Who would have ever imagined that the LAN would become the bottleneck in a wireless LAN rollout? That scenario is becoming a reality, and the gap is going to become even wider in two years, when the next wireless standard, 801.11ax is released, with 4x the throughput of the current W2 standard.
Replacing Cat5e/6 cabling with 10GBASE-T cabling is too cost prohibitive for many organizations, especially considering the vastness of the legacy infrastructure. According to the NBASE-T Alliance, for example, there’s more than 70 billion meters of Cat5 and 6 cabling that’s been installed since 1999. That’s 10 meters for every person on earth. And, when you consider how disruptive it would be for companies to stop operations, rip out their legacy cabling and replace it with fiber at $100+ per drop, it’s just not feasible.
The solution to the Cat5e/6 bottleneck dilemma
The NBASE-T Alliance was created to address the aforementioned issue. The nonprofit group developed new technology that would enable legacy Cat5e and Cat6 cabling to accommodate between 2.5x and 5x (i.e., 2.5GbE and 5GbE) throughput by using wireless gear that supports the alliance’s IEEE-approved standard, 802.3bz. The new standard increases information density and adjusts spectral bandwidth to achieve throughput up to 5x greater than what was previously possible.
Cisco has released four lines of multigigabit switches that support the NBASE-T standard, including:
- Cisco Catalyst 3560-CX Series. This compact, PoE switch is ideally suited for flexible workspaces, hospital rooms, shops and classrooms. It supports Layer 3 along with 8 or 12 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
- Cisco Catalyst 3650 Series. This next-gen unified access switch supports Layers 2 and 3, up to 160 Gbps throughput and up to 50 access points.
- Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series. These stackable multigigabit and 10-Gbps network switches give you wired and wireless together so you can scale up and protect your customers’ investments.
- Cisco Catalyst 4500E Series. These switches are the foundation for Cisco Enterprise Networks and are the industry's most widely deployed modular platform for campus access and distribution deployments.
Plan your path to 802.11ac W2 Wi-Fi
ZK Research recently published a report, “Multigigabit Networks Enable the Mobile Enterprise,” which outlines the benefits of this new technology and how it will affect wired networks. The report includes recommendations on implementing multigigabit technology to address new requirements and avoid costly cabling upgrades. Check out this free report here.