Our complete Cisco 2800 vs 3800 Series comparison has everything you need to know to boost your performance. With each advance in wireless technology, access points are increasing in their number of radios and power processing options. Take for example of the multiGigabit port and XOR radio features. Cisco AP 2800 lacks them while Cisco 3800 Series AP embodies both of them.

Cisco 2800 vs 3800 Series APs

Cisco 2800 and 3800 Series Access Points are designed and architected to meet their users' needs for mission-critical and best-in-class applications. Both of these access points can easily function with 802.11ac Wave 2 powering systems, and for advanced features such as module support, customers can use 3800 Series Access Points.

Product Specifications:

Cisco 2800 and 3800 Series Access Points exhibit cutting-edge antenna technology in them. It is ClientLink 4.0 and has four transmit radios and four receive radios, known as 4x4 in a Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) configuration, and supports three spatial streams (3SSS). These are referenced together as 4x4:3. 

ClientLink 4.0 uses these features along with an additional antenna (N+1) to allow for beam-forming for all 802.11a/g/n/ac and now ac Wave-2 clients, including those supporting 3 spatial streams.

Cisco 2800


This smart antenna system together with an additional Modulation Coding Scheme (MCS) can increase support rate up to 256 QAM and up to 160 MHz channel bonding. It can also increase support rates up to 5 Gbps. It is a great privilege for large campus networking to save costs. Customers now need not have to worry about running new cabling to support the new speeds.

Cisco 2800 vs. 3800 Series AP Differences

When it comes to the Cisco 2800 vs. 3800 series, the access points have almost similar physical dimensions. However, they differ marginally in their physical appearance to accommodate modularity and mGig support, which results in a slight difference in width and height. See them below.

Product ID Length  Width Height
AP28021 x K9 8.66" - 22cm 8.68" - 22cm 2.17" - 5.5cm
AP2802E x K9 8.66" - 22cm 8.77" - 22cm 2.50" - 6.4cm
AP3802E x K9 8.66" - 22cm 8.68" - 22cm 2.46" - 6.25cm
AP38021 x K9 8.67" - 22cm 8.68" - 22cm 2.62" - 6.7cm


 Hardware & Mounting Options:

For mounting, both Cisco 2800 & 3800 Series Access Points use the same brackets, such as 2700/3700 2700/3700 Series Access Points – AIR-AP-BRACKET1 and AIR-AP-BRACKET-2. 

Hardware & Mounting Options

In terms of their physical appearance, AP 3800 is made a bit more robust to support mGig (NBASE-T) and optional modules.AP 2800 has a smooth-run body and doesn't have the heat fins on it. 

AP 2800

Cisco 2800 and 3800 Series Access Points are noticeably heavier than the AP2700 and AP3700. This is due to the powerful design of the components used, which include a dual-core processor, 12 radio transceivers, additional memory, and processor power as well as additional Ethernet capability including mGig on the AP 3800 and optional module support.

See the Feature Comparison Between 2800 & 3800 Series Access Points.

Cisco Aironet 2800 Series

Cisco Aironet 3800 Series

Designed for medium-sized to large enterprises Designed for high-density environments

Supports 802.11ac Wave 2 

Supports 802.11ac Wave 2 & multiGigabit Ethernet
Offers innovations for high-density environments Modularity for wireless security and advanced features
Cisco Mobility Express and controller based Cisco Mobility Express and controller based


Cisco 2800 vs. 3800: The Wrap-Up

Cisco Catalyst mGig technology addresses several issues related to Catalyst 3850, 4500E and 3560-CX switches, with the 3800 series access point leveraging the single-wire mGig connection. Admittedly, this is a huge advancement for 802.11ac Wave 2 implementation. Any attempt to deploy new features in them in the future should be thought twice for the available expandability option of module ports in AP 3800, such as an option to integrate physical modules for advanced security or hyperlocation technologies. 

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