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What Is The Biggest Difference Between Aruba And Cisco Wireless?

One of the most popular comparisons on IT Central Station is Aruba vs Cisco Wireless.

People like you are trying to decide which WLAN is best for their company. Can you help them out?

What is the biggest difference between Aruba WLAN and Cisco? Which of these two solutions would you recommend to a colleague evaluating wireless LAN solutions and why?

Thanks for helping your peers make the best decision!

ITCS user
55 Answers

author avatar

As far as an end to end solution, Automation DNA, Security ISE, Cisco is the way to go, same goes for the comments below, RRM was around with Airespace before Aruba was a product! Also, Aruba had a blog out there about how dual 5Ghz radios were a bad joke! Well, guess who now also has dual 5Ghz radios.

author avatar
Real User

Cisco’s wide range of APs and antennas is always a unique option in comparison to Aruba. Aruba very recently started having dual-band external radio APs. Otherwise, in HD deployments with an external antenna, it was a pain to deploy Aruba with two patch antenna for every AP.
As of today the latest dual 5 GHz radio model of Aruba doesn’t support external radio. So the RF design limitation with Aruba is more when compared to cisco.

author avatar

Compared to Cisco, Aruba enhances WLAN availability by providing: Ture Clustering, Live Upgrades and Loadable Service Modules

Example of True Clustering: if a client is having a VoIP call on WLAN and the controller on which the client traffic was terminated fails, the client traffic will terminate to another cluster member. The VoIP call will continue, the client will not notice any interruption.
example if Lice upgrade: Aruba can upgrade clusters without the need for a maintenance window. This is done as following:
One Cluster member is freed from APs, these APs are moved to other cluster members.
This controller is upgraded to the newest firmware. Some APs at a time are freed from clients. These clients are transferred to adjacent APs without affecting their sessions. The freed APs are upgraded and moved to the already upgraded cluster member(s). This process is repeated until all APs and controller are upgraded.

example of LSM: Aruba and Cisco are equivalent from a WLAN security certification standpoint. However, the Aruba controller is a Common Criteria accredited firewall and VPN gateway, which Cisco's controller is not. That is a key reason why in high security networks, Aruba is approved to support guest + internal Wi-Fi access on the same equipment, because it has an accredited firewall that keeps those two network separate. Cisco has to rely on VLAN separation with an external firewall, which is not as secure.

author avatar

If we will talk about the Wireless Radios of the access points, all vendor have to follow the regulatory domain as per their region, hence they not go beyond the specific dbm for wireless coverage, but how signal will propagate to the client from AP ,its depend on vendor to vendor technology . For this Aruba Air match previously know as ARM has no comparison for the performance.

if we will talk about the Aruba Solution, all product are integrated with all platform,

Like if you want to start with Cisco meraki cloud then wants to go with controller in future, they don't have integrated platform. your investment is no valuable for this kind of solution.

If we will talk about the complete solution of both the vendor, Aruba is more future rich solution than cisco. and you do not require many box in aruba solution to do the same like cisco.

Aruba Controller also manages the Aruba wired switches like access points, centralized solution for all wired, wireless and VPN.

author avatar

The difference is very clear and I prefer Aruba.

Find out what your peers are saying about Aruba Wireless vs. Cisco Wireless and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
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