With the Cisco® Compatible Extensions program, WLAN client suppliers (the program’s
participants) license, at no charge, Cisco WLAN technology innovations in a specification.
Participants implement all elements of the specification and undergo extensive testing at an
independent third-party test lab. The testing helps to ensure support for innovative features
pioneered by Cisco, as well as interoperability with Cisco WLAN infrastructure products.
Look for the Cisco Compatible Logo
The Cisco Compatible Extensions program helps to ensure that client devices from a variety of
suppliers will work with Cisco-based WLANs. To make it easy to find these devices, Cisco has
licensed the Cisco Compatible logo (Figure 1) for use by participants whose products pass all tests
at the independent third-party test lab. Locating approved wireless devices is as easy as looking for
the logo. Review a complete listing of products
that have earned the Cisco Compatible designation.
Figure 1 - The Cisco Compatible Logo
Cisco Compatible Continued Development
Through the Cisco Compatible Extensions program, Cisco shows its commitment to leading
innovation and providing pre-standard features to fulfill customer requirements. Cisco enables its
partners to provide software upgrades for Cisco Compatible mobile devices to ensure that there is
a migration path to future industry standards and to Cisco Aironet® infrastructure features.
Migration from different versions of the Cisco Compatible Extensions program is simply and easily
implemented. Cisco will continue to develop future Cisco Compatible features and work with
industry-leading partners to empower customers with mobility solutions to solve business
challenges, today and in the future.
WLAN Adapters and Client Devices
The Cisco Compatible Extensions program for WLAN devices helps to proliferate WLAN
innovations to many different WLAN client adapter form factors and client devices while maintaining
Intel, a strategic alliance partner and lead collaborator, has achieved Cisco Compatible status for
its Centrino Mobile Technology, which is available in many notebook computers. Major notebook
suppliers, including Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, IBM, HP, and Toshiba, provide Cisco Compatible
Cisco is working closely with suppliers of mobile computing devices, such as PDAs, that have less
processing power than notebooks and run fewer applications. Such devices are classified as
application-specific devices (ASDs). The requirements for Cisco Compatible ASDs are a subset of
the requirements for Cisco Compatible notebooks, described in the next section.
Versions and Features
There are four versions of the Cisco Compatible specification; each version builds upon its
predecessors. With a few exceptions, every feature that must be supported in one version also
must be supported in each subsequent version.
Features of Cisco Compatible V1 include:
- Compliance with IEEE 802.11 and Wi-Fi
- Support for the 802.1X authentication type: Cisco LEAP
- Ability to interoperate with an access point that supports multiple Service Set Identifiers
(SSIDs) tied to multiple VLANs, providing benefits such as flexible security schemes in a
mixed client environment
Features of Cisco Compatible V2 include:
- Compliance with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), including support for WPA Temporal Key
Integrity Protocol (TKIP) encryption
- Support for the 802.1X authentication type: Protected EAP (PEAP) with EAP-GTC
- Fast, secure roaming through support of the 802.1X key management protocol: Cisco
Centralized Key Management (CCKM)
- Radio frequency (RF) scanning, with scanned data sent to the access point and ultimately
to CiscoWorks Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) for analysis and performance of RF
management functions such as intrusion detection, assisted site survey, and detection of
Features of Cisco Compatible V3 include:
- Compliance with WPA 2, including support for Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
- Support for the 802.1X authentication type: EAP-FAST
- Support for Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM), a subset of the IEEE 802.11e quality of service (QoS)
standard defined by the Wi-Fi Alliance
Features of Cisco Compatible V4 include:
- Support of Cisco Network Admission Control
- Call admission control – addressing voice over IP (VoIP) stability, roaming, and other QoSrelated
- Support for a power-saving mechanism, U-APSD, in QoS environments
- VoIP metrics for reporting to optimize WLAN VoIP performance
- Enhanced roaming
- Ability to function as an 802.11 location tag
Review the list of main features in each Cisco Compatible version, along with detailed descriptions of features.