Cisco introduces WiFi 6 access points

Cisco introduced Catalyst and Meraki WiFi 6 802.11ax access points along with a new Catalyst 9600 core switch for campus networks.

Cisco's Catalyst 9100 and Meraki MR 45/55 access points offer the capacity and latency improvements that come with 802.11ax WiFi 6 technology.
Cisco's Catalyst 9100 and Meraki MR 45/55 access points offer the capacity and latency improvements that come with 802.11ax WiFi 6 technology.

Cisco introduced the Catalyst 9100 and Meraki MR 45/55 access points, along with the Catalyst 9600 switch, as it began rollout of its WiFi 6 portfolio. Also commonly called 802.11ax, WiFi 6 “is redefining what’s possible for businesses,” Cisco said when introducing the products on April 29, “powering a new era of immersive wireless experiences and the connecting of billions of things.”

According to the company, the Catalyst and Meraki access point product sets “go beyond providing the new WiFi 6 standard. With custom, programmable chipsets and access to industry-leading analytics capabilities, Cisco’s latest APs deliver a smarter and more secure wireless network. The new access points are also multilingual, with the ability to communicate with multiple IoT protocols, including BLE, Zigbee, and Thread.”

Cisco added, “Beyond being significantly faster than the previous generation, WiFi 6 delivers up to 400 percent greater capacity and is more effective in high-density settings like large lecture halls, stadiums and conference rooms. Latency is vastly improved, allowing for near real-time use cases. WiFi 6 is also easier on connected devices’ batteries and provides an overall more predictable user experience.”

Sachin Gupta, vice president of product management for Cisco, commented in a blog post, “With the coming of WiFi 6 and 5G, we will see a new wireless world, reshaping how businesses and consumers interact. These wireless services are significantly faster, with greater capacity and improved latency. In short, they are changing the way we do business. As we enter this new era, there’s a need for a new generation of Catalyst products—one that’s designed for intent-based networking, with a modern programmable OS optimized for WiFi 6 and 5G traffic, and that offers automation, analytics, policy, and security.”

Along with the access points and core switch, Cisco also introduced the Open Roaming consortium. Gupta described the consortium as “a Cisco-led federation of WiFi stakeholders, from device manufacturers like Samsung to cellular carrier companies to enterprises, that will make signing on to WiFi automatic, seamless, easy, and secure. Its aim is to solve one of today’s biggest wireless pain points: to make it easier to seamlessly and securely hop between WiFi and cellular networks and onboard public WiFi.”

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