New Spectrum Intelligence Technology Tackles Challenges of RF Interference,
Making Mission-Critical Wireless Networks More Reliable
May 3, 2010 – Following key announcements of its Borderless Networks architecture in the areas of security, network access and network services, Cisco announced new products and network and support services that accelerate the transition to the mobile workplace. Cisco’s Borderless Mobility solutions, including the new Cisco® Aironet® 3500 Series Access Points with CleanAir technology, allow companies to deliver a seamless mobility experience by providing anywhere, anytime access to information.
As more employees go mobile, the wireless network must perform on a par with the most critical networks. In a recent Cisco survey of more than 600 U.S. companies, 78 percent considered all or part of their wireless network to be mission-critical to their business operations. Yet, the same group identified wireless interference as one of the top causes of wireless performance issues. With its new CleanAir technology, Cisco is the first to solve the challenge of wireless interference by combining a patented CleanAir Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) in the access point with system-level intelligence to detect, classify, locate and mitigate the impact of wireless interference.
An industry first, CleanAir technology is the only solution that can completely address the interference challenge of delivering business-critical applications over wireless networks.
Key Facts and Highlights:
CleanAir accurately detects, classifies and locates more than 20 unique interference sources including cordless phones, wireless video cameras, microwave ovens and Bluetooth devices while simultaneously serving client traffic. Key highlights include
An intuitive Air Quality Index for a comprehensive assessment of the severity of interference affecting any given access point or specific location
The ability to self-heal and self-optimize the wireless network by enhancing radio resource management to improve wireless reliability without IT intervention
Interference correlation across multiple access points to prevent duplicate events from the same interference source
A specialized CleanAir radio ASIC to provide detailed spectrum visibility without affecting the access point performance, unlike software-based solutions that rely on standard Wi-Fi chipsets
CleanAir technology can reduce wireless troubleshooting time from hours to minutes and, in many cases, can automatically resolve problems. CleanAir's integrated design can mitigate the impact of interference within 30 seconds by assessing the problem and adjusting the wireless signal to operate in an unaffected spectrum.
Independent testing showed that software-based solutions were limited and resulted in: 1) poor classification with only 25 percent accuracy, 2) mistaken identification with 15 percent of classifications being incorrect, and 3) missed detection with 25 percent of major interference sources never being detected. Unlike these software-based solutions, CleanAir's advanced radio ASIC is designed to provide100 percent visibility into the spectrum with accurate analysis and diagnosis of Wi-Fi and non Wi-Fi interference issues.
By accurately locating interference sources visually represented on a floor plan, CleanAir lets businesses rapidly identify and remove interference sources.
The Cisco Aironet 3500 Series access points with CleanAir technology are the industry’s only access points providing hardware-based spectrum intelligence. The new 7.0 release of the Cisco Unified Wireless Network software integrates CleanAir capabilities across Cisco’s Wireless Control System, the 3300 Series Mobility Service Engine and all Cisco Wireless Controllers.
Cisco is delivering additional new enhancements and features that allow businesses to better scale their wireless networks and lower operational costs:
Cisco is increasing the scale of the Cisco 5500 Wireless Controller with support for 500 access points (previously 250).
Cisco is expanding its 802.11n portfolio with the Cisco Aironet 1260 Series Access Points, delivering full 802.11n performance with standard Power over Ethernet for customer environments that do not require CleanAir.
Cisco is delivering a new limited lifetime warranty for Cisco Aironet 1140, 1250, 1260, and 3500 Series Access Points (both standalone and controller-based versions are covered).
Pricing and Availability
The Cisco Aironet 3500 Series with CleanAir technology is scheduled to be available in May 2010. Pricing ranges from $1,095 to $1,495.
The Cisco Aironet 1260 Series (non-CleanAir), with external antennas, dual band and full 802.11n performance with standard Power over Ethernet, is scheduled to be available starting in May 2010 with prices starting at $995.
"The dramatic influx of mobile devices onto corporate networks, the explosive use of multimedia and video, and the growing demand from users to be mobile have all resulted in the enterprise's need to make wireless networks a mission-critical part of its communications infrastructure," said Ray Smets, vice president and general manager for the Cisco Wireless Networking business unit. "Like the wired network, wireless networks must evolve to address these challenges. With the introduction of CleanAir technology, Cisco is delivering that foundation so that enterprises can enable a true Borderless Mobility experience for users. With its Borderless Networks architecture, Cisco is the only vendor that can unify wired and wireless networks to provide seamless access to applications across any network connection."
"Interference is a real threat to any wireless network," said Joe Rogers, network administrator, University of South Florida in Tampa, one of the nation's top public research universities with 40,000 students. "Using Cisco's 3500 Series Access Points with CleanAir technology, we are able to not only identify the type of interference, such as video cameras, microwaves, cordless phones and Bluetooth devices, but we can, for the first time, pinpoint their location and optimize our wireless network. We hope to deploy Cisco's new technology first in our larger classrooms, then in our residence halls where 5,000 students live and use multiple wireless devices every day."
"Telekom Austria is using Cisco's 3500 Series Access Points with CleanAir technology at Telekom Austria headquarters to identify disturbances in the radio frequency spectrum of the wireless LAN," said Michael Schulteis, Expert Group Collaboration in Business Products & Solutions at Telekom Austria. "We have located a number of devices causing interference in the 2.4GHz band, including Bluetooth and microwave ovens and can now localize the interferences in the Cisco Wireless Control System map."
Staff and students at Imperial are increasingly using more bandwidth intensive applications when connected to our wireless network, making it important for us to understand our RF spectrum so that we can maximize the service we offer. Disturbances can come from anything from microwave ovens to Bluetooth devices, and tools that can help us to identify interference are extremely useful," said Matthew Balyuzi, Network Technology Analyst, Imperial College London.
Ray Smets, vice president and general manager, Wireless Networking business unit, Cisco, reviews major milestones for Cisco's wireless business and how Cisco's Borderless Mobility and new CleanAir technology fit into the company's broader business strategy:
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