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CTS 177: Wi-Fi 6 with Fred Niehaus

This episode was recorded at the Podcast Domain for Cisco Live 2019 in San Diego. In attendance is Rowell Dionicio, François Vergès, Gurpreet Singh, and Fred Niehaus.

Fred has been with Cisco since 2000. Since 1993 Fred has been doing wireless. Gurpreet works for a VAR in Canada with all aspects of warehouses.

Cisco Live Photos by Rowell Dionicio. https://rowelldionicio.com/clusphotos

Wi-Fi 5 was all about very high throughput but had nothing to do with latency. Cellular buys frequencies for millions and millions of dollars and uses the spectrum efficiently.

Two main features of Wi-Fi 6 are:

  • OFDMA, borrowed from cellular, cuts latency down
  • BSS Coloring which allows for channel reuse

Fred says we’re ahead of 5G. What’s in 5G is available in Wi-Fi today

At the top of Fred’s Wi-Fi 6 list are OFDMA and BSS coloring. TWT for scheduling will be very beneficial to IoT devices.

OFDM vs OFDMA

  • Channel that’s 20 MHz size
  • If data is one little chunk it wastes the subcarriers
  • OFDMA takes multiple transmitters/receivers on each subcarrier for efficiency

The new Wi-Fi 6 access points from Cisco are:

  • C9117
  • C9115
  • C9120  

One thing to note, with the C9117 as an example, is that chipsets that were early to market did not support OFDMA in the uplink. Cisco went to Marvell and Cisco has asked for a custom chipset.

But to meet meet customers’ needs you can build your own chipset or look to another manufacturer.

Why would Cisco change the name to Catalyst? That’s because it is the best product line. Access points are redesigned to be smaller. 

Comparing Wi-Fi 6 to previous generation

  • 9115 and 9117 those are like 1850 and 1830 series. Early to market and standards-based.
  • 9120 is more like the 2800 series. Has the RF ASIC, a custom ASIC that is software defined. 

The RF ASIC can specifically create a signature for DFS signals. Potentially eliminated false positives with DFS hits. The benefit of the RF ASIC allows the other radios to service clients while using this 3rd radio. Unlike previous ASICs, the 9120 has the capability to transmit but it’s not configured to at the moment.

When do you think we will see the actual benefits of Wi-Fi 6? Let us know in the comments below.

CTS 174: Takeaways From Cisco Live

Welcome to this episode where we do a quick recap of how Cisco Live went this year in San Diego. This is one of the few rare moments when both hosts are in the same city.

Cisco Live Recap with Rasika and Stephen

Check out this short video we recorded with Rasika and Stephen getting their thoughts at the end of the conference.

Wi-Fi 6

The Cisco Live conference was not using the new Catalyst 9100 series access points. Stability is a big thing for a huge conference. But they were seen over at the Whisper Suites. It’s just too soon to be using the C9100’s for a large conference.

Cisco Live Wi-Fi

We do have some interesting stats near the end of the conference. There were over 28,000 attendees. The Cisco Champions were able to join a NOC Talk with the folks running the network. Just to note, during the NOC talk there were only five Wi-Fi 6 clients on the network.

Cisco Live Photos by Rowell Dionicio. https://rowelldionicio.com/clusphotos

Some Cisco Live Wi-Fi details

  • 6 WiFi guys
  • 91% of clients were 802.11ac
  • Running Aironet in convention
  • Hyatt running Meraki
  • Took over Hilton’s Meraki network
  • OpenRoaming debuts – 3000+ devices on Monday before keynote
  • DNA Assurance deployed. Sensors deployed all over.
  • Cisco 8540s servicing convention center
  • Running 8.5.140.0 code

DevNet Certifications

Announced during the opening keynote were the certification changes across the board along with new DevNet certifications announced. We’ll address the new certifications in a future episode but you can check out the details on Cisco’s developer site.

Cisco + Intel + Samsung + Boingo

Cisco Champions were fortunate to take part in conversations between Cisco, Intel, Samsung, and Boingo. We received insight into the partnership between each company and how they are all working together to bring a better user experience to devices and infrastructure as it pertains to Wi-Fi. It was a short conversation but a good one nonetheless.

Cisco Live Photos

Check out Rowell’s photos from Cisco Live.

Post-Cisco Live Thoughts

Cisco Live 2019 came to an end. What were the final thoughts of the conference? What was new? We sit down with Rasika Nayanajith and Stephen Cooper to discuss the latest from Cisco’s biggest event of the year. Watch the video below.

CTS 132 – Location-Based Analytics

Recorded at Cisco Live 2018 in Orlando, FL, we speak to Christian Gauer about Wi-Fi location-based analytics.

Meet Greg Skeene

Our featured wireless engineer for this episode is Greg Skeene. He’s a listener of the show and we finally met up during a meetup at Cisco Live. Listen to the episode to hear him answer François’ 10 questions.

Greg Skeene - Wi-Fi Engineer

Location-Based Analytics

This episode was recorded at Cisco Live 2018 in the Podcast Domain. Our guest is Christian Gauer, a TME in Cisco focused on location-based analytics.

We’re new to location-based analytics so we wanted to know more about it. Especially with the increased amount of IoT devices coming on the network. Can we use that data to make business decisions?

What are some of the expectations for location-based analytics? We can expect to do way-finding, locating a device, using an app to locate yourself to draw line on the map of where to go.

Location is calculated by a Cisco CMX box. Data going into CMX needs to be accurate. This means design will be critical. APs should be mounted on the ceiling up to 20 feet high. Multi-trangulation is used in measuring distance-based on RSSI.

More accurate measurements is done with angle of arrival. Multi-trangulation needs more than 3 APs for higher accuracy. More than just triangulation. Why 3 APs minimum? Because of triangulation. With wireless location, a device needs to be inside context of APs. For location, start at the perimeter of the walls.

But why go into location-based analytics? Everyone wants to know whats going on. Top use cases – retail wants to know what’s going on in a shop and how much time customers are spending time in the shop and which section. An airport may want to know what’s going on with security, how much time people are spending there, or maybe there are too many people crowding at the gate.

Take a coffee chain with many locations into consideration. They offer free Wi-Fi. Device get connected and now the coffee chain can track who is connecting to their Wi-Fi network. But how many APs does a coffee shop need? Maybe need 1 or 2 APs for coverage. What kind of info can you get out of it? Is it important where someone sits, maybe not? It can be difficult differentiating someone sitting next to another.. or lining up. Presence provides detection of customer which means you can find out who is stopping by multiple shops. This is how you identify return visitors and measure dwell time. Other methods of using location-based analytics includes having an idea of how busy the store is for staff planning or how long it takes customers to get cup of coffee.

But a store needs to ask the question from the customer point of view, why should I connect to the Wi-Fi? There has to be an offer.

Listen to the episode for more details!

Links & Resources

CTS 129: 5G Technology

Recorded at Cisco Live 2018 in Orlando, Florida. We speak to Mike Geller and Pramod Nair about 5G technology and what Wi-Fi professionals would know about.

5G Technology

Rowell Dionicio, François Vergès, Mike Geller, and Pramod Nair talking about 5G

We’ve been hearing a lot about 5G lately. But do many of you what is involved with 5G? We just know it’s the next number up from 4G 😉

We recorded an episode with Mike Geller and Pramod Nair, Cisco employees, at the Podcast Domain in Cisco Live Orlando, Florida. There’s some background noise from the attendees at Cisco Live but you’ll still be able to hear the conversation.

As Wi-Fi professionals, what should we know about 5G? What is it all about? Hopefully, Mike and Pramod can shed some light on this topic for us.

First thing to know, is 5G caters to a set of use cases. Pramod points out this is the first time we’ve seen something driven by use cases. Some of those use cases for 5G are low latency for IoT and fixed wireless access. There’s the vehicle to everything use case. It can include Wi-Fi transmission but doesn’t define what RF interface to use, regulated or not.

What we do know, spectrum is always going to be a scarce, finite, resource. There is a possibility to use Wi-Fi and LTE together. Possibly use Wi-Fi on specific IoT use cases so we can better use spectrum more efficiently.

More importantly, we will not see 5G replace Wi-Fi. Mike Geller and Pramod Nair do not consider them as competing technologies.

Wi-Fi has been there yesterday, Wi-Fi is there today, Wi-Fi will be there tomorrow. – Pramod Nair

If you listen around the 10:50 minute mark, Pramod makes a funny statement. 

The differentiator in 5G is the network has the capability to tell the device which slice of network resources it should follow. There can be a radio interface to cover your phone, your friends phone, and another phone. Each phone can have a different profile because of data packages. You can put any of those phones on a different slice all together. Here, it just becomes more flexible. The network is becoming more complex but the use case is becoming easier.

Listen to the episode to hear the full conversation.

Links and Resources