the technology. That being said, they are leaders in the industry. They are the company to develop these new products for their customers that want the latest and greatest. These are simply their first releases in what promises to be an evolving landscape. As for the features they support, the typical big name features of Wi-Fi 6 are all included such as
- Target Wake Time
- and more!
One of the things you can also see is around the wired interfaces. These devices include mGig interfaces capable of doing up to 5Gbps in some cases. With advanced features providing faster and faster speeds for more and more clients, the wired interface of the access point definitely needs to be over a single gigabit connection for these Wi-Fi 6 access points and Cisco surely delivered. There is no need to worry about upgrading your wireless infrastructure just to have your wired network be the bottleneck. Of course, you will need the corresponding switching infrastructure to support mGig as well.
Speaking of your wired network, one of the other points that people always are concerned about is the power over ethernet (PoE) requirements of devices like access points. The great thing about these access points is that they work with the wide range of switches that you might already have in your environments. Take a look at the chart below. No matter the current capabilities of your switching environment, you most likely can use these access points without issue. From the chart you can see that there is a 15.4 watt PoE mode that these access points can work in. I am including a video at the end of this post in which Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer Fred Niehaus explains this process and how the access point will dynamically shut down certain radios depending on the power it was supplied and what it needs to function. Regardless, the access point will be able to function in some capacity regardless of whether you are providing 802.3bt, 802.3at, or 802.3af power.
Speaking of that presentation that I spoke of with Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer Fred Niehaus, here is it. He sure knows how to put on an entertaining and informative presentation. You can surely tell how passionate he is about this subject! Be sure to let me know your thoughts on this new series of access point below!
I was able to get a Catalyst 9117 access point as well and will be doing some future demonstrations with it and a 9800-CL wireless controller, so stay tuned for that.