Cisco is launching new technologies designed for operational environments to help organizations connect, automate and operate anywhere, including an outdoor Wi-Fi 6E-ready access point and an enhanced Cisco IoT operations dashboard.
The announcement is centered around the Cisco Catalyst IW9167 Series, a new series of Wi-Fi access points for outdoor and industrial spaces, with flexible hardware that can operate in two modes: a Wi-Fi 6/6E Ready Access Point or Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul.
When used as an access point, the Catalyst IW9167 doubles the available bandwidth for outdoor and industrial deployments by accessing 2.4GHz, 5GHz and the new 6GHz bands. When used as a wireless backhaul, the technology can deliver the added benefits of Cisco’s built-in security where zero-packet loss and fiber-like performance is required, according to Cisco.
The company says it also added new capabilities to the Cisco IoT Operations Dashboard that help enable remote operations and uncover more digital bling spots with new industrial sensors and simplified network management.
According to Cisco, the new Catalyst IW9167 Series expands the company’s industrial wireless portfolio with added flexibility, combining two wireless options into one hardware product to give organizations more choice to deploy wireless technology where they need it while future-proofing their deployments by being able to switch between the two technologies as needs change.
The Wi-Fi access point mode is managed by Cisco DNA Center via the Catalyst 9800 Wireless Lan Controllers, so IT can use the same tools to manage their entire network across their organization’s footprint. The Wi-Fi mode can be used to connect workers’ devices in common areas, while the backhaul mode can be used to expand coverage and enable seamless handoffs, such as when autonomous vehicles or equipment moves from one coverage zone to another.
To help IT be more efficient, enhancements to the IoT Operations Dashboard includes the ability to remotely manage connected assets and applications connected to Cisco’s industrial routers and gateways. Role-based access limits employee or third-party access to only what they need.
Since the dashboard is part of the Cisco Platform Suite, IT can use the same Cisco single sign-on credentials to log in. Network management has also been expanded to include support for the new series in backhaul mode for a holistic view of the network.
Improvements also feature new sensors for deeper insights into industrial assets and facilities.
The IoT Operations Dashboard secure equipment access capability is available today, and the new sensors will be available in July. The Cisco Catalyst IW9167 Series will be orderable in mid-2022.
In a blog, Cisco included insight from Energybox, an IoT automation company that uses the IoT Operations Dashboard and its secure equipment access to support its customer sites without increasing costs. Those customers include Wendy’s, which was looking for a remote site energy management solution to help automate operations and reduce costs.
“We wanted to reduce reliance on manual labor and to be able to support thousands of sites remotely,” said Tony Carrella, Energybox president. “With Cisco Catalyst IR1100 Routers and the Cisco IoT Operations Dashboard’s secure equipment access, we can save our customers thousands of dollars per site by providing actionable insights to reduce their energy usage and their equipment downtime, while cutting site visits. At the same time, we have reduced our costs through remote operations, and are saving over $1 million per software upgrade.”