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:
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.
Things are evolving again at Cisco. This time with the certifications. Cisco is further driving the Intent-based networking model into certifications. There’s the need to drive multi-domain policy, introduce APIs and programmability. It could change the way we do things every day. Infrastructure engineers are becoming software developers? Maybe not completely but there are those who may want to do both.
Organizations want more speed, more agility, and more simplicity but what happens underneath that simplification is not that simple. Chuck Robbins, during his keynote, mentioned the certifications have not evolved in 26 years. And that’s when he introduces the Cisco Certified DevNet certifications. Bringing software skills to networking and networking skills to software.
Cisco wants you to build applications and capabilities. Which will bring value on top of the platforms Cisco is building.
The DevNet Associate certification covers 80% software skills and 20% networking skills. The CCNA covers 80% networking skills and 20% software skills. The two are complimentary if you were to pursue NetDevOps.
Cisco then took those CCNA specializations and turned them into technology concentrations.
CCNP certifications are now available in enterprise, service provider, data center, security, and collaboration, which you need to pass the core exam and a concentration exam.
DevNet Professional is earned by passing core exam and DevNet Specialist
What does that mean for wireless?
The CCNA Wireless won’t be available anymore
There will be a Cisco Concentration certification in Wireless
Concentration exams exist under the Enterprise Track
300-425 ENWLSD Enterprise Wireless Design
Focuses on site surveys
Collecting requirements and constraints
Predictive and post-deployment surveys
Determining infrastructure requirements such as
Designing per requirements
300-430 ENWLSI Enterprise Wireless Implementation
Focuses on actual configuration
Portals (not security really)
CCNP Enterprise contains two wireless concentration exams
At the CCNP level, the R&S and Wireless track have merged. So it will be the same core exam covering both tracks and it will be called CCNP Enterprise. It will test you on:
Dual Stack (IPv4 IPv6) architecture
CCIE Wireless becomes CCIE Enterprise Wireless
There is no more CCIE written, the CCNP ENCOR exam qualifies you to sit the CCIE Enterprise Wireless Lab
The policy to sit the lab 18 months after the written exam is gone. Now you have 3 years after you passed your ENCOR to sit in the lab.
The CCIE Enterprise Wireless Exam will cover (link):
Radio Frequency and Standards
Enterprise Wired Campus
Enterprise Wireless Network
Wireless Security and Identity Management
Wireless business applications and services
Automation, Analytics and Assurance
New exams go live on February 24, 2020. Training for these new certifications will start this year (probably more towards the end of the year.)
All certifications will now be valid for 3 years. And the Continuous learning program can now be used at all levels, including CCNA and CCNP.
30 credits are required to recertify a CCNA
80 credits are required to recertify a CCNP
120 credits are required to recertify a CCIE
Credits can be earned by:
Attending Cisco training
Taking Cisco exams
Attending Cisco Live
What are the migration steps?
New CCNA replaces current CCNA certs
If you complete any current CCNA/CCDA before Feb 24, 2020 you will receive new CCNA and a training badge in the corresponding technology area
If you pass any of the CCNP Wireless exams prior to Feb 24, 2020 then you will become a Cisco Certified Specialist
CCNP WIDESIGN and/or WIDEPLOY give you Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Design
CCNP WITSHOOT and/or WISECURE give you Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Implementation
If you have all four, you will get the new CCNP Enterprise certification and the specialist certifications, Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Design and Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Wireless Implementation
If you have partial CCNP Wireless (2 or 3 out of the 4) you will need to take 300-401 ENCOR (enterprise core) to get the new CCNP certification
You don’t need to be CCNA certified to become a CCNP. You can jump in directly at the CCNP level
Passing the core exam will qualify you to sit the CCIE Wireless lab.
What if you have a CCNA and a specialization?
New CCNA is consolidated.
You keep your CCNA
If you have a specialization you will receive a training badge for that technology area, for example, CCNA Wireless.
Cisco Networking Academy will expand to train students for DevNet Associate and Professional level certifications.
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.
Post-Cisco Live Thoughts - YouTube
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.
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 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 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.
This week’s episode is the eve of Cisco Live. Rowell & François will be headed to San Diego for a week of learning, recording, and networking with other likeminded individuals.
In this episode, we talk about various topics of Wi-Fi.
You can take a look at an example of sessions we’re looking forward to at Cisco Live.
François’ #CLUS Schedule
Captive Portals are a necessary evil. Most are still done in a way that prevents users from getting connected. Whether that’s requesting every single kind of personal information or maybe it’s a simple splash page with terms and conditions. Either way, there’s now a page which describes how different devices behave with captive portals. It was created by the Wireless Broadband Alliance and it’s a good read if you’d like to understand how a device’s behavior is to be expected with Captive Portals.
Wi-Fi 6 testing continues over at CTS headquarters. Rowell now has a Samsung S10 and an Intel AX200NGW in a Lenovo laptop. You can upgrade your laptop for a reasonable price. Rowell purchased his for $30 and it shipped from China. We’re learning whether what we’ve read from the draft is being implemented by the Wi-Fi vendors.
When it comes to capturing these frames, you have to remember to capture with another Wi-Fi 6 capable device. You’ll need to demodulate Wi-Fi 6 frames. Rowell used a Cisco C9115AX access point in sniffer mode to see what can be gathered. There’s a little caveat with these access points which we will look into further before putting something out public.
We will have more information after #CLUS.
The Wi-Fi Alliance expands with the Wi-Fi Certified Home Design which is aimed toward home builders. In a highly connected world, why not have Wi-Fi built with a new home? Builders can get educated in Wi-Fi design and have homes certified for Wi-Fi. What are your thoughts on that? Let us know in the comments.
Designing Wi-Fi Networks in Higher Education - YouTube
Why must we design Wi-Fi? Why can’t we just install access points and call it a day? That’s something I go into with this webinar. But the short story is you don’t want to guess. We’re delivering a service that is used by thousands of people and whom rely on this service.
And some of those people have over 30k clients per day. What if 1/3 of those people had poor Wi-Fi experiences and put in a ticket for each incident?
When it comes to Wi-Fi, we should follow a process or a lifecycle in order to continue delivering a good user experience. I go into each of these on the webinar.
I provide examples from my own environments.
Share my solutions to temporary Wi-Fi deployments for events.
Rowell and François were invited to Cisco Headquarters, along with many others, as part of the #JustTheTech event which was planned in coordination with the Wi-Fi 6 announcement that happened on April 29, 2019.
It was a jam packed day of discussions with key people from Cisco.
We kicked off the event with a tour of the Customer Experience Center. Taking a look at the possibilities using Cisco solutions. It’s an impressive facility on the first floor of one of many Cisco buildings. There’s an entry way with a large Cisco logo on the wall. On the other side of the wall is the beginning of the Customer Experience Center.
Big Cisco logo
Hop aboard the Cisco bus
The Customer Experience Wall
Cisco’s first product, the AGS.
BGP on a napkin
During our tour we ran into Todd Nightingale who is an SVP, General Manager of Meraki. It was a delightful surprise but he was able to talk to us for a bit and even tour with us.
So the main purpose of #JustTheTech was to take part in the coordinated announcement of Wi-Fi 6 products from both Cisco and Meraki. But instead of marketing material, we were able to speak directly to engineers.
This means taking a look at the new Wi-Fi 6 access points up close
Catalyst 9115, 9117, 9120
Meraki MX55, MX45
The actual event started off with Sacha Gupta, Senior Vice President, Product Management – Cisco Enterprise Networking. He talked about Reinventing Access, Unplugged and Uninterrupted.
Reinventing Access, Unplugged and Uninterrupted - Just the Tech - YouTube
Reinventing Access, Unplugged and Uninterrupted by Sacha Gupta
Next, Jérôme Henry, Principle Engineer, Office of the CTAO, talked about OpenRoaming which is an interesting concept in today’s world where 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will converge. Cisco has developed partnerships with the biggest device manufacturers showing they really want to make these products work on our networks.
Understanding OpenRoaming and the Device Ecosystem Project – Just the Tech - YouTube
Understanding OpenRoaming and the Device Ecosystem Project by Jérôme Henry
Next, Fred Niehaus and Jeevan Patil begin their combined talk about Wi-Fi 6. This is where we really get interested as everyone was expecting new Wi-Fi 6 hardware.
What Wi-Fi 6 brings to the Market – Just the Tech - YouTube
What Wi-Fi 6 will bring to the market by Fred Niehaus & Jeevan Patil
Of course, Fred goes into the details of the new Catalyst access points. These are the equivalent of the AireOS 1800 and 2800 access points.
Introducing Cisco’s Catalyst Wi-Fi 6 Access Points – Just the Tech - YouTube
Introducing Cisco’s Catalyst Wi-Fi 6 Access Points by Fred Niehaus
Jeevan introduces Meraki’s new Wi-Fi 6 access points. They look radically different from the Cisco Catalyst access points. Something out of a Marvel movie.
Next-generation Meraki Access Portfolio – Just the Tech - YouTube
Next-Generation Meraki Access Portfolio by Jeevan Patil
And as a bonus, we get to hear about the new Catalyst 9600 chassis switch. The thing is a beast.
Catalyst 9600, Bedrock of the Cloud-scale Campus – Just the Tech - YouTube
Bedrock of the Cloud-scale Campus by Shawn Wargo
Speaking of the Catalyst 9600 Series, there was a Roundtable Discussion.
9600 Series Roundtable Discussion - YouTube
We also took part in a Wi-Fi 6 Roundtable Discussion with Fred Niehaus and Cristian Raducanu.
Wi-Fi6 Roundtable Discussion - YouTube
One of the highlights of the day was taking a shuttle over to another Cisco building where Wi-Fi 6 access points and devices are tested. This facility is essential as all of the tests for Wi-Fi 6 starts here. Inside the building is a caged off room – it literally has a chain-link fence which requires special badge privileges.
There are tables of laptops with Wi-Fi 6 adapters installed and also many Wi-Fi 6 mobile devices. Currently, being all Samsung as they were the first ones out with Wi-Fi 6. On the ceiling are the Catalyst 9115, 9117, or 9120 access points.
Various tools were used to test Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and roaming. We had a question of 1024 QAM come up and the test engineers stated it was possible to get 1024 QAM at some distance. No access point above your head required.
We were fortunate to be invited to Cisco’s headquarters and take part in this awesome event. It does help that we are both Cisco Champions. With a small group of individuals, it was an intimate setting. The access we had to engineers within Cisco was great and led to great discussions about Wi-Fi 6 including an up-close look at the products.