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Businesses around the world are moving their focus from Mobile Apps to Mobile Experience. With Wi-Fi extending reliable coverage into public places, your users are going to expect the same service from you—a dependable high-speed user experience. The problem is, user devices are increasingly demanding more bandwidth.

How are you going to meet that demand?

To help increase the bandwidth needed to take wireless networks into support of the next generation of devices, Cisco Wireless Controller’s Control Plane scale has improved tremendously. A comparison between the Cisco’s older 5508 and the newer 5520 wireless controller platforms illustrates this improvement. Due to new hardware capabilities in the forms of CPU, memory and software updates, the user authentication per second rate has jumped from 235 users on the 5508 to 764 users on the 5520, or an increase of 225% of user authentication capacity.

This increased authentication rate matters because the faster a device is authenticated, the quicker it gets to access the network resources and better the user experience becomes.

The Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller supports 802.11ac Wave 2 for medium-sized to large campus wireless deployments and offers up to 20Gbps of throughput and scalability for 1500 access points and 20,000 clients.

The Cisco 5520’s improved control plane scale offers a substantial platform to support the next generation of wireless deployments where thousands of users are expected to simultaneously roam across the wireless coverage zone.  One such place is a stadium where a massive number of users convene. Another is a university campus that has a large number of students moving from building-to-building carrying multiple mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smart-phones. Theses are classic examples where Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller can seamlessly on-board users within seconds.

Faster & secured client on-boarding for Hotspots 2.0 deployment is also important when Hotspot 2.0 adoption begins to take root. On-boarding secure hotspot users is a control-plane heavy task that the Cisco 5520 controllers are ready for. A heavy task occurs when thousands of devices are simultaneously authenticating and roaming, which can put a strain on a controller. Armed with its new hardware and optimized software, the Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller can handle these heavy loads better, and with higher speed and consistency.

But don’t just take our word for it, recently Miercom—an independent testing lab—compared, tested, and released a report to compare the new Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller to the Cisco 5508 Wireless Controller. The tests were performed to benchmark control plane capability on both machines to measure improvements in control plane performance.

meircom verified 2After performing simultaneous authentications and roaming tests using various authentication methods and encryption types, the Cisco 5520 Wireless Controller showed 3.25 folds improvement over the Cisco 5508 Wireless Controller.

To read about more details for the test cases, go here. And to view how the Cisco Wireless 5520 fared against its competition—Spoiler Alert: it buried the other guy—go here to view those results.


Kshitij Mahant

Technical Marketing Engineer

Enterprise Networking Group