Cisco WLC is the brain of all Wireless Networks
June 18, 2019

Cisco WLC is the brain of all Wireless Networks

Salman Naqvi | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

8510 Wireless Controller

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers

We have almost 50k Aironet LWAP that is controlled via almost 32x 8510 WLCs. The WLCs manages the collection to these APs, its an interface in our Wireless Core Network and the APs. All the RRM features, the data rate, RxSOP, all the roaming decisions btw the APs, the Low RSSI thresholds, the Dynamic Channel Assignments of 2.4/5 GHz, the Radius Accounting for each user connections, the 802.1x security, using ISE as the AAA.
  • Manages lightweight access points.
  • Facilitates in plug n play installs of the access points.
  • Acts as the radius authenticator.
  • It acts as the DHCP proxy.
  • Can also act as a Firewall if we assign the ACLs.
  • The Cisco Prime(CPI) which is the management tool for WLC that connects the 2x nodes causes some delay.
  • CPI doesn't have most of the RRM features that WLC has.
  • The concept of co-existence of In-band Mgmt and out of band Mgmt is confusing, which one to use with CPI.
  • Good management and control of all our 802.11 networks, that spread across Western Canada
  • 1 to 2 nights of change controls, of maximum 4 -5 hours of downtime is enough for a software upgrade to happen.
  • WLC can act as an anchor if we want to give complete layer-2 connectivity to a 3rd party to manage their our user traffic ( AAA, DHCP etc).
Aruba Controller and it APs provided fewer features when it came to security and RRM. It couldn't scale and its GUI was not user-friendly at all. Meraki is our obvious choice when it comes to SMB, or managed WiFi for small enterprises. But with Meraki, only the control traffic goes to the Cloud, all of the user traffic is locally dropped. In Cisco WLC, we have both the options, for the APs to act under the local mode, where user and control traffic goes through it, or Flex Connect where User Traffic could drop locally and control could only onto the controller.
Cisco Prime LAN Management Solution, Cisco 1000 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISR 1000), Cisco 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 1000), Cisco Aironet and Catalyst Access Points, Cisco Catalyst 3650 Series Switches
WLC is ideal when it comes to controlling a large city-wide network or a company-wide enterprise network. In our case, it's ideal for the use of a service provider. However, when it comes to managed WiFi, where we need to give some privileges to end customers, this architecture with CPI doesn't quite work. Its database control should be hierarchical. It has its own CLI language, which is quite different from Cisco iOS. If it could use the Cisco iOS, it could facilitate its use of CLI mode.