Last week Apple dominated tech headlines when it announced details of the iPhone 5. With its release today, thousands of fans will line up across the globe to be the first to try the new smartphone.
There have been a number of iPhone improvements, but the one I find significant is the fact that the iPhone 5 will have dual band Wi-Fi. This means that in addition to supporting the 2.4GHz band, it will now support the 5GHz band. Why is this significant? Well, the iPhone joins a number of other smartphone vendors who now have products capable of operating in both the 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) and 802,11a/n (5GHz) Wi-Fi bands. Other vendors that stack up include Samsung’s Galaxy S III and HTC’s One X.
Why is this 5GHz important? There is certainly nothing wrong with the 2.4GHz band. Both bands are unlicensed in most regions of the world. However, with the proliferation of devices due to the growing BYOD trend, the 2.4GHz band is getting real crowded. Remember: the 2.4GHz band only has 3 non-overlapping channels available. Think about it: all these devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and access points are competing for the available bandwidth while interference increases. In short, the 2.4GHz band just doesn’t have enough capacity for all these competing devices.
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.
It can be so easy to be mislead by vendors claiming incredible bandwidth gains offered by their new ’3 Spatial Streams’ wireless access points. The tricky part is that none of them are outright lying, they are simply describing a reality that nobody lives in. Cisco released the new 3600 series access points at CiscoLive London last week. We have also had fun showing the incredible bandwidth gains available through this extra stream -- but we did it with custom designed silicon to create a 4x4 radio. Why is this valuable to you? Is it not just ‘more is better?’ Hardly. The true genius being offered here is only clear when you understand some basics of how radios work. Multiple capabilities unique to Cisco come into play here such as ClientLink and CleanAir. Watch this ‘Fundamentals of Spatial Streams’ to arm yourself with knowledge you can apply right away. It will be the best 6 minutes of your life (today at least).
We often talk about business issues, customer care-abouts, productivity savings and the like on this channel, and sometimes philanthropy or esoterics, but mostly if you’re an engineer you have to deal with the technology, the installation, the support, and all the other stuff in terms of where the-rubber-hits-the-road.
When we post videos, we know people lose interest if they’re more than five minutes, so I’m glad it takes less than that to connect the gear up. A couple of cheats help of course -- like switching the radios on in the Cisco gear (they are shipped switched off for security reasons), and it helps to have a pre-charged battery available for the Intermec CK3. But then the video wouldn’t have made it onto the channel! We have quite a few customers with this kind of Warehouse technology.