I'm the technology administrator at a liberal arts college in Virginia. We're going to be upgrading our wireless access points in our residence halls and classroom buildings. We've just finished a (very successful) test of new Cisco access points (APs) with a central controller. The week-long test was so successful that the students were begging the staff to leave the APs in place.
We're going to do week-long tests with two other vendors, Aruba and Aerohive. In many ways, Aruba's controller-based system is similar to Cisco's (and, yes, there are important differences). The Aerohive sales staff and engineers stress that, because the Aerohive system doesn't require a controller, the Aerohive solution avoids have a single point of failure (i.e., the controller).
Is this a fair statement of the primary difference between a Cisco solution and the Aerohive solution?
Thanks for any feedback.
Dean of Information and Learning Management
Just chiming in off what Mark was explaining. The Cisco Aironet line has many benefits specifically being able to be deployed in two different modes on the same hardware. The lightweight mode or LWAPP you may see or the Autonomous mode where the AP is standalone and no controller is required. The Cisco line also has the benefit of configuration ease with a web based option or CLI for granular configurations. Since the Aironet AP is IOS based that means its easily updated, easily added to a network as a repeater or to a WLAN controller based solution. These are highly flexible platforms that are not brick and mortared into one role and can be field upgraded to a different mode if your designs change. Here are a couple of links to check out.
Web based set up
Cisco 1140 802.11N AP Very nice LWAPP AP with 802.11N Technology Autonomous version coming soon!
Cisco Autonomous to LWAPP conversion
Cisco End User Presales
One of the strengths of using a wireless LAN controller is ease of administration on your wireless LAN.
Cisco also offers an autonomous wireless network such as Aerohive which does not require a wireless LAN controller.
In fact the majority of wireless AP's from Cisco can be ordered as either autonomous (no controller needed) or light weight (controller required)
If a single point of failure is a concern you might consider using additional Wireless LAN controllers for redundancy.
You appear to be working with a Cisco rep or reseller as you state you have tested the Cisco solution.
I would suggest you touch base with them to discuss your options further.
Cisco End-user presales