Cisco Wireless Review

The monitoring system has room for improvement however centralized management is a valuable feature


What is most valuable?

From a technical perspective, the ease of centralized management and provisioning. Also the possibility of a single breakout point to the LAN which helps confine user traffic without additional setup.

How has it helped my organization?

Before 2008 all hosts were connected to the wired infrastructure. Introducing a wireless infrastructure is probably the biggest single improvement in the network area we have had over the last few years. For example, employees can access their documents during a meeting, suppliers can give a presentation, and visitors can access the internet, etc. without going through the process of wiring and reconfiguring switches.

What needs improvement?

The monitoring system has room for improvement. All the pieces of data are collected but it is not always easy or possible to present it the way you like it.

For how long have I used the solution?

For about six years with the initial single controller setup. We moved to a dual controller setup in active/standby mode two years ago.

Cisco WLC 5508 with Cisco Wireless Control System and 2600/3600 series access points

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We did not have any issues with the deployment of the single controller setup. Later on, with the deployment of the second controller, we have had some minor issues which were swiftly resolved by the supplier team with some help from the vendor.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is scaled for 500 APs. At this moment we have little under 450 APs connected without any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

8/10 for both the vendor and supplier.

Technical Support:

9/10 for both the vendor and supplier.

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

No, the Cisco WLC is our first wireless solution.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward. Then again, initially we started with only the very basic capabilities of the Cisco WLC.

What about the implementation team?

Both implementations were performed by a supplier team with support from an in-house team for integration into the local network. I would rate the expertise of the supplier team a solid 8/10.

What was our ROI?

We are a non-profit organisation. ROI was not the main drive to buy this product as manageability and reliability were.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are bound to a supplier and therefore can choose from a limited number of vendors. We use Cisco for our wired equipment, it is then reasonably to first have a look a Cisco‘s wireless solution.

What other advice do I have?

The Cisco WLC has many features. Plan carefully which to use before you start to implement.

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