Like 5G for mobile carrier networks, Wi-Fi 6 is the next-generation wireless standard and represents a quantum leap forward for connectivity. And as with all new standards, there were inevitable gaps that showed up in development; unforeseen challenges that can only be unearthed through trial and error. With major change comes complexity.
That’s why Cisco has been working with Samsung behind the scenes to validate that Wi-Fi 6 actually delivers faster connections, more capacity, and longer battery life. Over the past few months, Samsung Wi-Fi 6 mobile devices have been in action across the Cisco campus. We tested them over pre-production Catalyst Wi-Fi 6 and Meraki access points. We tested them in a university, followed by an airport, and have so far introduced the technology to a handful of key beta customers.
All new standards come with issues, and Wi-Fi 6 will be no different. And there’s where we felt we could make a difference for our customers. As a result of our in-depth experiments, we identified and addressed a number of issues. We’ve also resolved many grey areas in the spec – items that were left up to implementers’ interpretation or that don’t give details on how a feature should perform. Working with Samsung, we eliminated those grey areas. When our customers make the move to Wi-Fi 6, they can be confident the new technology will behave as expected.
That’s not all. Together, we’re working to provide a better bridge between mobile and Wi-Fi networks. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona we’ll show the first step in that journey. Anyone using a Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ or Note 9 device (and those lucky enough to have an early Galaxy S10) over the Cisco-powered guest wireless network will be able to seamlessly and securely connect – without any manual authentication. No portal, no typing in passwords, no picking SSIDs, no credit cards — just secure automatic connectivity. How? By using credentials already on your phone, like your operator SIM card. Even if your operator doesn’t currently support Passpoint autoconnectivity, your Samsung smartphone will! As a Samsung user, you already have an account for backups and device specific applications. This credential can also be used for a secure and seamless onboarding experience, supporting connectivity to enterprise, public and SP access networks.
We’re excited about our work with Samsung – and we’re just getting started by bringing the world’s largest deployment of APs together with the world’s largest installed base of Android devices. Over the next few weeks, our engineering leaders will be sharing their thoughts about Wi-Fi 6 and what the future holds. So let us know in the comments if you have questions or want to share insights (or a wireless wish list) of your own.