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Cisco promotes Wi-Fi 6 upgrade opportunity

Vendor claims billions are out there to be made by partners that want to get involved with the latest wireless networking technology

Cisco has urged its channel partners to take the Wi-Fi 6 message out to customers to kick start a wave of upgrades as users look to get more up to date infrastructure.

The move towards Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and the emergence of 5G is putting pressure on those customers that are still using ageing technology.

Cisco has launched its Catalyst 9600 switches and called on the channel to get behind the technology it is heralding as being faster, power efficient and able to support higher density.

Nirav Sheth, vice president, WW partner sales & pre-sales engagement at Cisco, said that its partners could tap into a $11bn opportunity with 36m Wi-Fi 6 access points out there.

"There is also a tremendous amount of consultancy and services generated for our partners," he added that those resellers that sold WiFi and switching together saw deal sizes expand six fold.

"There is a tremendous amount of installed base and [partners] can help customers modernise their environments," added Sheth.

The firm is not only expecting demand for faster connection to come from existing applications but the pressure to upgrade will increase as more AR/VR and video comes on stream.

Neil Anderson, practice director, network solutions, World Wide Technology, said that it had already identified the size of the opportunity: "We have a lot of customers sitting on obsolete infrastructure who are looking at upgrading that."

"We are on the cusp of a transition and the customer base [are looking at] network modernisation and can I put a Wi-Fi 6 rollout in this year or next?"

Frank Witte, head of networking strategy, Computacenter, also saw the upgrading opportunity as a multi-year journey that would start to pick up momentum this year.

"Customers are already asking about the benefits and we have to go into deeper conversations about customer needs," he said.

"A lot of businesses will do it in a transformational phase and customers will do pilots then rollout and it will go into next year and this is a multi-year opportunity that's here and starting right now," he added.

Clayton Daffron, director of solution architecture, Denali Advanced Integration, said that the channel could have a wide ranging conversation with customers about not only wireless but the direction of the business.

"This isn't just a another speeds and feeds upgrade. there is a lot of opportunity to talk to customers about the transformational value of Wi-Fi 6," he said.

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