Co-author: Srini Jasti, Sr. Product Manager – Enterprise Switching

Enterprises are demanding more and more from their networks even with reducing budgets and increasing complexity. Today, IT teams are looking for effective, simpler solutions to deploy and operate their networks. Many are already wondering – Wouldn’t it be nice if the network infrastructure were consistent across their Enterprise – Switching, Routing, and Wireless – to make the deployment and operation of the network easier? How about an infrastructure that would let the network adapt to constantly changing mobility, IoT, and cloud requirements while protecting from ever-increasing security threats? In addition, IT teams now have to decide how to future-proof their network with solutions that provide not only scale but also consistency and operational simplicity across their campus networks.

Addressing these IT challenges today, Cisco is the only proven vendor in the market to deliver this consistency end-to-end across Enterprise campus and branch networks. A core enabler for such end-to-end consistency is a common Operating System (OS) across Switching, Routing and Wireless – Cisco IOS XE. This open OS runs on Catalyst 9000 (and Catalyst 3K) Switches, ISR/ASR routers, and Catalyst 9800 Wireless LAN controllers. For the first time, campuses and branches (including the Wide Area) can be configured, deployed, and managed in the same way across the Enterprise!

Cisco IOS XE is a modern OS delivering market-leading capabilities and consistency end-to-end in the areas of Security, Programmability, High Availability. It enables Cisco’s Switching, Wireless, and Routing platforms to consistently offer –

  • High Availability, delivered through Stateful Switchover (SSO), and seamless software updates enabled by hot and cold Patching. This keeps clients and services always on during planned and unplanned events such as multi-site upgrades, deploying bug fixes and network updates.
  • Embedded Network Security. The network becomes the strongest first line of defense with Cisco Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA), Software-Defined Access (SD-Access), and Trustworthy Systems. The switches, routers, and wireless platforms are equipped with built-in security: secure boot, runtime defenses, image signing, integrity verification, and hardware authenticity. Thanks to these built-in security features, your network is ready to detect any threat and defend against any compromised infrastructure.
  • Agility with Programmable APIs. Built on a modular operating system, the devices feature open and programmable APIs that enable automation of day-0 to day-N network operations. Model-driven streaming telemetry provides deep insights into the health of your network and clients.

Besides consistency, simplicity is a key consideration in deciding on a campus architecture.  In today’s digitized world, IT staff wants freedom from mundane tasks to focus more on helping the fundamental business grow. They want to resolve issues faster and enhance business agility. Virtualized network services, such as WAN Routing, intrusion protection, firewalls, etc., can enable rapid yet secure network expansion. With Cisco’s SDN solutions (including Cisco Software Defined Access and SD-WAN) IT staff can now easily onboard, provision, segment and manage devices, users, and services at various places in the network together. More importantly, get a unified and consistent view of various network elements with potential to extend visibility and network policy into the cloud.

Cisco DNA Center is a single pane of glass providing the unified view from which Enterprises can perform all of the configuration, orchestration, policy, and assurance across Campuses and Branches. Administrators express the requirements of the network in terms of Business Intent which is translated to network configurations, while hiding the complexity of the network from the Operators. Cisco DNA Center provides common workflows for device onboarding across Switching, Routing, and Wireless. Integrated applications such as Software Image Management (SWIM), Plug-and-Play (PNP), and Application Policy operate exactly the same across these domains. SD-Access, Cisco’s fabric-based solution delivering Policy-based automation and Assurance from Edge to the Cloud, operates seamlessly across the Enterprise.

The following screenshot illustrates a consistent experience for Network Health in Cisco DNA Center across Routers, Switches (in Access, Distribution, and Core layers of the network), and Wireless (Controllers and Access Points).

“The Catalyst 9000 Series with the power of open Cisco IOS XE simplifies operations dramatically and helps IT to create a secure and connected learning environment for our 10,000 employees and almost 100,000 students“ – University of Vienna

IT teams thinking about deploying best-in-class solutions across all Enterprise network domains with simplicity, must think Cisco’s SDN solution. Cisco with intent-based networking, not just software-defined networking, is the only proven vendor to provide consistent experience, lower operational costs and improve agility of your business.

Stay tuned for our next blog to find out how!

Srini Jasti & Ivor Diedricks

Check out our array of wireless products here:https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/wireless/index.html, you can find out more about Cisco DNA Center here:https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/cloud-systems-management/dna-center/index.html and DNA Assurance here:https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/dna-analytics-assurance.html#~stickynav=1. Don’t forget about Software-Defined Access here: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/software-defined-access/index.html and Cisco Switches here: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/index.html


Ivor Diedricks

Sr. Product Manager - Enterprise Switching

Enterprise Networking Group (ENG)