Reviewing Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points
November 05, 2021

Reviewing Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points

Our Cisco Access Points (APs) are being used in some of our branch offices. At first, they were used across the whole organization but owing to Cisco licensing costs, some of our branch offices were migrated out of Cisco APs to something else. As usual, the business problem that these [Cisco] APs address is wireless access.
  • Cisco Aironet [Access Points] have good antenna coverage.
  • They can function well as a local RADIUS server when there is no external RADIUS available.
  • Cisco [Aironet Access Points] can function in different modes - repeaters, bridges, standalone, etc.
  • Compared to an Aruba AP, Cisco [Aironet Access Points] should have at least 2 Ethernet ports to allow them [to] function as a switch in an event where there is only one Ethernet RJ-45 wall socket for uplink. One port from the AP can serve as [an] uplink, and the other port can serve as [a] downlink to another device like laptops, phones, or even another AP or switch. Aruba IAP 225 and IAP 535 can handle this very well.
  • Cisco's [Aironet Access Points] GUI is very poor in terms of look-and-feel, and usability.
  • Compared to Aruba APs, a cluster of autonomous Cisco [Aironet Access Points] should be able to function together in such a way that one of the APs can be the virtual controller to manage the other APs in the same cluster.
  • It allowed operators in our facilities to work better because they are always connected to the network at places where [a] wired connection is not possible.
  • Since there is Internet in the office place, employees are now able to enjoy connecting their BYOD devices to the internet, and this act drastically reduced the cost we spent on subscribing to data plan packages from our mobile network operators for our employees to use.
  • The only negative impact is the licensing cost that needs to be applied to the WLC when you want to expand the number of APs that it needs to manage.
We have benefitted from CleanAir interference reduction, especially due to persistent interference from Microwave ovens in the office kitchen. This hardware innovation assisted in identifying the device as a Microwave, the frequency band that it uses, and the APs that are affected by the Microwave oven frequency. These statistics enabled us to plan a better RF design around the kitchen area.
For now, we have not benefitted from the continuous improvement yet; simply because we are yet to upgrade our WLC to the required firmware version that would give us the enhancement that we need. We know the version and the enhancement and/or fixes that it brings; we are just yet to perform the upgrade due to internal change management politics.
Cisco's durability and ease of enforcing wireless access security policies with its CleanAir technology, and despite its cost, allowed us to go with Cisco Aironet Access Points. Also, configuring Cisco Autonomous APs via CLI was more straightforward to do than configuring Ubiquiti APs. And Cisco has more documentation online to read from than most other vendors.

Do you think Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points delivers good value for the price?

No

Are you happy with Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points's feature set?

Yes

Did Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points live up to sales and marketing promises?

Yes

Did implementation of Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points go as expected?

Yes

Would you buy Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points again?

No

Cisco [Aironet Access Points] are well suited in offices where they can be managed by a wireless LAN controller (WLC). Using them in this way allows the APs to be well managed and security policies can easily be enforced down to users connecting to these APs for wireless access. Scenarios, where Cisco [Aironet Access Points] are less appropriate, are in small-office-home-office (SOHO) situations because of price and licensing costs to use a WLC to manage them. Thus, using them, in this case, would be that the APs would have to be in Autonomous mode, and the technical know-how in converting a lightweight AP to an Autonomous one is not straightforward.