Here are three different Wireless Access Points with similar specs:

There's a 17-fold different in price between the cheapest and most expensive. All three support 802.11n and WPA2. The TP-LINK does not support PoE but the others do.

With networking equipment, I'm used to "getting what you pay for"... but I can't understand who is purchasing $875 WAPs and what they are using them for.

What am I missing?

  • Why do some cars cost more than others? – John Gardeniers Jul 3 '10 at 8:54

One of those gets rebooted weekly, another works perfectly fine for most people, and another has the capability to take part in huge wireless mesh topologies that work together to cover entire campuses, allowing seamless handoff, load balancing, etc etc etc.

  • right on. even with OSS firmware that gives cheap routers the software capabilities of much more expensive units, you still have a cheap box with flaky components and lousy heathflow, making even the best software to hung up occasionally. – Javier Jul 3 '10 at 2:18
  • 3
    +1 I run a wireless network on a medium sized campus that has about 150 Cisco LAP 1220/1131/1141s. You really do get what you pay for. I had an uptime of 231 days on my most RECENTLY rebooted AP when I had to take them down for a firmware upgrade. – MDMarra Jul 3 '10 at 2:32
  • VLAN trunking for multiple wireless SSIDs
  • AAA (including TAC-ACS) support [authentication, authorization and auditing]
  • Support, Features, Warranty (as mentioned by Chris S)
  • Reliability (as mentioned by Matt Simmons)

They're meant for different markets. The Cisco WAP is an enterprise class WAP and is undoubtedly engineered to much more exacting specifications then the other two. The other two I would consider SOHO market.

Why does a Cadillac cost more then a Cobalt? They both have similar specs. I can't understand who is purchasing a $42,000.00 car and what they are using it for.

  • 1
    Your comparison to cars is a bit off. You get luxury features in a Cadillac but the function (transportation) is the same. In this example, the Cisco gear is far superior in almost every way from signal strength to reliability to management. In my wireless network, I can update all 150 WAPs' firmware at once with one click of a button. In a wireless network of that size, something like this is not a luxury, but a necessity. – MDMarra Jul 3 '10 at 3:46
  • @MarkM: Your argument makes my point. The higher price point avails you of the luxury features you want. It's a neccessity for you, but not for everyone. The car analogy is the same: Cadillacs come with "run flat tires" and a host of other advanced features and luxuries which are a neccessity to the Cadillac buyer but not to the Cobalt buyer, hence the price difference. – joeqwerty Jul 3 '10 at 3:50
  • @joe - I see now. Your last line about not understanding who buys a Caddy makes it sound like you don't understand who would buy the Cisco AP - which is why I tried to shed some light. – MDMarra Jul 3 '10 at 3:51
  • MarkM: I was trying to illustrate my point with a somewhat sarcastic analogy, which was probably not the best idea. Apologies if anyone took offense as none was intended. – joeqwerty Jul 3 '10 at 3:54
  • @joe - I just assumed that you were the economical type that really loved your Cobalt haha. No offense taken. – MDMarra Jul 3 '10 at 3:57

The more of each, the higher the price. You get what you pay for.

  1. Support
  2. Warranty
  3. Features
  4. Brand Name (per Evan)
  • 1
    I'd beg to differ w/ the "Warranty" and "Support" when it comes to the Cisco AP, unless you mean to say "You get warranty and support with the higher priced one by paying even more, per year, after paying the initial high price." – Evan Anderson Jul 3 '10 at 3:50

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