Last updated on January 1st, 2021
Cisco 9115 AX Catalyst access points with WiFi 6 and 4×4 dual band radios that are suitable for a variety of medium and high density deployments in multiple industries are discussed in this article.
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) is a global leader in wired and wireless networking products and was founded in 1984 in San Francisco, USA. Cisco is the current market leader in the Enterprise WLAN market with about 44.3% revenue share in 2nd quarter of 2020 as per IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wireless LAN Tracker 2Q20.
In this post we will look at the Cisco Catalyst 9115 AX WiFi 6 access point that is targeted at medium and high density Enterprise usage, remote sites, branch offices, etc that requires quick setup, stability and stellar performance.
Cisco 9115 AX Catalyst WiFi 6 Access Point
Cisco states that “Catalyst 9115 Series Access Points, paired with the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA), are enterprise-class products that will address both your current and future needs”. With 4×4:4 dual band radios, the company is targeting 9115 access points at medium to high density Enterprise deployments. The customers can expect stability, security and next-gen network management features from this access point.
Cisco 9115 AX access points come with both internal (Cisco 9115 AXI) and external antenna( Cisco 9115 AXE) options.
Cisco 9115 AX AP Highlights
- High Efficiency WiFi 6 Standard (802.11ax)
- Apple iOS Fast Lane
- Embedded Wireless Controller (EWC)
- Cisco DNA support
- BLE 5.0 support for IoT
- WPA3 security standard, OEAP
>Related Post< Cisco 9120AX WiFi-6 High Performance AP
Description of Feature Highlights
This Cisco 9115 AX AP has WiFi 6
WiFi 6 or 802.11ax is a “High Efficiency” standard intended to improve the efficiency of WiFi and make it more reliable and stable for WiFi communications. Our in-depth article on the top exciting WiFi 6 features can be referred for further understanding of 802.11ax WiFi 6 technology. Cisco 9115 AX is Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ and can also extend support to client stations using previous legacy standards.
This Cisco WiFi 6 Access Point AP 9115 AX features Uplink/Downlink Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), a technology borrowed from the mobile phone industry. OFDMA vastly improves upon the existing OFDM technology used in WiFi APs. It allows multiple clients to share WiFi channels. This feature can relieve congestion in crowded offices as 802.11 ax stations need not wait to get access to a full channel and instead share the channel with others and get things done.
OFDMA can make the whole WLAN efficient as clients devices with smaller loads that form the bulk of wireless communications can quickly transmit data. Though this feature can only be fully utilized in an environment having only 802.11ax clients, legacy clients can also experience an upside as the air will clear out quickly due to efficient communications happening in 802.11ax ecosystem.
Downlink MU-MIMO (4 streams per radio, total 8 streams) helps the AP to communicate with multiple clients simultaneously. This helps the stations to get quick access to the Access Point, thereby increasing the number of clients that can be served by an AP. This feature generally improves airtime efficiency and speed for all the clients.
This Cisco WiFi 6 AP can support 1024 QAM, which means faster data communications than currently possible. But to achieve such speeds, noise free environments will be needed along with closer ranges between access points and clients. Such requirements make it practically impossible to achieve the stated speeds in crowded environments that need constant WiFi signal management.
This Cisco 9115 AX AP supports BSS Coloring feature of the WiFi 6 standard. BSS Coloring feature has been carried forward from the 802.11ah “Wi-Fi HaLow” standard and it identifies each access point in a WLAN with a unique identifier called ‘color’. This helps client stations to safely ignore communications in neighboring access points with a different color and below a threshold power level, and keep transmitting. This speeds up communications as clients need not stop data transfers to access points due to transmissions happening else where in the WLAN network in the same channel. This greatly helps to overcome limitations posed on wireless communications by existing co-channel interference safe guards.
Target Wake Time
Target Wake Time is another feature inspired from the 802.11ah IoT standard. This feature helps the access point to wake up clients based on a pre-negotiated time interval to receive data. The clients can sleep during other times, helping them to save battery. This feature can greatly help customers choosing this access point for IoT applications.
Apple iOS Fast Lane
This feature, developed from the partnership between Cisco and Apple, helps iOS 10+ applications get priority in WiFi communications. This provides better service levels to end users having Apple iOS products. This can help organizations using Cisco 9115 AX AP to provide better WiFi connectivity to customers using Apple devices and delight them.
Embedded Wireless Controller (EWC)
Cisco 9115 AX access points contains Embedded Wireless Controller (EWC). Cisco has embedded Cisco 9800 controller software to simplify management of access points while retaining highest levels of security, performance and controls. Cisco claims that EWC embedded APs can help “simplify complexity, optimize IT, and reduce operational costs by leveraging intelligence, automation, and human expertise that no other vendor can deliver”. Upto 100 access points and upto 2000 clients can be managed with EWC, where primary and backup controllers can also be configured for resiliency purpose. EWC can work together with Cisco DNA to offer additional features for customers. Cisco DNA license will be a required purchase for multi-site management using EWC.
Cisco 9115 AX supports Cisco DNA
Cisco 9115 AX access points support Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA). Cisco DNA automates manual tasks and provides a centralized view of the network for enhanced management and security. “Cisco DNA automation capabilities transform previously manual on-boarding, configuration, provisioning, and software management processes”. Cisco DNA capable access points like 9115 AX can be on-boarded, managed, monitored and its various tasks automated through a centralized dashboard. The Cisco DNA service is currently available in 3 subscription tiers: Cisco DNA Essentials, Cisco DNA Advantage, and Cisco DNA Premier.
This Cisco AP has a dedicated on-board radio to support BLE 5.0 stations for IoT . This eliminates the need to deploy additional infrastructure for certain IoT services. It can be useful in environments where IoT needs to be implemented in a cost effective way. The AP also provides container support for IoT applications.
WPA3 security and OEAP
WPA3 is the latest security standard approved by WiFi Alliance for keeping WiFi communications secure. WPA3 tackles the shortcomings of its predecessor WPA2 in encrypting data transfers and has been in use since 2018. WPA3 was a major update to WiFi security after 14 years since WPA2 was launched in 2004.
Also this AP can be operated in OEAP mode (Office Extend Access Point) for remote workers and branch offices to securely connect with Corporate network. This should be especially useful in the current COVID 19 pandemic situation. OEAP can help remote users and small branch offices setting up the AP to get access to Corporate SSIDs and their Corporate network without any need of deep technical expertise.
Cisco Catalyst 9115 AX Features Summary
|Property||Cisco 9115 AX|
|Radio Hardware||1x 2.4 GHz Radio (4x4:4) ; |
1x 5 GHz Radio (4x4:4) ;
1x 2.4 GHz BLE 5 Radio
|Wireless Feature||Concurrent Dual Band (2.4 GHz/5 GHz)|
|IoT Support||Bluetooth BLE 5.0, Container support for IoT applications|
|Data Speed||Up to 5.38 Gbps (2.4 GHz at 20 MHz & 5 GHz at 160 MHz combined)|
|Resource Utilization||OFDMA (Uplink/Downlink), MU-MIMO (4x4:4 Downlink)|
|User Experience||BSS Coloring, iOS Fast Lane, Wi-Fi Agile Multiband™, WMM®|
|Interference Handling||Transmit Beamforming|
|Security||OEAP (OfficeExtend Access Point), Cisco Trust Anchor Technology, WPA3, WPA2, Wi-Fi Enhanced Open™|
|AP Management||Embedded Wireless Controller (EWC) , Virtual Wireless Controller, Hardware controllers Catalyst 9800, 3500, 5520, 8540, Cisco DNA Support|
|Ethernet Ports||1x2.5 GHz Ethernet Port|
|Other Ports||1xRJ45 Console Port, 1xUSB 2.0 Port|
|Antenna||9115 AXI- Internal|
9115 AXE- External
|Power-up Options||802.3at (PoE+), |
802.3bt Cisco Universal PoE
802.3af (2x2 radios, 1GbE port, No USB)
|Max Power Consumption||9115 AXI (w/USB) - 20.4W|
9115 AXE(w/USB) - 21.4W
|Green Features (Energy Saving)||Target Wake Time (TWT), WMM® - Power Save|
|Certified Wi-Fi Standards||Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™|
|Safety Compliance||UL 2043, UL/EN/IEC 60950-1, UL/CUL/EN/IEC 62368-1|
|Manufacturer Quote||"Catalyst 9115 Series Access Points, paired with the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA), are enterprise-class products that will address both your current and future needs"|
Cisco 9115 AX WiFi 6 AP has many standards based & proprietary features that will appeal to moderate and high density enterprise locations, branch offices and remote sites. WiFi 6 technology, IoT support, WPA3 authentication, EWC, Apple iOS fast lane etc makes this AP an excellent option for Enterprises looking to upgrade to the latest WiFi standard.
Note: All Product/Company/Standards/Bodies names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.The product features mentioned in this article are not exhaustive or final. For a full list of current capabilities, kindly contact the vendor or its local representative in your region.