Part 1 of the Wi-Fi 6E and Network Access Series: Making the Access Networking Choice

When it comes time to upgrade your network, we know that there are plenty of options in the industry. But after you review those options, you’re going to realize that Cisco is the best choice when it comes to Access Networking.

The global pandemic of the last two years has shifted the way that most people operate their business. What once was unthinkable for many companies five years ago—working from home—has become the norm. Even as operations are opening and more people head back to the office, the idea that you must be in your office cube to be productive is no longer true.

Hybrid work is not a trend but has true staying power. Your network needs to be fortified so that it can run quickly, simply, and securely. The best way to do that is with Cisco Access Networking products.

To build out your Access Network, you’re going to need a roadmap. Luckily, we have the route highlighted for you. The first thing that you need to determine is whether you want your deployment to live in the cloud or on-prem. So that this blog word count doesn’t run into the stratosphere, we’re going to focus on the on-prem solution. However, it should be known that Cisco Meraki does offer a world-class Access Networking solution should you decide to go that way.

Select your switches!

Your switches are the backbone of your network. If you want a versatile and flexible network, Cisco Catalyst 9000 Switches are the right choice. The Catalyst 9000 switching family continues to evolve as the needs of your network evolve to meet the new demand of hybrid work. The latest additions to the Catalyst 9000 family bring the “X” factor to your hybrid office – exceptional speed, security, and power.

At the campus core, Catalyst 9500X and 9600X models lead the industry with the first 400G in Enterprise, the first to use Silicon One ASICs for campus. At the access edge, Catalyst 9300X and 9400X models deliver full mGig and 90W PoE ports, and converged switching and routing. All provide continuous zero-trust security for a smarter, more agile campus and branch.

Catalyst APs – so that your users can connect

The Catalyst 9100 Access Points—especially the new Catalyst 9136 AP—will power your hybrid journey by leveraging the new 6GHz band to reliably enable your network. Your customers need immersive apps to get their job done, but at the same time, not everyone is working from home all the time. Cisco Catalyst Access Points make IoT deployment easier too. That way you can make sure that your network is secure no matter where it’s being used.

By connecting the things to people, things to businesses, and connecting it all with data that’s coming from things like sensors and machines, you can create a multiplier effect on productivity that’s going to change the way your business is run—for the better. It provides more freedom and flexibility for users to work efficiently and effectively from anywhere, whether it’s remote monitoring or performing remote surgeries on patients in healthcare or remotely monitoring and managing the operation of robotics and machines in manufacture.

Focusing on the Catalyst 9136 Access Point, you not only get the key to allowing you on the 6GHz spectrum and the added speed, beefed-up security, and higher reliability that that brings but there is so much more. For example:

  • Built-in Environmental Sensors: a new Cisco-only feature added to new Wi-Fi 6E access points, they measure temperature, air quality, and humidity. In addition to the data that it provides about the environment, it also avoids the constraint of an overlay network. In other words, you won’t have to deploy two devices—the Catalyst 9136 does the job of both.
  • Power Management: With AP Power Save mode, APs can now turn off radios or reduce the transmit chains during off-hours, saving power. This is feature is part of the Catalyst Wireless “AP Power Optimization” suite of features, which will be covered in the upcoming blog.
  • Band Steering: A feature helping Wi-Fi 6E clients automatically connect to the 6GHz spectrum to take advantage of the benefits that that radio offers.

Managing the Network

Your network is only as good as how it’s managed. If you can’t get the network to do what you want it to do, it’s useless. With Cisco DNA Center, that’s not a problem because not only does DNA Center do the things you want it to do, but it’s also smart enough to suggest other actions that should be done to make sure that your network is running smoothly. And these are things that you might never expect.

Let’s start with the things that you already know: Cisco DNA Center is a network controller and management dashboard that allows for troubleshooting and managing your network. It provides the digital agility to drive network insights, automation, and security while helping customers connect, secure, and automate their business in a cloud-first world.

Cisco DNA Center leverages automation as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine reasoning (MR) for every fundamental management task in the network. Through simplified automation, IT can now automate operational tasks such as device discovery and refresh, software image, and configuration change management to name a few. This allows IT to standardize on the best practices while eliminating human error. This also saves time and money by allowing IT Operations to become more efficient by focusing more on more value-based tasks instead of redundant, time-consuming tasks.

Aside from the IT Department, DNA Center also benefits NetOps as well. By using AI-Driven root cause analysis, NetOps can use DNA Center to streamline the troubleshooting process by providing fast resolution to everyday issues. DNA Center simplifies the running of your network while responding to changes and challenges faster and more intelligently

When it comes to hybrid work, Cisco DNA Center supplies a powerful network controller and management dashboard to Cisco’s broad portfolio of access networking products. With Cisco DNA Center, IT can plan for a secure, seamless transition to hybrid work and supply the unparalleled experience that is desired while scaling the network for devices growth.

Hybrid work isn’t scary, especially when you have a map of what you need to do. Let Cisco provide that guidance for you, and you’ll be well on your way.


Learn more about Cisco and hybrid work


Byron Magrane

Product Manager, Marketing