Go cloud, with the wireless controller
October 05, 2020

Go cloud, with the wireless controller

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Catalyst 9800-CL Wireless Controller

The 9800-CL is being used as a central controller for multiple locations' Access points to register. Some locations have been using 9800-CL as a noncentral controller. The other advantage of using the 9800-CL is it can be built on any x86 server UCS, etc. and is easy to deploy. We have also used it as a mobility anchor in some locations
  • Cloud-based, no appliance needed, no hardware cost
  • Supports any x86 architectures, Cisco, HP, IBM any server to be used to deploy this controller virtually
  • Some open DDTS don't allow older access points
  • To use as a central controller, the previous image doesn't let you use overlapping IP space between different locations using a central controller
  • Very easy to implement
Cisco UCS is a great product to implement the 9800-CL on. Very easy to manage the controller remotely. Currently, my environment is an all-Cisco shop, which helps significantly. The 9800-CL allows CLI-based configuration and GUI as well. CLI is very similar to IOS XE. As long as you are familiar with Cisco CLI, this is very easy.
As with any system, one should think about implementing the controllers in a highly available fashion, that way if one controller is upgraded, all the Access points can be moved to the 2nd controller and then post-upgrade, the APs can be moved back to the original controller. That way little downtime can be achieved.
In my use of 9800-CL in the past two years, I have not had any availability issue, except for planned outages to perform an upgrade on the controller, which was done by moving the access points to the backup controller to bring down the primary controller to do an upgrade on.
I have the ability to configure tags, policies, and priorities with great ease using the controller's GUI. A very helpful way to tag the sites so that it is easy to track the APs. Centralized policies and their management, I can have certain APs have a certain profile, advertise certain SSIDs, and with 2.4GHz vs 5, and many more options.
We have used the 5520 controllers in the past, and they do work fine, but with 9800, there is greater control of policies and profiles that can be set up and it provides greater flexibility and options to build the Next-gen wireless infrastructure. On top of that, the CL can be remotely brought up on any existing x86 server in the network without having to buy additional WLC appliances.
I believe this is the new way controllers can be used. For supporting anywhere less than 100 Access points, everyone should move towards using 9800 CL and implement on any low-end server. In cases where 500+ Access points are installed, an appliance-based controller may be used, or a CL version with a powerful server can be used such as UCS with many cores.