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Upgrading from AIR-CAP3501 APs, choices

Hi All

Were looking to upgrade from our current AIR-CAP 3501s running on dual 5508 controllers, weve got the point whereby the rf noise from adjacent networks (circa 300 networks)  and a larger than expected increase in client connections is seriously impacting performance and as were stuck in the 2.4G band were pretty well stuck in how we can improve matters without shifting to the 5G band with its associated benefits.

We have asked two of our vendors for advice on a suitable upgrade and have been given the choice of 3502s with internal antenna by one vendor and the 3600 series by another vendor.

Initially the 3502 looked suitable however it doesnt appear to support 802.11ac, maybe not a an initial worry but the concern is we make the investment on the new APs then in six months time we have to start looking at yet another upgrade to APs that do support ac. Is there life yet in  802.11n or are folks looking to scale up to ac yet? If we could squeeze a year to 18 months out of none ac APs that would really help with our budget for this year.

Another consideration is cost, we can only budget for a few APs at a time so we will need to run the 2.4G and the 5G APs side by side, is there any technical reasons why this would cause us problems?

Many thanks in advance....

Hall of Fame Super Silver

Re: Upgrading from AIR-CAP3501 APs, choices

Well you need to make the decision if you do indeed want to go with 802.11ac. As for now, you can look at the 2602 and the 3602. For 802.11ac, I would look at the 3602 with the optional AC module or the 3700's which is order able now. The 3700 has 802.11ac built in and doesn't require a module like the 3600's.

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VIP Purple

Re: Upgrading from AIR-CAP3501 APs, choices

Price wise no difference 3600 & 3700. I would go with 3700 series AP which has 802.11ac in built. Your WLC should have 7.6.x software to support these AP model (expect software to release in Dec 2013)

Another important aspect is your access layer switches. Check whether your access layer is having right switch model to power this AP (PoE+ or 802.3at) to get maximum benifit. Switches like 3850/3750X/3560X/3560-C/2960-S are PoE+ switches for example. With other switch meodel (PoE or 802.3af 15.4W)  AP will work, but you won't get maximum throughput due to low power.

Here is the 3700 data sheet for your reference



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Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Upgrading from AIR-CAP3501 APs, choices

If you want to go 802.11ac, then you need to consider the following:

1.  It is MORE EXPENSIVE to get the 3600 with 802.11ac module than getting the 3700.  The 3600 base AP (without the 802.11ac) is exactly the same as the 3700.

2.  PoE - This is a new source of "contention".  If you want to power up 802.11ac on the 3600 you need 20.0w PoE.  3700 requires an "average" of 20.0w for full 4x4:3 MIMO (4 in, 4 out, 3 spatial stream) on 802.11ac.  I say average because if one was to add the security module on 3700 PoE requirement jacks up to 30.0w.

3.  Switching - You need to talk to your Cisco SE so they can give you the song-and-dance in regards to the Sup8, 3650, 3850 with built-in WLC in them.  They will need to explain to you why your 3600 (with 802.11ac module) and/or 3700 will need to be directly connected to these switches to be able to see the full benefit of 802.11ac.

With that said, implementing 802.11ac is a very expensive affair. 

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