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Cisco Wireless OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Cisco Wireless is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Wireless LAN tools. It is most often compared to Aruba Wireless: Cisco Wireless vs Aruba Wireless

What is Cisco Wireless?
With Cisco Wireless you will successfully plan, deploy, monitor, troubleshoot, and report on indoor and outdoor wireless networks - all from a centralized location.

Cisco Wireless is also known as Cisco WLAN Controller.

Cisco Wireless Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco Wireless Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Cisco Wireless Customers
Aegean Motorway, Baylor Scott & White Health, Beachbody, Bellevue, Brunel University London, Bucks County Intermediate Unit , Chartwell School, Children's Hospital Colorado, Cisco Live Milan, City of Biel, City of Mississauga, Dundee Precious Metals, Electricity Authority of Cyprus, Erickson Living, Goldcorp, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Grupo Industrial Saltillo (GIS)
Cisco Wireless Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco Wireless pricing:
  • "It might be around $100 for a license. The internal ones are far cheaper than that."
  • "It's expensive because a lot of the controls come with licenses."
  • "The licensing system is very rigid. I work for a school and we are just treated like big companies. At some point, there's a limit to what we can do about that."

Cisco Wireless Reviews

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LM
Network Engineer at County of victoria
Real User
Top 20
Robust with a good level of performance and very helpful technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "It always runs, and it's very reliable in terms of performance."
  • "Their software's really clunky."

What is our primary use case?

We work at a courthouse, however, we manage the data for the entire county. We have them at the Sheriff's office. They use them in commissary purchases, which is a separate SSI and separate VLAN. That's to segregate wireless traffic for different groups of people per their needs. 

We have lawyers that maybe need to reach back into the network and access their documents when they take a laptop to the courtroom with them. And so through that, we've done some radius authentication. Therefore, it's not just an SSI ID. They actually have to log in with credentials as well. 

Then, we have a guest SSID just for general public access, and that's basically running wide open. We do have a simple password audit, however, everybody knows it, and that's separated by VLAN as well and run through Palo Alto. We also have a whole different SSID for patrol units for the Sheriff's office, where they upload car videos and update their car computers wirelessly. We use it broadly. 

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has let us get network access to more people in different locations where wires aren't feasible - like in a garage or for the Sheriff's office uploads in courtrooms. In some of these courtrooms, you can't run additional wire due to the fact that they're historical buildings. You have to have wireless. Also, you have lawyers walking around and you don't want them tripping over stuff. It's useful in every aspect of getting public access - even for when there are events in the square, across from the courthouse. It's basically helped us better serve everybody and provided them with network access.

What is most valuable?

It always runs, and it's very reliable in terms of performance. They are very, very robust, very rugged, and can handle indoor or outdoor coverage. We typically don't have too many problems with the hardware.

What needs improvement?

The wireless LAN controllers at the time when we started rolling out, we went with it simply due to the fact that everything else worked that was Cisco. We figured, if everything else works and we're satisfied with it, let's go that route. However, now people want more access points and more spots. And if you give everybody coverage, the cost is crazy high. You can either say, "No, we can't," or you can go with the cheaper product, even slightly cheaper, plus you get more APs out there for more coverage.

At least with the WLC 2500 that we've been using, you can't take just the stock AP from them. You have to use lightweight firmware. You turn it into a lightweight AP and then you can join it to, or provision it to, the wireless controller, which should be automatic. In most cases, it works pretty well, however, it's still not there yet, as far as plugging it into this network that's going to tunnel back to the controller. I would say it works 7 out of 10 times. For the price, it should be a 10 out of 10. Especially with Cisco running an entire Cisco network with CDP all over the place, there should be no reason it doesn't tunnel back every single time. And yet, there are a few times where it doesn't.

It got to the point where, when I prevent in APs, I just take them directly to the switch that the controller is plugged into and provision them there instead of just plugging them in like you should be able to. 

The software on offer is not great. Cisco lacks in software updates, surprisingly. They don't update their firmware too much for the controller. This is not something you want to be done constantly as it does make downtime, however, I would like to see them more than once a year. Unless there's a critical flaw, or you're running an early release. They're their main releases, I want to say year after year, it's been maybe once a year, and then you have to push it out to all your APs. 

Their software's really clunky. It's not very user-friendly, which you can see that as a good thing and a bad thing. We should learn this stuff, but at the same time, it shouldn't be overly difficult. You shouldn't have your options hidden in menus. You shouldn't have to go 25 minutes deep to get to some security options for a specific SSID. 

Also the way the group their security settings is a little bit backward to me. It's not done by SSID. There's just a security tab. Then, you have to link back and forth through that. However, that's something that you're going to fight with through every controller, every different type of device. We all wish they were organized differently. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We originally started using the solution in 2014.

We had one before then as well. Since we've gone wireless, or implemented wireless throughout the buildings here, we've always used Cisco. This is just a Cisco shop. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is extremely stable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable. 

The one issue we did have was with their mesh radios. I'm not sure that it was with the radio itself, the software in the radio. They run two different firmware. One is autonomous firmware, which they use with their AP line and then lightweight APs. With the autonomous one, there's no consistency there. For the indoor APs, you'll have lightweight firmware that you need on them. And then for the outdoor mesh radios, they're not fully autonomous, yet you have to have the autonomous software on them for the mesh feature to function. That's a little bit convoluted and I kind of wished that would just have it one way or the other.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution scales easily.

The number of users varies. Some days we have court cases and then you have jurors, lawyers, the media people. It varies widely. I would say on average, we have possibly 200 people a day on a slow day using it. And then on an extremely busy day, it could double that.

We use the solution quite extensively.

We do plan to increase usage, however, it won't necessarily be with this product. We'll probably like to go with a different product based on price and licensing.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is 10 out of 10. Cisco tech support is one of the best supports I've ever dealt with.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. As we have added SSIDs, when we have had a hardware failure, the re-setup, for instance, is a bit more involved. When the controller itself was acting kind of finicky, we did an overnight request and got one in. Re-uploading that configuration was not as easy if that makes sense. If you're setting up a brand new device, it's very easy, very straightforward. If you're trying to restore from a backup configuration, it's not as easy. We ended up actually just resetting it up from scratch.

The deployment itself likely took three hours.

We had some bugs to work out after that, however, the majority of it was up and running within three hours.

For maintenance, you only need one person (a network admin) and then a backup person, just in case that person is on vacation or something.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the setup all in-house. We do have their tech support. At one point, we did get tech on the phone and were working with them. It basically came down to firmware. The one they shipped us could not downgrade its firmware to the firmware we were running on. There was no good way to make it upload the config from an older firmware. They wanted the same firmware restorations. That was kind of a pain, however, we just ended up manually going through and resetting everything, which was not too terrible.

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

Cisco's APs are licensed and you need to buy them. Basically, for every AP, you have to have a license. Some of the other devices do it so that they support X amount and you can buy the licenses for zero to 20, 20 to 40, et cetera, and it's a little bit more affordable. That's kind of why I was trending towards Ruckus. They handle their licensing a little bit differently. 

Every time somebody asks "How much is a wireless access point? We need wireless in this room." Well, then you tell them the cost and mention "Oh yeah, and there's a license." It's expensive.

Users purchase each AP, and that's until the end of that product's life. If you break it down over a year, it's fairly affordable. However, nobody replaces one AP, we replace them all typically at the same time. Unless one dies or they need one expanded, as far as specific costs go, it's different for indoor and outdoor ones. It might be around $100 for a license. The internal ones are far cheaper than that. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had looked at Meraki before, however, the cost is just astronomical. We're a local government, so there's no money. The cost of Cisco wireless controllers has always been kind of clunky. I had heard a lot of good things about Aruba, and then I heard they were bought out by HP, however, it seems like it's still good. I was leaning more towards Ruckus based on just how it handles traffic and handles the guest VLANs and that it can do SSI de-scheduling. I still need to go back and do an in-depth read on the Ruckus option. I am leaning towards that one, even though it seems like it's a close tie.

I also looked at Ubiquity, however, from what I've read, their hardware is not really up to par when you hit saturation, and on certain days of the week here, we definitely have saturated APs due to the fact that we have court cases. You can go from the usual 10 people on an AP to possibly 40 plus people, all trying to check their internet over the wireless. It gets kind of crazy on those days.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer and an end-user.

We use the 2500 wireless controller and all the APs that go with it. 

We have Cisco switches and routers as well. We were using Cisco firewalls up until about three years ago. And then we switched to Palo Alto. As far as switching goes, still happy with their switches. They're extremely pricey, however, they last forever, and they meet a lot of government requirements that we have.

I'd recommend the solution I wouldn't hesitate to do install it if the company can afford it.

I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten for its ease of setup, ease of scalability, and robustness.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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PS
Technology Specialist at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 20
Combines the mobility of wireless with the performance of wired networks

Pros and Cons

  • "The CleanAir features and the fast transition."
  • "I wouldn't mind if Cisco allowed their premiere devices to be able to have that cloud-based support as well, or cloud-based management."

What is our primary use case?

Everything I do is generally command line and I use the gooey of the device. I also use a Cisco network assistant to manage the devices. I have a third-party monitor that checks to make sure everything's online — that's it. I don't have any kind of integrated solution where everything is captured within one piece of software.

I prioritize what buildings I can try to upgrade the access points from. I am looking to update my controllers because my controllers are older. They still function fine; I haven't needed to change them yet. I know eventually, they become end-of-life — that's when I'll have to switch them out.

I use Cisco wireless controllers, 2500s. I know they're pretty much going to be end-of-life soon, but I've been using them. They've been solid, I've had them for numerous years. That's what I use to manage those devices. My switches are pretty much a 3650s layer-three and they provide POE over POE plus over 40 access points to be online. It's a big network, but I keep everything in a very basic way. It's easily managed; it's just a very small department.

We're a school district, so every kid has a device. Every teacher has a device and everything is wireless. On a full school day, we can have up to 1,500 devices online at the same time. I try to make sure that everything is connected and that we have enough bandwidth. And if there's an issue that ever comes up, I always try to go there and evaluate it and correct it when needed. With the Cisco product that I've had, I've never had a lot of downtime. So I've been pretty happy with what they provide.

I want to purchase more because I want to update. Wireless standards are changing. You've got to go to WiFi 6, which is 802.11ax. That's in a few years. I don't need to do that yet because our devices won't accommodate that. Everything's still back on 802.11.ac. So there's no point, but in the future, maybe two, three years down the line, when we start getting new devices that accommodate WiFi 6, and I'm going to look for access points to be able to accommodate it as well.

What is most valuable?

The CleanAir features and the fast transition. They're probably the best things that I enjoy as well as just being able to put multiple SSIDs on those things and being able to segment my network that way. As for authentication, I use a RADIUS server, a third-party RADIUS server, for authentication on the wireless SSIDs.

What needs improvement?

I have nothing that's outstanding at this point that I think needs to be improved. Cisco has been solid so I don't have much to complain about. It's a little more money, however. I just configure it and it works for years, which is great. That's what I love about it.

I know Cisco has a Meraki brand, which uses a lot of cloud-based technology. I wouldn't mind if Cisco allowed their premiere devices to be able to have that cloud-based support as well, or cloud-based management. That would be a nice feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for over 15 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is fantastic. I can't complain. Not one bit.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is nice. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We have SMARTnet contracts with Cisco. On occasion, I've actually called them for technical support, but most of the stuff I just kind of figured out on my own.

The technical support is great. They were very accommodating and if they didn't have the answer, they would get back to me or send me an email with some information that I can refer to. But I've never been left in a lurch where I was waiting an excessively long amount of time. They've always been quick to respond and they've been very courteous as well.

How was the initial setup?

For me, the initial setup is straightforward because I have everything in place. Each VLAN has a wireless controller. When I put Cisco's access point on, dynamically, it basically finds the controller, joins it, and then after joining it, I'll just log in and I'll make any configuration changes that I need to accommodate the area that it's working in.

For me, deployment takes a few days; I've been doing this long enough. If I ever have an issue, I always look it up. 

What about the implementation team?

I pretty much deployed it myself. I try to keep it simple, I don't make things complex. It makes it easier for me to manage it. A couple of times in the past we've had some outside help. A lot of that just had to do with the installation of something because it comes down to timing. Being a very small department, I don't always have the time to be able to put this stuff together. So sometimes it's just helpful to get someone outside to help us out.

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

It's expensive because a lot of the controls come with licenses. A couple of my controls have 15 or 25 access point licenses. And if it's in a building that I need more, then I have to go out to a vendor and be able to purchase the add-on license and then pop it in. It's not bad putting a license in, it's just the biggest complaint I have about Cisco is the cost.

Right now there's no subscription. That's the other thing I like about it. We buy it and that's it. The only thing I purchase is the SMARTnet that allows me to do software upgrades for my equipment. I'm paying about $6,000 or $7,000 a year in SMARTnet contracts for that support. Basically, I use it more for the software updates that allow me to keep everything up to date.

What other advice do I have?

Like anything in life, if you're familiar with it, it's easy. Can it get complicated? Of course. But I would just say, just do your research. And make sure you count the cost too. There are two things that are in play here; do your research. Once you get on a comfort level, then you can proceed with it. It works. It's pretty solid. And then the cost. Make sure that if you've got to expand that you have the financial flexibility to be able to accommodate any expansion you need, if not, then you may want to turn to another solution that might be a little cheaper.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of nine. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Learn what your peers think about Cisco Wireless. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
541,108 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Housni Hammoud
Coordinator of the IT Department at a educational organization with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
Worked well over the span of a decade, but necessary upgrades were too expensive

Pros and Cons

  • "Overall, Cisco was stable and worked well for all our needs until we started having more and more students and teachers using YouTube and Zoom — what with classes being isolated and everything — which put a lot of strain on our Wi-Fi network."
  • "The biggest reason why we could no longer continue with Cisco Wireless was because of the high cost to upgrade everything. It was disappointing that Cisco treated us as just another big company, and did not offer any leeway on their pricing given that we are an educational institute. And although the system we had in place from Cisco Wireless was good enough over the last ten years, it started to show its age when pushed to its limit during the pandemic."

What is our primary use case?

Until we switched to Ruckus about a month ago, we had used Cisco Wireless products for the past ten years at our school of about 1800 students and 250 employees, including the teachers. The teachers and students all use iPads so wireless (Wi-Fi) is a big part of our network.

We used Cisco for everything, including wired switches, wireless switches, the core switch, etc. For the wireless network we used Cisco WiSM, which is the old version of Cisco's wireless controller. Since we had used this Cisco equipment for so long and it was showing its age, we ultimately decided it was time for us to renew everything along with all the new features that are now available.

What is most valuable?

I enjoyed Cisco's Meraki MDM which we already had installed, even though at the end of the day it was too expensive for us to continue in that direction when upgrading.

Overall, Cisco was stable and worked well for all our needs until we started having more and more students and teachers using YouTube and Zoom — what with classes being isolated and everything — which put a lot of strain on our Wi-Fi network. 

What needs improvement?

The biggest reason why we could no longer continue with Cisco Wireless was because of the high cost to upgrade everything. It was disappointing that Cisco treated us as just another big company, and did not offer any leeway on their pricing given that we are an educational institute. And although the system we had in place from Cisco Wireless was good enough over the last ten years, it started to show its age when pushed to its limit during the pandemic.

Generally, and this isn't so much a question of support, it was also very difficult for us to determine exactly what the problem was when we had a problem. We didn't have enough tools for diagnosis on the system, in terms of identifying who is connected where at a certain point in time and so on. We would have liked more tools when it comes to diagnosis and traceability.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used Cisco Wireless for over ten years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Cisco system worked well before, for many years. It was only after we started having capacity issues that we found the stability was suffering.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Along with the isolation measures, students and teachers started using Zoom and video sites like YouTube much more, which is when the wireless system started to show its limits.

After ten years of having the same system, we essentially started again from scratch when it came to upgrading. We looked into scaling up with Cisco Wireless, but unfortunately it would have been too expensive for us.

How are customer service and technical support?

We didn't have much contact with Cisco technical support. The consultants would do the job for us, and the only time we needed them afterwards was when we had a problem with our Wi-Fi controllers. 

We had two controllers for high availability and when we realized that the second one was not working, we contacted support. Unfortunately, we didn't have SMARTnet for it, so we ordered SMARTnet to be able to exchange the device, and they said we just renewed the SMARTnet so we had a penalty of one month without the second controller.

We did not appreciate the way they handled it, because even though it wasn't a lot of money to them as a big company, it was a lot of money to us. I don't believe that was the right way for them to behave, especially with a school. We would have teachers come and tell us, "What's going on with the Wi-Fi? It doesn't work." But I couldn't really tell them, "It's a Cisco resource," and all that.

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

Actually, we have now switched to Ruckus only about a month ago. After evaluating the costs for upgrading the entire wireless network, we found that it would have been too expensive for us to continue with Cisco Wireless.

What about the implementation team?

For deployment and maintenance we had three technicians and we also had support from our consulting company. We actually changed consulting companies twice, and we used them mainly for making updates and changing the setups.

With the most recent consulting company, we unfortunately lost contact with them and didn't have the documentation to finish the job that they had started.

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

The licensing system is very rigid. I work for a school and we are just treated like big companies. At some point, there's a limit to what we can do about that.

I can't remember what we paid for the equipment, though in the end we bought some extra switches from an aftermarket company. We started doing our own replacing of equipment, which we didn't really use. The SMARTnet contract was only for the core switch and the Wi-Fi controllers, and we didn't go that way for the rest of the equipment.

If we had, it would have cost something around $2000-$3000 per switch, and we have 30 of them, so it wouldn't have been affordable for us.

What other advice do I have?

The best advice I can give is to always get a second opinion. When I arrived six years ago, we had way too many access points, and the density was causing a lot of interference. It was only after removing some access points that we had better Wi-Fi. When asked, the school said that they had originally added more access points because the Cisco technicians told them to.

I would rate Cisco Wireless a seven out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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HS
Sr. System Analyst at a university with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Has good durability, we can rely on this solution and it is easy to configure

Pros and Cons

  • "The feature that I have found most valuable is its durability because we can rely on this solution. It is also easy to configure. Lastly, if something happens, we get good support from Cisco."
  • "One thing which we really don't like about Cisco is that it is very expensive."

What is our primary use case?

We use it to provide wireless access to our students, faculty, and non-teaching staff because we are a university, an educational institution. I am one of the non-teaching staff who takes care of the networking side.

What is most valuable?

The feature that I have found most valuable is its durability because we can rely on this solution. It is also easy to configure. Lastly, if something happens, we get good support from Cisco.

What needs improvement?

One thing which we really don't like about Cisco is that it is very expensive. If we compare it to other brands like Ruckus or Aruba, it seems to be almost double in price. So that is a major concern. Recently, I have been looking for something comparable to Cisco which is a lower price.

Cost is a major area because if you look at the technical features with other solutions, they seem to be the same in every feature, with no big differences. For example, if you support a 1.5k ACL with two parallel lines, others are supporting 2,000. It's not a major difference, but it is there. I think you can show that it as at par with the competitors.

I would say that the product is best-in-class. The only thing is the price because whether you're a government institution or a private organization, everyone looks for the best price. If we just compare to the competitors on the financial side and we have to pay twice, then it's very difficult for us to go for something even if we know it is very good. So the price should be much less.

Another improvement Cisco Wireless could make is if they provided a calculation document or study on requirements for wall thickness, signal range, switch location, etc.

Additionally, I think it is already very advanced and potentially supports 5G. That is perfectly fine, but it would be good if they could increase their signal strength, because sometimes we face difficulty getting signals, even from a wifi access point in the next room. This goes hand-in-hand with the document I mentioned calculating the range area of the product, etc. There are international standards and/or limitations on that. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I personally have been using Cisco for a only few years, since I was hired, but my institution has been using it for around seven or eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. 

For wireless, I would say it is good. But when we were using the Cisco firewall we found some difficulties setting up and our internet was breaking up or something like that. But from a wireless point of view, it is fine.

Also, one point which just came to my mind about Cisco is if we could have some kind of calculation for the access points because then maybe we could make a web off of all of them. "How much of that access point is required. This access point is covering this much area." If we can have that kind of information it would be easier for us to calculate the capacity. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. We are currently looking at the scalability so that we can provide the infrastructure to some other blocks, as well. I haven't tried it yet or discovered what problems I'm going to face, but I think that it should be able to scale. I think we will be able to do that, but I'm not sure right now.

During peak time, there are around 5,000 or 6,000 users. Now, in COVID-19-like situations, there are maybe a hundred or 200.

We don't have any plans to just switch to another product because we don't have that flexibility. We will just go for open tendering. We will make some generic technical aspects of the product and throw it in the market. Everyone will be invited. We can't just ask for Cisco only. That's why I was worried about their price because if they are the most expensive we will not pay them if they qualify.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not that difficult, it is just technical. For example, if I am looking to set up Cisco, then I should have the skills required to install it. So I would say that the setup is fine. It does not need to be changed. In fact, the product which we have has a controller on our premise that Cisco is now offering to our controllers for switches. So I think this concern is handled over there because controlling through the cloud is a little easier than this centralized controller product, particularly for an institution or organization.

What other advice do I have?

I would say that it's a good solution. Everything is there and I have nothing to point out. 

I would definitely recommend this product, but at the same time, I would say that they should bring their price down. 

Like every solution, it has pros and cons. It's just part of the process.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Cisco Wireless a nine. From the product side, I would rate it nine, but if you ask me about the return on investment, I would probably say a six or seven because the investment is huge here.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MK
Solutions Architect at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good application visibility with great integration potential and capability to scale.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution offers very good application visibility and control integration for other analysis software."
  • "The pricing of the solution is expensive if you compare it to other competitors."

What is our primary use case?

We provide seamless connectivity for the users in various locations. We can track a user and analyze them according to their behavior within the campus and according to their different locations. This gives us a full view of the locations that users gravitate towards and how they utilize the workspace areas within the campus.

What is most valuable?

The solution offers very good integration with a BYOD solution.

The solution offers very good application visibility and control integration for other analysis software.

What needs improvement?

We are looking for more interaction with end-users and need to use the engagement feature that is provided in the new series. We want interaction between the end-users and the software that we are deploying. Therefore, an integration that would use a user's mobile devices through some sort of engagement API would be a good enhancement.

We don't actually use the features to their full potential yet.  We're always exploring the features to see what we can add.

It would be great if, even if the solution is degraded, security-wise, if it could be integrated without extra overhead for the systems or wireless administrators.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for 13 or 14 years now through it is different series 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable using the options of the cluster-ID for the wireless. You don't have any limitations, even with one wireless controller. I haven't seen any limitations. It's very scalable and extendible. Performance-wise we can extend beyond the wireless controller through the FlexConnect feature. It's great.

On-premises, we typically have about 500 users.

Currently, our capacity is enough, so I don't foresee us expanding the solution in the near future. We'll see what happens after the COVID lockdown.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't faced a huge problem from a technical standpoint. However, overall, their response to any queries has been very good overall. They are quite supportive and we've been satisfied with their level of attention.

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

I have only ever used Cisco.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was simple, however, to get the full features, those performing the set up need some sort of experience, regardless of the deployment, the analysis of the location, or for the deployment for the engagement to the API.

We will be going to do that part right now. I have a feeling it will be a complex part of the process.

Deployment takes about one day or so. It doesn't take too much time.

What about the implementation team?

We are an integrator. We handle the implementation for our clients.

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

The pricing of the solution is little expensive if you compare it to other competitors.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

A long time ago, we were comparing this solution against Aruba before the acquisition to HP. We also compare other products however, the main competitor was Aruba.

What other advice do I have?

We're a Cisco partner.

We use a variety of different versions of the solution, including the 800 Series, and 2800 Series. We are planning to go to the Catalyst 9000 Series soon as well. 

It's a centralized solution depending on the wireless controller and some access points have their own branches.

While not related to hardware, in relation to software capabilities, we're always looking for ways to better integrate solutions. This particular solution has been great thanks to the access technology provided. We have seamless integration with the infrastructure. The movement of the users is very easy to pinpoint. The user's onboarding onto the infrastructure is simple.

While the solution isn't perfect as a standalone, the integration capabilities on offer make it really special.

New users will really need to utilize features to get the most out of the solution.

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten. There are a few features that we would like to see added in the future that would make it perfect.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
DP
Network Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Easy to set up with good filtering and a relatively fast deployment

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup is easy. It's fairly quick to deploy."
  • "The interface could be better."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution in order to provide wireless clients access to our hospital network.

What is most valuable?

The BCO is a great basic feature.

We enjoy having access to the security features and MAC filtering. 

All the files are standard and supported, which is a good thing.

The initial setup is easy. It's fairly quick to deploy.

The product scales well and expands quite easily.

What needs improvement?

The interface could be better.

It's a hospital network; we have a lot of X-ray machines and other machines which may interrupt the WiFi signals. They need to provide more stability with respect to the interference or help us can analyze what is causing the interference issues from the controller side so that we could more effectively troubleshoot.

The pricing of the product is quite high.

I've heard the WiFi 6 is in the market and I would like to explore WiFi 6 features. 

Having a single SSID and adding a personal device or an organizational device that an SSID can automatically pick and connect to would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with the solution for over ten years at this point. It's been a while now. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

While the product is stable, in some areas when the user sees a disconnection, we are not able to identify whether it's an access point issue or if it is due to some interference in that area of the hospital (due to hospital equipment). We need help detecting issues via the controller.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have around 4,000 to 5,000 users on the solution. 

It is easy to scale as it is centralized. You just need to add more access points if you would like to expand the product.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is great. One time, we had a controller issue due to a hardware failure and they replaced it within two days. They are extremely helpful and responsive. We are satisfied with the level of support they provide. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very simple. It's not overly complex or difficult. A company shouldn't have any trouble implementing it. 

Initially, we need to get the hardware and put the basic configurations of network settings in order. I don't think it will take more than one hour to do the basic configuration. More complexity, however, does take time. 

The solution doesn't require too much maintenance. Our access points are very old, however, they are pretty stable. For around 10 years, we have been running on the old hardware and it is time to renew, actually, as the product is almost end of support. However, so far, the maintenance has been quite minimal.

What about the implementation team?

The first time we implemented the solution, we did request vendor support.

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

The product is quite expensive, and it's making us reconsider staying with Cisco. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As this solution is near its end-of-life, my company is looking into other solutions such as Aruba or Huawei. We have not decided yet on what we will do, however, the Cisco pricing is very costly. We would like to check out other options that are cheaper, and which can offer the same kind of stability and features.

What other advice do I have?

I'm just a customer and an end-user.

We aren't necessarily using the latest version of the solution. Some access points, for example, are so old we cannot upgrade them any longer. 

I'd recommend the solution to other users. If you have the money and budget, Cisco is a good, stable solution.

I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MP
Enterprise Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Reseller
Top 5
Easy setup with great technical support and reliable technology

Pros and Cons

  • "The technical support is excellent."
  • "They are a pretty expensive option."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution purely for a wide extension, in over it to achieve the desired coverage. It's a structure for our employees, and it offers end-to-end coverage for our employees to gain access to our corporate environment when they need to.

How has it helped my organization?

If you look at the Cisco products, it's sort of like buying a Mercedes-Benz, in that you know you get a brand that's well known and has a reputation of reliability. The ease of access and the simple rollout make it a natural choice. 

What is most valuable?

The ease of rollout is one of the main reasons we ended up choosing Cisco as a solution.

The initial setup is very straightforward.

The technical support is excellent.

What needs improvement?

The pricing is above average. They are a pretty expensive option. If clients don't have the budget, it can be hard to afford. The company should work to reduce the price and make them more competitive.

The solution would be better if there was some sort of server type of tool that's included in the package. If there was something that could help you fine-tune the solution a bit easier, it would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for eight or nine years at this point. It's been a while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The technology of the product is excellent. The solution is very reliable and stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In our organization, there are roughly about 500 people using the Wireless. They vary from entry-level to senior management.

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco's technical support is very, very good. They are very knowledgeable and responsive. We're quite satisfied with the level of assistance they provide to us when we need it. It's quite professional.

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

We work as a service provider, and therefore we use a variety of products, including Cisco, Meraki, Ruckus, and Hadoop.

Although we've used other solutions, we've stuck with Cisco ourselves from the start.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not complex. It was straightforward and very simple. The setup and deployment are one of its selling points as it is quite easy.

The deployment is pretty quick. Of course, we have a certain level of comfort with the solution after so many years, so it is easy for us. We haven't encountered any issues with the process. Other organizations should also find it relatively easy.

The solution doesn't need a lot of staff for deployment and there is very little maintenance required. Those that we do have would be fairly technical as we would require some of our CNPs to do the support and maintenance on the system.

What about the implementation team?

We don't need any consultants or implementors as we have sufficient in-house expertise. We can handle it ourselves.

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

I don't work with the commercial side, I don't have any estimate on the cost.

That said, I do know that it is more expensive than other options.

What other advice do I have?

We are a service provider.

Cisco is a well-known brand especially when it comes to technology. They're one of the market leaders and they're absolutely a no-fuss vendor. I would recommend it to anyone.

It did take me a few weeks or months to get used to some aspects of the system, however, once you learn it, you get very comfortable with the processes of deployment.

I would rate the solution at a ten out of ten. It's a superior option that's easy to implement and very reliable.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
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TM
Network Architect at Summa Health System
Real User
Top 20
Great support, very stable, and offers great functionality

Pros and Cons

  • "The support offered by Cisco is excellent. They are very responsive and knowledgeable."
  • "Apple is definitely causing a lot of issues by turning on more security features on its equipment. It is causing more problems on the business side. One is what they call a randomized Mac address that Apple has put out. As far as I know, Cisco doesn't have a fix for that."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for our handheld devices. We have about 30 most likely that are medical hand-held devices. We do have a lot of wireless devices out there, including carts. We've got Vocera Badges that we use.

What is most valuable?

The support offered by Cisco is excellent. They are very responsive and knowledgeable.

The functionality of the solution is very good.

What needs improvement?

The most difficult part of the solution is us juggling everything. There are eight access points that we have to deal with. They have a tendency to age out. After five years, they go off sale. Then, five years after that, that they're out of support. Usually, when you get a new access point, we have to get to a certain version to get everything to work. However, on top of that, the ones we had 10 years ago are no longer functioning. They make it a complicated battle to try to keep your equipment at proper revisions, all at the time. They kind of force you to upgrade now. 

Apple is definitely causing a lot of issues by turning on more security features on its equipment. It is causing more problems on the business side. One is what they call a randomized Mac address that Apple has put out. As far as I know, Cisco doesn't have a fix for that. In other words, it's there to protect the end-user when they're on a guest network or they use randomized Mac addresses. We were trying to implement an employee group that would track the individual via the Mac. Now that it's rotating, we don't have a way to configure that.

I need to figure out how to handle security features that product lines have that offer a non-standard type of security feature that is being turned on constantly by different vendors. iPad also gives us isses. They have it set up so that you don't see the Mac address and the wireless at all. You can't even track your device anymore. I just discovered that last week.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for about 15 years at this point It's been a good long while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is pretty solid in terms of stability. Out of a rating of ten, I would give them a nine. It's reliable and doesn't crash or freeze. It's not buggy at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would describe the solution as scalable. If a company needs to grow it out they can do so pretty easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

We're big fans of technical support. It's one of the solution's big selling features. We've very satisfied with the level of support they provide us.

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

I also have experience with Aruba. I'd say that Cisco is a bit more complicated to set up.

That said, we went to Cisco from day one - even before they had wireless controllers. Cisco is our go-to solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is probably a little bit more complex than Aruba from what I've seen so far. It's not simple per se.

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

I don't handle the pricing. I don't have it in front of me. I'm not sure what the monthly costs are for our organization.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer.

The solution is fairly up-to-date, however, we aren't using the most recent version of the solution right now.

Overall, I'd rate the solution nine out of ten. We've used it for years and it's worked quite well for us with very little issues to speak of.

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