Tech Corner

AIR-CT 2504 and 3504 Controller Comparison

AIR-CT 2504 & 3504 Controller Comparison

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Product Overview

The Cisco Wireless LAN can help reduce your risk of hackers or malicious users gaining access to critical network resources. This controller enables system wide wireless functions in small to medium-sized enterprises and branch offices. Control can be maintained throughout the whole organization by lightweight wireless access points from the controller and changes can be applied within minutes if need be. It’s designed for 802.11n and 802.11ac performance. Wireless LAN controllers can simultaneously act as data-serving devices and IDS sensors.

air-ct2504 air-ct3504 cisco wireless controller

Cisco 2504 Wireless LAN Controller

The Cisco 2504 Wireless Controller supports Cisco Application Visibility and Control (AVC), the technology that includes Cisco’s Network-Based Application Recognition 2 (NBAR-2) engine. N-BAR-2 does deep packet inspection (DPI) to classify applications and tie into quality of service (QoS) to either drop or mark the traffic, thereby prioritizing business-critical applications in the network. Cisco AVC uses NetFlow Version 9 to export the flows to CiscoPrime Infrastructure or to a third-party NetFlow Collector. The Cisco 2504 Wireless Controller also supports Bonjour Services Directory, which enables Bonjour (Apple) Services to be advertised and utilized in a separate Layer 3 network. Wireless Policy engine is a wireless profiler and policy feature on the Cisco 2500 Series Wireless Controller that enables profiling of wireless devices and enforcement of policies such as VLAN assignment, QoS, ACL, and time-of-day-based access.

ass.12 2504 Controller Picture

Cisco 2504 and 3504 WLC Benefits Comparison

Cisco 2504 Wireless LAN Controller key Benefits Cisco 3504 Wireless LAN Controller key Benefits
Feature Benefits Feature Benefits

Supports up to 75 access points

Supports up to 1000 clients

Cisco DNA SD-Access Wireless SD-Access Wireless is Cisco’s next-generation architecture for enterprise networks. It is the industry’s first policy-based automation from the edge to the cloud. It enables network access in minutes for any user or device to any application without compromising on security. 
Ease of Deployment For quick and easy deployment Access Points can be connected directly to 2504 Wireless LAN Controller via two PoE (Power over Ethernet) ports Cisco DNA Analytics and Assurance Cisco DNA Analytics and Assurance offer comprehensive network visibility. It collects data from users, devices, and applications to proactively identify problems. Network analytics and automation help IT quickly resolve issues, so you can increase availability and deliver a better user experience.
High Performance

Wired-network speed and nonblocking performance for 802.11n and 802.11ac networks.

Supports up to 1 Gbps throughput.

Scalability and performance

Optimized to enable 802.11ac Wave 2 next-generation networks, supporting:

  • 4-Gbps throughput
  • 150 access points
  • 3000 clients
1x Multigigabit Ethernet interface (up to 5 Gigabit Ethernet), + 4x 1 Gigabit Ethernet
4096 VLANs
RF Management Provides both real-time and historical information about RF interference impacting network performance across controllers. Flexibility and ease of deployment
  • Only 10-in. (25-cm) depth to fit nicely in reduced-depth cabinet or desktop deployments
  • Quiet and fanless operation for cabinet or desktop (up to 86°F [30°C] ambient) deployment. The fans are used by the controller only under certain conditions
  • For quick and easy deployment, access points can be connected directly to the controller via two Power Over Ethernet (PoE) ports
Comprehensive End-to-End Security Offers CAPWAP-compliant Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) encryption to help ensure full-line-rate encryption between access points and controllers across remote WAN/LAN links. RF Management
  • Proactively identifies and mitigates signal interference for better performance
  • Provides both real-time and historical information about RF interference affecting network performance.
End-to-end Voice

Supports Unified Communications for improved collaboration through messaging, presence, and conferencing.

Supports all Cisco Unified Wireless IP Phones for cost-effective, real-time voice services.

Multimode with indoor/ outdoor mesh access points
  • Versatile controller with support for centralized, distributed, and mesh deployments to be used at different places in the network, offering maximum flexibility for medium-sized campus, enterprise, and branch networks
  • Centralized control, management, and client troubleshooting
  • Seamless client access in the event of a WAN link failure (local data switching)
  • Highly secure guest access
High-Performance Video Integrates Cisco VideoStream technology as part of the Cisco medianet framework. Comprehensive end-to-end security Offers Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP)-compliant Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) encryption on the control plane.
PCI Integration Part of Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified architecture, and are well-suited for retail customers who deploy transactional data applications such as scanners and kiosks. Fault tolerance and high availability
  • Sub second access point and client failover for uninterrupted application availability
  • Redundant 1 Gigabit Ethernet or Cisco Multi gigabit Ethernet (up to 5 Gigabit Ethernet) connectivity
  • Solid-state device-based storage—no moving parts
  • Supports corporate wireless service for mobile and remote workers with secure wired tunnels to the Cisco Aironet®600, 1130, 1140 or 3500 Series Access Points
  • Extends the corporate network to remote locations with minimal setup and maintenance requirements
  • Improves productivity and collaboration at remote site locations
  • Separate service set identifier (SSID) tunnels allow both corporate and personal Internet access
  • Reduced overall carbon dioxide emissions from a decrease in commuting
WLAN express setup Simplified GUI wizard for quick setup, and intuitive dashboards for monitoring and troubleshooting
Enterprise Wireless Mesh
  • Allows access points to dynamically establish wireless connections without the need for a physical connection to the wired network
  • Available on select Cisco Aironet access points, Enterprise Wireless Mesh is ideal for warehouses, manufacturing floors, shopping centers, and any other location where extending a wired connection may prove difficult or aesthetically unappealing
High-performance Video Cisco VideoStream technology optimizes the delivery of video applications across the WLAN


Wireless Controller Features and Benefits

The Cisco 3504 and 2504 Wireless Controller with Cisco Multi gigabit Ethernet technology is optimized for 802.11ac Wave 2 performance, high scale, and enhanced system uptime.

 It offers:

  • Intent-driven programmability and streaming telemetry.
  • Quiet operation, with a small form factor and compact design-- ideal for space-constrained deployments, providing flexibility without compromising on features.
  • Cisco Multi gigabit Ethernet technology to support next-generation 802.11ac Wave 2 deployments using existing cabling infrastructure.
  • Sub second access point and client failover for uninterrupted application availability.
  • Extraordinary visibility into application traffic, using Cisco Application Visibility and Control (AVC), the technology that includes the Network-Based Application Recognition 2 (NBAR2) engine, with Cisco's Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) capability. This allows the 3504 to mark, prioritize, and block to conserve network bandwidth and enhance security. Customers have the option to export the flow to Cisco Prime Infrastructure or any third-party Net Flow collector.
  • An embedded wireless Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) classification engine that allows classification of client devices and application of user group policies.
  • Guest access and Bonjour and Chrome cast services in centralized deployments.
  • Software-defined segmentation with Cisco Trust Sec technology, reducing Access Control List (ACL) maintenance, complexity, and overhead.
  • Integrated Cisco Clean Air technology, providing the industry’s only self-healing and self-optimizing wireless network.
  • A simplified GUI wizard for quick setup and intuitive dashboards for monitoring and troubleshooting.
  • Cisco DNA and SD-Access Wireless, as well as Cisco DNA Assurance.

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