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Thinking Outside of the Building

You’ve all heard the saying “think outside the box” when encouraging someone to be creative and come up with new ideas, new ways to do things, new ways to…..just about anything.  Well, I’d like to take a small twist on the well-known saying and talk for a moment on how deploying outdoor Wi-Fi access points should be something you should be “thinking” about.

We all know that here in late 2013 almost everywhere you go, you can pull out your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and you will find Wi-Fi coverage, be it at your workplace, at a coffee shop, or in a retail store.  Why is Wi-Fi coverage so pervasive in these areas?  Because connecting to Wi-Fi access points and the data network behind them makes employees more productive, enables the coffee shop to be the new remote office (while selling more coffee and cakes), and provides the retail store the ability to gather analytics to better target offers for their customers.

Now let’s think about expanding this coverage to outdoors….outside the buildings.  The same holds true.  Providing Wi-Fi access in the surrounding outdoor locations frees up employees to take their laptops outside and enjoy a nice, sunny day while still being “online” for secure corporate email and business tools.  It allows the employee to connect to that important WebEx meeting he is running late for as he pulls into the parking lot. It allows the retail store to engage with customers thru Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) earlier and push offers to them as they walk in from the parking lot, perhaps pulling customers headed to nearby stores who might otherwise not have stopped in.


Aironet 1530 Series Outdoor Wireless Access Points: Click to see comparison table

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Deploying, Testing, and Tuning 802.11ac

By now you’ve probably heard quite a bit about the newest generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ac.  I’ll save you the gory details, just know it’s about 3x faster than 802.11n and will help to improve the capacity of your network. Jameson Blandford and I were recently guests on the No Strings Attached Show podcast with Blake Krone and Samuel Clements (Click to listen to the podcast).

I wanted to follow up the podcast with a blog to go over considerations for deploying, testing, and tuning 802.11ac.

Considerations for deploying 802.11ac

Switching infrastructure

The first question you’ll want to ask yourself, is, if your switching infrastructure can handle 11ac?  The answer probably is, yes.  The things to consider are the port speed and power-over-Ethernet (PoE) capabilities.  You’ll want the access point to have a gigabit uplink to the switch.  Each 11ac access point could potentially dump several hundred megabits per second of traffic onto your wired network.  It’s also not a bad idea to have 10 Gig uplinks on your access switches to distribution or your core.  If you have even just a couple access points on a single access switch, you may quickly find yourself wishing you had 10 Gig uplinks.

Next you’ll need to consider how you will power the access points.  If you are like the majority of our customers, you will use PoE from your switches.  While 11ac access points require 802.3at (PoE+) for full functionality, the Aironet 3700 will run happily on standard 802.3af PoE.  In fact, it remains 3 spatial-streams on both radios, so performance does not suffer because you have a PoE infrastructure.

Will you deploy 80 MHz channels? Read More »

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Cisco Aironet 3600 AP Passes 1 Million Units Shipped!

Hey folks, I’m back in the blogosphere to make a super exciting announcement.

The Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point with its purpose built best-in-class Wireless performance, industry’s first and only Enterprise Class AP to support 802.11n with 4×4 MIMO architecture, and signature modular design was launched in January 2012 at Cisco Live! London. Cisco was first to market with an 802.11ac wave 1 solution and first to be published with WiFi Alliance certification. Just 18 months since launching, the flagship 3600 AP has now surpassed the ONE MILLION mark in units shipped!

We designed the access point with modular architecture in mind to give our customers more flexibility for upcoming technological innovations in the wireless space. Since the initial launch, we have announced three exciting modules tailored to help our customers meet their wireless needs: Wireless Security and Spectrum Intelligence, 3G Small Cell, and most recently 802.11ac Wave 1. The modules have been extremely successful, having deployed 40K units of the .11ac module and 10K units of the Wireless Security and Spectrum Intelligence module, which speaks volumes about the versatility of the 3600 Access Point. Read More »

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WWDC Wireless Takeaway: 802.11ac on Apple Devices Coming Your Way Soon

At WWDC this week, Apple announced that their new Macbook and Macbook Air are 802.11ac enabled. As we predicted in our red-hot Client Adoption blog earlier this year, the list of 802.11ac clients, like the new Macbooks and Samsung Galaxy S4, will continue to grow and expand throughout 2013. These devices come with the promise of Gigabit wireless, at faster speeds and better performance. How will your enterprise networks meet those expectations? The Cisco Aironet 3600 with 802.11ac module is your ticket for enterprise-class 802.11ac wireless.


Cisco Aironet 3600 AP with 802.11ac module

The 802.11ac module will make these new clients fly at new higher speeds–3 to 4 times faster than 802.11n. So if you are connecting your new Apple device to an Enterprise Network supporting Cisco’s 3600 AP with the 802.11ac module, you will be able to get some of the highest bandwidth rates ever seen out of your Wi-Fi network which will open the opportunity for better quality video streams, better online collaboration and the support of more high-bandwidth demanding applications.  Check out the Aironet 3600 here:

Can’t get enough of 802.11ac? Neither can we. Read More »

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Adaptive Radio Modules for the 3600 Series AP: Best of Interop 2013 Finalist

We’ve been really busy but also very thrilled about the work we’re doing to future-proofing the network, and it seems we’re not alone. One of our latest innovations, adaptive radio modules for the AP3600, has been selected by UBM as a Best of Interop finalist for the Wireless award category!

Best of Interop Finalist

It’s an honor to be recognized for our innovation and technological advancements in wireless, and we wanted to share a bit more about our submission with you.

What are the Adaptive Radio Modules?

The Adaptive Radio Modules a family of solutions in a modular form factor that allows customers to adapt their wireless network to their current and future needs. The Adaptive Radio Modules provide a dedicated third radio that can be field upgraded on the 3600 Access Point.

Cisco offers three adaptive radio modules for the 3600 Access Point:

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