Cisco’s New Aironet Wireless Access Points Make Networks Faster and Steadier

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Cisco launched its latest enterprise access point—Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point with corporate bring-your-own-device policies in mind, aiming to address the growing demand for fast network performance and consistent connectivity that is being fueled by the rapid growth of mobile devices and mobile network traffic.

The new Cisco Aironet 3600 Series access point is an 802.11n device and claimed to be the first to use three antennas to enable three separate data streams. It also has a fourth antenna. This combination, Cisco claims “enables people to be seamlessly connected from any wireless device, even those with weak wireless signals, at a greater distance from the access point with up to 30 percent faster performance than any other access point.”

The Aironet 3600 includes the company’s ClientLink 2.0 software. ClientLink allows the AP to compensate for the limitations of weaker client devices and improve the speed of all clients on the network, though laptops with three-stream capability still may get more speed than tablets and phones, said Sujai Hajela, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Wireless Networking Business Unit.

The unit also supports the IEEE 802.11r and 802.11u. 802.11r enables mobile devices to move between access points without breaking a session, a critical requirement for many applications, Cisco says. 802.11u enables the access point to communicate available network services to mobile devices. Cisco claims to be the first vendor to support both these standards.

According to Hajela, Cisco is betting that the Aironet line can maintain quality as workers video conference, connect to virtual desktops and make wireless local area network calls from their devices.

Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP

With four antennae and 30 percent more performance, Cisco is hoping the Aironet can account for multiple spatial streams—the path between the wireless signals served by an antenna and a device—and hit multiple devices. For instance, an iPad could use one spatial stream, a laptop would occupy two and an iPhone could have another.

The Aironet routers also have slots built in so new radios can be added whether they are Wi-Fi or cellular.

As for the markets Cisco is hoping to hit, Hajela said that he expects corporate campuses, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, small offices and retailers to have the most use for the new routers. “The days of going into a conference room and looking for an access point are over,” said Hajela. If successful, Cisco is looking to eliminate the following problem:

Cisco’s New Aironet Wireless Access Points Make Networks Faster and Steadier

And replace it with this scenario:

Cisco Delivers Fastest Wireless Network to Tackle World's Growing Mobility Expectations

The new Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP is available worldwide immediately for a list price of $1,495 with internal antennas and $1,595 with external antennas. The add-on scanning component is scheduled to ship by the end of this year.


Quick Overview on Cisco Aironet 3600 Series

It offers customers a path to ensuring their wireless network infrastructures are able to cope with growing demand.

Highlights of Cisco Aironet 3600 Series:

–Fastest Performance: With 30 percent faster performance, the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series 802.11n AP is designed to allow people to take advantage of cloud-based services, run virtual desktops with less lag time, or have smooth video calls, all resulting in better user experience.

–Higher Speed at a Greater Distance: The fourth antenna on the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP allows for greater mobile flexibility as more people can be wirelessly connected from more devices spread further from the access point while maintaining a fast and reliable wireless connection.

–High-Quality Experience with Any Device Client: The Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP includes the new ClientLink 2.0, which can boost performance for 100 percent of wireless client devices connected to the access point, regardless of the device’s wireless signal strength and spatial stream category.

–ClientLink 2.0 can improve performance for all mobile devices in 802.11a/g and now 802.11n across one, two and three spatial streams — from high-end laptops, smartphones and tablets to industry-specific devices to older wireless devices. It addresses the challenge of reliably connecting slower devices with weaker wireless signals, such as tablets.

–Investment Protection with Flexible Design: The access point’s flexible, modular design allows businesses to customize it depending on their needs with add-on modules that provide additional functionality. The access point also provides greater capacity to support additional devices as a business’ needs and user base grow.

–Performance Protection: The Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP includes Cisco CleanAir(TM) technology to help protect performance, increase reliability, and deliver unprecedented radio frequency (RF) spectrum troubleshooting, resulting in the best, highly secure experience.

–Cisco is also announcing a new, optional RF monitoring module with Cisco CleanAir. The new module can provide full visibility into the complete Wi-Fi spectrum — all 23 channels rather than just the traffic-serving channel. By proactively and simultaneously scanning the entire Wi-Fi spectrum for interference and security threats, the monitoring module can intelligently and automatically choose the best channel to serve traffic, delivering the best user experience and fast, reliable performance.

–Driving Innovation Through Standards with Support for 802.11r and 802.11u: Cisco continues to drive industry leadership and innovation by being the first to support standards-based fast roaming with IEEE 802.11r on the new Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP. Fast roaming with 802.11r can allow clients to move between access points without breaking a session, a critical requirement for many applications. Cisco led the effort to evolve Cisco Centralized Key Management into the 802.11r standard and is now leading again by being the first to support this standard. Additionally, Cisco is also first to support 802.11u on the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP, which will drive richer and simpler mobile experiences by allowing the network to communicate available network services to mobile devices.

–Simplified Manageability and Security: The Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP is supported by Cisco Prime Network Control System (NCS) and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), creating a unique ability to address the “Bring Your Own Device” challenge. Unified policy and access control in Cisco ISE and converged wired/wireless management in Cisco Prime NCS, together with Cisco wireless LAN infrastructure, simplify and help secure the mobile experience.


Supporting Quotes:

Sujai Hajela, vice president and general manager, Wireless Networking Business Unit, Cisco

“People are expecting more from their mobile devices: faster performance and constant, highly secure connectivity for any device to make the most of any service, whether it be from the cloud or datacenter. The new Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point delivers just that at an even greater range, to help deliver the best experience for all wireless devices.”

Sam Clements, manager, Mobility Practice, Presidio

“Our customers are increasingly investing in next-generation wireless networks to support their business’ growth and the influx of consumer devices, especially tablets, coming onto their networks. With the speed, performance and intelligence of the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point, we can confidently build next-generation wireless networks that ensure greater performance for all mobile client devices and compensate for wireless interference, maximizing and protecting our customers’ investments.”

Thomas Vogel, Local Area Network manager, TU Darmstadt

“As a university serving 25,000 students, we need a fast, reliable wireless network to keep up with the thousands of mobile devices students are using on campus. We also need a wireless network that can deliver optimal performance and consistent connectivity in critical areas. With the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point, we were able to build a high-performing, intelligent wireless network that can grow with us and support flexible, collaborative learning across our campus.”

Joe Rogers, senior network engineer, University of South Florida

“The Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point helps the University of South Florida provide a dynamic academic environment by keeping our faculty and students wirelessly connected to each other, university resources and the world at large. On a given day, we support 40,000 wireless users with 11,000 of them accessing the network simultaneously from a variety of personal mobile devices, so providing a continuous, fast, reliable wireless network with the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP is critical. The new access point will also allow us to easily scale and be ready for the newest three-spatial-stream mobile devices.”

Supporting Resources:

For more information about the Cisco Aironet 3600 Series AP

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