Cisco wireless controllers streamline the management of Wi-Fi networks by unifying the configuration and administration of Wi-Fi access points, maximizing wireless throughput by reducing the effects of RF interference, improving Wi-Fi uptime with fast auto-failover, and tightening protection by detecting cyber threats and filtering traffic content based on user ID and location.
Cisco's Wi-Fi controllers work with Cisco's Prime Infrastructure and DNA Center management tools and are able to accommodate as many as 6,000 Wi-Fi APs and 64,000 clients. Cisco's line of wireless controllers are offered at price points and with capabilities appropriate for venues that run from branch offices to service provider networks, enterprises, and dense campus deployments. Cisco's 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 and Wave 2 Wi-Fi 5 controllers and access points are designed to provide the high level of security, speed and robustness that companies expect in their wired network. Cisco's technology incorporates integrated mobility services such as IP voice, HD video, and safe guest access. Cisco's Prime Infrastructure and DNA Center platforms make it possible for businesses to build environments that integrate wired and Wi-Fi networks into a unified ecosystem that provides a seamless and productive work environment.
Progent's certified wireless consultants can assist you to determine the business benefits of deploying Cisco Wi-Fi controllers to manage WiFi networks of any size. Progent can help your business to maintain and debug your existing Cisco-based wireless solution or help you to plan and implement an efficient transition from older wireless controllers to modern models to deliver enhanced performance and protection and to simplify management.
Progent's Cisco-certified network infrastructure consultants offer affordable online consulting and support expertise across the U.S. and Canada to help organizations to create and refine Wi-Fi solutions. Progent can also provide on-premises support in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. and in Toronto, Canada. In addition, Progent can provide remote predictive and on-premises Wi-Fi Site Surveys to help your company to design a Wi-Fi network with access points located and configured optimally for your specific site environment, application workloads, and client density.
Cisco 9800 Series 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 Wireless Controllers
Catalyst 9800 line of Wi-Fi 6-compatible wireless controllers allow you to automate and manage modern Wi-Fi environments that support 802.11ax APs. The 802.11ax standard, also called Wi-Fi 6, builds on prior generation 802.11ac (called Wi-Fi 5) appliances by delivering lower latency and more predictable performance, allowing higher client density, offering greater protection, conserving energy for battery-powered handheld devices, and allowing more versatility for supporting the latest types of Internet-of-Things (IoT) endpoints. Cisco's Catalyst 9800 family Wi-Fi controllers include high availability with transparent software upgrades, hot patching, and the ability to connect additional Wi-Fi access points without disruption of service. Enhanced security technologies include Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA), secure boot, and Cisco Software-Defined Access. Streaming telemetry allows you to monitor and analyze infrastructure and client health. All controllers in the Catalyst 9800 line are based on Cisco's IOS XE Software and work with Cisco's DNA Center (DNAC) or with Cisco Prime Infrastructure network management platforms. Cisco's Catalyst 9800 Series wireless network controllers can manage Cisco Aironet 802.11ac Wave 1 and Wave 2 APs as well as Cisco Catalyst 9100 Series 802.11ax Wi-Fi access points.
Cisco 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 controller appliances offer greater scale than Cisco's embedded wireless controllers (EWCs)
Cisco's 9800-L 802.11ax Controller is an entry-level device available in a half-width 1RU enclosure that allows dual installation in a 19-in rack. Intended for smaller organizations, the 9800-L offers extra throughput and capacity for customers with Cisco's Performance license. The 9800-L supports 250 APs and 5,000 users (500 wireless APs and 10,00 client users with Cisco's Performance license). The 9800-L controller offers 5 Gbps throughput (10 Gbps with a Performance license), and supports 4,096 VLANs. Deployment scenarios include Centralized, Cisco FlexConnect for remote office installations, and fabric. Fixed uplinks include four 2.5G/1G ports and either two 10G/Multigigabit copper (Catalyst 9800-L-C) or two 10G/Multigigabit fiber ports (Catalyst 9800-L-F). Other ports include an RJ-45 console port and a Micro USB console interface for management, a USB 3.0 interface for plugging in external RAM, an RJ-45 service interface, and an RJ-45 high-availability redundancy interface used for SSO.
The Cisco Catalyst 9800-40 802.11ax Wireless Controller, offered in a 1 rack unit form factor, is designed for midsize campus deployments. The 9800-40 supports 2,000 access points and 32,000 users. The 9800-40 controller offers 40 Gbps data rates and supports 4,096 VLANs. Deployment scenarios include Centralized, FlexConnect, and Fabric Wireless (SD-Access). Fixed interfaces include four GE SFP/10 GE SFP+ or SFP interfaces and an SFP Gigabit Ethernet redundancy port. Additional integrated interfaces include RJ-45 and USB 3.0 console ports, an RJ-45 management interface, an RJ-45 redundancy port for SSO, and two USB 3.0 ports for adding external RAM.
Cisco's Catalyst 9800-80 Wi-Fi 6 Controller, available in a 2 rack unit (RU) form factor, is an expandable, high-end wireless controller designed to manage large campus and service provider environments. The 9800-80 supports 60,00 access points and 64,000 users. The 9800-80 controller delivers up to 80 Gbps data rates and supports 4,096 VLANs. Deployment modes include Centralized, FlexConnect, and Fabric Wireless. Integrated uplink ports include eight 10G SFP+ ports or six 10G ports plus two 1G interfaces. Optional hot swappable uplink add-in modules provide 18 1GE interfaces, 10 10GE ports, a 40GE interface, two 40GE ports, or a 100GE interface. Additional fixed interfaces include RJ-45 and USB 3.0 console ports, an RJ-45 management interface, an SFP Gigabit Ethernet redundancy port used for stateful switchover, an RJ-45 redundancy port used for stateful switchover, and two USB 3.0 ports for adding external RAM memory.
Cisco Wave 2 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 LAN Controllers
Cisco Wave 2 Wi-Fi 5 wireless controllers enable realtime data exchange, configuration, control, analysis and troubleshooting for Cisco Wi-Fi devices and services. Cisco offers both hardware and software-based wireless controllers for centralized management of wireless networks, but networks with a large number of wireless APs are better served by physical Wi-Fi controllers. Wave 2 Wi-Fi controller devices from Cisco offer major advantages in comparison to Wave 1 and older models including greater performance, concurrent support for both 1G and 10G interfaces, enhanced application visibility and control, and hardened, integrated security.
Cisco's Wave 2 Wi-Fi controllers can support Wi-Fi 5 access points
The Cisco 3504 WiFi Controller is a value-priced device available in a desktop body and designed for small and medium-sized organizations. You can use the 3504 in a centralized network architecture such as in lean branch and home-based offices managed over the wide-area network with FlexConnect, or in bridge installations where Ethernet cabling is limited. The 3504 wireless controller supports as many as 150 APs and 3,000 client users, offers 4 Gbps throughput, and supports up to 4,096 VLANs. The 3504 controller features a Cisco Multigigabit interface and four 1-Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. APs can be attached directly to the controller through two PoE ports. The 3504 wireless controller features subsecond failover for APs and clients, which allows high availability for apps. Like other Wave 2 Wi-Fi controllers from Cisco, the 3504 device has the built-in capability to work with Cisco Prime Infrastructure, Cisco Mobility Services, and Cisco 5520 and 8540 WiFi controllers.
Cisco's 5520 Wireless Controller, available in a 1RU enclosure, is intended to support midsize to large organizations and campus networks and can be used in centralized, distributed, and mesh architectures. The 5520 wireless controller supports as many as 1,500 access points and 20,000 clients, offers 20 Gbps throughput, and supports 4,096 VLANs. The 5520 wireless controller includes two 10 GE ports and incorporates SSD storage, backup fans, optional redundant power supplies, and rapid failover for uninterrupted availability.
Cisco's 8540 Wireless Controller, available in a 2 rack unit (RU) enclosure, is a high-end wireless controller intended to support enterprises, service providers, and large campus environments. The 8540 Wireless controller can be run in centralized, distributed, and mesh architectures and can handle as many as 6,000 wireless APs and 64,000 clients. The 8540 Wireless controller offers throughput as high as 40 Gbps and supports 4,096 VLANs. The 8340 includes four 1-GB or 10GE ports and features SSD storage, backup power supplies, backup fans, and rapid failover.
Wave 1 Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers
Cisco wireless network controllers reduce the time and cost required to deploy, monitor, and troubleshoot wireless networks by offering single-point control of tasks such as provisioning APs, enforcing single-point policies throughout converged wired and wireless LANs, supporting enterprise-wide Quality of Service (QoS) for IP voice and HD video, monitoring and troubleshooting network health, implementing wireless intrusion prevention system (wIPS) capabilities to guard against cyber break-ins and Distributed Denial of Service threats, and handling IPv6 and dual-stack clients. Cisco has designed wireless LAN controllers for organizations of all sizes and offers standalone desktop appliances, modular plug-in controllers for Cisco routers and switches, and switches with built-in wireless LAN controllers.
Cisco's Wave 1 wireless LAN controllers include Cisco CleanAir technology to minimize signal interference and produce self-healing wireless networks for top 802.11n and 802.11ac throughput and protection. Built-in Apple Bonjour Gateways permit discovery and policy throughout the enterprise for Apple-based applications. For high availability, Cisco wireless controllers allow wireless access point and client stateful failover by enabling a backup HA wireless controller to synchronize with a primary controller for AP license tabulation, CAPWAP state and roaming keys, and AP CAPWAP state. In case the primary wireless controller goes down, thousands of wireless access points and clients can switchover at subsecond speeds to the backup wireless LAN controller.
Cisco's Wireless Module for ISR G2 Routers with UCS-E provides basic 802.11n and 802.11ac capability for 2900 and 3900 Series routers deployed by small to medium-sized organizations and branches. This value-priced and scalable solution can support from five to 200 wireless access points and up to 6000 clients. (To learn about Progent's remote and on-premises consulting services for Cisco routers, see Cisco router deployment and troubleshooting support.)
Cisco Legacy Wi-Fi LAN Controllers
Catalyst 3650 Series are 1RU switches intended for SMBs and branches and features an integrated wireless controller with the capability to support 40 Gb of wireless throughput per switch and 25 wireless access points and 1000 wireless clients on each switch. Catalyst 3850 Series are 1RU rackmount switches designed for mid-size businesses and large enterprises and feature a built-in wireless network controller with up to 40 Gb of wireless throughput per switch and support for up to 50 APs and up to 2000 wireless clients. The WiSM2 is a plug-in blade for Catalyst 6500 Series switches with an integrated wireless LAN controller designed for mid-to-large size businesses and capable of 20 Gbps throughput and able to handle 1000 APs and up to 15,000 wireless clients. (For information about Progent's online and onsite consulting support for Cisco switches, see Cisco Catalyst switches configuration and troubleshooting services.)
Cisco 2500 Wireless Controllers are economical desktop appliances that streamline the provisioning and management of Wi-Fi networks for small and midsize businesses and branch offices. The Cisco 2500 wireless network controller can handle 5 to 75 wireless access points and 1000 clients and can deliver throughput of 1 Gbps.
Cisco's 5500 Wireless Controller is an expandable 1RU unit designed for medium-sized to large enterprises and campus environments and can support up to 500 wireless access points and 7,000 wireless clients while providing 8 Gbps throughput. The Cisco 5760 Series Wireless Controller is a 1RU device intended for mid-to-large campuses with support for 1000 APs and 12,000 wireless clients and providing throughput of 60 Gbps to accommodate high client densities and high amounts of video-intensive applications.
The Cisco Flex 7500 Series Wireless Controller is designed to manage massive collections of wireless branches from one datacenter, avoiding the requirement for a Wi-Fi controller at each branch. The 1RU rackmount Flex 7500 lets you establish a private cloud to deploy, track, manage, and troubleshoot up to 6000 APs and up to 64,000 wireless clients while handling 1 Gbps throughput. The Cisco 8500 Series Wireless Controller is a 1RU appliance engineered to monitor and control wireless networks for very large campuses or service providers and can scale to support 6000 APs and up to 64,000 clients while offering 10 Gbps performance.
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