Cisco Catalyst 9800-L Wireless Controllers
November 05, 2021

Cisco Catalyst 9800-L Wireless Controllers

David Peck | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Modules Used

  • Cisco Catalyst 9800-L Wireless Controller

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers

Our legacy Cisco Enterprise Wireless Network was ready for a refresh, and we looked at various configurations with different features. Ultimately, we wanted to have a platform that would allow us to begin to offer our end users a WiFi 6 network once their laptops have that capability. Next, we had to have a platform that continued to provide us [with] the top-notch security that everyone was already getting. Operational aspects were also very important to us. These new controllers really checked all the boxes that we were most concerned about.
  • Security
  • Support for WiFi 6 and 6E
  • Support DNA Spaces
  • Integration to our Cisco ISE environment
  • Cost always seems like an issue but consider your TCO
  • Figuring out what APs at what software version work with everything is confusing

Do you think Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers's feature set?

Yes

Did Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers live up to sales and marketing promises?

Yes

Did implementation of Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers go as expected?

I wasn't involved with the implementation phase

Would you buy Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers again?

Yes

  • The biggest positive impact will be a year or two down the road when WiFi 6 will be more widely available by our end users. Switch refreshes will be substantially less because users will connect wirelessly by default, so [that] we won't need as many physical switch ports. This will more than pay for the wireless infrastructure.
  • Checks the box on users wanting to not hassle with a physical plug when they are in [the] office and allow them to easily move from a desk to conference room while staying connected to the network.
The Cisco Catalyst 9120 access points are an integral part of the overall wireless infrastructure as they are what allows our end-users to connect to the wireless controllers. Without these, we would be limited to older WiFi standards like AC11. These new wireless access points provide the WiFi 6 network access to our end-user community.
As with the vast majority of Cisco products, this one is no different on the reliability scale. Once you unbox it and set it up, you will pretty much just be running it until you decide to turn it off. Unplanned downtime of a Cisco product can happen, but with all the attention to detail that Cisco engineers put into their designs, it's generally quite rare.
Single controllers are highly on their own due to Cisco's relentless dedication to high-end engineering. Now take two controllers and separate them geographically into a wireless controller cluster environment. Well, now you have created an always-on, always-available wireless infrastructure that your end users will use and enjoy for years to come. It becomes a lot like the AC in the wall, always there, always available.
This is an area that Cisco really shines brightly. For example, we have a single guest network deployed across our footprint. When we want to update the password, we make one simple two-minute change, and the entire company has a new guest password. We basically manage all the hundreds of access points as easily as if they were just one. This was one of the main reasons we wanted to go with this platform because we knew that ongoing management would be easier.
Ubiquiti has plenty of great features, and I would even recommend them for small sites. However, I don't think they don't scale as well when you start talking about enterprise scale. You would need to hire a couple of people and keep them on staff just to manage the same size or smaller Cisco deployments. Going with Cisco was a no-brainer for me.
These controllers are not for a small single-site business. We have dozens of locations scattered all over the country. This, I think, is the space where this Enterprise-grade wireless solution beings to shine very brightly. We manage hundreds of access points across three time zones, all from a single pane of glass. The system is really easy to manage on a go-forward basis. The only real barrier could be [the] upfront cost if you only have a few sites.