New Cisco WiFi Product Targets SMBs

Mobility Express, which doesn't require a separate WLAN controller appliance, is designed to streamline deployment for small businesses.

Marcia Savage

September 15, 2015

2 Min Read
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Touting it as the simplest-to-deploy option in its wireless portfolio, Cisco today launched a new controller-less WiFi product tailored for small and midsize businesses.

Called Mobility Express, the product ships with either a Cisco Aironet 1850 or 1830 802.11ac Wave 2 access point and can be set up and managed via the vendor's Wireless Mobile App, which is available for iOS and Android. Cisco says Mobility Express can be deployed in less than 10 minutes and manage up to 25 access points, providing enterprise-class WiFi functionality to SMBs.

The controller is built into the access points, making the product plug-and-play for small businesses such as retail stores and professional services firms, Prashanth Shenoy, senior director, Cisco enterprise networking and mobility, told me in an interview. For example, a retail manager could set it up without IT staff, he said.

The Wireless Mobile App includes configuration templates based on best practices that SMB managers can use to push out policies to multiple APs, he said.

Mobility Express also is designed to provide investment protection by supporting the addition of a controller as well as existing Aironet APs, such as the 1700, 2700 and 3700 series.

Figure 1: Cisco Aironet 1850 SeriesCisco Aironet 1850 Series

 

Cisco called Mobility Express its most cost-effective wireless solution in a blog post, but would not confirm pricing. In another blog post, the company also said the Aironet 1830 -- which is new -- the cheapest 802.11ac Wave 2 access point on the market today.

Lee Badman, a WLAN expert and Network Computing contributor, said the built-in controller feature of Mobility Express is similar to what several major WLAN vendors provide. With Mobility Express, Cisco is kind of competing with its own Meraki WLAN products, which are controller-less and target the SMB market, he told me in an email.

With Mobility Express, Cisco also launched two new analytics tools in an updated version of its Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) software for providing location-based services. Presence Analytics tracks WiFi visitors historical and real-time presence and Social Analytics tracks social media sentiment. Cisco said the tools can be quickly deployed with Mobility Express to help small businesses better understand customer behavior.

About the Author(s)

Marcia Savage

Executive Editor, Network Computing

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