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Cisco pitches into private 5G, reveals hybrid work technology slate

Comms and collaboration technology services giant introduces new technologies to help businesses rapidly scale networks and digitise operations

Working on the basis that the network is the power behind hybrid work, Cisco has launched a raft of networking technologies to provide innovation and help businesses enable the new normal of work, including what it has called the industry’s first high-end Wi-Fi 6E access points, new high-powered Catalyst 9000X series switches and, perhaps most significantly, private 5G for the enterprise as a managed service.

The company said businesses of all sizes are adjusting to the major digital transitions that have reshaped IT plans and operations over the past two years, spanning hybrid cloud to connect private and public clouds, artificial intelligence and machine learning for the adoption of the internet of things (IoT), and hybrid work to connect everyone and everything securely. Yet Cisco has warned that hybrid work success is not simply the ability to support a remote workforce: it is the ability to adapt to change as it happens, and that starts with the network.

For hybrid work to work, Cisco said a fundamental change is required in how organisations use and rely on technology. It regards the network as the essential driver of productivity in a hybrid world, helping businesses, schools and governments work better.

As more people require the flexibility to work on their terms, organisations must rapidly scale their digital operations to enable the connections needed for the work-from-anywhere approach. Moreover, Cisco said connecting more people and more devices across more places requires ubiquitous wireless connections, increased network strength and resiliency, and reliable zero-trust security to deliver the best experience every time, with no interruptions.

“Hybrid work doesn’t work without the network,” said Todd Nightingale, executive vice-president and general manager of enterprise networking and cloud at Cisco.

“The capabilities of the network empower the capabilities of the workforce. The more performance, agility, and flexibility built into networks, the stronger the workforce. Our new wireless networking solutions, together with the new Catalyst switches powered by Silicon One, enable hybrid work productivity and agility by connecting everyone and everything from everywhere.”

Brandon Butler, research manager for enterprise networks at IDC, said: “Organisations in recent years have accelerated their plans for supporting hybrid work models. A fundamental component of these plans is a secure and powerful network that’s able to connect any user at any time. IDC believes the network of the future will need to address the increasing demands of network performance and reliability to ultimately deliver greater business agility and productivity.” 

Read more about the new normal of work

Leading the hybrid work slate is the Wi-Fi 6E-compatible Catalyst 9136 and Meraki MR57, which is designed to expand capacity to exceed gigabit performance. The new products from Catalyst and Meraki are claimed to be the industry’s first high-end Wi-Fi 6E access points to address the most demanding hybrid business environments.

Jumping aboard the current express train that is private networking in the cellular environment, Cisco has announced private 5G managed services delivered together with global service providers and technology partners, offering a wireless experience that is claimed to be simple to start, intuitive to operate and trusted for digital transitions to hybrid work and IoT.

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