Juniper Networks introduces two new access points: AP 45 and AP 34, the first Wifi 6E options in Juniper’s portfolio.
The first Wifi 6E access points became available in May of this year. As such, Juniper is relatively late in joining the ranks of manufacturers offering the new standard. Understandable, because although Wifi 6E is an improvement on Wifi 6, most organizations do not perceive the added value as significant enough to tackle the transition head-on. We substantiated the latter in an earlier, comprehensive article on Wifi 6E’s technology, opportunities, challenges and reasons for a somewhat delayed appearance on the market.
The question is not if Wifi 6E will appear in the field, but when Wifi 6E will appear in the field. Juniper recognizes the latter, as illustrated by the now introduced Wifi 6E access points.
The AP 45 and AP 34 are equipped with the new features that Wifi 6E facilitates: 6GHz and standardization of WPA3. More significant is the addition of Juniper Mist, a solution for optimizing configurations, network performance and packet scheduling. According to Juniper, Juniper Mist should fast-forward the practical application of Wifi 6E. The organization states that Juniper Mist optimizes performance without adversely affecting older 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz clients, which promises to enable the transition from Wifi 6 to Wifi 6E without losing existing investments like Wifi 6 network equipment.
Juniper’s simultaneous introduction of cloud service IoT Assurance validates the fact that the organization hopes to advance the deployment of Wifi 6E. Juniper states that many IoT devices do not support 802.1x (a network authentication protocol). Wifi 6E standardizes WPA3 where possible and depends on 802.1x support for doing so. There’s a mismatch — and IoT Assurance aims to bridge the problem. The cloud service should allow IoT devices to be unboarded in network environments consisting of both previous and Wifi 6E devices.