Today’s wireless networks can be built using controller-based hardware or controller-less (cloud managed). Which solution is best for your needs depends on what the requirements are.
Thanks Matt for submitting a question to the podcast:
I’m fairly experienced with networking but just starting to focus on wifi for my current employer.
I’ve been listening for a few months now and have heard mentioned a couple of time in regard to the placement of APs in an office environment that they should be in hallways not rooms, also, that in dense environments some 2.4 radios should be turned off.
We have an upgrade happening at the moment and I am considering the AP placement, particularly around larger meeting rooms (~20 seats). Most of our offices are open plan with a large meeting/board room at one end so AP’s are generally in the open but would it also be best to include one in the large meeting room itself?
More generally, what is the technical reason for hallways not rooms and why disable some 2.4 radios and how to calculate which APs to disable?
Really enjoying a different focus and the podcasts have been a great source of knowledge, also considering sitting the CWNA exam soon.
Looking forward to future podcasts, keep up the great work and content.
Listen to the episode for our responses to Matt’s question.
Controller vs Controller-less
What’s the best model to go with today. Should a controller be purchased for the network and utilize centralized traffic forwarding? Or should a controller-less model be a better fit. There’s no hardware controller involved to purchase and updates are done regularly.
François and I tackle some of these points at a high level.
Here are some of the topics we discuss:
- Tunneled traffic
- Hardware costs (CapEx)
- Locally switched traffic
- Features added regularly
- No controller hardware
- Licensing (OpEx)
- Open Mesh
- Cisco Mobility Express
- Aruba Instant
- Virtual controller
- Can be tunneled or locally switched
Which is better for you?
The universal answer is, it depends. There are many questions to ask which involves your technical team and management. Do you prefer to have granularity over your WLAN and have ultimate control? Does your team have the expertise to manage a controller? Maybe you need that extra troubleshooting you get when accessing the command line interface.
Many times cost is a big factor. Purchasing a physical controller can take a big chunk of your budget. If you need redundancy you have to buy more than one controller. Cloud-based management of access points gives you less control or flexibility due to the vendor owning the cloud. But on the upside, you get updates much faster, newer features, and easier management of your wireless network.
So it always depends on your needs and requirements.
What do you think is the best model and why?