WatchGuard Secure Wi‑Fi Review

Cloud analytics has simplified our operation; easily manageable for multiple locations

What is our primary use case?

I use this solution at an airport, where I work in IT and telecommunications as an end user. 

What is most valuable?

The cloud analytics are a key feature of this solution. Once you create your profile, you plug the AP in and it gets all its attributes. You can reset an AP without having to pull out a ladder. If you need to push an update to it, you can do so. You can roll it back, you can see where users are in your facility and what they're having trouble trying to connect to. In addition, it puts all the users into their own VPN, which gives you security. All the security functions are built into it. You can take one AP from WatchGuard, and install it on a Cisco, Ruckus, or Aruba Networks AP, and turn it on as a WIPS and protect those clients.

It's all cloud controller based. I can have several sites and still see them all in that one pane of glass. All you have to do is take it out of the box, plug it in and you're ready to go. That's the beauty. So if you have multiple locations, it's easily managed. When you log into your console, you can sort by date and see what's coming up, you don't have to guess. If you want to check a budget report, you can see it all without having to look for it. They have an interface setting on their firewall and you can virtually plug any AP into it and be off, whereas other solutions are proprietary. 

What needs improvement?

In terms of improvement, one issue I have is that I can't import a user with one click. There are occasional times where people have a new laptop or a new phone, and they're not able to connect. I would love to just be able to click, boom, and import them all, just yank them all into the system, or take them out of the system if necessary. That would be one great feature. Secondly, I don't want to have two APs on the same channel at the same power level fighting one another. One should drop power or change channel automatically. That's something that could be included in the next update. 

The ideal would be if I would click on T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, or TracFone Wireless and they would populate that because it would simply get the IMEI number and the carrier ID number from a phone that's on that network. Then users wouldn't even have to look for the SSID, they'd just be on WiFi and secure. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for four years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had a few bugs in the early days. They did an update nine months ago, where we had to roll back to the previous revision so they could work out the bugs. That happens with almost anything. On a day-to-day basis, their stability is beyond acceptable. It's great. 

WatchGuard has been pushing for a trusted wireless environment, meaning that you can connect to it with competence to stop a loss of data. Right now companies are making huge profits by selling everybody a portable hotspot on 4G or 5G, which would mean you never need Wi-Fi.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable solution. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is awesome, really great. When I open a ticket, I either get a response back on that ticket or a call back to say, here's what we found, this is what we know, we've seen this before, or whatever. They'll do everything possible to get to the bottom of any issue. They've got some sharp people.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy - it's easy to monitor, and it provides you with alerts on what's going on, throughout your entire system. You just log in, and it's there.

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

When I buy my APs ,it's a three-year license.

What other advice do I have?

I would say simply for most public facilities and schools there wouldn't be a budget for a Passpoint license. I would suggest taking a good look at WatchGuard, do a demo, check it out in your environment and I guarantee you'll want to keep it. With any wireless environment, you want to look at what's there already before you start applying APs. 

My system is set up to block a user. If they're using their own 4G or 5G, that's fine. But if you have a hotspot device and get on my WiFi with it instead of using your 4G and then you hook it up to your laptop on that same subnet, that's when my system sees a security violation. I need to protect my users to make sure that every client that connects is connecting to my AP on my WiFi and not connecting to a fake site. 

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

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