Cisco DNA for SD-WAN and Routing subscription software has been around for the better part of three years now. If you are one of the many customers that took advantage of this subscription back then , you are faced with a decision. No, the decision isn’t whether or not to renew. Renewal is a given, presuming you still plan to migrate over to SD-WAN, or plan to continue to use the SD-WAN functionality enabled by Cisco DNA Software. No, the real question before you is: “Am I happy with the software level-enabled feature set I’ve enjoyed over the past three years, or do I want my network to be capable of more than it is today?”

The decision-making process is really no different than what we all go through with our subscription services. Are any of these familiar to you?

  • Am I happy with my one standard-definition (SD) screen on my Netflix subscription? Or do I want to upgrade to twice as many screens in lovely High-Def? Or four screens in Ultra High-Def?
  • I’ve got Hulu with ads, but Disney has that new service that bundles three streaming content providers together. Does it make sense to upgrade?
  • Am I happy with 200 Mb/s of download speed from my ISP? Do I want 500 Mb/s? Or do I want to be the envy of my friends and spring for the 1 Gb/s tier?

That’s the beauty of the subscription model. In the two streaming examples above, all of the functionality is enabled in software to run on the same device (your TV, a Roku, an Amazon Fire TV Stick, etc.). In the bandwidth example, the modem is already capable of handling the highest throughput tier. There’s no forklift hardware replacement required to enable new features, new capabilities, new speeds; they are unlocked by the subscription tier selected!

Cisco has specifically designed its routers (Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms Family, Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISR) and 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 1000)) to have that exact same flexibility. With that firmly in mind, let’s start a conversation around why a software tier upgrade might be right for you now, and discuss the must have capabilities you never knew you needed!

Cisco DNA Essentials for SD-WAN and Routing

This is Cisco’s entry level software subscription suite for SD-WAN and Routing. If your network is running in autonomous mode (some refer to it as traditional routing), this is the tier you likely have. This is Cisco’s lowest cost subscription, and is also its most basic offering.  In this tier, there are limits affecting VPN creation, Cloud OnRamp usage, ability to act on Cisco Umbrella DNS alerts, and device incompatibilities (Essentials is not available for sale on, or migration to, select devices). If this is the tier you currently utilize, read on to see the benefits of a software tier upgrade.

Cisco DNA Advantage for SD-WAN and Routing

Cisco DNA Advantage for SD-WAN and Routing is the natural upgrade destination for those customers who currently have Cisco DNA Essentials. The upgrade to Cisco DNA Advantage includes a tremendous amount of additional value. For example:

  • All VPN restrictions are lifted, enabling the network to grow organically, without hindrance, with your business.
  • Access to Cisco vAnalytics, a cloud-based analytics service for Cisco SD-WAN. vAnalytics offers comprehensive insights into application and network performance. Other key benefits include Quality of Experience (QoE) for web-apps, operational insights to lower mean time to identification (MTTI) of issues with faster root cause isolation, and robust analysis reporting.
  • The three Cloud OnRamp variants (SaaS/Multicloud/Colocation) are fully unlocked and available for use. Enjoy integration with both vManage and vAnalytics, application telemetry information, path optimization with Microsoft 365, Webex, and most SaaS applications, plus automated site-to-cloud and site-to-site connectivity via middle-mile networks.
  • Enhance your security posture with deep packet inspection enabled by Cisco’s SD-WAN Application Intelligence Engine (SAIE).
  • Establish an integrated network border between campus (SD-Access) and SD-WAN networks.
  • Plus enjoy a multitude of Layer 2 and Layer 3 networking enhancements with your upgrade.

As you can see, upgrading from Cisco DNA Essentials for SD-WAN and Routing to the Advantage tier truly unlocks the diverse and desirable capabilities that enable the full SD-WAN experience. This upgrade also lays the foundation for the eventual implementation of SASE within your network.

Cisco DNA Premier for SD-WAN and Routing

Cisco DNA Premier for SD-WAN and Routing is the ultimate upgrade destination for those customers who demand the greatest level of security in their SD-WAN deployments. Cisco DNA Premier adds Cisco Umbrella SIG Essentials, a truly groundbreaking and formidable SD-WAN security suite. Cisco Umbrella SIG Essentials includes:

  • Web Content Filtering: Receive detailed reporting with full URL addresses, user and network identity and ability to allow or block actions, plus the external IP address. Also permits content filtering by category or specific URLs to block destinations.
  • Cloud App Discovery: Provides application discovery, details, and risk information, plus the ability to block the use of offensive or inappropriate cloud applications in the work environment. Apply granular controls to block specific user activities (g., file uploads to Box and Dropbox, attachments to Gmail, posts or shares on Facebook, Twitter, etc.). File-type controls prevent the download of specific file types via policy. Block risky files (executables that may cause instability or risk data leaks) or block media and video files (bandwidth hogs, possible copyright issues).
  • Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Web Security: Advanced antivirus and antimalware protection powered by Cisco Talos threat intelligence. Cisco Secure Malware Analytics sandbox.
  • Layer 3 and Layer 4 Cloud Firewall: Provides visibility and control for Internet traffic across all ports and protocols, IPsec tunnel support for secure traffic routing to cloud infrastructure, automated reporting logs, and customizable IP, port, and protocol policies displayed in a secure dashboard.
  • Roaming User Protection: Cisco AnyConnect® protects your employees even when they are off the VPN. Enjoy seamless protection against malware, phishing, and command-and control callbacks wherever your users go.

If you prize protection from any threat above all else; if you value sound and restful sleep knowing your network is secure; if you understand that security must continually and automatically adapt to repel new threats; then you will find your inner peace with Cisco DNA Premier for SD-WAN and Routing.  


There’s one last nuance in Cisco DNA Software for SD-WAN and Routing we need to discuss. The bandwidth allocations available in the three software tiers have evolved over the last three years. No longer do you need to pick from one of 11 discrete bandwidth levels. You now choose between four generously sized bandwidth buckets. You’ll likely get quite a bit more bandwidth per dollar than you did when you initially signed up. And that is good for everyone!

Let’s get started!

It really is that simple. A Cisco DNA for SD-WAN and Routing software tier upgrades can deliver the feature set you need today and accelerate your path to SASE whenever you’re ready. Contact your Cisco representative today to map out your renewal upgrade!

Additional Resources

SD-WAN and Routing Feature Matrix

SD-WAN and Routing Ordering Guide

Contact Cisco


Brian Loftus

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking & Mobility