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Cisco building switch ports to feed faster Wi-Fi

Stephen Lawson | Jan. 21, 2015
Cisco Systems is forging ahead with LAN switches designed to support faster Wi-Fi access points even while an Ethernet standard for the technology they use is still taking shape.

Cisco customers will pay a relatively small premium for ports equipped with the two new speeds. On a 48-port switch, the extra cost will be less than 20 percent, said Hasan Siraj, senior director of product management in Cisco's Enterprise Campus Switching group.

As enterprises adopt new Wi-Fi gear, with current standards allowing for 7Gbps and an upcoming version promising 10Gbps, they'll need to beef up their Ethernet ports eventually, Farpoint Group analyst Craig Mathias said.

"One gigabit is really out of gas in the organization today," Mathias said.

Some IT shops will go straight to 10-Gigabit Ethernet and just get the new wiring, because in many cases it's not that difficult to pull a cable from a switch to an access point, he said. But for those that want to stick with their old cables for now, being able to increase the speed of a switch port over time can save money. "These might be the last switches that many people buy for a decade," he said.

 

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