As more and more users and devices are connecting to the network via WiFi, Cisco has been focused on creating the best wired network to enable mission critical wireless:

  • In 2013, we introduced Catalyst 3850 & 3650 Stackable Converged Access Switches for wired & wireless networks. These switches simplified networks by combining separate wired and wireless networks into a single platform. This simplification makes IT agile. These switches also enabled a better user experience through deeper application visibility across wired and wireless with Cisco Flexible NetFlow. Click here to see an interactive demo showing the other benefits of our converged access switches.
  • In 2014, we expanded the converged access portfolio by introducing Converged Access on Catalyst 4500E, our lead modular access platform.
  • Today, we take the next big step in our wireless strategy by introducing Cisco Catalyst Multigigabit technology across several campus switches: Catalyst 4500E, 3850 and 3560-CX.

So, what problem does Cisco Catalyst Multigigabit technology solve?

Gigabit WiFi Access Points continues to pick up steam, with 802.11ac Access Point (AP) penetration up almost 10-fold last year[1]. As the industry anticipates the shipment of 802.11ac Wave 2 APs and the future 802.11ax, enterprises are now readying to take advantage of the increase in wireless bandwidth and the ability to run several wireless streams simultaneously on the same AP.

11ac Wave 2 offers tremendous opportunities, but it also has challenges. How can you enable 6.8G wireless speeds being promised by 11ac Wave 2 when your wired port is limited to 1G because of Cat 5e cables? Even if you have cables that support faster speeds, how do you deliver PoE to the wireless APs? Can you do all this without expensive rip and replace of your existing cabling plant?

Cisco Catalyst Multigigabit technology allows enterprises to easily prepare their networks for the five-fold increase in wireless bandwidth from 11ac Wave 1 to Wave 2. It addresses the common challenges they will face when upgrading their networks for 802.11ac Wave 2. Here are the highlights:

  • Tremendous cost savings for customers migrating to Wave 2:  Large numbers of today’s access switches are connected to APs with Cat 5e cabling, which is limited to 1Gbps speed. As soon as the traffic from wireless AP reaches the access switch, it will hit a bottleneck. However, based on NBASE-T specifications, our new technology delivers speeds of 1G, 2.5G, 5G, and 10G on existing Cat 5e / 6 cabling. By eliminating the need to upgrade cabling infrastructure, this will result in major cost-savings. In fact, based on feedback from industry experts, the cost savings can run from $200 to $1,000 per port – because that’s the estimated cost of pulling a new cable based on country, complexity of installation, regulatory requirements and other factors.
  • Flexible Network Power: PoE, PoE+ & Cisco UPOE are now delivered to endpoints on Multigigabit ports. You get the flexibility to power Wave 2 APs over your existing cables without changing the cable layout or pulling new electrical circuits in the ceilings or walls.
  • Investment protection:  The technology offers interoperability with existing Catalyst access switches. For example, Catalyst 3850 Multigigabit models can be stacked with existing 1G Copper and 1G Fiber models. Similarly, the Multigigabit line card for Catalyst 4500E works with existing Supervisor Engines 8-E, 7-E and 7-LE.
  • Network wide performance improvement:  To avoid moving the bandwidth bottleneck from the access ports to the backbone, we doubled the 10G density with new higher density line cards on our backbone switches, Catalyst 6800 and 6500-E. The line cards deliver uncompromised network services that have been the hallmark of this product line and can be deployed into the hundreds of thousands of Catalyst 6500-E chassis already running in customer environments.

These innovations from access switches to the backbone expand the possibilities for enterprises to delight users with connected experiences, not break IT budgets, and extend existing investments in their wireless infrastructure into the future.

Learn more here: www.cisco.com/go/multigigabit.


[1] http://www.infonetics.com/pr/2014/2Q14-Wireless-LAN-Market-Highlights.asp


Jeff Reed

SVP/GM of Cloud and Network Security

Security Business Group