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Winning Back the Weather Radio Channels Adds Capacity to 5GHz Wi-Fi Spectrum

In my last blog on 5 GHz spectrum, I discussed the recent FCC ruling that permitted outdoor access points to use the U-NII 1 band (5150-5250 MHz).

But the story doesn’t  stop there. As mentioned last time, there are significant technical challenges to using the 5 GHz band. It is not cleared spectrum. It contains incumbent uses that are important for national security and public safety. Therefore, it is imperative that Wi-Fi not create harmful interference to these incumbent systems. Cisco will not settle for less.

On the topic of interference, a particularly interesting component of the same  FCC ruling that opened the U-NII1 band for outdoor AP’s is that it also re-opened the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) band (channels 120, 124, 128) with new test requirements for DFS protection. Hold on, let’s backtrack a bit before diving into what this means:

What is TDWR?

In brief, Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) “is a Doppler weather radar system used primarily for the detection of hazardous wind shear conditions, precipitation, and winds aloft on and near major airports situated in climates with great exposure to thunderstorms in the United States.” TDWR uses the frequency band from 5600-5650 MHz which is why wireless network equipment needs to be proven to “do no harm” to TDWR. If you’re curious for more information on TDWR, then please click here and/or here.

A Brief History

Many of you reading this will recall that the FCC closed the use of the TDWR band several years ago as the result of numerous reports of wireless equipment creating interference with TDWR. Read More »

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The Momentum of 802.11ac Moves into the Real World

Wireless is enabling change everywhere. According to Cisco’s VNI Global Forecast, wireless traffic will bypass wired traffic 40% by the year 2017. This is evident by the way many organizations are using Wi-Fi technology.  Take healthcare providers as an example: many hospitals today rely on Wi-Fi to provide seamless clinician roaming, improved efficiency and patient care--not to mention patients’ relatives and friends who expect to connect to guest Wi-Fi. And then there is education where we are seeing both universities and K-12 schools faced with more and more students coming onto campus carrying mobile devices with bandwidth intensive applications like video.

The explosion of high performance applications and the number of clients using them is a big reason why 802.11ac adoption is happening at a rapid pace. 802.11ac as a standard addresses the performance needs of applications while providing a robust network that handles a growing number of client devices. Cisco provides our customers with a unique solution to meet the high density requirements with a technology suite called Cisco High Density Experience (HDX). HDX helps Cisco customers prepare beyond 802.11ac and addresses the key aspects of any network that is challenged by the high density of large numbers of clients on the network and increasing performance demands of bandwidth intensive applications.  Deploying 802.11ac with Cisco’s HDX Technology will provide a relief from the bandwidth demands while also making the overall Wi-Fi network more efficient.

With this in mind, we are hosting a webinar on June 26th where we focus on 802.11ac Standard, Cisco’s 802.11ac solution including our HDX Technology and how it can be used in various networks. We have also invite Joe Christoffersen who is the Director of IT at Katy Independent School District in Katy, TX to provide his unique perspective on how Katy ISD is deploying 802.11ac, how it will affect the performance of his network and the benefits he expects from this technology.

The webinar is next Wednesday at 1:00PM PDT. Here is the registration link. If you miss it, we will have it available on demand here shortly after.

For more on Cisco’s 802.11ac, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.

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802.11ac: That’s the Answer. What’s the question?

Everybody’s talking about 802.11ac, but we’ve sensed some confusion for next steps as far as how CIO’s and IT organizations should be approaching the new standard.

3700internal2Should I move to 802.11ac?

You’re probably thinking: Chris, you’re a leader at Cisco, of course you want me to migrate to 802.11ac. That, my friends, is where you are wrong. There is no simple answer to the question of whether you should move your network to 802.11ac. Here’s my simple rule of thumb:

There is no premium for 802.11ac from Cisco. If you are deploying new Access Points’s today, you should be buying 802.11ac. If you’re not buying, you are probably satisfied with your network and how it will handle the growth of more and more clients associating with your network and the bandwidth demands that come with that client demand. If you feel you have a plan to handle this demand, then you are one of the few that can pass on 802.11ac.

That said, there is a strong ramp up for Cisco 802.11ac products in the market, the AP3700 is the fastest ramping access point in our history and we have yet to see if the AP2700 will claim that crown in the coming months. ABI Research estimates that currently 50% of new device introductions are 802.11ac enabled, a statistic expected to increase to 75% by the end of 2015.  This is enough proof of the overwhelming interest in adding the benefits of 11ac to networks. Let’s take a step back and consider the basics of why people are moving to the new standard.

Why .11ac?

Today, everything is about getting what we want, when we want it. Instant gratification. It’s not just the millennials—we’ve all been conditioned to expect things within seconds. Could you imagine the days pre-Internet if you had the capability for on-demand movies? Read More »

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HDX Blog Series #4: Optimized Roaming

Editor’s Note: This is the last of a four-part deep dive series into High Density Experience (HDX), Cisco’s latest solution suite designed for high density environments and next-generation wireless technologies. For more on Cisco HDX, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.  Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Read part 3 here.

If you’ve been a long time user of Wi-Fi, at some point you have either observed someone encounter (or have personally suffered from) so called “sticky client syndrome”. In this circumstance, a client device tenaciously, doggedly, persistently, and stubbornly stays connected to an AP that it connected to earlier even though the client has physically moved closer to another AP.

Surprisingly, the reason for this is not entirely…errr…ummm…unreasonable. After all, if you are at home, you don’t want to be accidentally connecting to your neighbor’s AP just because the Wi-Fi device you’re using happens to be closer to your neighbor’s AP than to your own.

However, this behavior is completely unacceptable in an enterprise or public Wi-Fi environment where multiple APs are used in support of a wireless LAN and where portability, nomadicity, or mobility is the norm. In this case, the client should typically be regularly attempting to seek the best possible Wi-Fi connection.

Some may argue that regularly scanning for a better Wi-Fi connection unnecessarily consumes battery life for the client device and will interrupt ongoing connectivity. Therefore the “cure is worse than the disease”. But this is true only if the client is very aggressively scanning and actually creates the complete opposite of being “sticky”.

The fundamental issue with “stickiness” is that many client devices simply wait too long to initiate scanning and therefore seeking a better connection. These devices simply insist on maintaining an existing Wi-Fi connection even though that connection may be virtually unusable for anything but the most basic functionality. Read More »

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HDX Blog Series #3: 802.11ac Beamforming At Its Best: ClientLink 3.0

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a four-part deep dive series into High Density Experience (HDX), Cisco’s latest solution suite designed for high density environments and next-generation wireless technologies. For more on Cisco HDX, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.  Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here.

The 802.11ac wireless networking standard is the most recent introduction by the IEEE (now ratified), and is rapidly becoming more accepted and reliable industry standard. The good news is that the client and vendor adoption rate for 802.11ac is growing at a much higher pace as compared to when 802.11n was introduced back in 2009. There has been an accelerated growth seen with the mobile and laptop devices entering the wireless market embedded with an 802.11ac WiFi chipset. Unlike in the past, laptop, smartphone and tablet manufacturers are now acknowledging the fact that staying up to date with the latest Wi-Fi standards is as important for the bandwidth hungry users as having a better camera or a higher resolution display.

With the launch of the new 802.11ac AP 3700, Cisco introduces the Cisco HDX (High Density Experience) Technology. Cisco HDX is a suite of solutions aimed towards augmenting the higher performance, more speed and better client connectivity that 802.11ac standard delivers today.

ClientLink 3.0 features as an integral part of Cisco HDX technology designed to resolve the complexities that comes along with the new BYOD trend driving the high proliferation of 802.11ac capable devices.

So what is ClientLink 3.0 technology and how does it work?

ClientLink 3.0 is a Cisco patented 802.11ac/n/a/g beamforming technology Read More »

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