Cisco Wireless Review

Has good durability, we can rely on this solution and it is easy to configure

What is our primary use case?

We use it to provide wireless access to our students, faculty, and non-teaching staff because we are a university, an educational institution. I am one of the non-teaching staff who takes care of the networking side.

What is most valuable?

The feature that I have found most valuable is its durability because we can rely on this solution. It is also easy to configure. Lastly, if something happens, we get good support from Cisco.

What needs improvement?

One thing which we really don't like about Cisco is that it is very expensive. If we compare it to other brands like Ruckus or Aruba, it seems to be almost double in price. So that is a major concern. Recently, I have been looking for something comparable to Cisco which is a lower price.

Cost is a major area because if you look at the technical features with other solutions, they seem to be the same in every feature, with no big differences. For example, if you support a 1.5k ACL with two parallel lines, others are supporting 2,000. It's not a major difference, but it is there. I think you can show that it as at par with the competitors.

I would say that the product is best-in-class. The only thing is the price because whether you're a government institution or a private organization, everyone looks for the best price. If we just compare to the competitors on the financial side and we have to pay twice, then it's very difficult for us to go for something even if we know it is very good. So the price should be much less.

Another improvement Cisco Wireless could make is if they provided a calculation document or study on requirements for wall thickness, signal range, switch location, etc.

Additionally, I think it is already very advanced and potentially supports 5G. That is perfectly fine, but it would be good if they could increase their signal strength, because sometimes we face difficulty getting signals, even from a wifi access point in the next room. This goes hand-in-hand with the document I mentioned calculating the range area of the product, etc. There are international standards and/or limitations on that. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I personally have been using Cisco for a only few years, since I was hired, but my institution has been using it for around seven or eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. 

For wireless, I would say it is good. But when we were using the Cisco firewall we found some difficulties setting up and our internet was breaking up or something like that. But from a wireless point of view, it is fine.

Also, one point which just came to my mind about Cisco is if we could have some kind of calculation for the access points because then maybe we could make a web off of all of them. "How much of that access point is required. This access point is covering this much area." If we can have that kind of information it would be easier for us to calculate the capacity. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. We are currently looking at the scalability so that we can provide the infrastructure to some other blocks, as well. I haven't tried it yet or discovered what problems I'm going to face, but I think that it should be able to scale. I think we will be able to do that, but I'm not sure right now.

During peak time, there are around 5,000 or 6,000 users. Now, in COVID-19-like situations, there are maybe a hundred or 200.

We don't have any plans to just switch to another product because we don't have that flexibility. We will just go for open tendering. We will make some generic technical aspects of the product and throw it in the market. Everyone will be invited. We can't just ask for Cisco only. That's why I was worried about their price because if they are the most expensive we will not pay them if they qualify.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not that difficult, it is just technical. For example, if I am looking to set up Cisco, then I should have the skills required to install it. So I would say that the setup is fine. It does not need to be changed. In fact, the product which we have has a controller on our premise that Cisco is now offering to our controllers for switches. So I think this concern is handled over there because controlling through the cloud is a little easier than this centralized controller product, particularly for an institution or organization.

What other advice do I have?

I would say that it's a good solution. Everything is there and I have nothing to point out. 

I would definitely recommend this product, but at the same time, I would say that they should bring their price down. 

Like every solution, it has pros and cons. It's just part of the process.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Cisco Wireless a nine. From the product side, I would rate it nine, but if you ask me about the return on investment, I would probably say a six or seven because the investment is huge here.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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