Like peanut butter and chocolate or Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen or Iron Man and Captain America, Cisco’s Catalyst 9100 Access Points and DNA Center are a duo that works incredibly well together. We are obviously more than a bit biased, but we’ve felt this way for a long time. Miercom, an independent, nonpartisan testing lab, recently released a competitive assessment that came to the same conclusion.

This wasn’t a situation where the Cisco access points were compared to themselves, the entire Catalyst 9100 family (Catalyst 9105, 9115, 9120 and 9130 APs) were pitted against products from our competition, namely Arista, HPE-Aruba, Juniper-Mist and Ruckus. In all instances, the Cisco products came out on top.

And it wasn’t even close.

To begin with, let’s first identify the Cisco products and what they bring to the network. The Cisco Catalyst 9100 Access Points are powered by Wi-Fi 6 technology and supports Cisco’s Intent based networking architecture are ready for the growing user expectations, IoT devices and next-generation cloud-driven applications. With the ability to handle the increased mobile traffic as well as support IoT at scale, Cisco’s first Wi-Fi 6 access point has superior RF innovations, the Catalyst 9100 expands wireless access and provides an unplugged and uninterrupted network experience that is intelligent, reliable and secure.

As for Cisco DNA Center, it’s a powerful network controller and management dashboard that lets you take charge of your network, optimize your Cisco investment, secure your remote workforce, and lower your IT spending. Full automation capabilities for provisioning and change management are enhanced with AI/ML enhanced analytics that pull streaming telemetry from everywhere in the network.

How did Miercom perform their tests? According to Miercom’s Report, the company, “us[ed] hands-on testing in a live business environment, [they] challenged each device with real-world scenarios to determine performance, automation, assurance and remote worker capabilities.”

This meant that they set up the competitors in terms of similar radio capabilities and compared performances from the 14 access points tested. Eighty clients were connected to each access point during the test and the first test measured downstream throughput. Cisco showed the highest performance despite the increase in client connection. In other words, adding more clients is obviously going to affect the throughput, but for the Catalyst access points, the affect wasn’t nearly as much as its competitors.

You get the speed and the bandwidth with Cisco!

With those kinds of results, you might think that the Catalyst access points would take a lot of juice. But the exact opposite is true as every Cisco access point showed less power consumption (in Watts) compared to its competitors.

There were more high scores with the Catalyst hardware, but we turn to the software portion of the testing, Cisco DNA Center. Like the access point portion of testing, Miercom was very thorough and had more than a handful of tests that pitted Cisco against like offerings from our competitors.

One of these tests revolved around a technology that has been getting a lot of press lately: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML). About Cisco’s AI/ML solution, Miercom said, “The intuitive, clean view of issues and how they correlate to other issues throughout the network helps relieve the burden of an overloaded IT that would otherwise need to perform manual investigations.”

They also praised the Cisco-only Network Heatmap feature that allows administrators the ability to compare one-month KPI time capsules. It was no contest as Miercom found in favor of Cisco DNA Center over both Aruba and Mist.

Miercom also positively reviewed Cisco DNA Center’s Troubleshooting features and Wi-Fi 6 Dashboard, Cisco DNA Spaces’ location services for Back to Business and Cisco’s solutions for the remote worker.

The testing company’s final conclusion is one that we’ll hang on our company refrigerator for years to come, in part it reads, “Cisco emerged as the best vendor in all the areas of the network evaluation: Wi-Fi 6 performance, network operations and network assurance.”

To read the entire report, click here: https://miercom.com/miercom-report-cisco-catalyst-9100-wifi6-access-points-and-cisco-dna-center-competitive-assessment/


Check out our Cisco Networking video channel

Subscribe to the Cisco Networking blog


Byron Magrane

Product Manager, Marketing