Cisco offers the Meraki (MR) line of wireless access points supporting basic LAN with inbuilt antivirus (NAC), cloud management with network-wide access control, and location analytics, as well as support for indoor and outdoor spaces of various sizes across different product models.…
The Cisco Aironet 3800 Series Access Points supports high traffic and is designed to provide top of the line network efficiency.
The Cisco Catalyst 9800-80 is a modular wireless controller with optional 100 Gigabit Ethernet (G) modular uplinks boasting seamless software updates for large enterprises and campuses, and security with ETA and SD-Access.
The Cisco Aironet 2800 Series Access Points is 802.11ac Wave 2 compliant and supports multiuser MIMO (MU-MIMO).
The Cisco 8540 Wireless Controller is a highly scalable, service-rich, resilient, and flexible platform. It provides centralized control, management, and troubleshooting for high-scale deployments in service provide, enterprise, and large campus deployments.
The vendor states the Cisco Aironet 1800 family of access points, which are designed for small and midsize networks, delivers the performance needed for the ongoing proliferation of Wave 2 as well as support for older Wi-Fi devices.
The Cisco 3504 Wireless (WLAN) Controller provides centralized control, management, and troubleshooting for small to medium-sized enterprises and branch offices.
Ubiquiti offers a family of WLAN products, namely the UniFi line of products.
Aruba Networks offers wireless LAN (WLAN) solutions via its variety of wireless access points.
The Cisco 5520 Series Wireless LAN Controller is a highly scalable, service-rich, resilient, and flexible platform that is ideal for medium-sized to large enterprise and campus deployments.
Cisco promises to provide a comprehensive wireless portfolio to meet the need of any organization. Whether it's a small deployment or a larger enterprise, 802.11ac Wave 2 or Wi-Fi 6, Cisco aims to deliver key wireless innovations that go beyond either standard. The vendor promises…
Described by the vendor as rugged and sleek, the Cisco Aironet 1500 series Access Points provided customers with the 802.11ac Wave 2 functionality, housed in compact casing. The 1500 series has been discontinued.
Extreme Networks' ExtremeWireless is that company's wireless network solution.
Cisco Small Business 100 Series Wireless Access Points are designed to provide simple installation, intuitive web-based configuration, and an integrated setup wizard to make them easy to use. Models include the Cisco WAP 150, and the WAP 125. The WAP 131 and WAP 121 older models…
SonicWall offers the SonicWave series of WiFi access points. The SonicWave is available in the SonicWave 200 and SonicWave 400 series.
Cisco Mobility Express was a controllerless wi-fi solution, used by businesses to quickly deploy a wireless network without requiring substantial IT resources. The product is discontinued.
The Cisco Embedded Wireless Controller on Catalyst Access Points (EWC-AP) is a next-generation Wi-Fi solution, combining an advanced controller – the Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers – with a Wi-Fi 6 access point – the Cisco Catalyst 9100 Access Points – to create…
Fortinet headquartered in Sunnyvale, California offers Wireless LAN products.
FortiAP is an access point from Fortinet.
The vendor says WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud is where you take your access points to unlock their full potential. With a Secure Wi-Fi license, you get patented WIPS security, compliance reporting including PCI, Wi-Fi vulnerability assessment reporting, and every enterprise-grade WLAN feature…
Mojo Networks, headquartered in Mountain View, California offers a line of wireless networking products, namely their flagship product Mojo Networks' Cognitive WiFi.
The Juniper WLA & WLC Series, from Juniper Networks are a series of Wireless LAN Controllers that have reached end of life and end of sale. End of Support will be reached in 2021.
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What are Wireless LAN Solutions?
Wireless LAN (WLAN) solutions allow users to connect to a network using a wireless radio frequency (RF). There are two main versions: on-premises WLAN and cloud WLAN. On-premises WLAN offers better performance and stability, but cloud WLAN gives users more flexibility when managing multiple locations.
Wireless LAN Solutions Features & Capabilities
- Merchant Silicon
- Zero-Touch Provisioning
- Layer 7 Visibility
- Access Point (AP)
- Automated Backups and Alerts
- Real-Time Security Monitoring
- Wide Access Network
Networks are created by connecting nodes (usually individual computers or printers) to each other using a central hub, which processes and distributes information. LAN stands for Local Access Network, meaning all of the nodes are in the same general location, like a building or campus. For locations that are further apart, users connect to a WAN, or Wide Access Network.
On-premises WLAN is the best choice when it comes to performance and overall quality because it offers the most consistent connection. It is also the most customizable, with more flexible options for network design and deployment.
Vendors of on-premises WLAN offer hardware tailored to a company’s needs, like custom wireless chips and specialized antennas. To ensure consistency, sellers and resellers refer to the new pieces as “merchant silicon,” meaning they are created based on industry standards and do not vary between vendors. The hardware improves performance and wireless stability, but it does increase costs significantly.
On-premises WLAN provides support for existing wi-fi hardware, which can help ease the transition from a wired system. However, any hardware must be managed locally, meaning IT support is needed in each location to adjust settings, perform maintenance and install updates. This can create significant issues for companies working between multiple branches.
For companies looking to connect multiple branches, cloud WLAN offers a way to manage them all from a single location. Many cloud vendors provide tools like automatic updates, simplified backups, and alerts that make it easier for one IT vendor to support multiple sites.
One important feature of a cloud-based system is Layer 7 visibility, meaning that user data can be categorized by application. This allows users to limit bandwidth from non-essential applications and optimize network performance for more critical functions.
Cloud WLAN relies on an internet connection for network access, removing the hardware limitations of on-premises WLAN. To make matters even easier, some cloud WLAN equipment comes with zero-touch provisioning, meaning the vendor pre-configures the network settings before hardware is shipped. Once it arrives, the equipment essentially installs itself.
Cloud WLAN does offer more management options than the on-premises version, but there are definite limitations when it comes to performance. Since the cloud relies on an internet connection, service interruptions and outages can have a huge impact.
Physical barriers can also disrupt a cloud WLAN network. Typical workplace obstructions like cubicles and drywall should not be an issue, but setups in warehouses, retail outlets and outdoor spaces may require additional hardware and software.
Wireless networks require more security than a wired system. One way to secure a cloud WLAN system is to install a third radio frequency (RF). Most WLAN systems only utilize two access points for communication (one at 2.4 GHz and one at 5GHz), but a third frequency would allow for real-time security monitoring.
Companies should also consider how application and cloud data is stored. Any data that is stored locally can still be accessed in case of a WAN (wide access network) failure. However, any data stored remotely will be inaccessible if the WAN network fails. Companies working with sensitive information should consider a WAN redundancy for critical sites.
Determining the full price of a WLAN network setup is difficult to determine because it has a lot of moving parts, including routers ($60-$250), access points ($30-$300), security gateways ($127-$300) and switches ($70-$1000+). Most vendors also require an annual subscription, based on the number of APs in the network (usually $100-$250 a year). Depending on hardware capabilities and network complexity, prices vary widely.
Security features can be an added expense. Companies can add an a la carte option to their existing network, but the most cost effective option is to choose a vendor that offers end-to-end network infrastructure.
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