The complexity of network management often produces unintended conflicts. The network manager knows how the network should perform, but somewhere between design and implementation, coding errors happen, wired and wireless networks conflict, security gaps are overlooked, and performance is compromised. Ultimately, the network manager’s requirements aren’t met.

What if the network was so advanced it could automatically implement the network manager’s intent—consistently—across the entire enterprise?

Now it can.

In June, Cisco introduced a new kind of network, built from the ground up for the demands of the digital era. We announced the culmination of years of research and development: an intent-based network that constantly learns, adapts and evolves. But that announcement represented more than groundbreaking technology. It was also about the transformation of how we deliver networking innovation to our customers.

Along with our intent-based networking technology, we announced that our new generation of switches – the Catalyst 9000 series – would be the first Cisco hardware product sold with a software subscription. With today’s introduction, we’re building on our commitment to eventually offer all of our software by subscription by adding it to our wireless portfolio.

Ongoing access to innovation

Why is this so important?  Historically Cisco has monetized our software innovation via a hardware model. Many people are surprised to discover that the vast majority of our engineering team are software engineers. But when we sold our products, customers purchased the hardware with a perpetual software license. Now, the industry is shifting towards a software-centric consumption model.

In a software-centric model, customers purchase a software subscription for a set term—typically three, five or seven years—which gives them ongoing access to innovation from the vendor. Software licenses are portable and because licenses are not tied to the hardware, customers can renew and scale as their business requires. And for customers seeking a more predictable budget spend, shifting from CapEX toward an increasingly OpEx model, Cisco’s software subscriptions offer provides increased financial predictability.

With the pace of change in the wireless industry – and with the velocity of innovation Cisco is driving into our intent-based networking portfolio – that’s a huge advantage for our customers. Our new wireless subscriptions provide access to the latest features, ranging from policy-based automation and network segmentation (SD Access) and application prioritization for iOS devices  to network-as-a-sensor capabilities (Identity Services Engine) and location-based analytics (CMX).

New suite of wireless subscriptions

Customers may choose from three new subscription offers for Cisco DNA Access Wireless.

  • DNA Essentials delivers basic security, automation and monitoring capabilities in addition to access point license, network management and Cisco Software Support.
  • DNA Advantage promotes innovation and simplifies operations with policy-based automation. Capabilities customers can implement include policy based automation and analytics, proactive health monitoring and flexible network segmentation and security.
  • Cisco ONE Advantage is the optimal choice for making the full transition to intent-based networking. This suite includes advanced security, automation and analytics capabilities, including network-as-a-sensor and location-based analytics, along with Cisco Software Support.

Network innovation has always been at the center of what we do. And today, we’re leading a generational change to intent-based networking that will revolutionize how networks are built and managed. We’re excited to introduce software subscription with our wireless portfolio. It’s an ideal way for customers to consume Cisco innovation while ensuring their wireless networks keep up with their rapidly changing business.

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Sachin Gupta

Senior Vice President, Product Management

Cisco Intent-Based Networking Group