Aruba Instant Wi-Fi Access Points vs. Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
Aruba Instant Wi-Fi Access Points
Score 9.3 out of 10
N/A
Aruba Networks offers wireless LAN (WLAN) solutions via its variety of wireless access points.N/A
Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Score 7.5 out of 10
N/A
The Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller is a highly scalable, service-rich, resilient, and flexible platform. It provides centralized control, management, and troubleshooting for high-scale deployments in service provide, enterprise, and large campus deployments.N/A
Pricing
Aruba Instant Wi-Fi Access PointsCisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Editions & Modules
No answers on this topic
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
Aruba Instant Wi-Fi Access PointsCisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
Aruba Instant Wi-Fi Access PointsCisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Top Pros
Top Cons
Best Alternatives
Aruba Instant Wi-Fi Access PointsCisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Small Businesses
Ubiquiti WLAN
Ubiquiti WLAN
Score 9.2 out of 10
Ubiquiti WLAN
Ubiquiti WLAN
Score 9.2 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.8 out of 10
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.8 out of 10
Enterprises
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.8 out of 10
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.8 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
Aruba Instant Wi-Fi Access PointsCisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Likelihood to Recommend
9.8
(14 ratings)
7.3
(26 ratings)
Usability
9.0
(1 ratings)
8.2
(1 ratings)
Support Rating
8.2
(4 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
User Testimonials
Aruba Instant Wi-Fi Access PointsCisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Likelihood to Recommend
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
It is possible that we have a bad luck with the deployment. However, It is capable to perform enterprise-level security to fit some of the organization's standards. With Airwave and other tools, it's easy to manage and administrate your wireless environment. Make aware of the IPsec tunnel from each user to the controller if you are using Clearpass for NAC. If you have a remote office with local resources, you will need controller or IAP to route traffic locally. If you have many remote offices, you will need to deploy controllers or IAP in each office, which lead to additional cost and management.
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Cisco
[Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller's] software quality has been shed in recent years. The only problem I have with it is its inability to work with older Cisco Access Points. However, that's to be expected for any deployment. While the controller's UI works well, some areas could be improved. API integrations lack flexibility. [I feel] it's time for policy redesign. It can be a little difficult to determine coding quality.
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Pros
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • They offer both a controller-based and controller-less option. This allows customers of all sizes to deploy a wireless network without the upfront cost of controller hardware. A controller can be added later.
  • Aruba also offers Airwave which is a single management point for all AP swarms in the environment. It offers many reporting features as well as visual RF maps displaying heatmaps of the AP signals and client positioning.
  • The Aruba Access Point we have (224s and 225s) also offer both PoE and external power supplies for those smaller deployments that may not have PoE capable switches.
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Cisco
  • The GUI on the Cisco 8540 WLC is much better designed than other Cisco products. Its easy to navigate between the different settings to find what is needed.
  • The AP groups allows touching multiple APs at one time.
  • It also allows us to create standard SSIDs that can be used at all sites that connect back to it, this saves a lot of time instead of hitting each site with a local controller.
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Cons
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • We have had a bunch of these stop working after a power outages. We are guessing a surge or something caused them to stop working.
  • Some of the documentation is outdated. It seems they like to make changes to how things work and it usually mean less access and insight into the devices you manage.
  • The auto signal strength feature could use a little work. It seems like even when we turn it down all the way it tries ot increases the signal strength.
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Cisco
  • Code quality is a bit hit and miss. This will be great for a while, then things will be bad for a while, then we'll do it again. The UI of the controller works, but could do with a refresh, and I would like to see some improvement on layout and organization.
  • The constant code/firmware upgrades and the QA of new code could be better.
  • Maybe the compatibility with old Cisco Access Points could be improved, but it's normal in all kinds of deployments.
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Usability
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Aruba Networks Wireless LAN is very intuitive to use. After the initial learning curve for the Aruba OS platform, it is straightforward. Day-to-day tasks, such as deploying an access point with a configuration, are very straightforward. Standard incremental system upgrades are also very intuitive. If you have any past experience with Aruba network switching or Cisco switching, the command structure is relatively similar.
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Cisco
Very well made product. Very stable. We have had no issues administering the 8540.
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Support Rating
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
It is a reliable and complete solution for providing wireless network to users. I had no technical problems during those years. The Aruba controller and access points have always worked very well and we have greatly improved the relationship with customers and we now have absolute control over the wireless network traffic. It has quality assurance and support with efficient service as well.
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Cisco
It is a better product. The evolution is positive.
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Alternatives Considered
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Cisco Aironet did not even compare to Aruba, Aruba was so far advanced from Cisco back when we used them. Aruba solved several business problems all in one ecosystem, all Cisco did was acted as somewhat intelligent Access Points. Aruba enabled us to leverage VoIP, use APs as VPN endpoints/devices, manage individual devices as assets, etc.
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Cisco
We have [done] some work before with the Cisco 3504 product, but the more recent Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller provides a wider range of capabilities for managing the wireless network and each individual device [and] also being able to handle more users. Unfortunately, we didn't test and deploy equivalent products from other concurrent companies.
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Return on Investment
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Excellent uptime and reliability
  • If licensed properly, failover is easy
  • The newest version upgrade is somewhat cumbersome as they want us to replace hardware, which seems silly, so we are on the most current legacy supported version. Once unsupported, we will need to replace hardware.
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Cisco
  • The Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller allows you to reduce your hardware footprint of wireless controllers deployed in your environment. Instead of having a controller per site deployed, you can have a couple of 8540 controllers in your data center that can handle up 6000 Access Points.
  • Some of the savings on hardware cost is offset by the cost of redundant WAN circuits. The access points will continue to function when connectivity to the Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller is unreachable, but it will not allow any new connections in that wireless environment.
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ScreenShots