This guest blog post is by Susie Wee, CTO & SVP Cisco DevNet. We thank Cisco for being a sponsor.
Wi-Fi 6 is not the future anymore…it’s here! Wi-Fi 6 products including the new Cisco Catalyst and Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access points as well as Wi-Fi 6 clients from Cisco partners are all available. And, supporting tools abound including Cisco DNA Center to help manage users, applications, and devices across the entire network. The technology advancements of Wi-Fi 6 empower developers to create a new class of applications. Cisco DevNet is here to support your journey towards new Wi-Fi 6 enabled experiences for IoT, AI and machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, and more.
How Wi-Fi 6 Works
Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, represents a major step forward over the current version of WiFi, 802.11ac, because of several technology advancements. Let’s geek out for a minute to understand them.
Wi-Fi 6 enables unified operations and pervasive segmentation across the entire network.
Wi-Fi 6 uses OFDMA – orthogonal frequency division multiple access. With OFDMA, an access point can talk to multiple clients at the same time by allocating different frequencies to different clients. The access point can also trade off how much spectrum it uses to send lower rate or higher rate data streams to the different clients according to their data needs. Essentially, it provides a more efficient use of frequency and time to get better performance.
The move from carrier sense multiple access to scheduling is another advancement. In 802.11ac, access points and clients use a “listen before talk” protocol to look for an opening to transmit data and can face collisions when they start to talk. Wi-Fi 6 uses “scheduling” at the access point for downlink and uplink communications with all the clients. With scheduling, the access point can avoid collisions and fill up every time slot with transmission opportunities, so it doesn’t waste time without transmissions.
Wi-Fi 6 also offers significant power savings in the client. Instead of a client’s radio being on all the time to listen for a packet, the access point can let the client know what its Target Wakeup Time is, so the client can put its radio to sleep until that time. This enables a new set of IoT sensors that can go without a battery change for years, and that unlocks new application possibilities.
With OFDMA, scheduling, target wakeup times, and other technology advances, Wi-Fi 6 supports more clients, which is often called high-density environments, and it gives them:
- higher throughput
- lower latency
- overall improved performance
- more power savings for the clients
It’s also important to consider capabilities such as intent-based networking to let you manage and operate your entire network, using automation to drive policy across the network, and assurance to know it’s working as planned. You can build in security and analytics from the network up to applications, users, and devices.
Cisco DevNet has the tools and resources you need
Whether you’re just getting started or already up to your eyeballs in network automation, there are resources to help you on your journey.
- View the on-demand videos from the “Wired for Wireless” launch.
- Visit the DevNet Wireless Developer Center to get API calls, learning labs, videos, and sandboxes that will help you take advantage of this burgeoning opportunity.
- Join us in the DevNet Zone at Cisco Live for hands-on learning opportunities where you can explore how new technologies like Wi-Fi 6, 5G, and Artificial Intelligence enable innovation opportunities with Cloud, IoT, and DevOps. And don’t miss the fast-paced and fun “DEMO JAM” that lets you see real-world examples of these technologies in action. We’ll also introduce you to exciting new resources from Cisco DevNet that you can use to learn new skills, take on emerging network automation opportunities, and make yourself invaluable to your company and customers.
Watch Susie Wee, SVP/CTO and Founder of Cisco DevNet and Todd Nightingale, SVP and General Manager of Cisco Meraki, as they announce several new offerings that will allow network engineers to create a new future where applications meet infrastructure.