Cisco Wireless Review

Easier Manageability and in depth visibility of the entire wireless network

What is our primary use case?

We as a system integrators provide wireless solution for big enterprise and PSU's. This solution primarily focuses on giving secured wireless access to employees and internet access to guests. 

How has it helped my organization?

We have seen that Our organization and many other organization for whom we have provided wireless solution have improved using this product because it helps enhance user experience. We use video communication a lot, like Skype, lync, etc and earlier we used to get a lot of jitters and faced lot of issues during voice or video calls. Presently the technology as moved to 802.11ac wave 2 which gives more bandwidth to the end users connecting to the 5ghz band.

What is most valuable?

From a technical point of view, I think the major difference in feature set has been the granular application visibility and control that an wireless administrator has over the wireless network. The other valuable point would the ease with which one can give secured access to anyone coming with a laptop, mobile , tabs etc..

What needs improvement?

I think the technology is already at a level where it's good enough. In some ways, it's better than wired. But there is always a backlash when it comes to lack of accessibility. It's not the solution itself, as much as how it's deployed.

The product could be improved with interference reduction. Because wireless frequency interferes with microwave or Bluetooth technologies, which are hindrances to a genuine wireless connection. A lot of users still use legacy wireless adapters and they do not experience the speed that they could get using the latest technologies. The number of devices on the market makes wireless communications complex. If the problem of interference could be reduced it would further improve utility and ease of system design.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The latest version of this technology is stable. It is stable but, the devices that are accessing the network are very dynamic. It is not as much the solution that is unstable as that the devices accessing it are constantly changing.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution is excellent. Wireless used to be a non-critical part of the network earlier and it started with speeds as low as 11 Mbps. Now you're seeing the speeds of five gigabits with Wifi 6. Wireless is an innovative technology, and it has been changing. Scaling is something we need to do very frequently to meet the demands for higher speeds, higher bandwidth, and higher coverages. 

You need wireless expertise during the design phase, but I think a typical network engineer with fundamental knowledge can take care of day to day operations quiet easily. Once it is deployed and implemented, the operational costs are very low.

How are customer service and technical support?

We get help from Cisco support whenever it is required. The level of service is excellent.

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

We definitely tried many solutions before going mainly with Cisco Wireless, including Ruckus and Aruba.

The major reason to go with cisco has been the support system. Nobody can beat Cisco when it comes to their support infrastructure and the SLA (Service Level Agreement) that they provide. The number of engineers who are available who are Cisco certified is much greater than those certified in Aruba or Ruckus. So anybody who deploys Cisco can easily get a Cisco Certified Engineer to take care of there wireless network.

How was the initial setup?

We do the entire deployment as well as the design. It takes around an average 20 days to complete the entire deployment for a 1000-user network.

Cisco support has been a major help because right from the beginning Cisco support strength and the technical licensing centers played a major part in the success of deploying in the Enterprise Network. People buy it because of this. There are other, cheaper products available with a lifetime guarantee but without any support. Cisco took care of the critical issues whenever we needed them to. 

What about the implementation team?

We are system integrators and we do have our own team who design and implement wireless solution..

What was our ROI?

We have definitely received a return on our investment because the major part of any wireless solution is the quality of connectivity. When you have good connectivity, you can access the environment, go inside the network and access production resources from a mobile device sitting basically anywhere. 

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

Cisco licensing is usually provided for 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years. You can get a hardware SLA or hardware and software SLA for a period of 5 years. Longer terms of SLA influences  the pricing.

License pricing also depends on the features that are being used.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Though cisco is our first choice, we have evaluated other options like Aruba and Ruckus.

What other advice do I have?

Whatever solution used, the design of the wireless network is the most important part of how well it works. I would plan on putting in 60% of the effort to the design and 40% to the deployment. In the designing phase, you must actually get into the network, look for interference issues, create proper wireless heat maps and place the wireless network connection points in the exact location where it is required. 

I would rate it an eight out of ten. 

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