Is Cloud Wi-Fi Right for Me?

cloud wi-fi

Dec 23, 2020 by Andy Cook

Is there a hotter buzzword right now than “cloud”? It’s even reached our Wi-Fi management!

Cloud-controller Wi-Fi networks are available from most major manufacturers where they host your controller functionality, leaving you only with a recurring subscription cost and access points.

Many of us are now faced with the question during our Wi-Fi refresh cycles: should I adopt the cloud subscription model instead? Well, we only have one major question we ask when beginning to spec out a new Wi-Fi deployment: can you tolerate losing control of your controller?

Are You a Control Freak?

As with most cloud-based deployments, you are relinquishing control of the supporting systems, and cloud providers sometimes go down. Just this year we’ve experienced quite a few widespread cloud outages.

All cloud providers have uptime service level agreements of four or five nines (99.9999% uptime guarantee!), but if you do the math that still leaves room for up to several hours’ worth of outage in a year with no contractual consequences. If you can’t tolerate the possibility of this and no accountability should outages occur, you may want to keep your Wi-Fi network controlled on-premises.

Organizations that have very high uptime requirements for their Wi-Fi, like financial or healthcare industries might, may not be able to make a cloud Wi-Fi deployment work. Or if you’re just that type of person who feels better when you can stare at those blinky lights with your own two eyes…well, we get it.

If Not, Try the Cloud!

If you aren’t too worried about having the controller functionality out of your hands — and trust us there are a lot of freedoms and benefits to not having to manage that yourself — then give cloud Wi-Fi a shot! You pay an annual subscription fee (which is not unlike the traditional support structure you tend to get anyway) and you buy the access points. Boom, you’ve got your cloud Wi-Fi.

We’ve seen lots of organizations that have several small disparate sites benefit greatly from cloud Wi-Fi because it eliminates the need to use VPNs or stand up an MPLS.

If you’re on the fence and not sure, you can change your Ruckus APs from cloud functionality to on-premise functionality. So we say: try it for a year first and if you don’t like it, you can get a SmartZone controller stood up and flash the firmware on the APs. (Keep in mind we can’t say this about competing cloud Wi-Fi solutions….)

Another benefit to the cloud Wi-Fi offering from Ruckus is that you get their new analytics! It’ll show you usage, density areas and more. You can add this on to an on-premise deployment, too, but it’s built into Ruckus’s cloud Wi-Fi subscriptions.

Ruckus’s cloud will also soon support switch management, so you can continue to further push your networking operations to the cloud.

Have more questions about designing your new Wi-Fi architecture? We can help. Send us an email at or give us a call at 502-240-0404!

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