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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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After Broadband, Then What? The Real Work Begins

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

I find myself writing more often about the challenges of getting broadband installed – financing it, building consensus, partnering with the private sector. The goal, as has been written many times, is create a foundation for economic growth.

But even after broadband is installed, economic growth doesn’t just happen automatically. It has to be nurtured. That’s the challenge that cities, regions, and countries have to be aware of. The work doesn’t stop once broadband transmissions start.

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Crowdsourcing Fiber Networks: Community Validated Investment in Action

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Fact: laying fiber communications infrastructure is expensive. Fantasy: the ability to know ahead of time how many property owners in a given neighborhood would pay for a new fiber infrastructure by subscribing to services or even – and here’s a real fantasy – paying more to get the fiber laid initially.

Except it’s not a fantasy. If you’re a telecom carrier, a cable company, a municipality, even a group of community activists, Greg Richardson is here to offer a compelling approach to capital investment in new infrastructure. And he’s done it with an idea that’s almost embarrassingly simple.

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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 4x4 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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802.11ac in the Healthcare Industry

Live Webinar on 802.11ac in Healthcare July 16, 10am | Register Now


With any new wireless technology, much of what is initially written in the first year is usually focused around the bits and bytes and the speeds and feeds of the technology. This is true for 802.11ac where any Google search will yield a plethora of articles on the potential of Gigabit wireless or that it runs on the 5GHz band and could have up to 8 spatial streams. However, the conversations must start moving towards discussing how the technology can be used in practical situations. In the case of our 802.11ac Module for the 3600, we feel very strongly that it is necessary to not only talk about the speeds and feeds of  802.11ac, but also show how a customer plans to use 802.11ac.

That’s why at our popular presentation at Cisco Live! Orlando, we first discussed the 802.11ac Standard, Cisco’s 802.11ac solution and how it can be used in various networks, and then invited representatives from Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX to discuss their experience to date with 802.11ac. Read More »

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