Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Aironet 1800 Series Access Points
We have used Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Points throughout our business for years. We have always had an internal and guest wireless network, with the guest network being for our clients or employee personal devices.
- Until 2018, our Aironets were 1560 series, and each was managed separately. We had about 9 devices, 3-4 per floor, strategically placed on each floor to get a good coverage map over a three-floor environment. Their coverage was greater than expected. With the latest 1852 models we have, they are managed by a controller, and frankly, the coverage is a smaller area, requiring more units. We have worked with support for months and this is the final outcome of all the setting changes - we simply need more devices to cover the same area.
- None of the models I have used have needed reboots. We usually only reboot the devices annually, and they don't have issues requiring restarts.
- With the 1560 series, the connection strength was extremely consistent. With the new 1852 model, which is managed by one of the WAPs as a controller, it is supposed to use smart technology to load balance (optional) and determine which of the WAPs is appropriate to connect the requesting device to - great idea - but it does NOT work well.
- With the 1852 managed controller model, we find the signal strength is constantly in flux for our two different manufacturer laptops, iPhones, iPads, Pixel 2 phones, etc. In other words, it's not device specific. We also find that frequently, the controller (with load balancing on or off) will often push a laptop or phone off to connect to a WAP down the hall with a much lower signal strength (due to distance) than the one on the ceiling above our head. It's very frustrating.
- The 1852 managed controller model has much fewer options for configuration and technical specs - there are very few choices because Cisco has set lots of defaults for you and gives you no choice any longer.
- If we had it to do over, for the first time ever, we'd choose almost ANY other vendor APs over the Cisco model we have now. They have been nothing but a headache. They have cost us more in user frustration than anything else we've done in a long long time.
- If they functioned better, with better coverage space and signal strength (what Cisco actually claims), they would be great. For us, they don't.
Due to the issues discussed in other areas of this review, we have not noticed any improvements in ClientLink or ClearAir etc. In my opinion, Cisco's controller model 1852 performs much worse in our environment than the previous older series.
We have only ever used Cisco Aironet devices in our environment. We are currently in the process of ordering three additional Cisco 1852 APs (not my choice) to attempt to solve our issues - by adding more devices by recommendation of Cisco. If the older model covered my space with 8 APs and the size of the space, the number of users, devices, etc. have not changed then I feel like if the new model needs 11+ APs for the same performance that we've moved backward. If the additional three APs do not solve the problem, we will likely look for another vendor's APs to replace all Cisco APs in all of our offices.
Some advice on the Cisco Aironet Wireless Access Point 1852: 1) Don't mix models. The controllers seem to work slightly better if they control all the APs in the designated wireless space. 2) Turn off load balancing if at all possible. If your users are spread out, like in an office environment, don't let the controller move everyone around. It does not work well and our devices had poor signal strength constantly. 3) If you need Cisco help, do yourself a favor and do a wireless map (signal strength map) in advance and have it ready so they don't put you off for several days while you jump through this hoop.