In their highly anticipated announcement this week, Apple introduced two new phones, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, and confirmed that iOS 7 would be released on September 18th. Techies like myself took note that iOS 7 will include quite a number of new features. We at Cisco want to help you understand what iOS 7 means for your network, so here’s a quick blog to sum it up:

How does iOS 7 impact your wireless networks?

Soon your employees and guests will be upgrading to IOS 7. Did you know up to 20% of traffic to mobile devices is software upgrades, application updates and synchronizing your devices via the cloud? Cisco’s Application Visibility and Control technology can help you identify and tame these applications and is available on the routers, Wireless LAN and visible via Prime Infrastructure. In addition, Cisco’s ISR can cache these updates to reserve valuable and expensive WAN bandwidth. More details about protecting the WAN is available in another blog.

If you leverage a Captive Portal, you will experience a change in behavior. Apple has enhanced the Captive Network Assistant (CNA) functionality iOS 7 making it more robust. Cisco has proactively developed and tested a new version of wireless LAN controller code to interoperate with Apple’s new implementation while ensuring a seamless experience for all other clients.

Finally iOS 7 also has significant security and manageability enhancements to improve productivity for the enterprise.

What do you need to do in order to optimize for iOS 7?

If you utilize a Captive Portals in your WLAN, you need to leverage a new feature in the software releases shipping in September 2013:

  • AireOS 7.4 MR2
  • Cisco IOS-XE 3.2.3

Background on Captive Network Assistant(CNA) and iOS 6?

When connecting to a wireless network; the Apple iOS device sends a request to a specific page on the Apple Site to verify Internet connectivity.

  • If the page is accessed successfully, the device assumes it has network connectivity.
  • In the event of a failure, CNA assumes a captive portal and launches a CNA browser to prompt the user with the login page.

This functionality was available with Cisco AireOS version

So what changed with iOS7?

With the iOS7, Apple has enhanced the logic around this functionality to make it more robust. To ensure optimal functionality; associated changes have been made in the controller code to detect and respond the CNA packets.

What if I am running AireOS 7.5 release?

A MR release will be made available shortly.

What about older AireOS code versions?

Customers operating with AireOS 7.0, 7.2 and 7.3 should upgrade to 7.4 MR2 to get the benefits of this functionality

What if I have a mix of iOS 6 and iOS 7 devices?

You can operate without problem with the new controller release

What if I do not use the Captive Portal functionality – do I need changes to my controller code?

No. You can continue to manage iOS 7 devices with existing AireOS and Cisco IOS-XE based controllers

So what’s the bottom-line?

To enable that your network is ready for iOS 7 and Captive Portal ensure that you are running the latest Cisco Unified releases.

  • AireOS 7.4 MR2 OR
  • IOS-XE 3.2.3

If you have any further questions, please reach out to your local Cisco representative.


Jeevan Patil

Director, Product Management

Wireless Network