The year of 6 GHz is upon us. Cisco and Meraki have announced their latest Wi-Fi 6E access points with 6 GHz functionality. They are the Cisco Catalyst 9136 and Meraki MR57 access points.
As the industry braces for the influx of new devices ready to take advantage of the new spectrum, Cisco and Meraki see the industry staggering their upgrades towards 6 GHz.
Check out our Wi-Fi 6E Access Point Comparison Table
Cisco Catalyst 9136
An expansion of the next generation Catalyst access point line is a quad-radio access point outfitted with flexible configurations for a transitioning environment.
There appears to be two types of radio configurations – tri-radio or quad-radio.
In a tri-radio configuration, the Cisco Catalyst 9136 can operate with one 6 GHz, one 5 GHz, and one 2.4 GHz radio.
For the quad-radio, the access point can operate with one 6 GHz, two 5 GHz, and one 2.4 GHz radio. This configuration demands a higher Power-over-Ethernet requirement of nearly 40W.
6 GHz radios will have a 4×4 radios. Tri-radio will be the default configuration with an 8×8 5 GHz radio.
The backhaul Ethernet connectivity will be dual-5 Gbps Ethernet ports supporting Cat5e and 802.3bz. Both ports can be connected simultaneously supporting redundant power configurations. It is unclear from the data sheets if link aggregation or power sharing will be supported.
To fully support all radios and the USB port will require 47.3W PoE.
The RF ASIC isn’t indicated on the data sheet but it could appear in a future Wi-Fi 6E access point.
|Meraki MR57||Cisco 9136|
|Radio Chains||4×4:4||4×4:4, 8×8:8|
|Ethernet||Dual 5 Gbps mGig||Dual 5 Gbps mGig|
|Dimensions||10.2 x 10.2 x 2.2 in.||9.9 x 9.9 x 2.2 in.|
|Weight||3.7 lbs||3.6 lbs|
The cloud-based version of the 6 GHz access point is a tri-radio. It’s slightly larger than the Catalyst 9136 and incorporates a new look nearly similar to the Cisco counterpart.
The Meraki MR57 is a 4×4 with 4 spatial streams and uses a maximum of 40W PoE.
Be sure to plan for a switch infrastructure upgrade to support the new Wi-Fi 6E access points.
What is clearly laid out in the data sheet is are dual 5 Gbps Ethernet ports with support of link aggregation and power sharing. Both features not listed on the Cisco Catalyst 9136 access point.
Compared to previous access points, Cisco and Meraki’s 6 GHz access points are slightly larger in size and weigh more. We expected this as vendors will maintain support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.