Cisco Wireless Review

Authentication enables employees from around the world to log in with their own credentials

What is our primary use case?

I have deployed it in a factory. I have a lot of people who come to visit from all over the globe. People come from Southeast Asia, from Europe, from South America, from the US, etc. We need to have a common platform wherein people who visit are able to log in to the corporate network. They do not need to do a guest login, they can just log in as they usually do. That's the primary use.

How has it helped my organization?

Since we have a central server from which our authentication is run, a user who comes from, let's say, California, doesn't have to ask any for credentials. He just comes to my network, logs in with his own username and password, and he gets access to his database. Authentication has played a big role for us, and it has given us mobility.

My IT staff no longer has to look after catering to clients who come from overseas. My staff members are busy doing their own work, and that overseas client or any other person is able to do his work without intervention from IT. This authentication scenario has saved us a lot of problems. Earlier, we had to create a guest user, give him a VPN, ensure that he logged in to his own network, and that he got access to his data. We don't have to do that now.

What is most valuable?

Authentication is the important feature for us.

What needs improvement?

There are certain features which I would want which are not there. There is always a wish list, that my WiFi should give me one, two, three, four, five. Certain things come, certain things don't, and certain things come at a cost. It fulfills about 75-80 percent of what I'm looking for. Things on my wish list are available at an additional cost but I can live without those thing, so I'm fine with it. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been a fairly stable network, I have not had many problems with it. We had to upgrade the iOS once or twice, but that's about it. After that, we have not really had a problem.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had to upgrade our access points. It's had been about six or seven years that those had been in. Scalability-wise, some of the old iOS is not supported on the new controller, but that's fine. We accepted that and we now have two products. We now have a 3800 deployed.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have had a decent experience so far with Cisco technical support. We've not had any issues, so I would say the support has been good.

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

Before this solution we did not have any wireless solution, we had a stand-alone wireless. My global team wanted Cisco, so we went with Cisco. But, in a couple of other places, we've used Aruba and we're quite satisfied with it as well.

But it's something like when you prefer a certain flavor of coffee. It's not that you don't like the other coffee, but you like coffee A better than coffee B. It's just the comfort level or maybe you feel better with a certain product. So there's nothing wrong with the product that I'm currently using. I'm using Cisco and I'm quite satisfied with it. Otherwise, given a choice, given the funds, if someone were to say, “What is the next thing that you would like to move to?” because my experience with the alternate product has been really good, I would switch to that.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is not really complex. It was quite easy. We had to refer to a couple of things, but I come from a background where I have that kind of experience, so it was easy for me.

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

The pricing is okay. I believe it is competitively priced. But it is not just the price by itself, it's the price and the technical features. The features also play a big role. It has to give me the relevant output. That is more important. Price is secondary. Price will not play a very big role because if it does not deliver what I need... For example, if I were to buy a car without an engine, that's still a car, but it is of no use. I might as well buy a car that works.

They have simplified the licensing. Now there is a single license that is required. Earlier, multiple licenses were required. Single licensing is good. As a customer, I don't need to keep an inventory of multiple licenses.

What other advice do I have?

Up until now, it has been a good product, so go ahead with it. It works well. We have been happy with it for the last four years.

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