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Wifi - for Enterprise

Posted on 2015-02-18
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Last Modified: 2015-02-24
hi guys,

We currently have a building with 3 floors and around 300 people inside of it. We have Wi-Fi at the moment in the building and using Cisco 1100 wireless access points. The actual coverage we have is rather average.

We would like to actually implement a better wireless system which enables you to log on and manage the rest of the wireless access points and is intelligent enough to tell us when it's not 'working' or when it is having issues to prevent users from having to tell us 'the wireless is not working' and us having to reboot it. Ideally something which can indicate when it is having problems accessing the internet and for us to know through some sort of messaging we need to react.

Is there anything like that out there at all?

Thanks
Yashy
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Question by:Yashy
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Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 40617410
Well you could just buy a Cisco WLC, new Aironet APs and Prime Infrastructure.  That would give you complete centralized management of the APs and provide powerful reporting and alerting features.

The 1100 APs you have now are EoL and (depending on which version) probably not even supported any more.  They definitely won't be supported by new WLC code.  You could look at using the 1702 APs with the WLC.
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Assisted Solution

by:dj1967
dj1967 earned 250 total points
ID: 40617630
Cisco Meraki could help here.  Its cloud based and really easy to use and troubleshoot. (meraki.cisco.com)

Using the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller option - the WLC now comes bundled with the latest switches (3650, 3850) meaning you no longer need to buy a separate appliance, just a 3650 (PoE) it will power the APs and offer the WLC functionality.  In the interests of HA - you need to have a good look at the design (dual switches etc - eliminating SPoFs - but this is true of all solutions)..

For Easy of use - Aruba have a very compelling proposition.  These operate in a very similar way to cisco except are controllerless (the controller is built into the AP - without going into it technically)  The Cisco and Aruba "self heal" in the event of a problem - they will detect the loss and turn up the gan - offering very good coverage.

Dave
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Craig Beck earned 250 total points
ID: 40617816
Meraki may be a good way to go but be very careful if you go down the Converged Access (3x50 switch as WLC) route.  I wouldn't consider that approach unless very specific criteria are met.

You'd need to purchase a whole switch just to connect APs to.  If you have 3 APs you might as well just buy a 2504-5 and save yourself 3K straight away.  If your APs all terminate at the same switch/stack it might be worth it.

If you configure a 3x50 as a mobility agent or mobility controller you can't use an upstream switch to terminate the CAPWAP tunnel from the AP - you have to do it at the switch, therefore if the APs don't all cable back to the same comms rack you'll need one or more switches at each rack where APs terminate.  Put simply, if you have 5 APs all terminating in different comms rooms you need 5 3650s!!

On the other hand, if you're thinking of upgrading your switches now it may be a good idea.
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