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Cisco Wireless WAN OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Cisco Wireless WAN is the #3 ranked solution in our list of top Wireless WAN tools. It is most often compared to Cambium: Cisco Wireless WAN vs Cambium

What is Cisco Wireless WAN?
Cisco Wireless WAN can help your business expand rapidly while making critical applications and services available when and where needed. Your business can run applications such as interactive video and TelePresence on a primary 4G LTE WWAN link, which is 10 to 15 times faster and 5 times lower latency than 3G.
Cisco Wireless WAN Buyer's Guide

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

Cisco Wireless WAN 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 WAN Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco Wireless WAN pricing:
  • "The pricing is good."
  • "This is a very expensive solution but there are no additional costs."
  • "Cisco is more expensive than other solutions."
  • "It was a one time fee and there are no costs in addition to this."

Cisco Wireless WAN Reviews

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DO
Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
Top 10
Enables you to control everything, every technology within the wireless arena and has good granularity

Pros and Cons

  • "Granularity of standardization and technical controls."
  • "Include more managing features within the product, rather than having to purchase them as extras."

What is our primary use case?

I've been designing wireless solutions and have been a solutions provider for over 20 years. I spec the solution based on the client's requirements and use whichever vendor device is affordable, and fits the purpose of the company's requirements.

We mainly use the WLC 5000 series. We use other Cisco products, mainly geared to smaller markets. I use Cisco and Dell devices, but mostly Cisco, as in the switching arena. I'm most familiar with cloud management and wireless Cisco solutions such as the WMM. I'm not familiar with the Cisco CSR or Cisco Cloud Services Router 1000V. 

In terms of WLAN solutions, it all comes down to the business requirements and commercials. I would tend to use Cisco at the higher end if the commercial can afford it, but it also depends if it's fit for purpose on the NRL hive. I also use Ubiquiti and I've also started to look at Campion as well. But it really depends on the requirements. External, Ubiquiti, internal Cisco, and Aerohive.

What is most valuable?

The granularity of standardization and technical controls would be the big one in terms of valuable features. You can control everything, every technology within the wireless arena. It contrasts with Meraki which is very much macro-driven so you don't have the visibility of the complete engine. From an engineering and consultant perspective, I want full control. The Cisco WLC solution supplies that in the form they have at the moment, but I know that they changed the UI a couple of weeks ago. I haven't seen it but as it exists at the moment I'm on 8.5 or 8.6 of the code up, but they're using the code that they use on the WLCs and not what would be the new version, which I believe is different.

What needs improvement?

With the WMM there are a few bits and pieces missing that some of the other vendors have. Cisco has a bad habit, although they'd probably see it as a good habit, of not applying extras. I want more managing features. Cisco would love you to go and buy Cisco Prime, which is very expensive, especially if you want to get reports active for the SME market. They generally don't add to existing products and are actually outpricing themselves. Cisco needs to realize that if they want to reach a global market, there are many markets within that. They need a price point that allies a smaller market and sometimes a specific country. I work in Northern Ireland and Ireland, which is very much SMB, and Cisco has priced themselves out of that market. From a management perspective, if I want to get good reports and good troubleshooting capabilities, I have to go and buy an additional product, Prime or another product that they facilitate. Aerohive products and the like have that under the hood and are a cheaper product. Cisco needs to be paralleling what the other vendors' devices are doing and giving what could be other markets the ability to use the product. For now, they've priced themselves out in some locations.

In terms of additional features, they need to look at the market and need to look at whether or not it includes more management features under the hood and more layers to functional troubleshooting which other vendor devices do, that would be a big improvement. But they need to be built into the product that you buy, and you shouldn't have to go and pay thousands of pounds for an additional management platform. There should be a level of management solution purchased through the standard WLAN, Cisco's WLAN solution. There isn't enough.

What other advice do I have?

I would want people to be aware that Cisco Wireless WAN is a top-end product and solution. Their portfolio is superb. They have major experience and maturity and are very much in tune with their field. I work in warehousing facilities. Like most things, though, there are pros and cons. Cisco is the top end, commercially. It's going to be double the price, and I mean double the price, of everything else. Other products that I use, and I have cross-referenced the price point with many solutions for the requirements of our enterprise customers, are half the price.

They are a good product. Do they warrant the extra expense? I would have to say no, but they do have great maturity and their product portfolio is not just the access points but their other add-ons; their antennas, maturity and the information out there, which is invaluable. You pay for these from an engineering and consultative perspective. I need to research issues and other people's experiences. Cisco obviously has the world's best engineers, consultants who have that and very nicely post their experiences. That is invaluable. But unfortunately some markets, again I'm talking about Ireland here, sometimes can't afford that. And there are other products that can do the job just as well.

Commercially they are quite flawed but in terms of technology, you can't really beat Cisco, to be honest. Commercially I would rate them as a 2 but technically they would be an 8 or 9 out of ten. I'm not a fan of the Meraki product so I'm taking it out of the equation. I'm talking about Cisco WLCs, and what would be the solution. Technically it's an excellent product.

Unfortunately, their validity into other commercial markets is flawed. Majorly flawed. And they have too much competition, and Cisco being Cisco will just go "Well, that's fine, we didn't want to do that."  Then we would not use their products. So that's unfortunate. Maybe that's just a bit of pretension on their part.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
DD
Network Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
A stable device providing good coverage but it needs centralized management

Pros and Cons

  • "Mobile anchoring and graphic user interface are helpful features."
  • "There is no centralized management for multiple wireless control deployments or a user tracking feature."

What is our primary use case?

I'm a user, administrator, and implementer of Wireless WAN. I work in a large company and we use the system throughout our campus sites. We mainly use version 5508 and for smaller sites, we use 2504. There are more recent products but I don't have experience with them. We currently have 50,000 people using the Cisco Wireless WAN and have no plans for further expansion.

How has it helped my organization?

Improvement to our organization would be in terms of IoT, I would say, because some buildings are fully covered by WiFi. We're talking about large buildings of 60 access points per building. Users have benefited from full coverage and of course, that includes cell phones which also connect to WiFi, and using the guest wireless, and the ICP. Reduction in mobile data costs has allowed for increased savings, thanks to our corporate WiFi.

What is most valuable?

Valuable features for me would be the friendly GUI. It's not a feature as such but it's the first thing I would point out because troubleshooting is very easy on it. I can literally point down to a single host, find roughly where he's located and examine the strength of his connectivity. Also, I find the mobile anchoring to be handy although compared to the newer solutions it's a little old. 

What needs improvement?

Improvement could be made in the planning - WiFi survey and planning, and WiFi key mapping - should both be included in high-end devices. You would expect them to be included in such a product. When we bought it, 5508 was a high-end device. Some aspects could be achieved automatically by the wireless controller. For example, if there is a single access point deployed in a densely populated area, there will be many users and all those users bring down the speed. I think an option where the range of the access points is determined by the signal strength of the end-users would be good. There should be a mechanism mitigating that because when a user with a low WiFi signal connects, he basically crashes the experience for everyone else. Some automation on their part would be good.

A neat feature that some of the other vendors have is that of informing, where I can tell the access point to narrow down its signal and focus it in a specific direction. That is very handy, for example, in long corridors where you don't want the access point to spread its signal everywhere but rather focus it to a narrow field of vision, so to speak. That's a feature I would like to see. Vendors like Aruba have things like tracking mobile devices. That would also be a handy feature because it allows you to pinpoint areas that have low WiFi coverage. Another feature would be a dynamically generated heat map. Let's say you can see on a heat map where the user has been and can follow his WiFi experience in terms of signal to noise ratio, signal strength and the like as well as interference by other machines detected in that path, how the access points see each other and the strength of signal they're producing. The only thing missing is the piece of software that could show you that graphically.

I would like to see a centralized management where I don't need to log on to every controller and then proceed from there. Also, a centralized management for multiple wireless control deployments and, of course, features such as user tracking so I can pinpoint the user, all the way down to the wireless control access point and switch that the access point is connected to. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Cisco Wireless WAN for about ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a very stable device when used properly by people who know how to configure it; a high-end quality device. Recently some of the access points have started to break down but they are over 10 years old, which is quite good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is very good quality with high scalability in my view.

How are customer service and technical support?

We currently have around 10 people in our maintenance team

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

Prior to Cisco, we used Palo Alto. The switch was made to Cisco because we wanted to standardize the network throughout the company. 

How was the initial setup?

The setup is relatively straightforward. To configure the controllers with prep time and IP address, would take a couple of hours, give or take.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I wasn't involved in the decision-making process about alternative options before we went with the Wireless WAN.

What other advice do I have?

We use dedicated wireless control for our campuses in a redundant topology, active/passive. We use both Flex connect and local, essentially switched networks. Our company uses physical machines, not cloud-based wireless controls.

I would rate it a seven out of ten. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Wireless WAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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Ghayas Uddin
IT Specialist at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
A reliable solution which is easy to manage, deploy and configure

Pros and Cons

  • "Our most valuable feature involves the 802.11ac, which operates at a very high level and has updated technology."
  • "We found the initial setup to be a bit complex due to the CLI commands."

What is our primary use case?

I use the solution for wireless and mobile users, data sharing and file and print servers. We use the solution for conducting nearly all our services. 

What is most valuable?

Our most valuable feature involves the 802.11ac, which operates at a very high level and has updated technology. That's why we use the product, whose features we find to be very reliable.

What needs improvement?

We found the initial setup to be a bit complex due to the CLI commands. It's a little bit difficult and requires us to move and to convert. Certain CLI commands we are forced to undertake.

The solution should also enable Bluetooth Low Energy devices, which serve the purpose of maintaining and managing one's tracking system. 

The new product, 802.11ax BLE, enables features for tracking devices. It can be used for antivirus protection or in the event of any risk. It is a new technology and allows one to see where things are moving. The 802.11ax incorporates the features of the Cisco 9115ax model. The feature is very good. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Cisco Wireless WAN for more than 10 years.

The current product, 2800, we have been using in excess of two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. Meetings can be scaled with ease.

We do have plans to increase the usage of Cisco Wireless WAN. 20 is the upper limit for the number of access points that we plan to purchase for deployment in our company. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer and technical support are very good. 

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

In the past we used D-Link Access Point and it was not very good. However, it is very good when we convert this new technology in respect of the Cisco 2800 Series. With the 2800 model there have been no issues save for the one involving compliance testing of the Cambium product for the POC. After two or three months it ceased to work properly. It is not a good product. We tested the Cambium product, as well.

How was the initial setup?

The CLI command complicated things a bit and required of us to move and convert and to undertake certain CLI commands. 

What about the implementation team?

We deployed with the assistance of a consultant. Our experience with them was very good. 

The local vendors helped us to deploy all our infrastructure and it is good that they did so. They are very friendly and their personnel is very knowledgeable.

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

The pricing is good. It is neither on the high nor low side. I consider it to be moderate. While other vendors provide the same, I find this model to be reasonably priced.

What other advice do I have?

The solution is good and very easy to deploy, manage and configure. We have encountered no issues in this regard. 

We now plan to convert the 802.11ac to 802.11.ax. We intend to purchase a new access point to meet the technology challenges. We are now planning to move all access points to a new access point involving 802.11.ax technology.

The number of users making use of the solution depends on the employee count. I would say that perhaps 200 users are connected daily with the access point that we have. For the moment we have a very small area. In every department we have in excess of 100 to 150 users connected to one access point. This works fine. But, depending on the user size and the type of Wireless Card the user may possess, certain users experience some difficulties due to the Wireless Card's age and its lack of compatibility. As such, it is the user size which would account for certain issues, not the product size.

My advice to others is that the product and its performance are very good and scalable. Cisco is very good and the product is nice to deploy and to work with. One can use it with freedom from any latency. Overall, the product is very good and established and the company has been working for some time to make improvements to it. This and the reputation involved are why I use the product. 

I rate Cisco Wireless WAN as a ten out of ten. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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RagidKader
Lead Solutions Architect at a educational organization with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
It is quite expensive, but the manageability is simple and it is easy to work on

Pros and Cons

  • "I like that it has integrated the cost of our network access."
  • "The technical scalability is easy, but the license scalability is quite tricky."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is for streaming access to the personal devices of students and staff for guest wifi and connection. So we provide corporate access to devices. They use it for media streaming, for social networking, for learning solutions. Most people don't connect through land cable anymore - they all go for wireless options.

What is most valuable?

I like that it has integrated the cost of our network access. We see identity controls solutions so we make sure it's all part of the same management console. We have the same console and the same authentication, and we use a multi-high profile defendable wireless system, access ports, and wireless access IDs. So each access ID has different kinds of people, different kinds of networks, the VLAN. Cisco controllers are now the best in this field. We end segregation on the Wi-Fi side based on the access ID.

What needs improvement?

The solution is very expensive, and I think the price should be more competitive, like with Aruba, Meraki, and other products. The price model is very high but the manageability is simple. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have some glitches from time to time, but the support is fast and they support us very well. This doesn't happen very often, though.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The technical scalability is easy, but the license scalability is quite tricky. It's licensing costs incurred, but technically the solution is very scalable. A total of 5,000 users are using the 3000 access points, and 2,600 users are using 800 access points. I am the architect and the rest of the users are basically university students, faculties, administration staff, and support staff who mainly use for media, social net access, corporate file access, academic system access, and learning solution access. And it used for radio-audio frequency wireless tools.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is good and I will rate them a seven out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

As a typical Cisco solution there is a slight complexity to the setup, but because most of the engineers at Cisco are certified, it is easy for them. The integrators used a professional space on the vendor site for the deployment.

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

This is a very expensive solution but there are no additional costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We compared it to Aruba Wireless. Aruba has its own strength in the latest technology, their architects are very different, and they are more advanced. So I think Cisco is one step behind Aruba.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to others is to understand the use case properly before deploying any solution. If you don't have a complex use case and if you can't afford it, don't get Cisco. But if you have a complex use case with a high frequency, high bandwidth of data usage in a wireless network, Cisco is the right product for you. The licensing strategy and the pricing could be improved, but it is a good solution. I rate it 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.
Alexander Rauch
Delivery Manager Network Services at a consumer goods company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Reliable and scalable with a straightforward setup

Pros and Cons

  • "It's a reliable solution."
  • "The pricing of the solution could always be better."

What is most valuable?

We trust Cisco. It's a reliable solution. Reliability is most probably the most valuable feature for our organization.

The solution does exactly what we need it to do.

The initial setup is mostly straightforward.

What needs improvement?

The pricing of the solution could always be better. If they could work to make the costs more competitive, that would be ideal.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than ten years at this point. It's been 12 to 13 years or so. It's been a long time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is quite good. It's reliable. It doesn't crash or freeze. There are no bugs or glitches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability potential of the solution is very good. If a company needs to expand it, they can.

If I look just now at my area and the locations I'm responsible for, we have more than 2,000 users. However, we use the product globally, and if we look at it from that perspective, we have more than 20,000 users actively using it every day. Of course, with COVID, and people now working from home, it's likely less at the moment.

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm pretty satisfied with the documentation as well as with the support. If we have any challenges or issues, Cisco is usually always able to help us. They are helpful, knowledgeable, and responsive to our needs.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of the initial implementation, it is always dependant on what knowledge you have and the level of experience. The more you have, of course, the easier it is. For us, it's not difficult anymore. I'd describe the process as pretty straightforward and quite easy to set up on a new site.

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

The solution does come with a price tag. It's not the least expensive option on the market.

What other advice do I have?

We are a customer and end-user. We don't have a business relationship with Cisco.

We use a lot of Cisco products, including Cisco Catalyst Switches, Wireless WAN, and Cisco Nexus.

We use one of the latest access points, however, we are not up to date on the newest controller versions as our versions are still supported. We plan to replace them probably in the next one or two years. It's not the latest, let's say, controller version. However, from a software standpoint, we are still up to date.

I would recommend the solution to others. However, they have to be prepared to pay the price and have the budget for the product.

In general, I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten. We've been extremely satisfied with its capabilities.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Irshad Mehmood
Technical Project Manager at Saudi Telecom Company
Real User
Top 10
Good documentation, stable, and integrates easily

Pros and Cons

  • "This is the most stable product in the market."
  • "The reporting feature needs improvement, especially adding information with regards to availability uptime."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for this solution is supplying Wi-Fi to public users.

We have been using this solution for 3D uploading and providing resources for users. Our goal is to offload traffic from mobile devices while people are at work.

We have been installing this solution in malls, the university, and other buildings. We have deployed this solution across the whole country.

What is most valuable?

This is the most stable product in the market.

The documentation is very good and it's available everywhere. If you use Google to search then you will get it all.

The integration is easy.

What needs improvement?

The reporting feature needs improvement, especially adding information with regards to availability uptime. Currently, we have to calculate this on our own by using a performance tool and then customize the reports to display it. This information is a major concern for us because we need to know how much uptime is available to our customers.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution since 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable solution and we have not had any problems. We have not found any bugs.

The only problem that we have had is related to power failures, which has nothing to do with the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have deployed this solution across the country, and anyone who is in the kingdom can use Wi-Fi for free for two hours. We have thousands of users.

We will be deploying more Cisco products because the integration is easy, and our core is already made up of Cisco.

How are customer service and technical support?

We are satisfied with the technical support from Cisco.

They are not only taking care of the Wi-Fi. Cisco has also deployed the IP MPLS network.

Whenever we have a problem and we explain it to them, they try their best to solve it.

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

Previously, we were using the Cisco 5500 series and the 8500 series.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is not complex because there is lots of documentation available and it is very good. Instead of being complex, it becomes easy for you.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are also using a solution by Aruba. Some of the features are better with Cisco, whereas different features are better in Aruba.

We also evaluated Nokia and we found it more difficult to integrate.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
MA
Network Operations Supervisor at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
The setup is easy and has good integration between solutions

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup was really easy and straightforward."
  • "The integration support technology should be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We use Cisco Wireless WAN for normal campus access, for voice roaming, regular setup, some employee networks, network using portals, and simple registrations.

What is most valuable?

We acquired the Cisco Identity Service Engine (ISE), and what I found the most valuable, is the integration between Cisco wireless and the ISE. It is very useful. 

What needs improvement?

The integration support technology should be improved. We have more sites to the technology itself and before we only had to connect the access points to a controller. Now we use most of the pieces of what the wireless as a concept can provide. So more integration and support will be great. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for eight years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The program is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I believe the solution is scalable and it is easy to add more users.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is really good.

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

We have been working on Cisco for many years now, so we just upgraded to Cisco Wireless WAN.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was really easy and straightforward.

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

Cisco is more expensive than other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

The reason why we chose Cisco over another solution, is that Cisco is very strong here in the Aruba and Ruckus region. We have a vendor specifically in Saudi Arabia. What I like about this solution, is that it is always available and it's up to me to integrate, something called the DNA. I like the features that Cisco provides and it a solution that's easy to work on. I like the integration between Cisco and all the other Cisco products when it comes to network roaming, the DNA. So this is the integration that I'm looking forward to integrating, Cisco wireless with the DNA.

On a scale from one to 10, I will rate this an eight. The reason why I don't give it a ten is because Cisco is rather expensive. I would like to see it being more affordable.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Suresh Bidwai
Manager - IT at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Easy to set up and configure, and the technical support is nice

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the ease of configuration."
  • "The prices are high and should be reduced in order to be more competitive."

What is our primary use case?

This product makes up part of our wireless network infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ease of configuration. Most of the questions one would have about setup are already identified in the troubleshooting guide.

The user interface is ok.

What needs improvement?

The prices are high and should be reduced in order to be more competitive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Wireless WAN for more than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the five years that we have used it, we haven't had any problems. It has now reached end-of-life.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very nice and we don't have any issues with it. We have about 500 users across the entire staff. They work in HR, admin, production, operations, and other roles.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very nice and we have no issues with it.

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

We have traditionally used Cisco and are finally now changing because of the price.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is okay. It takes about three months to implement.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team handled the deployment. No maintenance is required any longer, although we have two IT people who are able to manage it.

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

With the increase in the price of this product, we will instead be replacing it with another vendor. It was a one-time fee and there are no costs in addition to this.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are evaluating other solutions that are most cost-effective. Cisco is more expensive than either Aruba or SonicWall.

What other advice do I have?

Whatever they have in this product is already the best in the market, and I recommend it for people who can afford it.

I would rate this solution a nine 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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