Cisco combines private 5G and Wi-Fi for enterprises

Cisco got into the 5G private wireless game more than a year ago, when it worked on a Department of Defense project with partners, including Federated Wireless, AWS and JMA Wireless.

Today, the company introduced Cisco Private 5G. And it also announced Wi-Fi 6E access points — the Catalyst 9136 and Meraki MR57 — saying its Wi-Fi 6E technology expands capacity to exceed gigabit performance.

“Our vision of the future of work is built on wireless through a combination of private 5G and Wi-Fi, where enterprises can modernize, automate their operations, and benefit from the resulting productivity gains,” said Masum Mir, VP and GM of Cisco’s Mobile and Cable Business Unit, in a blog.

RELATED: Cisco gets in on 5G action, including 5G private wireless

Cisco’s Private 5G will be a managed service delivered together with global service provider and technology partners.

Mir wrote, “We believe the competitors are going about it the wrong way. They would have you adopt a complex, carrier-centric 5G solution that’s radically different from what you already know and use. Some even ignore Wi-Fi entirely.”

Cisco claims its Private 5G integrated with Wi-Fi will be better because the company already has lots of experience building custom solutions for enterprises, and it can integrate the new technology into existing IT environments.

Cisco’s message to enterprises: “You don’t have to choose between 5G and Wi-Fi – you can use both, protecting your current investments and strategies.” 

For its enterprise solution, the vendor will provide a simple management portal for customers, while it handles all the complexities of the 3GPP mobile network stack. Its Private 5G software releases will be automatically maintained from the cloud. Cisco is offering a “pay-as-you-use” subscription model to minimize up-front infrastructure costs.

Wi-Fi 6E

According to a recently published report by Dell'Oro Group, supply chain problems will be a "pin in the balloon" for Wi-Fi 6E.

In fact, Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks will talk a bit about Wi-Fi chip shortages at FierceWireless’ upcoming Wi-Fi Summit next week.

"Although manufacturers launched Wi-Fi 6E products in mid-2021, products are either not available, or they are in very limited supply. Supply constraints have prompted manufacturers to focus on enabling the availability of popular models by re-designing these models with components that are more readily available," wrote Tam Dell'Oro, CEO and wireless LAN analyst.

The Dell’Oro report said its interviews with systems integrators reveal users are asking for Wi-Fi 6, not 6E. Therefore, if companies have to prioritize their production, Wi-Fi 6 will be the priority. Wi-Fi shipments in the second half of 2021, excluding China, were significantly limited because of supply constraints. Ecosystem players do not see constraints easing until the end of 2022.

“With Wi-Fi 7 products shipping as early as 2023, we predict users will bypass 6E," added Dell'Oro.

"In addition to supply constraints inhibiting the rate of adoption of Wi-Fi 6E, we have learned that compliance with regulations to operate within the 6 GHz spectrum are slowing the deployment process Compliance processes have yet to be standardized and easy to implement," said the analysts.