Wireless Controllers

Nathan explains wireless controllers, including the Cisco 4400, 5500 and virtual controllers.

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Hi there. I'm Nate and today, we're going to talk about wireless controllers. Here on the list you see, we have a couple of wireless controllers noted, 4400, 5500 and the virtual controller. We get a lot of questions about this one. Only of a few here are listed, I know there are some. There's some newer controllers coming out of course, that are very robust.

Customer focus for the most part has been in this area so far so this is where I thought we would base things today. 4400 controllers, still holding on, still a great performer, a lot of versatility and things you can use, so it brings all the great 44 controller functionality to the network.

The 5500 of course, improves upon that platform and then the virtual, it's just a little bit different and we'll touch on all of these today. All right, so like I mention, we're going to be talking about the 4400 and the 500, we'll start with those. The 4400 series controller was the first one. Also, there's a 2200 series controller, little brother. 4400 is the one we're focusing on though even though there were some previous ... This is probably the one that we get a lot of questions on in relation specially to the 55 anymore.

4400 is still current with Cisco or it is end of sale, but it's current as far as service support. June 2016 is when you can no longer get SmartNet on this one. It is SmartNet-able and you are able to get that support from Cisco. Some of the little tidbits about the 4400, 4 Gig of throughput. We get that question quite a bit as you have data moving through the controller, "How much data can it move? How much of a bottleneck is there going to be on the network?" Well, 4 Gigs is how much you can push through this guy.

In addition to that, a hundred AP is max. Now, there are a couple of different sizes. If you're familiar at all with the 4400 platform or even the 2000 or 2100 series platform, you know that these are hardware cap which is this point here. They come in different sizes, sizes from 10, 25, 50, and then a hundred, you can get for this particular controller.

At a hundred max, we have a lot of customers who say, "Well, what do I do if I go over that cap?" There is some things you can do with clustering with these controllers to kind of link them together. Cisco of course, came out with a newer series controller and that had a greater capacity that we can move to, but another limitation, the 400, that I want to make you aware of is of course is that there's no support for the 1600, 2600 and 3600 series APs.

The only reason for that is that the 4400 series software tops out in the 70 area and these APs require a higher version of software, so that eliminates this controller from support. For things like the 1142, the 1200 or earlier 1200 series like the 1231, 1242 and of course, earlier AVG 1100 series access points, this is a great option and a cheap option anymore.

What about the 5500 series controller? What sort of improvements were made? Well, they double the throughput to 8 Gigs. In addition, 500 AP max and then, licenses. By that, I mean no longer do you have the hardware cap of the 4400 but now, you're able to license this much larger. They start these 5500s like a five AP user limit and then, you can grow that to much larger of course, up to the 500, but in increments or chunks that are manageable for you to let you grow kind of at your own phase.

The 500 series will support any of the APs the 44 will, in addition to those newer APs in the 16, 26, and 3600 series because this one is still of course, fully current with the software and other updates.

Last and certainly not the least is the virtual controller. The only reason I through this year ... into the presentation was just because I do get questions about it. Virtualization is a big hot button topic of course, so what is Cisco doing top produce a virtual controller? Well, they do have an option for one, has a 200 AP limit and there's a requirement for 7.3 on your APs which I wanted to make you aware of.

I wouldn't consider the virtual controller to be a replacement for the 5500 or any of the other controllers, but I would merely consider it to be another tool in the tool belt for, specially customers that are smaller in scope, but have maybe a completely virtualized network.

I'd like to thank you guys for joining me today. Hopefully, you learned a little bit of something and pleased as always. If you're considering a wireless implementation or a wireless upgrade, give us a call, let us walk you through it. We can consider anything from the older series controllers to save you some money or even go with some of the newer series stuff if it suits your network better.