Best Enterprise WiFi Solutions & Software 2021

On average, Americans spend nearly four hours on their mobile devices each day. Our ever-increasing reliance on the internet has created a demand for reliable cellular data and Wi-Fi solutions. Businesses are no stranger to the need for a sturdy Wi-Fi software solution — the global Wi-Fi market size is projected to grow to a staggering $25.2 billion by 2026.

In today’s increasingly virtualized world, businesses cannot afford to struggle with dropped connections and lag time. Consumer Wi-Fi solutions are unable to meet the needs of a small, mid-sized or large corporation. Robust enterprise Wi-Fi network software solutions use marginally different management methods and protocols than consumer Wi-Fi solutions. 

Enterprise-level connection equipment is able to support larger loads as well, without tapering off into dead zones or suffering from dropped signals. Wi-Fi access is centrally controlled by an administrator to ensure only authorized users can connect to a network. In this guide, we will explore what you should know about the best enterprise Wi-Fi solutions. 

Also read: Adopting Encrypted DNS in Enterprise Environments

How to Select an Enterprise Wi-Fi Software Solution  

Here is what you should consider when selecting an enterprise Wi-Fi solution:

  1. Coverage: Employing a mesh network enables consistent connectivity without loss of signal quality. Unless you operate a small business, you need multiple access points (APs) to eliminate dead zones. You need to identify dead spots and areas of high user concentration. Take these factors into consideration when setting up a network and ensure overlap between AP areas. 
  2. Choose a wireless network controller: There are two types of wireless network controllers: on-premises wireless controllers and cloud-based wireless controllers. We recommend opting for a cloud-based controller. A wireless network controller enables you to have one central place from where you can configure, communicate, and control all the APs and Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) in a network. 
  3. QoS (Quality of Service): We recommend using APs with QoS settings in order to limit bandwidth usage in each part of a network and to prioritize applications. 
  4. Dual-band setup: Use a dual-band setup to maintain the availability of a reliable Wi-Fi connection even if one set of equipment fails.
  5. Scalability: You should anticipate future growth and plan how you can scale your network as and when the need arises. 

Also read: Routing Protocols: EIGRP vs OSPF

Best Enterprise Wi-Fi Solutions

Read on to learn all you need to know about these enterprise Wi-Fi solutions.  

Mist WxLAN

Juniper Networks logo.Jupiter Networks’ Mist WxLAN offers enterprises an extensible and modern framework for their digital journey. As a Mist WxLAN customer, you will gain policy enforcement capabilities and network visibility at the network edge, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices, without the added costs of a policy enforcer or profiler from a legacy solution. 

Mist WxLAN aids business scaling with its 100% Application Programming Interface (API) architecture and its menu commands make the process of rapidly deploying network segmentation across various classified endpoints and user groups simple.  

Key differentiators:

  • Secure onboarding and segmentation of multiple devices or user groups on a single SSID, by generating personalized keys to access the SSID. This eliminates the need for the creation of multiple unique SSIDs. 
  • Allow zero-touch discovery of services like Bonjour for all end-point users across the enterprise network.
  • You can easily configure access policies via contextual menus, regardless of their authorization/authentication. For example, you can prohibit employee access to social media with ease and assign and prioritize network resources like servers and printers. 
  • Automate quarantine or unsanctioned policies.
  • Mist WxLAN is included with the service provider’s Wi-Fi Assurance Subscription, a Mist Artificial Intelligence (AI) cloud service. Mist Wi-Fi Assurance offers reliable, measurable and predictable Wi-Fi with distinctive visibility into user service levels.
  • The subscription includes features like customizable Wi-Fi service levels, AI-driven radio resource management (RRM), dynamic packet capture, instant root cause identification, network insights, and guest Wi-Fi. 
  • A range of Mist AI-powered Wi-Fi 6 APs are on offer. 
  • Pricing: Contact Juniper Networks for pricing information. Alternatively, you can use the Mist Value Calculator service.  

Cisco Enterprise Wireless

Cisco logo.Network administrators need to have a flexible wireless infrastructure to accommodate more users, traffic and IoT devices, while maintaining network security, proactively managing the network and delivering the ability to simplify operations. This is where Cisco Enterprise Wireless comes into the picture.  

Cisco Enterprise Wireless delivers a secure and scalable wireless architecture that is easy to manage and deploy. The enterprise Wi-Fi solution caters to the demands of small, medium-sized and large enterprises.

Key differentiators: 

  • Cisco Catalyst 9100 Series Access Points support the Wi-Fi 6 standard. These custom-built APs are designed for high-density environments and use features like Cisco CleanAir to protect airwaves from interference and wireless attacks. 
  • Cisco DNA Center uses AI and Machine Learning (ML) to provide better efficiency, increased performance and greater cost savings. It also enables a single touchpoint that abstracts network complexity through automation and analytics. 
  • Cisco DNA Assurance provides a transparent view of all the devices in a network. This allows your Information Technology (IT) team to easily resolve issues. 
  • The Cisco and Apple partnership enhances the user experience of those using Apple devices, through features like rich client insights and Fast Lane. 
  • Flexible Radio assignment optimizes user experience by instinctively adapting to changes in a high-density network. 
  • Cisco High Density Experience (HDE) relieves stress on high-volume wireless networks.
  • Pricing: Contact Cisco to determine how much you will have to pay for the solution.

Aruba WLAN

Aruba logo.Aruba WLAN is a high-performance, secure enterprise wireless Local Area Network (LAN) that features Wi-Fi 6 certification and previous Wi-Fi generation interoperability. The Wi-Fi solution offers secure and reliable Wi-Fi that has built-in intelligence. Aruba WLAN supports scalability, greater mobility, digital transformation, and IoT.

The Aruba WLAN portfolio consists of indoor and outdoor wireless APs, gateways and controllers and location services. The AI-powered enterprise Wi-Fi software solution delivers improved capacity and performance and greater Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) visibility across all devices and users. 

Key differentiators: 

  • You can improve scalability, reliability, and efficiency using Aruba Central and Aruba ESP. 
  • A cloud-native, centralized management system offers ease of networking.
  • Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of network operations with Aruba’s ML-based AIOps. Aruba’s AIOps enterprisingly identifies issues, recommends corrective actions and provides service assurance. 
  • The solution’s Zero Trust Security model reduces risk with dynamic segmentation and role-based policy enforcement firewalls. 
  • Support for Wi-Fi 6 provides better user and guest encryption.
  • Pricing: contact Aruba Networks to figure out how much the solution will cost your business.

Fortinet Secure Wireless LAN

Fortinet logoFortinet Secure Wireless LAN leverages security-driven networking to offer secure Wi-Fi access. FortiAPs are Fortinet Security Fabric enabled and provide automated protection, integrated threat intelligence and broad visibility. By leveraging Fortinet’s security-driven networking solution, you can secure the LAN Edge without the need for complex and costly licensing schemes. Fortinet offers a safe wireless LAN within a flexible architecture. 

Key differentiators: 

  • Security Fabric integration provides security-driven networking out to the LAN Edge.
  • The solution improves network security at the access layer with an automated response to compromised devices. 
  • Zero-touch deployment eliminates the need for onsite technical support.
  • Simplified capacity expansion and deployment. 
  • You can scale up to 10,000 APs.
  • Wireless presence analytics capabilities included.
  • Pricing: Contact Fortinet today to determine the amount you will have to pay for the solution. You can also request a demo before you make a purchase. 

ExtremeWireless

Extreme Networks LogoExtreme Networks’ ExtremeWireless is a cloud-driven, enterprise Wi-Fi solution that provides support for Wi-Fi 6 standards and is powered by AI and ML to deliver upgraded user experiences with effortless networking. 

Of the enterprise Wi-Fi solutions that we have reviewed, Extreme Networks offers the widest range of next-generation, cloud-managed Wi-Fi APs. The service provider also offers high-performance, enterprise-class WLAN appliances. 

Key differentiators: 

  • High capacity and efficient Wi-Fi that makes use of the latest technologies, including MU-MIMO, OFDMA and software-defined dual 5 GHz radios to protect and optimize bandwidth in all environments.
  • The self-driving Wi-Fi solution is powered by AI and ML to continually adapt and adjust performance based on millions of actionable insights. 
  • You can simplify every facet of IT operation, from deployment to support, by combining Extreme Networks’ Wi-Fi hardware appliances with next-generation Extreme cloud management. 
  • Extreme APs identify associated devices, users and applications and apply contextualized network policies to restrict, limit and prioritize network performance at the user and group levels.  
  • Secure IoT, guest, bring your own device (BYOD) and corporate devices to enterprise levels with a range of granular network policies and authentication options. 
  • Pricing: Contact Extreme Networks to ascertain how much you will have to pay for the enterprise Wi-Fi network software solution.

Choosing a Wi-Fi Solution

Juniper Networks’ Mist Wi-Fi Assurance Subscription is the best enterprise Wi-Fi network software solution on the market. All five solutions are built to improve Wi-Fi network efficiency, scalability and reliability.

If you want to build a Wi-Fi network infrastructure from scratch, we recommend exploring Extreme Networks APs and WLAN appliances. Keep in mind the tips mentioned in the guide: carefully assess each solution and contact your preferred service providers to determine the cost you will have to take on to integrate a solution.

Read next: Best Firewall Software for Enterprise Networks 2021

Surajdeep Singh
Surajdeep Singh
Surajdeep Singh has been working as an IT and blockchain journalist since 2018. He is a contributor to publications including IT Business Edge, Enterprise Networking Planet & Smart Billions and works as a consultant at Drofa Communications Agency.

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