The first blog in this series highlighted the benefits of Cisco DNA software subscriptions, and the second blog covered Cisco’s Enterprise Agreement and the exclusive Cisco DNA benefits. For the third in the series, we’ll do a deep-dive into Cisco DNA Software for Switching.

What is the structure?

Cisco DNA Software for Switching is divided into three tiers: Cisco DNA Essentials, Cisco DNA Advantage and Cisco DNA Premier. As you go up in tiers, the features and capabilities become more differentiated. Note that the packages are nested, so if you have Cisco DNA Advantage, you also get all Cisco DNA Essentials capabilities. If you have Cisco DNA Premier, you receive Cisco DNA Advantage and Essentials capabilities.

Check out the full list of features in each tier.

Cisco DNA Essentials, the base tier, enables automated network operations that helps IT stay on top of overall network health, drive plug-n-play of new devices, and speed-up new deployments while maintaining compliance with consistent configurations across the entire network. You’d have access to this on the Cisco DNA Center application. Cisco DNA Advantage offers policy-based and all other advanced automation and assurance capabilities, which allows IT to spend less time troubleshooting and drive fast issue resolution. The package also enables SD-Access, although some of these capabilities and features do require an integration to Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), which is licensed by number of endpoints as well as an ISE instance (you can choose either a physical appliance or a virtual machine/VM).  As a result, you can get full SD-Access capabilities in the Advantage level tier if you already have an ISE server and endpoint licenses in your network. If you do not have ISE in your network and want SD-Access, Cisco DNA Premier would offer the best value to get these ISE endpoint licenses, as well as Stealthwatch flow licenses for those who want to deploy Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA). With Cisco DNA Premier, all Cisco DNA use cases and required licenses are provided. Premier enables IT to have deeper insights into securing the network from malware.

When you attach a Cisco DNA software subscription to your switch, you will also get the bundled perpetual license: Network Essentials or Network Advantage. Network Essentials is bundled with Cisco DNA Essentials, like the name suggests. Network Advantage is bundled with Cisco DNA Advantage or Cisco DNA Premier.

Why should I purchase a subscription for my switches?

Subscription matters because it gives you faster access to innovation with access to the latest features, and it gives you enhanced agility and better financial planning with license portability and a linear, predictable budget. Read about the benefits of software subscriptions (pdf).

Now, with the bundled perpetual Network stack and DNA subscription licenses, you will get a lot more value for the same price. For those who were accustomed to purchasing LAN Base access switches, you can now get a next-generation Catalyst 9000 series switch with Network Essentials as well as a 3-year Cisco DNA Essentials subscription for less. For those who used to purchase IP Base or IP Services, you can get Network Advantage and a 3-year subscription to Cisco DNA Advantage for less. See the details below:

Cisco DNA software subscription tiers

I purchased Cisco ONE, what about me?

For Cisco ONE customers, we have you covered for an easy transition to Cisco DNA Software subscriptions. When you renew your SWSS (software support service) contract, we will provide entitlement to Cisco DNA Software subscription at no additional cost. So, for the same term and price that you are paying for SWSS, we will include Cisco DNA Essentials or Cisco DNA Advantage subscription licenses. (Cisco ONE Foundation receives Cisco DNA Essentials, and Cisco ONE Advanced receives Cisco DNA Advantage).

What support do I get with the subscription?

With Cisco DNA subscription for switching, there is embedded software support that includes 24/7 TAC support, new software downloads, and knowledge base access. Please note that this support is for the Cisco DNA Subscription components only. All switches also come with E-LLW (Cisco Enhanced Limited Lifetime Warranty) which include the following:

  • 90 days of Cisco TAC support; local business hours, 8×5
  • Hardware replacement (next business day where available)
  • Duration is lifespan of hardware product

For those who are looking for TAC support beyond 90 days on the network stack (Network Essentials/Advantage), you should purchase Solution Support or Smart Net Total Care on the switch, which covers both the hardware and the network stack.


Visit cisco.com/go/dnaswitching to learn more about Cisco DNA software for switching.

Watch the new Cisco DNA subscriptions introductory video:




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



Monisha Alfaro

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking & Mobility