Cisco, Apple team up to make iPhone 11 better for WiFi 6

Apple and Cisco have been developing IT networking software since the companies partnered 2015 with an eye toward optimizing Cisco networks for iOS devices

The benefits of Apple and Cisco collaborating to make the iPhone perform better across business wireless networks will continue to grow as the iPhone 11 embraces WiFi 6.

The relationship established in 2015 is aimed at  optimizing Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps by tightly integrating Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad with Cisco enterprise environments.

[Now see "How to determine if Wi-Fi 6 is right for you"]

It is a reflection of how integral mobile smartphones and other intelligent devices have become to businesses. For example Cisco says by 2022, there will be 8.4 billion handheld or personal mobile-ready devices and 111.4 exabytes of mobile data traffic will be offloaded to Wi-Fi by 2022 compared to 13.4 exabytes in 2017, according to Cisco Visual Networking Index.  

In addition, Cisco predicts by 2022, 51 percent of total IP traffic will be Wi-Fi, andthe average Wi-Fi connection speed will be 54.2 Mbps.

Apple’s support for WiFi 6 (802.11ax) in its next iPhones could be a boon for enterprise users, experts say. That’s because in part WiFi 6 is designed for high-density public or private environments. But it also will be beneficial in internet of things (IoT) deployments, and in offices that use bandwidth-hogging applications like videoconferencing.

For its part Cisco is all in on WIFI 6.  In April the company rolled out a new family of WiFi 6-based access points (AP) for its Catalyst and Meraki portfolios.  The Cisco Catalyst 9100 family and Meraki MR 45/55 WiFi-6 access points are built on Cisco silicon and communicate via pre-802.1ax protocols. The silicon in these access points acts a rich sensor providing IT with insights about what is going on the wireless network in real-time, and that enables faster reactions to problems and security concerns, the company said.   

On top of the APs and a new 9600 switch, Cisco extended its software development community – DevNet – to offer WiFi 6 learning labs, sandboxes and developer resources. The Cisco APs are pre-standard, but other vendors including Aruba, NetGear and others are also selling pre-standard 802.11ax devices.

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