It’s not surprising that networks are getting bigger, more business critical and more challenging to operate, especially when considering the impact of cloud, mobility, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The consequence? Traditional ways of designing, deploying and managing enterprise networks are not sustainable. And yet network owners must provision and modify such massive networks – while segmenting various users, groups, applications, and IoT devices – without compromising security and application performance.

Intent-based networking addresses these challenges through end-to-end network policy translation, automation, and assurance. But how do vendor implementations compare?

Independent report by Miercom evaluates intent-based networking solutions

Miercom evaluated Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA) with SD-Access, HPE-Aruba’s Mobile First Campus and Huawei’s Agile Campus solution on number of intent-based networking capabilities, such as automation, policy-based segmentation, and assurance.

Network automation: how easily can new network devices and services be designed and provisioned?

Miercom found out that only Cisco’s SD-Access solution offers:

  • converged wired and wireless data plane with unified, multi-level policy across campus and branch networks
  • simplified operations – via comprehensive network automation capabilities that extend beyond basic, day-zero configuration – that enable network managers to convert business intent into an automated network configuration
  • advanced network assurance capabilities

HPE-Aruba’s and Huawei’s automation solutions are rudimentary and fragmented for different elements of the network (switching, wireless, users, devices etc.). They both require multiple touchpoints and are based on rigid templates rather than modern, guided workflows based on context.

Policy-based segmentation: how well can the network be segmented for diverse users and devices, while maintaining security?

Miercom found out that only Cisco offers ease of policy creation and deployment with micro and macro segmentation using a simple drag-and-drop mechanism. HPE and Huawei fail to offer multi-level segmentation and still rely on traditional access-control-list (ACL)-based network segmentation – which adds complexity and additional operational cost.

Network assurance: how can network problems be addressed with guided features, such as monitoring, troubleshooting and remediation?

Miercom found that only Cisco provides a unified assurance platform for wired, wireless and routing with predictive troubleshooting, faster remediation and unique features, such as Intelligent Capture and analytics for Apple devices.

Vendors such as HPE-Aruba and Huawei offer silos of various assurance platforms, but their respective lack of integration across network deployment, management, monitoring and troubleshooting functions forces the network administrator to use multiple dashboards and tools.
Only Cisco delivers all integrated elements required for a complete intent-based networking offering.


For comprehensive analysis of how Cisco DNA stacks up against the competition on intent-based networking, download complete Miercom report here.

Look out for more blogs in this series, which will take a deep-dive into:

  • network automation
  • policy-based segmentation
  • network assurance

About Miercom

Miercom is an independent third-party testing and certification company.


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Kshitij Mahant

Technical Marketing Engineer

Enterprise Networking Group