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Miercom Agrees: Cisco Controllers with Dynamic Bandwidth Selection are the Tops

Cisco recently introduced another addition to its Radio Resource Management (RRM) algorithm – Dynamic Bandwidth Selection (DBS). Previously, controllers only had the ability to automatically assign channels and power levels, while the AP channel widths were manually assigned for each AP Group. A choice of 20MHz, 40MHz, or 80MHz channel widths were offered within the Access Point (AP) groups, allowing for the APs to all be on the same chosen channel width. With the addition of DBS, the APs can now be automatically assigned to individual channel widths. This allows the radio resources more opportunities to fine-tune the network according to changing RF conditions for higher granularity.

Independent testing company Miercom recently carried out a full scale RRM testing to run Cisco’s DBS RRM against Aruba’s Adaptive Radio Management (ARM). This testing was performed to validate and benchmark the best-in-class radio resource management feature in Enterprise Wireless. The RRM testbed was designed to achieve real world apples-to-apples comparison between the Cisco 5520 controller with five AP 2702i against the Aruba 7210 controller with five AP 225.

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The result was a runaway win for the Cisco controllers over Aruba.

RRM is a vital element for strong performance and reliability of a wireless network. RRM involves intelligent management of the channels and power transmission of AP radios based on the environment Radio Frequency (RF) conditions. Cisco introduced RRM on its WLAN Controllers in 2005, and since then has been an industry pioneer in automatic AP channel and power management. Cisco’s RRM has evolved over the last decade to become one of the most important WLAN features. RRM is especially helpful for high-density networks where scores of APs need to assign the best possible channel and power plans. These channels and power plans create minimum RF interference and maximum RF performance.

Miercom independently verified the functionality of both the RRM and ARM over a period of several days to analyze the overall performance impact on the network. They observed each controller with different channel width conditions ranging from 20MHz to 80MHz. Typically the radio management algorithms for both RRM and ARM take a few hours to zero-in on what is considered to be the best channel and power plan by the respective vendor controller. Miercom allowed each test setup a period of 12 hours to settle down to the best possible AP channel and power plan. Read More »

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Cisco 5520 and 8540 Wireless Controllers – Powering Next-Generation Wireless Networks

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Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller

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Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller

Recent trends suggest that unless upgrades are made to current wireless infrastructures, these networks are going to get bogged down in the coming years. By 2019, the way people use their devices are expected to change as more devices—which will all be incrementally faster—will enter the workplace. In addition to the overall number of devices increasing, the tasks that they perform will also evolve. Video streaming usage is expected to increase 13-fold and take up to 74% of total mobile data traffic, according to the 2015 Cisco Visual Networking Index Mobile Forecast Study (CMFS).

And while bandwidth intensive applications, such as video, will be the main culprits that chew up your wireless infrastructure, there are other factors that will slow down your networks too. The CMFS reports that by 2019, 53% of fixed IP traffic will be Wi-Fi, which means that wireless will be exceeding wired traffic by 21%. Couple that with an estimated 85% of enterprises implementing some sort of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy by the end of the decade—perhaps tripling the amount of devices on your workplace LAN—and increased video isn’t the only thing you will be worried about.

But it’s all not just extra laptops, mobile devices and streaming videos, the Internet of Everything (IoE) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) traffic will be vying for your wireless network too. The CMFS study says that 28% of device connections will be from M2M traffic. Read More »

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Converged Access now available on Catalyst 4500E!

Catalyst 4500E Supervisor 8-E now supports Converged Access with the IOS XE 3.7 release. The Supervisor 8-E is the latest generation high performance supervisor for Catalyst4500E and provides cutting edge features such as Service Discovery Gateway and support for SDN Openflow in addition to Converged Access and industry leading scale and performance. Miercom recently tested the performance of Supervisor 8-E and the report can be downloaded here. Since its launch, the Supervisor 8-E has become the highest selling supervisor in modular access and has been deployed by a large portion of the Catalyst 4500 install base.

The integrated wireless functionality for Converged Access on Supervisor 8-E is implemented through the same Unified Access Data Plane (UADP) ASIC as in the Catalyst 3850, so Catalyst 4500E customers who deploy Converged Access get the same field tested solution that has been deployed by thousands of Catalyst 3850 customers. Additionally, the Converged Access solution on Supervisor 8-E provides high availability (Access Point Stateful Switchover) and investment protection for wireless, which are the hallmark of the Catalyst 4500 platform. Read More »

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Outdoor 802.11ac AP Performance Report by Miercom

The brisk inflation of 802.11ac in the Wi-Fi industry is evident from the large stream of wireless products entering the market with a stamp of the latest IEEE wireless standard. With that said, the Outdoor Wi-Fi Market is certainly not staying behind to join the 802.11ac bandwagon either. Cisco recently launched industry’s first 4×4, three spatial streams outdoor 802.11ac access point – Aironet 1570 series AP.

Taking into consideration an outdoor environment’s lively nature with the least multipath opportunities, and the presence of trees, high rises, and open spaces, it’s crucial to have a robust wireless solution to achieve the true benefits of 802.11ac. Miercom’s recent report helps find out the answer to the most ideal outdoor 802.11ac solution question. A comprehensive performance analysis on 802.11ac Outdoor Access Points, this third party vendor test report comprises of throughput performance, consistency and feature tests for flagship outdoor access points from three vendors including Cisco AP1572, Aruba AP275, and Ruckus APT300.

The report encompasses four major tests which provide an outlook of the performance capabilities of each access point in a real world environment. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from each test analysis.

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Miercom Report: High Availability and Real-time Applications

The transition to 802.11ac has been swift.  Two months ago, Cisco announced crossing 1 million units sold for 802.11ac.  It’s a testament to just how pervasive Wi-Fi has become.  These days, Wi-Fi needs to always be available, aMiercom Performance Verifiednd it needs to be quick, no matter the mix of applications on the network.

Miercom recently published a third-party report testing these two areas – high availability and real-time voice / video performance of Cisco, Aruba, and Ruckus.

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