In this blog, let us take a look at how Catalyst access switches profile the various connected devices and make the information available to various network services.

Many devices like laptops, IP phones, cameras etc. are connected to the network and need to be managed by IT for asset management, device onboarding, switch configuration, policy management & device energy management. Traditionally, IT administrators manually added each device for each service. This consumes unnecessary overhead and is an inefficient use of IT’s time.

Cisco IOS Device Sensor is an embedded Cisco IOS feature that is available on Cisco access switches. It automatically profiles connected user devices such as IP phones, wireless access points, laptops, cameras, and video conferencing terminals.  It gathers information like device type and sends this information to the various network services automatically.  For example, in a BYOD scenario, Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) profiles connected devices using IOS Device Sensor and in turn configures switches with appropriate access policies. Cisco Auto Smartports is another service that makes use of the device profile information from IOS Device Sensor. It sets appropriate QoS and security settings on the switch based on the device. Here is a use case that shows the impact of Cisco IOS Device Sensor.

Without Cisco IOS Device Sensor: Before an IP phone can be connected to the network, an IT administrator must configure the access switch to assign the traffic to correct voice VLAN and to set appropriate QoS settings. This manual approach needs to be repeated for each of the access switches in the network when deploying IP phones in the network.

With Cisco IOS Device Sensor: Cisco IOS Device sensor on the access switch detects the IP phone and automatically sends the information to the Cisco Auto SmartPorts feature in the switch. Cisco Auto SmartPorts applies the right VLAN and QoS policies for voice traffic based on configured policy. No manual intervention is required. It works automatically on every access switch for all the connected IP phones.

So what are the benefits to IT?

  • Cisco IOS Device Sensor automates configuration of switches for connected devices, simplifying network administration and accelerating the deployment of new devices.
  • Cisco IOS Device Sensor minimizes the need for each network service to continuously scan the network to collect identity information.
  • ‘Plug n Play’ for the end user and IT administrator.

This functionality is available in the following Catalyst platforms:


Shankar Chandrasekaran

Marketing Manager

GMCC Products and Solutions