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  • Cisco Aironet 2700 & 3700 series Wireless Access Points (WAP) will stop working in 2022 when the vendor drops software support, specifically vulnerability and security support.  CSUs will have received five to eight years of service out of the units (in alignment with Network Operation Manual guidelines).  These models represent about half of the WAP inventory.
  • Benefit of the new WAPs:

    • Improved performance:  several generations of wireless technology have passed since these WAPs were installed, users of modern devices can expect faster performance

      • 2700/3700 support 802.11 a, ac (5), b, g, n.  The new ones also support ax (Wi-Fi 6) and 6e (6GHz)
    • Higher density:  more user devices can be supported by these newer WAPs
    • Improved hardware reliability:  older WAPs experience high failure rates often fail intermittently or silently

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  • All active Aironet 2700 and 3700 series access points
  • 12/2021, we are learning that more 40W ITS has learned more power, 48W or 802.3bt power may be required.  Previously we hoped for , is required for the APs full capabilities.  ITS had planned on 30W per port.  The WAPs may be operated at 30W in a degraded mode.  More information on POE requirements will be forthcoming. 


What models will you receive?

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  • An engineer will make the final determination.  Additionally, data closets may require more electrical circuits to support the additional load.
  • Reasons replacement may be needed are related to power draw of the new WAPs:
    1. The POE switch will not support the power standard required for the new WAPs (802.11at, 30 watts).  For the new APs, 802.3at@30watts for minimum operation, 802.3bt@47 3bt@48 watts for full capabilities.  802.3bt will be required for high density areas such as larger classrooms and auditoriums.  802.3at was tested and provided similar capabilities/coverage to as the 2700 is the vast majority of in circumstances.
    2. The POE switch may not have enough power remaining in its overall supply to provide the required power on the port (most switches can't drive full power on all ports)
  • Alternatives may be possible, including re-balancing devices across multiple POE switches supporting 802.11at in a closet (labor and materials charges), although this was done for previous upgrades and is likely limited.
  • All 802.11af (15 watt) POE switches will have to be replaced.  They are well past the recommended life-cycle according to the Network Operations Manual.
  • Electrical circuits, when required, are the biggest unknown with the project.  We are estimating average costs in budgets provided.  The final costs will be determined by PMCS contractors.  PMCS ITS will be collecting funds directly from CSUs for the electrical portion of project.  For example, if an electrical panel is full, a new panel costs a multiple of an average circuit cost.  If a new transformer is needed in the building, well, those tend to range $50K - $100K installed.  Only two populated 802.3bt POE switches are supported on a single 30 amp 208 volt circuit (same as a clothes dryer circuit).

Switch Replacement Options (802.3at vs 802.3bt)

  • There are two options 802.3at and 802.3bt.   Wi-Fi 6e models out so far require 802.3bt, some will run in degraded mode with 802.3at power.  Future models may require more power.  Another differentiator for some 802.3bt models is the ability to connect to the WAP at speeds from 2.5Gbps to 10Gbps (cable and WAP dependent – you may need to request that pricing option), versus 1Gbps on the PoE+ switch.  Because these Wi-Fi 6e WAPs are expect to be able to use more than 1Gbps of bandwidth, the higher speed switch may be indicated in higher performance or denser environments.  For budgeting purposes, ITS has chosen PoE+.
    • PoE+ (802.11at) provides up to 30W of PoE power to a given interface.  All new model WAPs require power above 802.11af (15W) standards.   They may not function properly with only 30 watts.
      • PoE+:  30W max per interface w/3-yr license
        • $2864 – 740W max per switch w/1 power supply
          $3939 – 1440W max per switch w/2nd power supply
    • PoE++ (802.3bt, provides up to 100W of PoE power to a given interface).  Provides additional PoE power per interface to meet demands of advancing technologies.
      • UPoE:  60W max per interface
        • $4811 – 822W max per switch w/1 power supply
        • $5459 – 1800W max per switch w/2nd power supply
        • ????? 2.5G/5GBase-T options

Where will funding come from for this project?

  • College, Schools and Units are responsible for budgeting all costs associated with replacement of network equipment in buildings they occupy (per the Network Operations Manual).
  • Additional switch replacements and electrical circuits may be required of CSUs to support the power demand by the new WAPs.
  • Cost estimates will be provided prior to placing a purchase or work orders for any new equipment.  ITS will charge has charged units for equipment/labor on September 1, 2021 based on these estimates, and will refund or charge any variance after all purchases are made at the end of the project.  PMCS will bill CSUs needing electrical work separately.
    • ITS will charge units the additional costs due to inflation versus the original estimate April - May 2022.
  • ITS will be funding central components (licensing, controllers, management systems – which approach half the cost of the WAP over its lifecycle).

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