Cisco Wireless Review

A highly stable solution held back by limited controllers

What is our primary use case?

We have a business center with about 600 tenants. We use Cisco wireless throughout our business center. We have a coverage shortfall for WiFi access for our customers.

We have 600 users in our building spread between roughly 20 to 25 different companies. We all have different needs and different security issues. 

What needs improvement?

The flexibility on the controllers isn't that great.

We always have to inject a third-party if we want to do things on social media, etc. If you have a guest network, you can make some connections with guest networks within your social media account — that's not the case with the standard solution from Cisco. You always have to get a third-party solution.

Our solution is prehistoric — it's seven years old. Still, they have perfectly served all of our needs. But now the market is changing. Because of COVID-19, more and more people are using wireless solutions. They're using Teams. They have bandwidth issues. That's a limitation with Cisco — you have to change all your APs again.

There's no way to upgrade it to make it faster and better, overall. The only thing you can do is add more access points, but then you have to license each access point. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is highly stable. We have only had one issue in seven years. We had one issue with our controllers. We upgraded our controllers and there was a little bug, but that was solved very quickly.

Also, we've never experienced any downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable, but there is a break-level replacement cost.

We expanded seven years ago. If we want to expand further, we'll have to replace our controllers and add new access points. So expandable? Yes, but it's pricey.

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco has a great support team. We pay a lot for support, but they are very accurate. They are very fast. They are very good and they have great knowledge.

We have a very good partner for technical support. We have a contract with them. The support is always great but it's limited to just one product.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is fairly complex because we have a lot of VLANs in order to enhance our customers' user experience.

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

This solution is expensive, but you get value for your money.

Cisco is not cheap. That's actually an understatement. Our Cisco partners want us to partner with Cisco Meraki solutions because their cloud platform is monthly-based. We pay roughly $2,000 a year with our current subscription.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to other users. If you're interested in Cisco, Meraki is a good choice, but they are lagging a little bit behind in terms of technology. If you compare Aruba with Mist, Mist has the most advanced wireless solutions that you can possibly get at the moment.

After over seven years of use, overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of seven.

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