Cisco Wireless Services - AP + WLC
Edwin Sandys | TrustRadius Reviewer
March 06, 2019

Cisco Wireless Services - AP + WLC

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points

  • Cisco Aironet 1530 Series
  • Cisco Aironet 1550 Series
  • Cisco Aironet 1570 Series
  • Cisco 1815 Series
  • Cisco 1830 Series
  • Cisco 1850 Series
  • Cisco 2800 Series
We use Cisco Wireless Solution across all our campuses across 24 sites. We have a mixture of requirements where we use the Cisco 1800 and 2800 Acess Points for internal locations based on user density.

We then deploy the Cisco External 1530, 1550 and 1570 AP's across sites that require a mesh design. This helps especially when cabling is difficult across the landscape. We deploy the 1530's to our other campuses as it is easier in terms of replacement options and costs. For our main campus, we standardize on the 1550 and 15070 devices to handle the heavier loads.

Across the South Pacific, this is a better option given our landscape. Sometimes proper cabling resource are absent on site, and the Mesh design works really well where we backhaul on the 5 GHz and serve clients on the 2.4 GHz.
  • CleanAir - I like the fact that some of the higher model Cisco AP's can adjust to frequency interference as required. However, I am sad that this is not standard across all APs.
  • MIMO - In a nutshell, Cisco APs have the ability to digest more users over multiple antennas which is ideal for handling better bandwidth for users.
  • Resilience - Believe it or not, we have Cisco 1550 APs that withstood the Cyclone Winston which affected Fiji in February 2016. Our APs were still standing and operational despite this Category 5 cyclone.
  • CleanAir - Put this technology into all the APs.
  • GPS Tracker - I can't understand why only the Cisco 1570 has this option as well as larger Cisco 3800 APs. Why can't this be in all APs so they can be easily mapped in Google for positioning and later plotted for the coverage zone.
  • Overall cost for the APs is always high compared to what you would pay for an AP from a store like JB HiFi. But note that Cisco APs handle user loads much better so you're paying for a more durable and capable solution.
  • However, we have had non-Cisco access points that were cheaper but die within 6 months of purchasing. The Cisco devices can easily last 4 years without replacement providing a better ROI.
  • As the WLC comes out with new features, most of Cisco APs are able to incorporate these functions. For example, when new AVC packs are released and the controller/APs can detect more applications services for QoS tagging.
We heavily configure our CleanAir feature which is an excellent innovation that handles interference very well - so well that we even suppress rogue signals that have been flagged to cause massive interference for our wireless users. On the flip side, we can also identify where we have large areas of interference and plan what we can do to mitigate such risks.

As for ClientLink, we recently enabled the feature and immediately noticed an influx of bandwidth speeds for our users, especially during transfers. In fact, if anyone knows wireless well, SMB transfers are usually quite difficult over wireless. We can easily get up to 50 Mbps transfer rate of SMB files which is quite good.
If you're referring to the WSSI modules, then, of course, it's cool to have a feature that scan/monitor/secure the wireless environment while still service clients. But shouldn't this be standardized into the design across all the AP, especially the 1800 and above? The Cisco ISR Routers have come far with consolidating multiple functions into a single device and I feel wireless should do the same.

None the less, the modules do add very good visibility into the wireless environment and provide techniques for mitigating issues to improve wireless throughput, but we haven't explored much into this. With the CleanAir technology that is built into some of the Cisco APs, we found that we can meet our needs. However, when required, you can can convert an actual AP to carry out some of these functions to troubleshoot faults (although this means that they cannot serve clients when you do).
We did explore an alternate path for wireless which caused more grief than good, which is why we returned back to Cisco. Since taking things through wireless controllers, we could not be happier.
Cisco Aironet Access Points is well suited when you want a solution that will last you many years. We had some of our Cisco Acess Points in production from 2003 until we replaced them in 2011. Please note that we only changed them simply due to the wireless controller adoption we carried out from 2011 onward, but until then, it never went faulty.

With the built-in AVC, the wireless controller has very good analytics which we can then leverage to allow the QoS tagging to take place from the actual Acess Point itself.