Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller vs. Cisco Aironet 1500 Series Access Points (discontinued)

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller
Score 7.3 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
Cisco Aironet 1500 Series Access Points (discontinued)
Score 6.2 out of 10
N/A
Currently supported by Cisco, but no longer sold, Cisco recommends migration to the Cisco Catalyst 9100 Family of Access Points, which offer greater performance and flexibility.N/A
Pricing
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Aironet 1500 Series Access Points (discontinued)
Editions & Modules
No answers on this topic
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Aironet 1500 Series Access Points (discontinued)
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
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Aironet 1500 Series Access Points (discontinued)
Top Pros
Top Cons
Best Alternatives
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Aironet 1500 Series Access Points (discontinued)
Small Businesses
Ubiquiti WLAN
Ubiquiti WLAN
Score 9.1 out of 10
Ubiquiti WLAN
Ubiquiti WLAN
Score 9.1 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.6 out of 10
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.6 out of 10
Enterprises
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.6 out of 10
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers
Score 9.6 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Aironet 1500 Series Access Points (discontinued)
Likelihood to Recommend
7.2
(26 ratings)
8.3
(13 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
-
(0 ratings)
9.1
(1 ratings)
Usability
8.2
(1 ratings)
9.1
(2 ratings)
Performance
-
(0 ratings)
8.0
(2 ratings)
Support Rating
9.0
(1 ratings)
9.1
(1 ratings)
Product Scalability
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(2 ratings)
User Testimonials
Cisco 8540 Wireless ControllerCisco Aironet 1500 Series Access Points (discontinued)
Likelihood to Recommend
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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Discontinued Products
Cisco Aironet 1550 Series Access Points is very useful for outdoor locations that are more exposed to the wilderness or the weather, which provides uninterrupted wifi access during high winds and bad weather. It also is useful for hazardous locations that are prone to danger or wildlife. Unfortunately, it would not be appropriate to get a Cisco Aironet 1550 Series Access Point if it is only needed for basic wifi use, or indoor use, as the extra features and price would not be necessary.
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Pros
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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Discontinued Products
  • Outdoor mesh bridging of access points brings significant cost savings to many of our production facilities. Deploying mesh APs is a significant cost reduction over trenching conduit to connect remote areas via fiber.
  • Cisco APs are extremely resilient, with a failure rate of below 5% in some of our harshest environments.
  • Cisco APs have the intelligence to identify wireless interference sources with Clean Air technology
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Cons
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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Discontinued Products
  • In the facilities where we operate, we had to put a reinforcement on the ceiling to avoid problems due to the weight of the access point.
  • On the appearance, it could be smaller and lighter.
  • As for the hardware, I think it's incredible, I don't see any points to improve.
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Likelihood to Renew
Cisco
No answers on this topic
Discontinued Products
There is no other better option than this. It's the line between the commercial Cisco grade AP's and industrial ones.
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Usability
Cisco
Very well made product. Very stable. We have had no issues administering the 8540.
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Discontinued Products
Everything clear and easy to use
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Performance
Cisco
No answers on this topic
Discontinued Products
The Cisco Aironet 1560 Series Access Points served their function well. They were reliable, provided decent speeds, resisted the elements, and provided a good investment. The only downsides were mostly appearance which doesn't matter that much. However, I believe that the tech in the access point is not future proof which is why I did not give it a nine or ten star rating.
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Support Rating
Cisco
It is a better product. The evolution is positive.
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Discontinued Products
Initially I had a problem with the regulatory and channel selection, it was a bug on the AP as it was fairly new, solved by TAC on engineering release, and since then it has been performing flawlessly.
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Alternatives Considered
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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Discontinued Products
Making the decision to use Aironet is more related to the type of scenario that you have. We chose Aironet because we mainly manage all the network internally and already have Cisco products to integrate with Meraki which is a good option if you are starting from scratch.
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Scalability
Cisco
No answers on this topic
Discontinued Products
The software of the Cisco Aironet 1560 is highly scalable, the software is very powerful so that the APs can be customized to the maximum and achieve the best performance of the network at the wifi level. The use of it is very easy for people with low knowledge.
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Return on Investment
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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Discontinued Products
  • With only a few DOA's or failing devices, the AP's are of very high quality.
  • We expect them to run stable for many years, which is why our initial investment will be an intelligent choice compared to installing a cheaper product.
  • Although the AP's from Cisco is cutting-edge technology, the 802.11ac standard will be considered legacy in a few years, meaning that its a balance to purchase a well-designed product that won't outlast the tech that it provides. Imagine having an investment in a large fleet of high-quality 802.11b AP's 20 years ago. Although they would still be working flawlessly due to their good quality, the bandwidth would probably be unacceptable to most modern consumers.
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