Cisco Becomes First Enterprise WLAN Vendor to Commit to 802.11ac Support

M. Spanbauer
M. Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:

  • Customers have been apprehensive about continued significant investment in 802.11n with the 802.11ac technology on the horizon.
  • Cisco’s 802.11ac guarantee, via a simple tool-less module available in 2013, will provide forward compatibility with 11ac with a capable, enterprise-class 802.11n access point today.

I have had several conversations that started with the question of whether continued investment in 802.11n platforms was wise given the pending standardization of 802.11ac and the benefits which it will bring (in late 2012/early 2013).  Since the standard is not yet fully ratified and endorsed, there has been no  guarantee that the fully ratified specification will be supported by an enterprise vendor… until now.  Cisco had announced that the Aironet 3600 access point would be eligible for a tool-less module upgrade (which simply snaps in and is secured with two thumbscrews on the back) in early 2013 (release date: TBD) that would allow customers to take advantage of the 802.11n features the AP possesses today while ensuring investment protection for a forward-looking upgrade to 802.11ac.  Now, this module is not free of course, and as of the time of this writing, it had a suggested retail around $500 (potentially subject to change); however, given the access point’s suggested retail of around $1,500 and the module SRP of $500, each access point would have a CapEx of $2,000 (list) and provide for a simple evolution from 11n to 11ac. Continue reading “Cisco Becomes First Enterprise WLAN Vendor to Commit to 802.11ac Support”