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Meghan Kachhi
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Most of the times while considering for wireless controllers, we look at what are the options available for deployment – physical appliance for my large campus or virtual appliance deployed on private/public cloud? Or a wireless controller embedded on a switch? (really?!) The next question you would have in mind is about scale – will it be scalable enough to cater the needs of my network without impacting the operational cost? Will it have a footprint that is limited to being minimum?

How happy you would be to know that the answer to each and every option/question is a single “Yes”! Well that “Yes” is provided by Cisco Catalyst 9800 Wireless Controller which brings together the perfect concoction of Cisco network leadership with Cisco RF innovation. Catalyst 9800 Wireless Controller is built on top of Cisco’s RF excellence & wireless innovations along with Cisco IOS XE - a modern, programmable and modular operating system.

Miercom independently assessed Cisco’s next-generation enterprise wireless architecture, with Catalyst 9800, alongside the latest competitive offerings of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE-Aruba), Ruckus and Huawei Technologies focusing on aspects such as high availability offering a consistent performance, flexibility in terms of deployment (physical or virtual), ease of use & comprehensive security with unbeatable programmability and telemetry using popular standard models (YANG, NETCONF, RESTCONF) and on-box Python scripting for fulfilling the needs of next generation wireless campus

Already leading with the prowess of Cisco Catalyst 9800 wireless controller over the competitor offerings, in terms of High Availability and Security, it was such a delight (as expected) to see how Catalyst 9800 fared in aspects of deployment flexibility and programmability.


Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers can be deployed anywhere- on prem, in cloud (public/private), on switch- to enable wireless connectivity everywhere. Catalyst 9800 has multiple form-factors to enrich customer’s deployment options and scale options to best meet your organization’s needs.

A sneak peek at competitive offerings and we come to know that Aruba offers wireless controllers in many appliance forms, but often require an additional layer of an appliance/VM called “Mobility Master” to manage clusters of the wireless controller appliances which increases CapEx and OpEx by multiple folds while offering extremely low scale for its virtual appliances and not offering a product which integrates the wireless controller with a switch. On the other hand, Ruckus offers an appliance-based wireless controller platform, with the same functionality in a software package but with extremely limited data plane traffic capacity. Still it lacks wireless controller capability on a switch. Huawei offers wireless controller integrates into the switch with some feature differences but does not offer its wireless controller in a software version for public or private cloud.

Miercom tested and proved that only Cisco provides the true flexibility and ability with Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers to offer both an unmatchable scale and deployment option in:


  • Private Cloud – Customers can deploy a virtual wireless controller inside their private data center on hypervisors like VMware ESXi, open-source KVM and Cisco ENCS.


  • Public Cloud – Customers can deploy and fully manage a virtual wireless controller that is readily available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace.


  • Embed on a Switch – Customers can deploy a wireless controller on a switch which comes as a software package in Catalyst switching platforms enabling wireless with seamless software upgrades

Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series wireless controllers may surely be synonymous to high availability & security but it certainly strikes the chords of being a perfect and complete next-gen wireless controller by adding on top of that synonym - “Deploy Anywhere”.

Please download complete Miercom report here.

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