What is our primary use case?
Cisco Wireless FlexConnect mode is for branches where the traffic can be switched locally. There is centralized switching for the corporate side where the wireless controller will be in the headquarters, and the branches will only have access points. We have the flexibility to use Cisco's FlexConnect for the branches and centralized switching for the corporate network. Combining these feature ensures the traffic flow for the wireless is being controlled and provides the best wireless scenario for the branches. You don’t need to go to the controller each and every time.
How has it helped my organization?
Cisco Wireless technology allows us to logically segregate networks, to segregate the traffic between multiple types of endpoint devices, connected to the network. For example, corporate laptops are connected to one network, corporate iPhones will go through a different network.
What is most valuable?
With Cisco Wireless we have DNA technology for the frequency in which it operates, so that in case of any frequency interference it can look for and switch to another frequency, where there no interference.
Another feature of Cisco Wireless is that we are able to operate APs in multiple frequencies by grouping the APs into multiple groups, so we can operate the wireless in one group at 2.4 gigahertz and the other group at 5 gigahertz. This allows us to group the APs based on the business case or on the bandwidth.
What needs improvement?
There are a couple of shortcomings in Cisco Wireless right now. I don't see a policy model for the wireless technology solution. If Cisco could bring the wireless architecture around with the controls, it would lead to being able to fine-tune the configuration a little better.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Cisco Wireless' stability is quite good as of now. The recent APs are coming with a backbone of up to 5 MBPS throughput, and that is quite okay.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
How is customer service and technical support?
The technical support is good.
How was the initial setup?
We need to do a site survey, AP placement, and wireless configuration: Which are we going to configure, how are we going to get it authenticated, how will we go into control? So we need to have a plan. That's not only for Cisco, it's true for whichever wireless we need to deploy. We need to have a proper plan in place, but configuration-wise it is straightforward. It is simple.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
The shortlist was Aruba and Cisco. The features are more or less the same, but the cost is also important.
What other advice do I have?
Cisco Wireless has been around for quite some time. Cisco is a leader and its Wireless product is very reliable, so investing in it is a safe bet.
I would rate this solution at eight out of 10 because of the availability of support, and its stability.
My most important criteria when selecting a vendor are the
- product knowledge
- support from the vendor and the availability of the technical staff to support it.