Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers Reviews

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Reviews (1-25 of 26)

Eduardo Viero | TrustRadius Reviewer
August 27, 2019

The most reliable, powerful and flexible Wireless Controller on the market

Score 10 out of 10
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Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers are being used since 9 years ago, when we moved from a small deployment of 20 or so access-points being controlled by 1 single master AP, autonomous AP architecture to a new approach called LWAPP architecture, where the Wireless LAN controller manages and controls all the AP in the campus. For us, it meant we had a huge leap in administration and allowed us to increase the adoption of the WiFi technology, going from 20 to 300 AP along the last 9 years, using the same controller. Besides that, we could improve availability having 2 controllers working simultaneously. Last, but not least, we could serve several remote offices with the same controllers, hosted in our HQ.
  • Centralized configuration and management is something that Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers does very well. You just need to do the basic setup and once you connect a new AP to the network, it seeks the controller, downloads the most updated firmware, configuration and that's it. For big deployments, it means a lot of work hours saved and deployment time reduced.
  • As we see in several Cisco products, it's no different in this case. Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers are so robust and stable that you almost forget they exist in your infrastructure. They are designed to support thousands of users, hundreds of access-points. Its software is always evolving also. We started, 9 years ago, with a software version that was updated several times, always adding new features and technologies like fast roaming, for example, running in the exact same hardware from 9 years ago.
  • The same Wireless LAN controller can be used for multiple kinds of deployments, because the hardware is so powerful and the software is so flexible that you can deploy enterprise networks and guest networks at the same time, thanks to segmentation, multiple network interfaces, captive portal, etc.
  • There was one missing functionality that was very important: the ability to update the software without having to reboot the controller. Luckily, since the recent launch of the Catalyst 9800 series, it was solved.
  • The management interface, at least for old models, didn't receive and update since it was launched, so we miss some of the new interface elements we see in other products. It was also addressed in later hardware launches, but for old models, it's still a small fault.
  • Depending on the size of your deployment, you may think that the cost of the Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers can be a little high. Just keep in mind that the equipment will survive for a long time, so if you had a chance to invest in this, I think it worth the money.
When we started using Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers, there weren't too many options in terms of sizes, so although we didn't have the need for a big and expensive controller, we decided to invest the be ready for the future. Looking to the current portfolio, we see that there a lot of options and sizes, so the key is to select the right size for the right deployment. Currently, we use one model for the HQ, where most of our APs are located, but we also use virtual WLC in small plants, which is a good choice because it's very flexible and you can always move to a hardware version, protecting the investment if your deployment grows.
As I said before, the only thing we miss in our old model is the fact that the management interface never received an improvement in design. It has the same look and feels since it was launched. It's not that it's hard to use. It's just the case of could be modernized.
In the last 9 years, we never had a single incident with the hardware or the software, even considering it runs 24x7x365. It's really a fortress. But if we consider that the software support has always available providing updated versions with the latest technologies, it deserves the rate we did. It's really an enterprise-class set of hardware and software that works perfectly.
Read Eduardo Viero's full review
Peter Cross, M.ITM | TrustRadius Reviewer
November 12, 2019

It's been fun but I'm going with the shinier model next time (meraki)

Score 8 out of 10
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Using to control 4 access points throughout the enterprise. We love the ease of use and the ability to add more nodes or change profiles within a matter of moments via the GUI. While the CLI is proficient for most people the ability to see all of the changes being implemented before the change is superb.
  • Ease of use
  • Easy installation
  • Easy to reset and/or reuse in another building should it not be needed.
  • Ability to add a module for extra POE ports without having to go out to another PoE switch.
  • Cisco needs to move away from the CLI. It's archaic and a dying art. It was great in it's day but the technology has surpassed this need.
  • Implementation of DHCP/DNs without a seperate DNS/DHCP server. While basic DHCP/DNS is capable in the 2504 I'd like more options and a robust implementation without having to use a seperate device.
Well suited for SMB with an IT Staff. It's not appropriate for small businesses without an IT staff. If you do not have a dedicated IT staff I'd recommend you go with the Meraki products. It's easier to implement, manage, and keep up than WLC's. The 2504 WLC is great for Enterprise branch office implementation. But, again, if IT is not onsite it may not be a good fit should it fail.
Smartnet keeps costing more and more. Going forward we're going with Meraki rather WLC and AP's. The license and support on Meraki are much cheaper than with traditional Cisco from an ROI and TCO perspective.
Read Peter Cross, M.ITM's full review
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
September 13, 2019

Cisco Wireless Controllers are Great (if you have money)!

Score 8 out of 10
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Our organization uses Cisco Wireless controllers to provide command and control functions for our wireless infrastructure. In our early wireless implementations, the devices were singularly managed. This was a cumbersome solution that made deploying and managing devices nearly impossible. Now we use this to put out a centralized and unified wireless deployment that can be pushed out rapidly!
  • Singular point of management.
  • Simple Installation.
  • Great integration with other Cisco products.
  • Expensive.
  • Features can be located in weird spots, and can be hard to track down.
  • It usually requires Cisco specific hardware to use.
The Cisco wireless controller really shines in an environment that utilizes the whole gamut of Cisco devices and monitoring solutions. The only reason I wouldn't deploy a Cisco Wireless controller is a situation in which more coverage was required at a lower price. The Cisco solution for wireless suffers in the same way that all Cisco solutions suffer: Price vs. Value.
As usual, the support from Cisco's TAC (Technical Assistance Center) is lacking. Granted, they always get the job done, but the amount of lead time on a non-emergency is enough to make you just handle it yourself. The good news is that if you ask for Cisco's assistance and forget about it, they'll jump on by the time you've forgotten where you were in troubleshooting it and have it fixed for you.
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Salman Naqvi | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 18, 2019

Cisco WLC is the brain of all Wireless Networks

Score 9 out of 10
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We have almost 50k Aironet LWAP that is controlled via almost 32x 8510 WLCs. The WLCs manages the collection to these APs, its an interface in our Wireless Core Network and the APs. All the RRM features, the data rate, RxSOP, all the roaming decisions btw the APs, the Low RSSI thresholds, the Dynamic Channel Assignments of 2.4/5 GHz, the Radius Accounting for each user connections, the 802.1x security, using ISE as the AAA.
  • Manages lightweight access points.
  • Facilitates in plug n play installs of the access points.
  • Acts as the radius authenticator.
  • It acts as the DHCP proxy.
  • Can also act as a Firewall if we assign the ACLs.
  • The Cisco Prime(CPI) which is the management tool for WLC that connects the 2x nodes causes some delay.
  • CPI doesn't have most of the RRM features that WLC has.
  • The concept of co-existence of In-band Mgmt and out of band Mgmt is confusing, which one to use with CPI.
WLC is ideal when it comes to controlling a large city-wide network or a company-wide enterprise network. In our case, it's ideal for the use of a service provider. However, when it comes to managed WiFi, where we need to give some privileges to end customers, this architecture with CPI doesn't quite work. Its database control should be hierarchical. It has its own CLI language, which is quite different from Cisco iOS. If it could use the Cisco iOS, it could facilitate its use of CLI mode.
Read Salman Naqvi's full review
David Langford | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 18, 2019

Cisco WLC: the good and the bad.

Score 10 out of 10
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We employ multiple Cisco WLCs of multiple types. We provide wired and wireless telecommunications services at 43 convention centers nationwide. We deploy Cisco WLCs at each convention center to manage the access points at that physical facility.
  • Upgrades and manages software upgrades on the access points. This is an automated deployment model were the WLC manages the upload and booting of new OS images on the AP.
  • Gives good statistics of current uses of the network. The homepage of the WLC has developed over time, and as a high-level manager, it presents me with a good dashboard to see what the network is doing at a high level.
  • Integration with Apple iOS. The new features give me the ability to observe network performance from the perspective of a user on the network, where previously I could only see the perspective of the network itself.
  • Giving good statistics about how devices see the network.
  • Being able to drill down in depth on how a particular device is using the network (think NetFlow type data).
  • Reporting. There is very little reporting capability, leaving that to Cisco Prime Infrastructure, which not all of us have.
In large, high-density wireless networks in complex RF environments (eg. stadiums, convention centers, etc.), the WLC performs very well. In small offices or small spaces, the Cisco WLC is not always affordable.
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Michael Murdock | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 12, 2019

Cisco WLC 5508 Success

Score 10 out of 10
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We currently have 7 high schools with 8 5508s. With the eighth being an anchor controller at the district office. The reason for so many is high density due to we are a one to one laptop district. Meaning we have about 15000 students with laptops that they can take home.
  • Outstanding rogue detection.
  • AP management.
  • Easy updates.
  • Ease of the GUI.
  • Faster boot time on restarts.
  • Add machine learning.
  • Automation.
Great for small to midsize businesses.
Read Michael Murdock's full review
Alejandro Araya | TrustRadius Reviewer
May 01, 2019

Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers Review

Score 10 out of 10
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We use Cisco wireless LAN Controllers to control many offices in our company. They help manage the ability to break down access and functionality of how the wireless experience works for groups, departments, employees and guest access. We use it to manage the remote office and corporate office APs. The use of mobile devices has increased, which is why there is also a need for a robust and secure wireless infrastructure, all of which I find with Cisco.
  • Ease of management.
  • Reliability.
  • Robustness.
  • Sometimes the CLI based technology has failed which lowers customer respect.
  • Wed page customization.
  • More analytics are always better.
The Cisco wireless solution is appropriate for where wireless connectivity is required and to perform some work on your system. The business segment, the corporate segment, SMEs and the access points of the education sector adapt well to Cisco's scenarios and equipment. Cisco Access Points adapt well to any scenario and are very reliable compared to other technological providers.
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Ricardo Adams | TrustRadius Reviewer
April 26, 2019

Cisco Wireless Controllers

Score 9 out of 10
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It is being used by a department and addresses the business requirements for a borderless network. With the adoption of BYOD technologies, we can easily move with trends in the industry. This is most certainly though when you think of new wireless networks with Wi-Fi 6 capabilities.
  • Cisco has multiple wireless controller products that can address different business needs.
  • Cisco Wireless Controllers are generally easy to use.
  • Extremely easy to manage.
  • Integration with legacy APs is a problem.
Cisco campus wireless controllers are most often not very well suited for optimal efficiency but it is important to note that the objective that you want to present might not fit every WLAN design scenario. A carefully considered design planning workshop can mitigate any concerns that might arise.
Read Ricardo Adams's full review
Mahesh Doshi | TrustRadius Reviewer
April 26, 2019

Cisco WLC

Score 8 out of 10
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WLC is used regionally across the organization. We have used DIA for guest users to optimize traffic across WAN. This is a recent implementation. This has also helped cloud and SAAS implementation and usage across a particular business unit that is more inclined towards cloud implementation. New wireless technology will only enhance the user experience across the firm.
  • Regional implementation.
  • AP management is one feature of LWAPP that is a huge departure from previous ways of doing things.
  • WLC has a higher processing capability than an individual AP, which allows you to offer an even higher level of coordination among multiple WLCs.
  • LWAPP offers a separation between the existent LAN traffic and the "new" wireless traffic, it simplifies network planning and traffic handling.
  • Usage of HA SKU WLC and the way it is considered. More benefits should be given to customers.
  • Configuration options can be a bit confusing.
  • Web UI, performance management, and traffic management are not easy.
Suited for all kinds of implementation in organizations. Should be well designed to get most of it. A smaller institution could use a Meraki kind of solution. This needs to be managed properly across the organization.
Read Mahesh Doshi's full review
Eric Stearns | TrustRadius Reviewer
April 24, 2019

Flexible wireless control

Score 10 out of 10
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We use a redundant pair of Cisco 5520 Wireless LAN Controllers for our main hospital campus. It allows us to create specific settings for the specialized medical equipment that is in use. Also having a redundant pair gives us very high uptime.
  • Supports all of the latest wireless technology and protocols
  • Huge flexibility
  • Works with several different access point models simultaneously
  • Cisco isn't inexpensive
  • Software upgrades give access to new features but you have to buy access points to match
Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers are well suited for organizations that need very specific settings or have many different device groups with individualized requirements.
Read Eric Stearns's full review
Darren Hosking | TrustRadius Reviewer
March 08, 2019

Cisco Wireless LAN Controller - quick and easy wireless

Score 9 out of 10
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We are using the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) to provide XaaS for Wireless. A redundant pair of WLCs are installed in our data centers. Customers who subscribe to our services have access points (APs) deployed at their site which register with the WLC and are then centrally managed and monitored.

Cisco WLC provides central management and monitoring of a large number of APs across multiple customer sites, as well as touchless deployment of APs with WLC discovery. Self-healing wireless continually monitors the RF environment and updates channel or power assignment based on interference, holes, etc.
  • Quick and easy AP deployment across multiple remote sites using DNS WLC discovery. Ship the AP to the site and plug in. Then it's centrally configured from WLC
  • Easy to use web UI - You can create and get a wireless LAN running very quickly
  • Basic guest functionality included - you don't need to buy separate infrastructure and servers to provide wireless guest web authentication
  • SSO HA - seamless failover for APs and clients
  • Too many configuration options - I'd like to hide options that are not generally required to be modified. Make best practice configuration the default
  • Web UI is looking a bit dated and needs an update
  • Ability to export client or AP lists or details from the web UI
Recommended for medium to large enterprises. Not recommended for small environments (unless for a remote site to a central WLC).
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Vike Francis | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 30, 2019

My Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers Review

Score 9 out of 10
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It's used in our main facility. It allows us to easily separate official business from the user's private internet needs and those of guest users.
  • Easy to use
  • Flexible
  • Centralized
  • Other than looking dated, I like it just how it is.
It's great for a facility with the need for multiple WLANS but probably overkill for small facilities. We use Meraki for our satellite offices.
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Edwin Sandys | TrustRadius Reviewer
March 06, 2019

Cisco Wireless Controller is a Must

Score 10 out of 10
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We currently use our Wireless LAN Controllers to manage AP's across multiple sites. We heavily rely on FlexConnect which is an awesome way to reduce our carbon presence within some of our sites, and the presence of Mobility Express opens up other opportunities.

The decision to transition down such a path, to begin with, was simple - we needed consolidated management of the entire wireless infrastructure from a single point. I have not regretted making this decision since we first deployed the solution.
  • Central Management - The central management console is actually very easy to use and facilitate.
  • Dashboard - Reporting has improved since they introduced the dashboard two years ago I believe, definitely a good move by Cisco.
  • Best Practice Auto-Config - This is probably the coolest thing ever. They have some best practice "one-click" configuration templates built into the new code which are easy and simple to use.
  • More analytics are always better.
  • Build integration and migration for Cisco DNA.
It is suited for all situations as long as people want to manage their wireless network with ease.
Read Edwin Sandys's full review
Miguel Garcia | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 18, 2019

Cisco through and through

Score 9 out of 10
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We use our Cisco wireless controllers to manage our AP's at each of our sites. We currently have 7 running on our network managing up to 120 devices each. It helps by easily maintaining and troubleshooting.
  • Organized
  • Easy problem solving
  • Monitor all APs in one spot
  • Excellent support
  • Better GUI navigation
  • Updating the firmware process
  • Reboot time
If running an all Cisco network, this is the best wireless controller for you.
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mark shenk | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 12, 2019

Cisco 5520 Wireless LAN Controllers Review

Score 8 out of 10
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We had used a pair of 5506 WLCs in the past and wanted to stick with using Cisco. We moved to the 5520 platform to support the APs that we already had. We found it easy to migrate and also a more robust platform supporting our campus expansion. We plan to keep expanding the use of this device.
  • Onboards new clients
  • Performs upgrades with ease
  • Allows ongoing diagnostics of WIFI
  • Adoption of new APs with software
  • User interface
  • Moving away from old Aironet
[They are well suited for] Most large campus networks.
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Benjamin Story | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 11, 2019

Cisco WLC Reliable Wireless

Score 8 out of 10
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We use the Cisco WLCs to provide wireless to all of our hospital campuses. They give us a centralized command and control over the wireless environment. They provide a reliable wireless platform for us to put our applications on. The Cisco WLCs have helped us to solve the issues mobility presents in a ever changing healthcare environment.
  • Management
  • Long refresh cycle
  • Reliable
  • Software QA is Lacking
For medium and large enterprises the WLC is well suited, smaller businesses would probably see more benefit from smaller solutions in terms of cost/benefit. Software QA has been a nagging issue so due diligence in the selection of software versions is key. The AireOS guide from the Technical Assistance Center is very helpful in this process.
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Michael Snider -  CCNP | TrustRadius Reviewer
April 29, 2019

Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers Review

Score 8 out of 10
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We are using Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers across our whole organization. It provides a central point of management and less administrative overhead. They also give us a good view of the wireless network, who our top talkers are, and any rogues out there. The Wireless LAN Controllers also tie in well with Cisco ISE.
  • Management - One centralized point of management makes troubleshooting and configuration very easy.
  • Integrates well with Cisco ISE.
  • Provides good information about rogue AP's and top talkers.
  • Bug fixes.
  • AP licensing.
  • Include wireless heat maps as a feature.
The Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers are well suited for environments where managing AP's autonomously is not practical. The central management that the Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers give makes troubleshooting and configuring much easier. The graphical user interface is also very nice and easy to work with. The Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers are also very useful for wireless security as they tie in well with Cisco ISE.
Read Michael Snider - CCNP's full review
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
July 05, 2019

Cisco WLC review.

Score 9 out of 10
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Used across the whole organization in a redundant cluster setup between two Data Centers.
  • Manages all wifi SSIDs with powerful and rich policy engine.
  • Handling multiple authentication methods per SSID.
Well suited in the hub and spoke or fully meshed architectures. Less desirable with low capacity WAN links.
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Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
March 01, 2019

Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers Review

Score 8 out of 10
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Wireless is our primary method of communication across our school for staff and student interaction. Our wireless LAN controller runs 205 access points across our campus with 3500+ users.
  • Centralized management is essential when you have 200 + access points. This is essential when changing policies or QoS.
  • Secure connectivity with 802.1x or Cisco Identity management.
  • Radius authentication pass-through for user authentication
  • Does an excellent job in managing wireless signals when you have a dense deployment of access points.
  • Cost of licenses and appliance.
  • Complexity around add-on integrations.
Cisco Wireless Controllers are ideal for education or an enterprise where you have more than 30 access points.

Cisco Wireless Controllers are not suitable for small business applications in my opinion. TCO may not add up for smaller business.
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Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 12, 2019

Yeah, Cisco Wireless!

Score 10 out of 10
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We use it for the whole organization. It allows connectivity for devices on our production floor and other places that we can’t pull a cable very easily.
  • Mobility - it allows our users to be mobile
  • Innovative - the Cisco product comes out with new features that allow our business to grow
  • Improving the GUI would be nice which I think is in the works
When you need to manage a lot of wireless clients and access points in a quick and central place it is a great tool.
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Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
March 11, 2019

8540 Wireless Controller Review

Score 7 out of 10
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We have customers and our own internal IT running Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers to provide centralised management of multiple APs.
  • The wireless controller does well at providing central management of up to 6,000 APs
  • Unfortunately, the Aironet controller code over the last few years has become very tired and buggy
  • Would love to see more APIs built into the Aironet controllers. The newer generation Catalyst controllers have them
The 8540 Cisco Wireless LAN Controller is a good idea for anyone looking to support large numbers of access points and high wireless throughput.
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Dave King | TrustRadius Reviewer
October 16, 2018

Wifi Management made easier

Score 9 out of 10
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We use Cisco Wireless LAN controllers to control many offices in our company. It manages the ability to break out the access and functionality of how the Wireless experience works for Groups, Departments, employees and guest access. We use it for managing corporate office and remote office APs. It resolves the business problem of having to go to a remote office just to manage an AP; you can easily manage them remotely, configure them, and even power them on.
  • Ease of management
  • WEB interface
  • Remote management
  • Web Interface features
  • WEB page customization
In a corporate office where you have many visitors, you can provide secure isolated access for visitors keeping the corporate network secure. You can manage how it is connected, and monitor for any issues that may arise
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Hawkinson, John | TrustRadius Reviewer
July 02, 2018

The WLC works

Score 7 out of 10
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I am using Cisco Wireless Lan Controllers as my enterprise controllers. This is a new installation that will grow control of up to 100 WAN locations. Our original solution consisted of several autonomous wireless systems, this created a support and maintenance nightmare for a two-man network team. I no longer have to log into every app and manually configure and troubleshoot.
  • Central Management
  • Fastlane capabilities for Apple devices
  • Simplified landing page configuration
  • Has had several vulnerabilities
  • The need for Cisco Prime for heatmapping and advanced features
  • Pretty expensive
The best scenario for the Cisco Wireless Lan controller is in a Hub and Spoke backhaul network environment. Since you are bringing all of the packets to a central location for Internet and application interaction anyway it is easy for the WLC to communicate with the APs and provide the control and management needed. I would not recommend the WLC if you connect to your remote locations via internet connectivity, that is more suited for a cloud-based management solution.
Read Hawkinson, John's full review
Mehmet Emin Yağcı | TrustRadius Reviewer
March 20, 2018

Worth it, can be better

Score 9 out of 10
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The rise of mobile devices has raised the need for robust and secure wireless infrastructure. At early stages, wireless equipment was labeled as "nice to have" devices but suddenly people have discovered it is a "must have" for most situations. It addresses the one basic problem, connectivity for non-cabled devices.
  • Robustness
  • Reliability
  • Support
  • Controller GUI can be more visually attractive
  • Some tries on CLI based technology has failed which lowers customer respect
Cisco Wireless solution is appropriate for where wireless connectivity is required and doing some work on it. Enterprise segment, corporate segment, SMBs and education sectors. Maybe cloud solution (Meraki) is more useful than a classic wireless solution in multisite dependent infrastructures.
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Nikos Karalis | TrustRadius Reviewer
January 26, 2018

Wirellesation

Score 9 out of 10
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We use two wireless controllers (5508) with ISE & Prime supporting about four hundred Access Points (1602). Three hundred of them are installed at our stores and the rest are installed at our premises. Most of the usage is by providing internet access (especially at stores). For now we have implemented a POC with CMX analytics at our stores and I hope to change the MDM platform from Mobile Iron to Meraki.
  • Nice signaling
  • Futures
  • Design
  • Easier configuration from Controller
  • Not three licenses at ISE
  • Better monitoring with Prime

Cisco Access Points are well suited with CMX scenarios because you can have more information about your customers to make a more strategic and more targeted campaigns in order to increase your company's recognition and profit.

I suggest to re-design the Meraki Access points in order to minimize the cost of those and make this platform more eligible.

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Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers Scorecard Summary

About Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers

Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers : Cisco offers companies a comprehensive wireless portfolio to address the needs of networks, from small deployments all the way up to large enterprises. Optimized for 802.11ac Wave 2 and Wi-Fi 6performance, Cisco wireless LAN controllers are highly scalable, service-rich, and resilient platforms that provide centralized control, flexible management, and troubleshooting for large and small-scale deployments. Cisco aims to equip companies with the tools they need to help grow their network as their business grows with their wireless LAN controller portfolio.

Cisco promises to deliver key wireless innovations through custom-built access points that go beyond the Wi-Fi 6(802.11ax) wireless standard to provide radio-frequency excellence for high-density environments.

Cisco now offers a two-question, two-minute interactive tool to identify the Cisco products and services that help solve up to five network challenges.

Categories:  Wireless LAN

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Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers Competitors

Aerohive Wireless, Fortinet Wireless LAN, Aruba Networks Wireless LAN (WLAN)

Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers Technical Details

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