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Cisco Wireless Room for Improvement

LM
Network Engineer at County of victoria

The wireless LAN controllers at the time when we started rolling out, we went with it simply due to the fact that everything else worked that was Cisco. We figured, if everything else works and we're satisfied with it, let's go that route. However, now people want more access points and more spots. And if you give everybody coverage, the cost is crazy high. You can either say, "No, we can't," or you can go with the cheaper product, even slightly cheaper, plus you get more APs out there for more coverage.

At least with the WLC 2500 that we've been using, you can't take just the stock AP from them. You have to use lightweight firmware. You turn it into a lightweight AP and then you can join it to, or provision it to, the wireless controller, which should be automatic. In most cases, it works pretty well, however, it's still not there yet, as far as plugging it into this network that's going to tunnel back to the controller. I would say it works 7 out of 10 times. For the price, it should be a 10 out of 10. Especially with Cisco running an entire Cisco network with CDP all over the place, there should be no reason it doesn't tunnel back every single time. And yet, there are a few times where it doesn't.

It got to the point where, when I prevent in APs, I just take them directly to the switch that the controller is plugged into and provision them there instead of just plugging them in like you should be able to. 

The software on offer is not great. Cisco lacks in software updates, surprisingly. They don't update their firmware too much for the controller. This is not something you want to be done constantly as it does make downtime, however, I would like to see them more than once a year. Unless there's a critical flaw, or you're running an early release. They're their main releases, I want to say year after year, it's been maybe once a year, and then you have to push it out to all your APs. 

Their software's really clunky. It's not very user-friendly, which you can see that as a good thing and a bad thing. We should learn this stuff, but at the same time, it shouldn't be overly difficult. You shouldn't have your options hidden in menus. You shouldn't have to go 25 minutes deep to get to some security options for a specific SSID. 

Also the way the group their security settings is a little bit backward to me. It's not done by SSID. There's just a security tab. Then, you have to link back and forth through that. However, that's something that you're going to fight with through every controller, every different type of device. We all wish they were organized differently. 

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PS
Technology Specialist at a consultancy with 1-10 employees

I have nothing that's outstanding at this point that I think needs to be improved. Cisco has been solid so I don't have much to complain about. It's a little more money, however. I just configure it and it works for years, which is great. That's what I love about it.

I know Cisco has a Meraki brand, which uses a lot of cloud-based technology. I wouldn't mind if Cisco allowed their premiere devices to be able to have that cloud-based support as well, or cloud-based management. That would be a nice feature.

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JM
Engineer at Comunidad Cristiana Misioneros San Wenceslao

The price needs improvement. The bad thing about Cisco is about price. Nowadays it's all about delays in equipment as well. Any hardware is delayed. 

There's a delay in equipment that comes to Columbia, to our country, and that lasts almost six months. I have a project in which we have to wait for six months, seven months in order to get the equipment. That is the bad aspect nowadays.

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Learn what your peers think about Cisco Wireless. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Coordinator of the IT Department at a educational organization with 201-500 employees

The biggest reason why we could no longer continue with Cisco Wireless was because of the high cost to upgrade everything. It was disappointing that Cisco treated us as just another big company, and did not offer any leeway on their pricing given that we are an educational institute. And although the system we had in place from Cisco Wireless was good enough over the last ten years, it started to show its age when pushed to its limit during the pandemic.

Generally, and this isn't so much a question of support, it was also very difficult for us to determine exactly what the problem was when we had a problem. We didn't have enough tools for diagnosis on the system, in terms of identifying who is connected where at a certain point in time and so on. We would have liked more tools when it comes to diagnosis and traceability.

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HS
Sr. System Analyst at a university with 501-1,000 employees

One thing which we really don't like about Cisco is that it is very expensive. If we compare it to other brands like Ruckus or Aruba, it seems to be almost double in price. So that is a major concern. Recently, I have been looking for something comparable to Cisco which is a lower price.

Cost is a major area because if you look at the technical features with other solutions, they seem to be the same in every feature, with no big differences. For example, if you support a 1.5k ACL with two parallel lines, others are supporting 2,000. It's not a major difference, but it is there. I think you can show that it as at par with the competitors.

I would say that the product is best-in-class. The only thing is the price because whether you're a government institution or a private organization, everyone looks for the best price. If we just compare to the competitors on the financial side and we have to pay twice, then it's very difficult for us to go for something even if we know it is very good. So the price should be much less.

Another improvement Cisco Wireless could make is if they provided a calculation document or study on requirements for wall thickness, signal range, switch location, etc.

Additionally, I think it is already very advanced and potentially supports 5G. That is perfectly fine, but it would be good if they could increase their signal strength, because sometimes we face difficulty getting signals, even from a wifi access point in the next room. This goes hand-in-hand with the document I mentioned calculating the range area of the product, etc. There are international standards and/or limitations on that. 

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TW
Mgr - Applications Enterprise Applications at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees

The biggest pain point has been keeping our people and the vendor up to speed on the technology. It's getting our staff to understand that opening up a laptop and connecting to the WLAN is not the same as triangulating and trying to figure out where an IV pump is. So when you're trying to use the real-time location services, I think it's that shift from your density and your overlap. For example, you used to be able to stick an access point up if something was a little weak in an area. Now, if you stick that access point up, you might have too much coverage in that area, which is as bad as too little coverage. I think it's hard for everybody to get their heads around that. It's not just the vendor—it's also the customers. And how do we continue to partner and ensure that we're all going together as the technology changes.

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Network & Information Security Engineer at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees

Cisco moved from the 5000 series, which was a different OS, to a newer OS, right. The 9800, for example, practically improved how a wireless switch or wireless controller should work, which was not so good in terms of Cisco in the earlier versions. It's improved a lot, however, if you are using older versions, you are on a different OS, and it's not as good as it is now. 

Older versions used to be hard to deploy. The latest OS, however, has made things a lot easier. While deployment is much better, it could always be even easier. 

The interface could be improved. 

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VG
Manager at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

Cisco can't block specific sites on the internet like Aruba, so we're in the process of replacing them. We have already placed lots of orders with Aruba. Aruba has the ClearPass NAT solution, and Cisco has its ISE policy engine. Cisco won't work with any other vendors. That is a significant problem with Cisco. It can't integrate with ClearPass. We already tried this in a POC for ClearPass. Aruba is becoming integrated with ISE, but Cisco will not integrate with ClearPass.

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MK
Solutions Architect at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

We are looking for more interaction with end-users and need to use the engagement feature that is provided in the new series. We want interaction between the end-users and the software that we are deploying. Therefore, an integration that would use a user's mobile devices through some sort of engagement API would be a good enhancement.

We don't actually use the features to their full potential yet.  We're always exploring the features to see what we can add.

It would be great if, even if the solution is degraded, security-wise, if it could be integrated without extra overhead for the systems or wireless administrators.

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Head Of Architecture Department at a university with 51-200 employees

I selected Cisco Wireless because I found they improved everything, but there is still a gap in Cisco reporting. It did not invest more into giving accurate reports. That's the missing thing in the solution. 

In the next release, they should add a better reporting feature. The reporting will tell you if you have a problem. That will make the diagnostics easier. Although, we have not had problems that required a lot of diagnostics.

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TM
Network Architect at Summa Health System

The most difficult part of the solution is us juggling everything. There are eight access points that we have to deal with. They have a tendency to age out. After five years, they go off sale. Then, five years after that, that they're out of support. Usually, when you get a new access point, we have to get to a certain version to get everything to work. However, on top of that, the ones we had 10 years ago are no longer functioning. They make it a complicated battle to try to keep your equipment at proper revisions, all at the time. They kind of force you to upgrade now. 

Apple is definitely causing a lot of issues by turning on more security features on its equipment. It is causing more problems on the business side. One is what they call a randomized Mac address that Apple has put out. As far as I know, Cisco doesn't have a fix for that. In other words, it's there to protect the end-user when they're on a guest network or they use randomized Mac addresses. We were trying to implement an employee group that would track the individual via the Mac. Now that it's rotating, we don't have a way to configure that.

I need to figure out how to handle security features that product lines have that offer a non-standard type of security feature that is being turned on constantly by different vendors. iPad also gives us isses. They have it set up so that you don't see the Mac address and the wireless at all. You can't even track your device anymore. I just discovered that last week.

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MP
Enterprise Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees

The pricing is above average. They are a pretty expensive option. If clients don't have the budget, it can be hard to afford. The company should work to reduce the price and make them more competitive.

The solution would be better if there was some sort of server type of tool that's included in the package. If there was something that could help you fine-tune the solution a bit easier, it would be helpful.

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DP
Network Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The interface could be better.

It's a hospital network; we have a lot of X-ray machines and other machines which may interrupt the WiFi signals. They need to provide more stability with respect to the interference or help us can analyze what is causing the interference issues from the controller side so that we could more effectively troubleshoot.

The pricing of the product is quite high.

I've heard the WiFi 6 is in the market and I would like to explore WiFi 6 features. 

Having a single SSID and adding a personal device or an organizational device that an SSID can automatically pick and connect to would be great.

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Technology Manager at International School Of Dakar

Cisco Wireless does not have a dashboard that would make it easier for people to manage the solution, such as Cisco Meraki where you are able to monitor the network through the dashboard and everything is visible making it easier. There are many things you can do with the dashboards. With Cisco Wireless if you have to manage the switches, backbone, or update the controllers you have to have someone with Cisco certification or know someone who can support you with the management of the solution. I have colleagues that have difficulties when I am away making changes to the Cisco Wireless devices and this is one of the reasons we are switching this solution to Cisco Meraki.

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SP
Network and Security Engineer at SK international

In the next release, I would like to see some AI capability deployed. Other competitors like Mist and Juniper already have it. So, AI features need to be introduced next year. Cisco is the defacto brand in wireless technology, and they're a little bit behind. They need to introduce some AI features so we can introduce the customer to these new features.

Some training will help because Cisco's new offering, 9800, requires a lot of hands-on experience. This is because the Cisco 9800 controller is new compared to the previous models, like 2504 and 3504. It requires more hands-on experience to get familiar with the terminologies used in 9800. This is because there are some AP profiles and site profiles, and all these things we aren't familiar with. It's a good tool.

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C.T.O at Sastra Network Solution Inc. Pvt. Ltd.

The regulatory domain seems to be hardcoded into the system and we need a simple way to change it in wireless APs.

Power level improvements and increased antenna dBi are needed when compared to other competitor vendors like Ruckus and HP Aruba.

The product pricing should be competitive compared to other vendors, as many products are coming up with good features like Cambium, Edge, and Core.

The controller pricing is high compared to other vendors like Ruckus. Pricing should be lowered to target the SMB market, where many other vendors have dominance. 

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TX
IT at a manufacturing company with 201-500 employees

If it was even more stable, that would be ideal. The stability is good, however, it's always something that can be improved upon. 

Older versions are complex to configure and implement.

The pricing of the product is quite high compared to other solutions.

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ICT manager at a real estate/law firm with 11-50 employees

The flexibility on the controllers isn't that great.

We always have to inject a third-party if we want to do things on social media, etc. If you have a guest network, you can make some connections with guest networks within your social media account — that's not the case with the standard solution from Cisco. You always have to get a third-party solution.

Our solution is prehistoric — it's seven years old. Still, they have perfectly served all of our needs. But now the market is changing. Because of COVID-19, more and more people are using wireless solutions. They're using Teams. They have bandwidth issues. That's a limitation with Cisco — you have to change all your APs again.

There's no way to upgrade it to make it faster and better, overall. The only thing you can do is add more access points, but then you have to license each access point. 

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CC
Cisco Network Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 501-1,000 employees

It requires a few tweaks in order to stabilize it. Its portal is complex. Cisco solutions are complex in general.

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Board Member and Co-Owner at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees

Cisco proposed a new version of their product, however, I don't have any requirements which are not already met.

For all products on the market, the availability of the products may not be ideal. We're waiting on a lot of products simply due to the fact that there's a material shortage. We've ordered products and have had to wait three or four months for anything to get delivered. This is not just Cisco. It's a problem on the market for all components which include semiconductors.

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JA
Domain Architect at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees

The third-party integration capabilities could be better. It still works within Cisco-related products, however, third-party integration is still something that needs some relaxing.

The new licensing model isn't as good as what they had before.

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CR
Telecom/Networking Analyst at a religious institution with 1,001-5,000 employees

I am in the Middle East, in Isreal, and the problem that we have is with the support. It's not like Europe or America, which have better support. In this part of the world, support is the weak side of this solution. It is very difficult to get in touch with Cisco support if we need them.

I would like to have the option for on-premises support, rather than only having remote support available. This the biggest concern that I have because without on-premises support, we have to call another country for the best service.

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DT
CEO at Dinet Systems Ltd

Guidelines and recommendations on where and how to install the units for perfect coverage.

Any utility to test the signal strength. Today every time we install equipment, certain times are forced to change its location due to poor reception.

And seamlessly integrate with products from other suppliers. It will also help if they include a device diagnostic feature in the next release.

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IT Manager at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees

Overall, it's a pretty good solution; however, it's end-of-life, it will be end-of-support in the next two years. The APs are also end-of-life. I was considering upgrading this year, however, we're planning to move to a new office and I don't want to buy new equipment just to install it in our current office, and then have to dismantle everything and move it to the new office. We just want to buy something that is useful for us.

The model that we have is about eight or ten years old; I'm sure the marketplace has changed a lot since then. It's good but outdated, there are other features that could be better.

The latest models, of course, have better WiFi capabilities. Our access points support 2.4 and 5 GHz. We're looking for the new AX or AC models for WiFi. I believe there is more speed with those kinds of connections.

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Telecommunications Specialistde Telecomunicaciones at Telalca

There are some areas of improvement in roaming and streaming.

In the next release, I would like to see VPN features and the client match feature available in Aruba Wireless. Additionally, I would like a feature to see where a particular client is during roaming and the information about a client should be shared better throughout their connection activity.

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Network Engineer at Saudi Customs

The coverage has given us a few issues. We have some of the wireless devices flooding. The scalability is off. It needs to be better. If they could offer better coverage, we'd be much happier.

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WL
Solution Manager, Network at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

The pricing is a bit high. It could be less expensive. If they could work to lessen the cost, it would be helpful.

The reporting of the product could be improved. When I needed to troubleshoot, I couldn't get sufficient information from the controller.

It would be useful if they could add in features like AI for easier troubleshooting.

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AD
Chief of Systems at a mining and metals company with 5,001-10,000 employees

The integration with our CM and other technologies could improve this solution. If it could detect other networks better, when it comes to security, and have the ability to mark or block the suspicious activity when known would be a benefit and should be in an upcoming release.

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FD
Assistant Network Operations Security Specialist at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

The solution could improve by having more advanced features, such as AI that is able to do diagnosis on the network or detect incorrect configurations and is able to tell you what is the recommended practice. Additionally, it would be a benefit to have smart antennas that are able to track your movement, Wi-Fi 6 support, better transfer rates, low latency, stronger signals that can penetrate thick walls, and zero packet losses.

We want a solution that can do flex connect allowing the solution to resolve the clients without depending on the controller. The controllers should only do the policy automation, or the configuration change. We don't want the controller to be in line with the data phase.

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PD
Sales Leader - Data Center at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

The pricing of Brazil is very expensive. When you look at other options, they are much cheaper. 

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AS
Technology Architect at a construction company with 10,001+ employees

Its licensing has been very frustrating. There is also the complexity of managing the product. These are probably the two reasons why we're looking at Aruba.

The way they license this product is not simple. There are some good features in the latest version, but there are additional license costs as well, which is frustrating for us. It is not really a feature issue for us. It really comes down to cost and licensing.

They should make it a bit simpler to manage. We find the overall solution a little bit more complex than we would like to deal with. Its troubleshooting is a bit difficult, and it does require a high skill set. Comparatively, Aruba seems quite simple. One of the benefits of the Aruba product is that it is cloud-managed. We don't have to manage the management platform itself, whereas Cisco is on-premise. Its user interface could also be better.

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DG
Sr.Manager at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

Cisco Wireless should have a single administration point, so we don't need to log into different controllers. It should be a single pin where we can centrally manage all the controllers in something like Prime. We are using Arista, so I would recommend a service that offers that kind of cloud setup for wireless.

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Gerente División Plataforma at Sonda S.A.

For the customer, it would be ideal if the solution had more global reach. It's a bit complicated to explain, however.

The documentation can be a bit confusing. It would be better if it was easier to follow.

We're hoping that the solution will work well with 5G.

In Latin America, Cisco is very expensive in comparison to other technologies.

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DR
DPKO at a government with 10,001+ employees

The new GUI interface and the newer version OS are a little bit more complex than the older version, however, it just might take some getting used to.

There's room for improvement when it comes to setting up 802.1 authentications, their user authentication with the AAA. It's too difficult and not intuitive.

The solution is extremely expensive.

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AA
Head of IT Infrastructure at a consultancy with 11-50 employees

I don't see any features that are really lacking.

The technical support could be better. They aren't as helpful as they need to be when we run into issues.

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PK
Information Technology Executive

There needs to be an access point that is compact and more suitable for small and medium-sized businesses.

We need an access point that can be easily managed in a big industry. As it is now, in a large organization, we would require perhaps 20 or 30 access points. Instead of this, if we had a high-range access point that is also cost-effective then it would work well.

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US
Senior Manager, Information Technology at a university with 201-500 employees

The solution could be more stable.

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VK
Network Engineer at a retailer with 10,001+ employees

In general, the solution completely meets our needs. However, the wireless controllers themselves could be more reliable. When they work in high availability mode, we have had some issues with them. Sometimes the cluster dissipates, the primary controller fails and the secondary does not completely switch on reducing functionality.

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Digital Solutions Arquitect - PaaS at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees

The main problem that traditional solutions like this one have is that you need to buy packages to deliver a similar solution as a Meraki one. If there was a package that you can buy and have all control features similar to the Meraki dashboard, such as user access control. We can sell this solution more easily if you have those packages available. I do not know if it is a sale strategy for Cisco to limit the functionality.

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Enterprise Architect at RB

I would like to see an improvement in the controllers of the solution. I would ideally like to have software defined WiFi as an additional feature, everything connected with LVMs, so basically to define networking; ADPs which would define the perimeter and a combination of PSDN and WAN, etc. I would also like to see the use of the PE market and functions. Authentication and authorization processes for guest users would also be a good additional feature. 

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JC
Principal Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees

Obviously there are new requirements around WPA-3 and Wi-Fi 6, more wireless assurance, and those types of things. So we're looking at all of those options in terms of their next product suite.

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Executive at FFC

Because my wireless controller is not fully compatible with the latest AC and AX compatible devices, we have been experiencing some issues with the wireless controller as technology evolves. We have plans to replace it. Previously it was working fine, but now we have faced several issues.

We will tweak them until we find a good solution. Let's see where this goes in the future.

It should be fully compatible with other devices.

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Network Engineer at Saudi Customs

The coverage should be better.

There should be an option for a wireless bridge that can be used to join two access points.

Technical support takes too long and is something that should be improved.

It would be helpful if Cisco Wireless supported the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Senior Technical Consultant at BT - British Telecom

I'd like to have better voice security. What they offer now is not good enough to protect us from an attack or a hacker. The solution requires a firewall body inside a wireless controller so that we can define a few more things and prevent attacks. 

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AR
VP of IT at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

In the next release, I would like to have support for Wi-Fi 6.

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GV
ICT Diensthoofd - Head of ICT at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees

The price could be better. The configuration is also complex. It would be better if there's an NEC solution. That's one of the things we really want to have. It should also be as fast as possible.

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MO
Technical Support Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

In the future, it would be great if the solution had a GPS feature that could have the ability through access points to locate cell phone users inside a local wireless network, for example in a stadium. 

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JO
Network Support Engineer at a government with 201-500 employees

The pricing could be reduced.

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SD
Network Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

Before deploying a wireless solution, you have to read and plan every role, every windows system, put in your access point, and then make the audit. This solution is not the best one to do this. We use another solution that is called Eko. In the future, if this solution could have better auditing capabilities it would be better.

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SP
ICT Infrastructure Architect at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees

Its licensing model and cost should be improved. 

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PS
System Administrator at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

The price should be reduced. It should be cheaper.

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GG
Network Consultant at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees

It is not easy to use. It should be made easier to use. They can maybe migrate it to the cloud so that we can manage the WLCs together.

I find the licensing part very hard to understand. Cisco is now moving towards smart licensing, so this issue will be addressed soon.

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DH
Head of IT Network Division at Panorinformatika

One of the issues with Cisco, particularly for smaller companies, is the cost. A small company can't afford to pay the price of a Cisco product. The price is a very important factor for our customers. 

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Director Of Information Communication Technology at Dire dawa University

This solution is very expensive, which means we often have to go for cheaper options instead.

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AA
IT Support Team Leader at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

The solution could improve by having an advanced model with a controller. Additionally, the solution could be more secure.

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WW
DevOps System Engineer at Monash University

The price could be better.  

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TN
IT Manager at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

In the future, I would like to have Cisco add video documentation on configuring and overall learning of how to use the solutions. For example, in such areas as, security, authentication, and load balancing.

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IT Adviser/Manager at CCSAUDE

We sometimes have issues with user load. We have close to 12 users and we have performance issues, especially when we are on video calls. There are lags and connectivity issues in those situations and the throughput is not that good. From our end, performance and connectivity could be improved.

I'd like to see features such as app control, access control, and some level of a firewall feature at the level of the access points, features that are available at the firewall level, so that we can have security and manageability at WiFi level.

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Safety Officer at Tata Consultancy

Simplification in terms of deployment would be good. The need for different boxes should be improved as well.

The architecture is becoming complex. It's not a three-layer architecture; it's only two layers, and the access is based on the leaf and spine. However, there are lots of components, and we need to add more components and more licenses for services. This ends up becoming costly.

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Network Operations Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

It would be great if it is compatible with other products.

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AK
Application Security Architect at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees

I would improve the Wi-Fi range. Sometimes, in some rooms the signal could be a bit better, a little stronger.

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IT Architect at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

Code stability is something that needs to be improved.

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Junior Network Engineer at Easy Systems

Installation is complex and should be easier. 

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Learn what your peers think about Cisco Wireless. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.