Posts Tagged ‘wi-fi 6’

Landing on green with Meraki at the U.S. Open

For the 119th U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach, Cisco delivered the most connected U.S. Open in history. With over 200,000 expected in attendance, the USGA wanted to provide new ways for fans to consume and share content, both on-site and around the world. As 156 golfers and hundreds of thousands of fans walked the course, Meraki provided first of its kind, course-wide Wi-Fi. This included wireless for indoor, outdoor, and the first-ever test of Wi-Fi 6 access points at a major sporting event. 

“For the first time ever, thanks to Cisco, we had the confidence that our fans would be able to stay connected to all the action inside the ropes and with friends and family back home no matter where they went on the course.” – Amanda Weiner, Senior Director, Digital Media, USGA

Hundreds of access points were deployed in a matter of days to blanket an ultra high density environment, and close to 39TB of internet traffic was transferred during the event. 70,000 unique clients roamed across the four-mile long Pebble Beach course, during a nationally televised event with 32 million people watching.

Meraki Wi-Fi U.S. Open

While Meraki Access Points are deployed in stadiums, golf courses add several unique challenges. These include the size of the course, weather conditions, and variability of Wi-Fi hot zones. Physical mounting, directional antennas, and RF settings must be configured to ensure a seamless fan experience. In addition, high-density areas like the media center and U.S. Open merchandise tent needed to be carefully planned to ensure high performance. The onsite media center at the course required connectivity for over 2,000 daily unique clients.

Meraki dashboard at U.S. Open

With Meraki Wi-Fi as the first point of network access across the course, we were able to introduce a number of innovative features within our U.S. Open App and video boards to enhance the fan experience.” – Amanda Weiner, Senior Director, Digital Media, USGA

The visibility of the Meraki dashboard and simplicity of configuring Wi-Fi was critical in delivering the connected course. The team was able to detect hot zones, deploy and tune the entire network in under a week. New Wi-Fi 6 APs were installed to allow the high density merchandise pavilion on the course to transfer close to 3TB of data. We will be hosting a live webinar with USGA on October 22nd, to understand their technology strategy, and learn how the Meraki Wi-Fi network helped deliver a connected fan experience.

Survey Finds that Student and IT Wi-Fi Perceptions Differ

From move-in day to graduation day, students require reliable Wi-Fi to be successful. Not only does Wi-Fi enable effective collaboration and creativity, but it can also be a driver to attract and retain students and faculty to campus. As the need for seamless connectivity on college and university campuses continues to expand, are schools measuring up to student expectations? We wanted to find out. 

In partnership with the Center for Digital Education, Cisco Meraki conducted two surveys, one of higher education decision-makers and one of college students — to better understand students’ habits and needs regarding network use and technology and how that compares to what their counterparts in leadership perceive. We asked almost identical questions of these two audiences and compared the results. 

The results were fascinating. While the full survey report outlines many interesting findings, three key things stood out that warranted further analysis:

1. Students aren’t utilizing campus to its full potential because of unreliable Wi-Fi 

We asked students where they complete their school work and use Wi-Fi the most. We then asked higher education leaders where they think students complete their school work and use the Wi-Fi the most. Both audiences were also asked how reliable they thought the Wi-Fi was in those areas. Surprisingly, the study showed a large discrepancy between the students actual Wi-Fi use and the leaders perception of what the students use. While the vast majority of students ranked the school library, on campus housing, and off-campus housing as the top three locations to work and use Wi-Fi, the leaders listed study rooms and dining/common areas as primary student work locations. Why aren’t students completing school work and using Wi-Fi in all of the areas leadership thinks they are? 

When asked how reliable the Wi-Fi was in the same locations, the discrepancy was shocking. In every location highlighted, more than half of leaders thought Wi-Fi was very reliable, yet less than 25% of students thought so (with the exception of the library). More specifically, 40% of leadership versus 22% of students think Wi-Fi is highly reliable in dorms and 42% of leadership think Wi-Fi is somewhat reliable outdoors, while 57% of students say there is no outdoor Wi-Fi. To top it off, when students were asked “What technology would you like to see your campus provide to enhance the student experience?” the top answer, getting 54% of the responses, was reliable Wi-Fi.

While students want to seamlessly roam from their dorm room, to class, to the outdoor quad and have reliable connections in order to socialize and work, this isn’t being provided to the standard students expect. In order to provide the best experience for students, reliable Wi-Fi everywhere on campus is key.

2. While Wi-Fi is important, schools can’t forget about the wired network

Students are bringing more and more wireless devices with them to campus, especially when they live in dorms. On average, students who live on campus bring 9 devices with them to school, while those who commute bring an average of 3. The survey showed that students and higher education leaders were aligned on the top two devices students bring to campus (laptops and smartphones), but the third device was surprising. For students living on campus, 43% bring a desktop computer, a large difference from the 18% predicted by education leaders.  Instead, leadership overestimated students bringing other wireless technologies, like tablets, video game consoles, and smart watches.

While the number of wireless technologies students bring to school will continue to increase, schools can’t forget about the wired network. Students still demand a wired connection, especially in their dorm rooms. Plus, a reliable network backbone is key to supporting high-density wireless access points everywhere on campus. Ensuring the underlying wired network is ready for what students will throw at it is just as important as the wireless. 

3. Improving campus Wi-Fi can greatly reduce the number of help desk tickets

Students on average submit 11 help desk tickets per year, on par with higher education leaders’ estimations of 13 tickets a year. This means that students are submitting help desk tickets around once a month, and when you multiply that by the number of students, the amount of tickets is staggering. It’s no surprise that students and leaders agree that most tickets are submitted when the Wi-Fi goes down. 

By providing always-on connections, students will complain less about the Wi-Fi and in turn, submit less tickets. This not only saves on IT resources, but gives those teams time back in their day to work on more proactive and impactful projects that can benefit the university.

Overall, the surveys found that students want to see reliable Wi-Fi on campus to enhance their experience, and they are not getting the always-on connection higher education leaders believe they’re providing. But it’s not too late to turn this around – higher education institutions can start by evaluating solutions that provide the access students deserve, while being easier for the IT team to set up and manage. 

To see the numbers and glean more insights from the survey, join an upcoming live webinar with the Director of Product Management for Meraki Wireless. Register Now!

Why Wi-Fi 6 Will See Blazing Fast Adoption

Most marketers are guilty at one point or another of hyping up a minor improvement as if it were a major innovation. Think of the relatively unimportant year-over-year changes made to mature household products: it’s unlikely that that new lawnmower you bought a few days ago is really as game-changing as the manufacturer wants you to believe, at least when compared to last year’s model.

The technology industry is by no means innocent in this regard — plenty of tech products are heralded as revolutionary upon release, even if their improvements are more iterative than transformational. Every so often, however, the tech world gives birth to a game-changing invention that moves the goalposts and results in rapid adoption.

For these types of generation-defining technological changes to happen, a whole host of forces needs to move. In the music industry, for example, the shift from digital downloads to streaming occurred quickly thanks to the rapid proliferation of smartphones, the availability of fast cellular data, and the decoupling of individual tracks from albums that services like iTunes had enabled in the early 2000s.

The creation of the newest generation of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, represents a similarly meaningful shift. Consumers are adopting network-connected devices faster than ever before; wireless vendors (including Cisco Meraki) are introducing Wi-Fi 6 enabled networking devices at breakneck speed; and a brand new cellular standard, 5G, is already making waves in the world of wireless. In other words, the whole ecosystem is moving in lockstep toward a faster, better wireless future.

If past patterns are any indication, Wi-Fi 6 will have a major impact on the entire industry and see quicker adoption than any previous Wi-Fi generation. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Wi-Fi 6: built on a set of proven, foundational technologies

While Wi-Fi 6 introduces a new collection of breakthrough technologies, like BSS Coloring and Target Wake Time (TWT), it is based on a number of foundational, trusted technologies that have been enhanced instead of being rebuilt from the ground up. For example:

  • Wi-Fi 6 makes the jump from 256 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) to 1024 QAM. The higher the number, the greater number of packets that can be sent efficiently. This increase means up to a 2.5x increase in throughput and a 25% increase in spectral efficiency.
  • Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO), a technology introduced with Wi-Fi 5, allows APs to send and receive packets to and from multiple clients simultaneously. Combined with 8×8 support, this will result in significantly faster speeds in different directions.
  • OFDMA, which replaces the older OFDM, significantly reduces overhead and latency, especially when a multitude of clients are connecting to the network. OFDMA is based on trusted technology from LTE.

What’s the upshot here? Though Wi-Fi 6 will be a revolution in wireless, it’s also in many ways an evolution of existing technologies. The rollout of Wi-Fi 6 networking hardware and devices alike should be relatively smooth, so consumers will be able to start using Wi-Fi 6 quickly.

2. More devices — and more demands — than ever

There’s a good reason the Wi-Fi Alliance sat down way back in 2013 and started hashing out its plans for Wi-Fi 6. Since the mid-2000s, there has been an absolute explosion of smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and this trend shows no signs of waning: four billion Wi-Fi equipped devices will ship in 2019, and by the end of this year, the 30 billionth Wi-Fi device will have shipped — that’s three times the cumulative number (10 billion) reached in 2014! And all of these devices, of course, rely on consistent connectivity to function. For that reason alone, Wi-Fi 6, with its focus on high density coverage, is long overdue. 

But Wi-Fi 6 offers even more than this. 

First, it’s a much more power-efficient standard, because thanks to a feature known as Target Wake Time (TWT), devices will check for new data packets on a schedule rather than constantly pinging the network. This feature can help devices like phones, IoT devices, and applications achieve up to 67% lower power consumption.

Second, we’re on the verge of some incredible new technologies that will only reach their potential if there’s a Wi-Fi standard robust enough to match. Think IoT (plus its cousin, IIoT), augmented & virtual reality, and factories laden with smart sensors to make operations more efficient. The performance of these futuristic tools and applications is dependent on fast wireless speeds, since long latency times can completely ruin the experience. Wi-Fi 6’s speed increases are therefore instrumental in unlocking these new services.

3. The long-term consequences of Wi-Fi 6 + 5G are immense

There’s another wireless standard brewing that the entire industry can’t wait for: 5G. While cellular data in some form has been available for over two decades (remember GPRS?), it really grew in importance once smartphones exploded onto the scene in the late 2000s and cellular made its way into other devices, like tablets and mobile hotspots. 

So what does 5G have to do with Wi-Fi 6, and what’s so special about it?

5G and Wi-Fi 6 are actually closely intertwined. They’re built on the same technical foundation, and as a result, they both bring significant performance improvements. As evidence of the close linkage between 5G and Wi-Fi 6, a Cisco technology called OpenRoaming will allow consumers to roam seamlessly between 802.11ax and 5G networks without having to deal with service interruptions.

But both Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are about much more than speed — they represent a fundamental transformation in what’s possible with connected devices, whether they’re large automotive vehicles (like self-driving cars) or small IoT devices (like smart speakers). While 5G will reign supreme in most outdoor scenarios, Wi-Fi 6 will take precedence inside buildings and with devices that don’t move around too often. Also important to note is the fact that Wi-Fi 6 adoption will outpace the adoption of 5G by a wide margin for years, according to ABI Research.

At the end of the day, the combination of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G’s strengths will completely transform our wireless world, no matter where users or their devices are.


The hype around Wi-Fi 6 has reached a fever pitch, and for good reason: manufacturers and consumers alike will quickly adopt the latest Wi-Fi standard in droves. At Cisco Meraki, we couldn’t be more bullish on Wi-Fi 6, and we’re incredibly excited for what the future of wireless will bring. 

Check out our recently introduced Wi-Fi 6 compatible APs and the latest Wi-Fi 6 content, including other blog posts and customer webinars.

Higher Education Institutions Prepare for Wi-Fi 6

The classrooms, libraries, and stadiums of the future offer endless possibilities. Today, we see students mainly carrying only laptops and smartphones with them to college and university campuses. But tomorrow? We will see students with as many as 10 devices on them at all times as they work, learn, and collaborate everywhere on campus. And if that wasn’t enough, more IoT and high-bandwidth devices are being incorporated into campus plans for smart lighting, smart parking, security, immersive learning, and more. Because of this, the number of devices hitting the network and the amount of bandwidth they need will exponentially increase. Are higher education leaders ready for this drastic shift?

Many higher education institutions today are already preparing for what the future of technology will bring. Wi-Fi 6, the latest wireless standard, not only promises to bring higher density, throughput, and reliability to higher education networks, but also ensures that students and staff can focus on collaborating and learning, rather than losing connections or having technology troubles.

Identifying where bandwidth problems already exist, learning what the new standards offer, and thinking through a Wi-Fi 6 strategy are great first steps. With bandwidth requirements approximately doubling every three years, in addition to serving inherently high-density environments, the Butler University IT team has had a constant challenge to provide always-on, reliable connections for students and staff. For example, each large lecture hall currently has three 802.11ac wave 2 access points (APs) to accommodate around 100 students. But with several large lecture halls right next to each other, the APs end up cannibalizing each other. Michael Denny, Network and Security Architect at Butler University, explains, “By deploying a Wi-Fi 6 AP, we hope to have a single AP that can handle all of the students load at the same time without needing as many APs to accomplish the same job.”

But it’s not just about supporting the students of today, it’s preparing for the lecture halls of tomorrow. Pete Williams, Associate Vice President of IT and Chief Information Officer at Butler University, highlighted, “Classroom requirements are changing. Just take a look at 4K, VR, AR, and the capabilities and the requirements they’re going to drive from a throughput perspective. We believe that Wi-Fi 6 is going to help us meet that need.”

At Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC), their new Meraki Wi-Fi 6 APs not only provide better connections for students and staff, but prepare them for the increasing number of IoT devices they predict will hit the network. Over the last year, the PPCC IT team has received a dramatic increase in requests to implement more technologies on campus to improve student experiences. Wireless door locks, medical devices, AR/VR, Apple TVs, security cameras, and other devices continue to be added to the wireless network. With Meraki Wi-Fi 6 APs, PPCC is ready for this increase in IoT devices, while being able to do more with less hardware. Cyrille Parent, CTO at PPCC, explained, “We’re able to actually cover more ground with the new Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access points than with previous technology, which will provide a better experience for students and faculty.”

Soon, higher education institutions will need to make a choice: To support the increasing number of student and IoT devices by either deploying more 802.11ac Wave 2 APs and turning down the bandwidth on each to minimize interference, or by deploying a smaller number of 802.11ax APs.

Albany State University (ASU) chose to embrace the new standard and has less APs with better performance by deploying Wi-Fi 6 compatible Meraki MR55 APs. Students noticed an immediate difference. With APs deployed in the student union, housing common rooms, and gaming areas, students could tell that the internet no longer slowed down, even when at capacity in these high-density areas, allowing them to watch videos, stream music, and use social media with their friends, all at the same time. Noore Ghunaym, Director of Infrastructure, added, “Students have a much faster experience. They can watch videos, have their headphones in, stream music, snap — they’re able to do all the things that college kids do. Wi-Fi 6 helps us meet those throughput and speed challenges and allows us to scale our network accordingly.”

Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi 6 compatible access points raise the bar for wireless performance and efficiency in higher education and beyond. Designed for next-generation deployments, with high throughput and enterprise-grade security, higher education IT teams can experience easy deployments, central management, intelligent troubleshooting, and greater scalability. As bandwidth requirements and the number of devices continues to increase, higher education institutions will need to be ready for whatever technology comes their way. To learn more about how higher education institutions are deploying Wi-Fi 6 and embracing new technology, watch this on demand webinar with Albany State University.

Education Wild for Wi-Fi 6

Today, the need for higher density, higher throughput and higher capacity are critical to wireless networks. These are the things that everyone wants from their wireless network–especially schools. These are the promises of Wi-Fi 6.

Wi-Fi 6 (known in more technical terms as 802.11ax) is the latest emerging wireless standard, offering several new improvements to make it the highest performing set of wireless protocols to date. Not only will Wi-Fi 6 boost overall performance on paper, but it is specifically designed to perform efficiently in real-world scenarios that Wi-Fi currently struggles in, such as when 25 students all hop on the classroom Wi-Fi at the same time. This allows end users to experience always-on connectivity without bottlenecks or performance degradation.

While every industry can benefit from the promises of Wi-Fi 6, one in particular is ready to benefit from this change: education. While most of us remember those school days spent searching through binders of papers, sharpening pencils in the middle of a test, and carrying heavy books from class to class, classrooms of today are transforming into central hubs of technology innovation and experimentation around the world. This shift has led to the need for secure and persistent Wi-Fi.

So what challenges will Wi-Fi 6 help the schools of tomorrow solve?

Higher Density:

With an expected 50% increase in networked devices per person by 2020, equivalent to about 3.6 connected devices per person, schools are in for more of a bandwidth challenge than most. Additionally, more schools are deploying Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to increase school safety, improve operations and save costs. Together, this changes the requirements for many school networks. Traditionally, schools would add more access points to high density areas to try and combat reliability issues, but this has been found to cause congestion with overlapping signals. Plus, just having connections in classrooms is no longer enough; high density access points will be required everywhere on school grounds in order to accommodate students roaming with several mobile devices and wireless IoT devices.

Higher Throughput:

Who are the first people to generally test out new technologies? Students. As a result, school networks are the first to handle hundreds of new devices at the same time. Not only are Wi-Fi 6-supported mobile devices already hitting the network, but the traffic per smartphone is expected to grow 10x by 2022. And if that isn’t enough, bandwidth-intensive video is expected to grow from 3% of all IP traffic in 2017 to 22% in 2022, already challenging networks with high throughput demands. To top it all off, 8K streaming is just on the horizon (and we know students will pick the highest streaming video quality they can!).

In the classroom, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), collaboration applications and other bandwidth-intensive technologies are already starting to provide a more immersive learning experience. With teachers already using video and other wireless technologies for instruction, having higher throughput will ensure learning goes on uninterrupted and teachers have more freedom to bring new capabilities into the classroom.

All this change will come faster than you think. For Jaymon Lefebvre, Director of IT Services at Wild Rose School Division (WRSD), the rapid increase in student and IoT devices poses unique networking obstacles for the district to overcome. As a rural school district in Alberta, Canada, WRSD has many students who don’t have Wi-Fi access at home. Therefore, WRSD is not only accommodating devices for learning, but also students’ personal devices, which they use to download content and homework while at school so they can continue using their devices at home.

Additionally, learning no longer just takes place in the classroom. At any given time, students are learning wherever they go, using high-bandwidth applications in the hallways and outside. Teachers are starting to use tiny, single-board computers more regularly, like Raspberry Pis and VR headsets for instruction. With up to 30 students per classroom, each with several devices, Lefebvre’s team wants to make sure there are no limitations to new and creative learning techniques.

The IT team has started deploying Wi-Fi 6 compatible APs to continue supporting the current technologies used by students and staff, while still getting classrooms ready to support new technologies. The Wi-Fi 6 APs not only provide higher density and throughput to support students and staff, but also enable the team to support over 15,000 wireless devices and focus on providing better experiences for the school division.

In the face of a new digital era, reliable connections allow students at WRSD to have the same learning experience as kids anywhere in the world, opening up new opportunities that were not possible before. To learn more about WRSD and how they are using Wi-Fi 6, watch the on demand webinar.

The Top Three Benefits of Wi-Fi 6

Last week, we outlined some of the technical advances included with the newest wireless standard, Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax), including OFDMA, BSS Coloring, and MU-MIMO. Wi-Fi 6 truly incorporates some impressive technology that makes it a game-changer for the entire tech industry.

For those who are less technically inclined than the engineers who have made Wi-Fi 6 a reality, this alphabet soup of acronyms belies some of the benefits of the new standard. The truth is that the move to Wi-Fi 6 will be far more meaningful than any previous Wi-Fi standard, because it comes at a pivotal time for the industry. We’re on the verge of some incredible technological innovation over the next decade, from autonomous vehicles to VR hitting the mainstream, and the advancements that come with Wi-Fi 6 will help make these things possible.

Here are the main benefits that will come with the new generation of Wi-Fi.

1. Better high density performance

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last decade, you’ve undoubtedly observed — and probably been a part of — the growth of smartphone usage in every public space imaginable. Nowadays, it’s impossible to go to a stadium, concert, university campus, park, or music festival without seeing crowds of people all trying to use their phones.

Local governments, college campuses, and event venues have all been involved in wiring these spaces for wireless coverage, to the point where “Free Public Wi-Fi” signs abound. The crush of hundreds or thousands of users puts a huge strain on these Wi-Fi networks, which often aren’t equipped to handle so many users, overlapping wireless signals, and data-hungry applications. This can result in a subpar wireless experience.

Fortunately, one of the key benefits of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard is dramatically better high density performance. Wi-Fi 6 access points use a variety of technologies to prevent interference between devices and transmit packets more efficiently. The result: more resilient networks that continue to deliver fast speeds even as more devices connect to the network.

2. Faster speeds

Wi-Fi 6 will not only help deliver more consistent performance across a large number of devices, but also faster speeds to every device. Higher throughputs will unlock a new set of software and services, like augmented reality and complex SaaS apps, in the same way that previous Wi-Fi standards made things like wireless music streaming and cloud productivity apps possible.

The time is nigh for these throughput improvements. The total amount of internet traffic from 2017-2022 will be higher than in the previous 32 years of the internet, and from 2017 to 2022, bandwidth-intensive 4K video is expected to grow from 3% to 22% percent of all IP traffic. Video isn’t even half of it, though. According to estimates by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the average household with two teenagers will own around 50 Internet-connected devices by 2022, including many IoT (Internet of Things) devices, from sensors to smart home devices.

Another reason the faster throughputs in the Wi-Fi 6 standard matter is because Wi-Fi 6 is hitting the market around the same time as 5G. Customers will expect Wi-Fi networks to deliver speeds at least as fast, if not faster, than the cellular network, and 5G networks will be offloading significant amounts of traffic to Wi-Fi. Cisco plans to take advantage of the next wave of wireless by introducing a new technology called OpenRoaming, which makes it easier for people to transition between different networks without the pain of logging onto each one individually. OpenRoaming aims to link together service providers, device manufacturers, and network operators to create greater interoperability between networks. With OpenRoaming in place, consumers will be able to seamlessly roam between 5G and Wi-Fi 6 networks without having to deal with the many annoying interruptions in service they encounter today.

3. Energy efficiency

Though the devices we carry around everyday have experienced startling improvements in myriad ways — faster processors, larger screens, incredible cameras — battery technology hasn’t advanced much in the last few years. Consumers still hanker for the days when their phones could last for a week without a charge, instead of petering out in the middle of the day. (Most consumers also wish their phones didn’t shatter when dropped, though that’s beyond the scope of this blog post!)

Fortunately, Wi-Fi 6 enables greater energy efficiency by reducing the battery burden on devices connected to the wireless network. A feature called Target Wake Time (TWT) lets APs dictate a schedule for sending data packets to connected clients. When devices aren’t scheduled to check for data, they enter a lower power mode. TWT can help devices achieve up to 67% lower power consumption, which could make tomorrow’s phones, IoT devices, and applications last longer.


It won’t be long before Wi-Fi 6 APs and devices are everywhere — Wi-Fi 6 devices are expected to be more than half of the devices sold in 2020. At Cisco Meraki, we couldn’t be more excited about the wave of new benefits that come with this new wireless standard. As Wi-Fi 6 becomes the new normal, consumers will have a significantly better experience connecting to wireless networks.

Learn more about the just-introduced Meraki Wi-Fi 6 compatible APs by watching our launch webinar.

Unlocking High Efficiency with Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6

The 802.11 wireless standard has come a long way since the Meraki founders started a 2003 project to offer 802.11b/g mesh networking technology at their MIT university campus. In those days, 4G LTE, social media applications, iPhones, iPads, streaming music, YouTube, and AWS did not exist. Today, technologies like self-driving cars, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and 5G cellular networks are all on the verge of going mainstream.

The new 802.11ax amendment, also known as Wi-Fi 6, will help usher in new wireless technologies by providing higher throughput, higher density, and overall higher efficiency. While the 802.11ac standard gave us immense throughput improvements, Wi-Fi 6 hopes to improve the average throughput per user by a factor of four in dense environments. Wi-Fi 6 will achieve these improvements using technologies such as OFDMA (Downlink and Uplink), MU-MIMO (Downlink and Uplink), 1024 QAM and BSS Color.

The new MR45 and MR55 access points that we just announced are Wi-Fi 6 compatible. Sure, they are screaming fast on paper, but with the efficient technologies incorporated in the Wi-Fi 6 amendment, they also improve the performance of real-world wireless networks. Take a look at a few of the highlights below:

MR45 and MR55

MR55

  • 8×8 with MU-MIMO and OFDMA and 1G/2.5G/5G Ethernet
  • 5.9 Gbps maximum data rate
  • 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz operation
  • Support for MCS Rates 10 & 11
  • Sleek “vessel” design
  • PoE+ requires 802.3at compliance

MR45

  • 4×4 with MU-MIMO and OFDMA and 1G/2.5G Ethernet
  • 3.5 Gbps maximum data rate
  • 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz operation
  • Support for MCS Rates 10 & 11
  • Sleek “vessel” design
  • PoE+ requires 802.3at compliance

Meraki continues to set the standard of access point performance and management simplicity with Meraki dashboard and Wireless Health. However, the exceptional efficiency-improving benefits come in when adding on new Wi-Fi 6 technologies.

OFDMA is technology adopted from cellular standards, and perhaps the most important feature of Wi-Fi 6. With OFDMA, an MR45 or MR55 can package up different types of traffic from wireless clients with varying bandwidth requirements and send them all at the same time, rather than sending these packets separately. Imagine a game of Tetris, with different shapes representing VoIP traffic, Twitter traffic, and IoT traffic, all neatly packaged into a single transmission. Sounds efficient!

BSS Coloring is one of the improvements that helps Wi-Fi 6 enabled products operate efficiently in dense environments. It helps reduce medium contention by adding a simple color bit to help differentiate between overlapping radios. The analogy here is that an AP can put on a pair of filtered glasses that allows it to ignore frames being sent that are associated with a different color, or radio.

MU-MIMO was introduced with 802.11ac (or Wi-Fi 5), allowing multiple clients to be addressed simultaneously. When combined with OFDMA, MU-MIMO APs become more powerful by gaining the ability to serve multiple users and multiple bandwidth needs of those clients.

Re-introduction of 2.4 GHz provides additional spectrum that can be used for outdoor use cases or IoT applications. Wi-Fi 5 did not utilize the 2.4 GHz spectrum, but with OFDMA and MU-MIMO, Wi-Fi 6 hopes to unlock the full potential of the crowded 2.4 GHz spectrum by enabling more efficient performance.

1024 QAM is a new modulation scheme that increases data rates by 25% compared to the 256 QAM technology of Wi-Fi 5. This new modulation scheme works for the 2.4 and 5 GHz spectrum.

Target Wake Time has been shown to improve battery life for Wi-Fi 6 devices by as much as 67% in industry tests. The MR45 and MR55 use TWT to negotiate wakeup times for energy-conscious Wi-Fi 6 mobile and IoT devices so they can sleep soundly, while conserving energy.

The new Wi-Fi 6 compatible MR45 and MR55 will be able to efficiently send lots of packets! By combining the Meraki Wi-Fi 6 access points with our new access and aggregation switches, network admins can rest easy knowing they’ve reduced any chance of bottlenecks in the network.

To learn more about the features and benefits of Wi-Fi 6, have a look at our new Meraki Wi-Fi 6 whitepaper. You can also join the discussion of these new products on the Meraki community.