The next step in intent-based networking is putting it in more places.

We launched our intent-based networking portfolio a year ago with the introduction of the Catalyst 9000 line of switches and Cisco DNA Center. These products support a new way to build and operate networks: They capture business intent and translate it into network policy. With intent-based networking, an entire network can be configured automatically in minutes, with assurance that it has happened correctly.

We have also been aggressive in bringing the concepts of automation and analytics to our portfolio of routers. In July we delivered Cisco SD-WAN support, powered by Viptela, for our ISR and ASR router lines. This software allowed over a million routers to be upgraded to SD-WAN.

These moves laid the foundation for the next evolution in our intent-based networking journey. It has allowed us to move forward in four important areas.

1. Wired and Wireless – Together
For most people today, wireless is the main – or only – way they connect. Smartphones and many laptops don’t have Ethernet ports. But even wireless networks rely on physical wires to connect to wireless switches. Those switches need to coexist with the ones that wired devices like desktop computers and local servers connect to. As of today, only Cisco provides a single modern operating system, IOS XE, for both wired and wireless network equipment. It will simplify operations and provide full programmability, streaming telemetry, state-of-the-art security, hot patching, and more mission-critical capabilities across our wired and wireless solutions.

To run this capability, we are proud to announce the launch of the Catalyst 9800 Wireless LAN Controller. This new WLC is built on the same operating system as the rest of the Catalyst 9000 line, and the software can also run virtually on other Catalyst 9000 switches, or in the cloud. It’s a supremely flexible wireless controller and a great addition to the Catalyst 9000 family.

2. Intent Based Networking Everywhere
I believe that all our networking customers’ sites, no matter the size, can benefit from intent-based networking. A lot of business gets done in branch offices, and in small businesses. Intent-based networking can help businesses accelerate the adoption of new technologies and add to their bottom lines. But the technology has to be right-sized for smaller and simpler environments.

The new Catalyst 9200 switch meets this challenge: It extends intent-based networking to simple branch deployments and mid-market customers. The Catalyst 9200 runs the same powerful OS as the rest of the Catalyst 9000 series, and leverages the same family of Cisco-designed ASICs, too. This new switch gives smaller deployments access to the full suite of Cisco enterprise services – at price point suited to their needs.

3. Better Application Performance for Users
CIOs around the world tell me that application performance for users is among their top concerns. As the applications that users rely on are moving to the cloud, employees rely more on the Internet for access to those apps, and networking administrators don’t have the same capabilities to optimize their experience that they do for traditional hosted services. SD-WAN solution providers need to work directly with cloud application vendors to provide this optimization.

Cisco is helping, by working with more than a dozen cloud service providers to provide improved performance for users working with SaaS applications. We can optimize traffic so every user in an organization, whether they are working in the company’s headquarters or a far-flung branch office, has the most efficient access to the service they need. The new SD-WAN Office 365 Acceleration feature, developed in close cooperation with Microsoft, gives network traffic for that app an even better shortcut to one of the most popular business-critical cloud services, while of course still providing full policy control and assurance.

4. SD-WAN Security for All
As more businesses adopt cloud services for line-of-business operations, the old network layout of backhauling all traffic to a central location for inspection doesn’t work. The monolithic security architecture is not resilient enough and creates a poor application experience. Remote users at the edge of the corporate network need more direct access to their cloud services. This calls for a new security architecture.

We have integrated several flexible security solutions into our SD-WAN devices, and simplified the connectivity to our industry leading cloud security offer, Cisco Umbrella. Application-aware enterprise firewall, intrusion prevention, and URL filtering, are all now directly integrated into our Cisco ISR and ASR SD-WAN platforms. The security solutions are powered by Talos, the most powerful cyber threat intelligence team, and managed via our SD-WAN management console, Cisco vManage.

Cisco SD-WAN eliminates tradeoffs between performance and security. We believe security can be delivered simply, and at scale, to the branch and to the cloud, without compromise. The new members of our Catalyst 9000 family make intent-based networking accessible to more deployments, as well as making the wireless network infrastructure a full citizen of the intent-based networking fabric.

All of these solutions are also open and programmable: We are introducing new developer learning labs and sandboxes to take advantage of the open APIs of our SD-WAN solution. 

To learn more about these innovations, please see:


Scott Harrell

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Enterprise Networking Business