Why are switches a key part of a powerful Wi Fi deployment. Let’s analyze the network upgrade case of Dalian Neusoft Information Institute. The college has 14 teaching institutions with more than 14000 students and a total construction area of 399000 square meters. Previously, due to the limited investment of operators, the solutions adopted can only solve the most basic wireless access needs. With the passage of time, the availability of the network, the stability of the connection, and even the speed of the network connection have been unable to meet the needs of school teachers and students.

Ruckus networks has comprehensively upgraded the campus network of Dalian Neusoft Information Institute, covering all 25 dormitory buildings, classrooms, libraries, canteens and other public activity areas. A total of more than 1500 ruckus access points, 65 Ethernet switches, ruckus ICX 7150 and ruckus smartzone virtual WLAN controllers have been deployed.

The low latency and non blocking architecture of ruckus ICX 7150 series switches can ensure the ideal throughput for the content with the highest requirements for video, unified communication, VDI and mobile applications. Combined with ruckus intelligent Wi Fi access point, it can not only obtain Gigabit data transmission speed, but also achieve stronger performance and more stable network connection, So as to bring the best use experience for all teachers and students.

In many cases, customers choose to update the wired network infrastructure when upgrading the wireless access point (AP). This is because it is important to ensure that the underlying switch network can support new wireless deployments. Specific considerations include performance, power over Ethernet (POE) requirements, upgradeability, network management and future oriented requirements.

Wired infrastructure needs to provide fast enough speed for switches: from access points and uplink to aggregation and core switches, and then to the cloud (or data center). Although high-performance AP is very important, the full value of AP cannot be realized without a qualified underlying network. In an ideal network, all components (including Internet pipes) can cooperate well with each other to handle network traffic. Any bottleneck in the user’s connection to the cloud (or data center) will reduce the application performance and have a negative impact on the user experience.

Switches and Wi Fi will be the strong backing of wireless networks

Let’s take a closer look at the data flow. Starting with user equipment, the first step of wired network is the connection from access point to switch. In the past 5 to 10 years, most enterprise switches have 1 Gigabit (Gbps) access ports to support access points of Wi Fi 4 (802.11n) and below. The total throughput of the Wi Fi 4 access point is less than 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), so connecting to the 1 Gigabit (Gbps) port of the switch is sufficient. Any faster port will not have any impact on performance, because AP is still the limiting factor of performance.

Wi Fi 5 (802.11ac) AP provides a potential speed of more than 1 Gigabit (Gbps) throughput per second, which means that 1Gbps access port is gradually becoming the bottleneck of optimal performance. In fact, the latest Wi Fi 5 wave 2 AP can reach 2.3gbps per second, although this rate will be slightly lower due to practical limitations. Ruckus lab test proves that the throughput of Wi Fi 5 wave 2 AP is 1.5 gigabits per second (Gbps), so the 2.5 gigabits (Gbps) port can completely avoid the access port becoming a bottleneck, at least for Wi Fi 5 AP.

However, the next generation Wi Fi 6 AP (802.11ax) has started shipping. IDC predicts that the deployment of Wi Fi 6 (802.11ax) will increase significantly in 2019 and become the main enterprise Wi Fi standard in 2021. This is because many organizations find themselves still subject to the previous Wi Fi 5 (802.11ac) standard, especially in high-density places such as stadiums, conference centers, transportation hubs and auditoriums.

Wi Fi 6 (802.11ax) access points (APS) deployed in dense device environments support higher levels of service level agreements (SLAs), more concurrent connected users and devices, and more different usage profiles. This is achieved through a series of technologies that can optimize spectral efficiency, improve throughput and reduce power consumption. These technologies include 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), uplink and downlink multiuser multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO), BSS coloring mechanism and target wake-up time TWT. The throughput provided by the new Wi Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard is four times higher than that of its predecessor Wi Fi 5 (802.11ac). Therefore, users need to consider upgrading to multi Gigabit access ports in advance to eliminate the potential bottleneck of wired switches.

It should be emphasized that the transition to Gigabit switches to adapt to Wi Fi 6 AP does not necessarily require large-scale infrastructure upgrading. Enterprise organizations can gradually add several wired switches supporting multi Gigabit (multi-ge) interfaces as needed. In addition, at present, many multi Gigabit (multi-ge) switches have both multi Gigabit (multi-ge) ports and Gigabit (1Gbps) ports. Only those ports connected to 802.11ax (Wi Fi 6) APS require access speeds of more than Gigabit (2.5Gbps / 5Gbps / 10Gbps), while other Gigabit ports are used for computers, printers, VOIP phones, cameras and other Ethernet devices.

In order to take full advantage of the speed advantage provided by 802.11ax (Wi Fi 6) AP (up to 5Gbps per second), our customers have begun to install multi Gigabit (multi-ge) switches to replace or supplement the old infrastructure. This is because the system administrator cannot ensure a high-quality user experience by simply upgrading part of the network (access point). To get the advantages of 802.11ax (Wi Fi 6), you also need to upgrade the switch. From our perspective, enterprise organizations should now be ready to transition to multi Gigabit (multi GE) switches. Since the average life of the switch is 5-7 years (the average life of the switch in many educational institutions is as long as 10 years), the organization will certainly need multi Gigabit connection services during this period of time.

     

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