There are some people who feel that an outdoor network is an extravagance.

It’s not.

Even if your workplace isn’t a stadium or an outdoor concert hall, there are many reasons why you’d want to extend your indoor wireless network to the great outdoors. One of the biggest reasons is the preponderance of IoT devices. As more and more IoT devices—like video cameras or outdoor lighting or badge readers—are added to the network, they’re gobbling up more and more bandwidth. Recent reports show that up to 50% of globally connected devices will be IoT devices, which means your network needs to grow exponentially in order to support this equipment.

While increased support for IoT devices is essential, what’s also important is not dropping the Wi-Fi connection when you’re running from one building to another. Ever know that you’re going to be late for a meeting in person and so you start that call on your phone? Dropping that call or not being able to hear what’s being said can be a real pain, so making sure that you have a crisp connection is incredibly important.

Up until now, Cisco has only offered a Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac Wave 2) solution to these issues; but today we’re releasing the Cisco Catalyst 9124 Access Point. The new Catalyst 9124 brings the Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard technology outdoors. What exactly does that mean? For starters, the new access points support up to 400 devices per AP and come equipped with up to three radios 2.4GHz and 5GHz (both 4×4:4) and a built-in BLE radio, which is perfect for IoT deployments.

The Catalyst 9124* comes in three different variants:

• The Catalyst 9124I has an internal omni antenna. This means that the coverage is perfect for a wide area and is best used for general purposes. This access point would be best deployed at a college campus or corporate offices with multiple buildings.

• The Catalyst 9124D comes equipped with an internal directional antenna. This access point is great for a high-density area. That means stadia, outdoor concert halls and large parks would fit the bill.

• The antenna on the Catalyst 9124E is external and supports both omni and directional. These antennas are located outside the access point casing. Environments such as outdoor warehouses, shopping malls and truck stops benefit from these access points.

* Note: Catalyst 9124I and 9124D are initially available in the US and Canada markets only. Worldwide availability for the Catalyst 9124I and 9124D Access Points are set for Summer of calendar year 2021. Also, the Catalyst 9124E is unavailable until Summer of calendar year 2021.

The Catalyst 9124 Access Points have a lot of the same cutting-edge features and functions that its indoor brethren (the Catalyst 9100 APs) have, but with one added distinction. These access points are surrounded by a rugged, ready-for-anything-that-nature-throws-at-it casing. In this access point, you get RF ASIC, which provides real-time analytics that combined with Cisco DNA Center gives your network RF intelligence and visibility so that can be analyzed so that your network can be run more efficiently. Cisco-only features like CleanAir, Fastlane+ among others are included with the Catalyst 9124 so that your outdoor network is as innovative as your indoor network.

If you already have an outdoor network, you can deploy the new Catalyst 9124 Access Points at your leisure as they are interoperable with the existing Cisco access points, the Aironet 1540, 1560 and 1570 APs. To make the upgrade straightforward and cost-effective, you can use the existing Aironet 1560 brackets with the Catalyst 9124AX APs.

This access point is fashionable as well as functional. With paintable covers orderable as an accessory, you can jazz up your AP to your preference.

Learn more about the Catalyst 9124 Access Point.

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Byron Magrane

Product Manager, Marketing