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Cisco Aironet 2800 and 3800 Series Access Points Leave the Competition in the Dust

June 2, 2016 - 10 Comments

With the inevitable explosion of more wireless devices and Wi-Fi hungry apps, does your current wireless network have the ability to handle multi-gigabit speeds?

If it doesn’t, there’s no need to worry, one of the key innovations of 802.11ac wave 2 allows for greater over-the-air throughput by providing wider channels. The channels will grow to 160MHz and allow users to more than double their throughput.

A simple way to think of this if your current 20MHz channel is a two-lane road, the new 160MHz channel would be a 16-lane super highway.

With the June 2nd 2016 publishing of the FCC 14-30 Order, the FCC now allows the use of three additional channels (120, 124, and 128). This order allows you to configure your wireless network as either:

• 2 x 160MHz channels
• 6 x 80MHz channels
• 12 x 40MHz channels
• 25 x 20MHz channels


Other Wi-Fi vendors have not worked as closely with the FCC as Cisco and have not followed the FCC 14-30 order. The have chosen to vacate the entire UNII-2 band instead by completely dropping DFS channel support. This has a huge impact on the network because a majority of client support DFS channels. This means that they are cutting the number of 5GHz channels by almost 70%, resulting in less overall client capacity, due to non-compliance with the FCC 14-30 order.



By removing UNII-2 channels, other vendors can only use:
• 0 x 160MHz channels
• 2 x 80MHz channels
• 4 x 40MHz channels
• 9 x 20MHz channels

This is equivalent to buying a brand new McLaren F1 and driving it on a dirt road.

If you have the Cisco Aironet 2800 and 3800 Access Points , what does this mean for your wireless network?

Cisco paves over that dirt road and provides the asphalt for your McLaren. Two 160MHz channels, in combination with the 2016 Best of Interop Award-Winning Flexible Radio Assignment, provides you with up to 5.2Gbps over-the-air. This is three to four times the wireless speeds of any other access point on the market, with three times the number of channels supported. That means you won’t have to worry about the amount of devices brought into your office, nor the applications that are being run.

Flexible Radio Assignment give your access points the ability to optimize your wireless network for capacity and coverage by allowing for dual 5GHz radios, configured with 160MHz channels, while other Wi-Fi vendors are still choking on a cloud of dust.

To learn more about Flexible Radio Assignment, click on the Cisco Aironet 2800 or 3800 pages.

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  1. What clients are supporting ch. 144, 120, 124, 128? Using these in reuse plan will just create coverage holes for MAJORITY of clients since not much support for them. Also you lose 3dBm of snr for each bond. This will lead to client issues and just drag aggregate throughput down for the cell since these clients won’t be able to get on/off medium as fast due to poorer snr. For fast efficient wifi is all about spectrum planning and management. I can see corner cases for 80 in enterprise but 160 should be left to trying at home and even then depends on neighboring aps and what channels are in use.

    • Hi Wifi, Thanks for bringing up these points. By disabling DFS/UNII and UNII extended channels other Wi-Fi Vendors are not only decreasing the number of 160MHz channels, they are severely limiting all channels 20/40/80/160MHz by greater than 70%. As you mentioned, depending on your network density, channel widths may vary. High Density deployments typically have 20/40MHz channels while lower density areas will use 80/160MHz channel. No need for you to worry, Cisco Dynamic Bandwidth Selection (DBS) will handle the channel width allocation automatically selecting the best width for each area.

      Channels 144, 120, 124, 128 are all part of the UNII-2 Extended band. UNII-2 Extended was first added by the FCC in 2003, initially there where Wi-Fi client devices that did not supported that spectrum. By 2011/2012 all major Wi-Fi clients supported the entire UNII-2 spectrum, so when you enable these channel your network would be coverage-hole free. We recommend you enable those channels on your wireless network today.



  2. When controller 5760 support Aironet 3800?

  3. Hi Brian,
    I think this is an FCC regulation for the USA only. So in Europe or the rest of the world its irrelevant ?

  4. Interesting if you were to build a storage on wireless but no one is. How much noise do you think bonding channels add. Do you think you were to get a high enough SNR to get 256 QAM for those high speeds. As far as I know neither Aruba, Aerohive, Ruckus, Huawei, Meru or Fortinet have excluded the UNII-2 channels. So with a total of 2 160Mhz channels a customer can deploy 2 APs with CCI.

    • Hi Wifiguru,
      Thanks for your question. It has come to our attention, that some of our competition has disabled the UNII-2 band to comply with the recent FCC changes, this is something we have not done. To ensure high performance across both radio’s 160MHz channels, we have implemented a number of proprietary innovations. You will be very impressed with the performance!