Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess Stellar Review

Can be set up using a web browser; provides a stable solution

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution in hotels, hospitals, SMB enterprises, large enterprises, gyms, and also in our company. Every scenario is different and requires a different type of WLAN configuration.

How has it helped my organization?

Our company is a premium reseller in Portugal of Alcatel-Lucent (in all areas). With the improvement in the range of all Alcatel-Lucent products, our business has grown and we have the ability to acquire small enterprise projects where they have lower IT budgets.

What is most valuable?

This product can be divided in 3 types of WLAN. 

  • OmniAccess WLAN (requires a physical controller)
  • IAP WLAN (same as OAW but with a virtual controller, and the VC is exactly the same as OAW – limited by the number of APs)
  • AP1101 (with a virtual controller, very simple and easy to use – intended for SMB, also limited to the number of APs).

With these three types, Alcatel-Lucent can give the client a range of solutions within budget of each, and still guarantee the quality of the solution.

What needs improvement?

The only area this product can grow is the web interface. It could be nicer and easier to use.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven’t had any problems with stability with OmniAccess WLAN, only in the new AP1101 with 5Ghz equipment. Alcatel released new firmware correcting this issue.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When you choose the best WLAN option you won’t have problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

Alcatel has two kinds of support. The first will be from the official partner in your country. The second will be the international service. In the latter case, if a joint intervention is required, it can take some time and be out of operation for hours because this support is in Asia.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before Alcatel had the new, cheaper solutions, we used D-Link, Tp-Link. Today there is no need for those solutions.

How was the initial setup?

Today the setup is very easy, you can use a web browser and just follow the steps. I remember that in 2009, it was a little complex, but not too hard. You had to start the AP by CLI and choose the language for use (only English, German, and French were available) and select the country where you were using the system. Then all configurations were done by CLI.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price is in the range of other brands like Cisco, maybe a little cheaper but you get the same features, facilities, and security. 

Licensing is something Alcatel is making changes to. A few years ago you would buy a WLAN solution from Alcatel for half the price of Cisco, but you would spend the same amount on licensing. Today this is different and the licensing is cheaper.

What other advice do I have?

I’d rate this product as an eight out of 10 because it is not accessible to everyone to take 100% advantage of the product. Only those with certification and high-tech experience can get 100% out of it, not the average IT person.

Look at the needs of the client, or your own needs as an IT administrator, and look for an Alcatel reseller or partner with experience to help you with the solution.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
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