Blog updated on August 7, 2020

Co-authored by Monisha Rajasekaran and Brian Loftus Jr.

Use your software to keep pace with changing business needs

In the world of digital transformation, this question often comes up: How can IT quickly adopt new features and functionality without the process being complex and cumbersome? The answer is software. You love your hardware. We all do. But, if you marry your hardware network to software consumption models, you’ll put your entire network on steroids.

Traditional networks can’t keep up

As an IT professional, you are vital to the success of your business. You design, maintain, and support business initiatives with your network, but traditional networks can’t handle the many new challenges of rapidly evolving technology. How are you handling the explosion of mobile and IoT devices, cybersecurity threats, and multi-cloud adoption? You need a network that automates processes, provides built-in security, and delivers analytics and data insights. Cisco makes this possible through its Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA).

Cisco DNA software unlocks your network’s full potential

Cisco DNA takes a software-delivered approach to automating and assuring services across your WAN and your campus and branch networks. Cisco DNA software enables you to streamline operations and facilitate IT and business innovation.

Subscription software delivers ongoing innovation

It is easy to incorporate the benefits of Cisco DNA into your existing network and keep pace with ongoing innovation via software subscription licenses on your Cisco switches, access points, and routers. The benefits of the software subscription model include:

  • Subscription provides ongoing access to innovation by freeing up the software refresh cycle from hardware.
  • Subscription offers better license portability across deployment models – cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid model.
  • Subscription shifts CapEx to OpEx, which gives more financial predictability and linearity with a lower initial investment.

Cisco DNA software subscriptions are available in three tiers depending upon the features and functionality you want. The three tiers are:

  • Cisco DNA Essentials
  • Cisco DNA Advantage
  • Cisco DNA Premier

The tiers are nested, so if you choose Premier, you also receive the features and functionality of Essentials and Advantage. In Advantage, you receive all of the Essentials capabilities.

Choose the right software tier for each technology

Each tier activates a different set of features and functionality for routers versus switches versus wireless devices.

For SD-WAN and Routing, Cisco DNA Essentials offers simplified management and security protection. Cisco DNA Advantage offers advanced SD-WAN with enhanced security for feature-rich and varied branch deployment models. The top tier, Cisco DNA Premier, offers advanced SD-WAN security that helps mitigate the most sophisticated threats to your business.

For Switching, Cisco DNA Essentials offers centralized management, base automation and monitoring. Cisco DNA Advantage offers SD-Access capabilities, advanced automation and monitoring, analytics, telemetry, and visibility. The top tier, Cisco DNA Premier, layers on additional security features and enables all Cisco DNA use cases, including SD-Access and ETA.

For Wireless, Cisco DNA Essentials offers base automation, basic assurance, telemetry, element management, and basic security. Cisco DNA Advantage offers policy-based automation with SD-Access capabilities, assurance with AI/ML analytics, and location engagement and insight (Cisco DNA Spaces). Cisco DNA Premier adds advanced security features and is SD-Access ready.

Watch the new Cisco DNA subscriptions introductory video:



Check out all our blogs in the Cisco DNA software series:


Did we answer your questions about Cisco DNA software? If not, feel free to post your question below and we’ll address it in future updates.



Monisha Alfaro

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking & Mobility