Popsicles, water balloon fights, fireflies and staying up past your bedtime. These summertime rituals haven’t changed since I was a kid. What has changed is technology and the buying cycle for back-to-school. Last week in Target I saw an entire wall display of back packs. My kids have been out of school for exactly one month and retailers are already pushing school supplies!
Sunday I woke up brewed a pot of coffee and sat down with my iPad to check Facebook and peruse my email. Cisco has embraced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), so I have secure access to my work email on my iPad at home. I checked a few work emails, but I just couldn’t resist the Red, White and Blue 20% off coupon in my inbox. Had I not seen the back-to-school display last week and received the coupon in my inbox would I be buying khaki pants and blue shirts the 2nd week of July? Shopping on a laptop is easy. Shopping on an iPad is just downright dangerous! Consumerism was starting to take over, but in my mind I justified it as one less thing on my to-do list for August.
802.11ac: The Fifth Generation of Wi-Fi Technology
In the last few months, there have been a lot of written on the emerging 802.11ac standard. This next generation of Wi-Fi promises to be very exciting since 802.11ac will address some critical pain points faced by users of 802.11n today – more bandwidth and more simultaneous users. To help explain the technology, we put together a new Fundamentals video. You’ll learn about new features such as:
Operating in the 5GHz band
Wider channels (80MHz & 160MHz) which means more capacity in the band
Increased modulation with 256 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), providing a significant increase in throughput over 802.11n which has 64 QAM
Downlink Multi-User MIMO which allows an AP to transmit to multiple clients simultaneously
Up to 8 Spatial streams which doubles the number of spatial streams used in 802.11n
We released our latest in the Fundamentals series earlier this month and it is trending quite well. The 802.11ac standard sounds like a step backwards alphabetically…but it will soon be an incredible step forward forward for WiFi once it is ratified by the IEEE. Watch this latest fundamentals to get comfortable with the truth. 802.11n is still your best bet for 2012 and into 2013 as we continue to partner on the standards process but the future is bright indeed!
With all that has recently been written about BYOD, it’s clear that enterprise IT managers need to consider performance requirements on the wireless access point. With more clients accessing the network, the performance demands in terms of coverage and client density will increase. Furthermore, consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets may have difficulty connecting to an AP compared to a laptop. This could be attributed to the fact that most of these devices either do not support 802.11n or they support legacy 802.11g/a. If the devices support 802.11n is sometimes limited to 1x1 MIMO. An access point that has superior performance will be needed to address the growing needs of these new clients.
Earlier this week, we kicked off special customer guest blog series with Andrew vonNagy, author of the blog Revolution Wi-Fi, and active on Twitter @revolutionwifi. Join us today as Andrew explores the next two major retail trends changing the Wi-Fi industry, and catch up with the first part if you missed it.
Trend 2: Empowering Sales Associates Given the increasingly connected and smart shopper, consumers now have more product information than in-store sales associates in many cases. Yet sales staff are key to providing a great consumer experience in-store. Retailers need to empower sales associates with the depth of product information that consumers have, and to provide additional tools that facilitate existing and new services offered by the retailer.
Historically, only a fraction of retail sales associates have been provided with mobile devices, and those devices have enabled only a limited set of capabilities such as stocking, inventory management and product availability. One reason for this is the high cost of ruggedized mobile devices for use in retail. A typical high-speed scanner PDA can cost well over $1,200 each. In order to provide every sales associate with more information to help consumers, retailers are adopting lower-cost, feature-rich, smartmobile devices that provide more robust capabilities than specialized scanners. Mobile platforms built by Apple, Android, and third-party manufacturers are enabling this shift, along with a retail IT focus on enabling business processes in a more flexible, consistent, and re-usable fashion.