The intent-based networking (IBN) model promises to deliver on intelligent automation that continuously aligns the network to business needs. Many established and start-up networking vendors are recognizing IT needs more than basic automation to keep up with dynamic business needs. One could say that IBN picks up where SDN left off.

So, while many technology companies are promising intent-based networking solutions to their customers — who is really delivering on the promise?

According to a recent Enterprise Management 360 article, out of the 10 established networking vendors and startups they surveyed, Cisco is a front-runner.

Cisco is probably the most notable company focused on IBN these days. The company announced an IBN initiative as part of its overall vision to create an intuitive system that fully considers and understands the needs of businesses today. Cisco’s IBN solution anticipates actions, stops security problems in their tracks, and learns as it goes too. 

Over the years, Cisco has also introduced the Network Assurance Engine for verification purposes, and the Cisco DNA Centre Assurance environment too. Furthermore, with Cisco, companies can centralise their network policy control strategies, proactively manage their networks, and offer a range of investment opportunities for ongoing innovation.” 

At Cisco, we’ve been working towards developing this controller-based, AI-enabled model for a number of years – so it’s especially rewarding when these efforts are recognized in the industry. It’s our responsibility and obligation to look at market transitions happening – not just now but over the next five to ten years, and prepare customers for the inevitable changes that will affect their networks and their businesses.

Read our 2020 Global Networking Trends Report 

These transitions are being driven by two big disruptions in this hyper-connected world: First, the way we work has drastically changed : users demand secure access to any applications, on any device, at anytime. Second, cloud is the seminal technology trend of this decade which has drastically altered the way we built, consume, and deliver applications. Both of these disruptions have had a major impact on networking – resulting in Cisco having to reinvent networking with our Intent-Based Networking strategy.

So, over the last few years, Cisco continues to develop solutions that deliver intent across the complete network infrastructure, from any client or device to any workload anywhere. That means being able to apply and assure consistent policies across wired and wireless access, WAN, data center and cloud environments.  While the other companies in the list are offering some elements of an intent-based model, Cisco alone is delivering intent-based solutions today across all domains and leveraging AI-enabled assurance to make sure the intent being promised is actually being delivered.

And furthermore, more than any other company, we acknowledge that an intent-based model is not feasible without integrating the required security capabilities that can continuously protect the organization’s network, users and data. The list of companies that are making efforts to keep up with Cisco’s IBN strategy includes startups like Apstra, focused on IBN for data center networking; Veriflow Systems, whose CloudPredict uses maths to predict potential errors, and Forward Networks, which focuses on verification. We’re in great company, and it’s good to see the industry & startups (as well as our traditional competitors) recognizing the importance of IBN to customers’ digital transformation efforts.

At Cisco, we had to fundamentally rethink what the role of the network is in this mobile & cloud-driven environment, and how we make this network operate in a secure, business outcome-oriented manner.

IBN does not exist in a silo. It truly spans all network domains, from users, to applications, to every single part of the network.

Who has that depth and breadth?  Cisco does.


Take our short IBN assessment
to see how far along your own network is.



Prashanth Shenoy

Vice President of Marketing

Enterprise Networking and Mobility