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Cisco DNA Assurance Solution Overview

Networking Solution Solution Overview

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Updated:June 25, 2020

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    (578.3 KB)
    View with Adobe Reader on a variety of devices
Updated:June 25, 2020


AI and machine learning combined with more data sources proactively optimize your network and deliver an improved user experience.

Your network is more strategic to your business than ever. This means that your IT resources need to manage—more than ever—a growing, complex network. More clients, both wired and wireless, more bandwidth-demanding applications, and more services depend on reliable, consistent, and secure network systems. Your organization’s IT resources are being stretched to their limits in transforming your operations to support the new digitally connected world. Finding time for these new IT projects that are key to your core business is the biggest challenge that IT departments are facing today.

With Cisco DNA Assurance, the days of time-consuming network troubleshooting tasks are over. Whether it is wired or wireless, Cisco DNA Assurance enables every point on the network to become a sensor, sending continuous streaming telemetry on application performance and user connectivity in real time. It then uses Cisco® AI Network Analytics to define the levels of performance required for optimal user experience on your network and to derive insights on optimization options. The clean and simple dashboard shows overall status and flags issues. Guided remediation then automates resolution to keep your network performing at an optimal level with less mundane troubleshooting work. With Cisco DNA Assurance, your staff can grow your network and still have time to take on the new IT projects that set your company apart from your competitors.

Benefits of Cisco DNA Assurance

     Saves time: Noise and false positives are reduced, while issues that have the greatest impact on your network are accurately identified.

     Reduces work: AI-driven technologies can proactively find the cause of your biggest network issues quickly.

     Speeds troubleshooting: Machine reasoning algorithms automate remediation options for fast issue resolution.

     Helps you excel: Your network’s performance is increased, while you spend less time running and troubleshooting it.


What makes Cisco DNA Assurance different?

Cisco DNA Assurance provides insights from every device, application, service, and client on your network, and uses the latest AI and machine learning technology to make sense of all this data. It adjusts performance thresholds, reduces alarms and false positives, and then automates the process of issue resolution and performance enhancement. No other system, or combination of systems, on the market offers similar levels of intelligence and performance enhancements.

More data from more sources. Cisco DNA Assurance collects data from a total of 17 different source types, including NetFlow, traceroute, IP SLA, syslog, Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA), RADIUS, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Active Directory and users, Command-Line Interface and Secure Shell (CLI/SSH), netconfig, pxGrid, DNS, AVC, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX), Apple iOS, and Samsung One UI. No other current network analytics and assurance software looks at this many sources for insight. More sources mean more points of view as well as more ways to view an event or issue. It also allows Cisco to offer a much more complete roadmap of future features and functionality.

Correlation of data with AI and Machine Learning (ML). Cisco AI Network Analytics, a new feature, uses a combination of local and cloud-based AI-driven analytics engines to make sense out of all this data and automate the process of issue resolution and performance enhancement.

Clear and concise display of insights with details and guided remediation. This results in an intuitive interface requiring little or no training of your IT team.

Exclusive features only from Cisco

Wireless active sensor: A compact wireless sensor that simulates real-world client experiences so IT can validate wireless performance in Cisco DNA Assurance for critical venues, such as conferences or for VIP clients, and ensure that there are no surprises. It is very useful in remote branches where local IT staff are not located.

Wi-Fi analytics for iOS and Samsung mobile devices: Allows Apple and Samsung smartphones and tablets to send operational information and error codes to Cisco DNA Assurance. This allows IT teams to know the exact reason for a problem and eliminates the need to perform troubleshooting.

Third-party integration through an open, extensible platform: The Cisco DNA Center platform allows extended use of analytics insights in other areas of your operation, connecting business goals with network outcomes.

Wi-Fi 6 readiness dashboard

Wi-Fi 6 readiness dashboard

The new Wi-Fi 6 (a.k.a. 802.11ax) standard is the most substantial upgrade to the standard since the 802.11ac upgrade in 2014. Everyone will be upgrading their wireless networks to take advantage of the incredible new capabilities; the question is when and where do you start. Cisco DNA Assurance has a new dashboard that can give your team the insights you need to know what part of your wireless network will get the biggest benefit from a Wi-Fi 6 upgrade, and what the actual gains will be.

Imagine a manufacturing plant or hospital where most of the wireless devices are embedded into machines and cannot be upgraded without buying new machines. Why upgrade the wireless network when your clients don’t support the new standard? The answer is found with intelligent insights into the actual wireless experience of the endpoint clients, regardless of their Wi-Fi protocol, and how a Wi-Fi 6 upgrade would impact them:

     Demand for data throughput: View the data throughput by individual access point, geographical area, or Wi-Fi protocol. You may find that, although some areas of your network have very few wireless users, their demand for data is very high, while other areas with many wireless users have very low data usage.

     Wireless interference: Wi-Fi 6 has many features that can reduce the effect of unwanted interference and improve the overall network performance. Find the geographic areas where interference is hurting your users’ wireless experience.

     Poor wireless signal strength: Wi-Fi 6 can offer wireless spectrum segmentation that can greatly improve the signal strength of endpoint clients. Identify areas in your network where poor signal strength is causing your wireless network to lose capacity.

     Wireless distribution by protocol: Where is your biggest concentration of older access points? Where do you have the most Wi-Fi 6 clients? View access point distribution by protocol and client distribution by protocol.

Power-over-Ethernet (Cisco PoE) analytics

Connecting new endpoint clients in remote locations without sending an engineer on site can often be a challenge. When the endpoints require Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) for power, your best bet is always to send an engineer on site – until now. Cisco PoE Analytics is a new tab on the “Network Health” dashboard in Cisco DNA Assurance. It gives you visibility into the power consumption and power availability in all of your switches right from your Cisco DNA Center dashboard. Cisco PoE Analytics provides visibility on the power load and power availability per switch and per port. Now you know right where to plug in a new IoT device or upgraded access point. It also shows the distribution of PoE across endpoints to locate IoT devices that are pulling too much power.

Features of the Cisco DNA Assurance solution

Table 1.           Features of the Cisco DNA Assurance solution




Network health dashboard and client health dashboard

The main Cisco DNA Assurance dashboard gives a quick overview of the health of every device and client on the network, wired and wireless, Cisco and Meraki®.

Offers a general overview of the operational status of every network device provisioned from Cisco DNA Center. Any poorly connected devices will be highlighted, with suggested remediation.

Device 360 and client 360

A drill-down feature that displays device or client connectivity from any angle or context. Includes information on topology, throughput, and latency from different times and applications.

Provides a detailed view of the performance of any device or client over time and from any application context. Provides very granular troubleshooting in seconds.

Path trace

A drill-down feature that lets an operator see the path of an application or service from a client through all devices to the server.

A common, and critical, troubleshooting task that normally requires 6 to 10 minutes of research is displayed instantly upon clicking on a client or application.

Network time travel

A drill-down feature that allows an operator to see device or client performance in a timeline view to understand the network state when an issue occurred.

Enables an operator to go back in time and see the cause of a network issue, instead of trying to re-create the issue in a lab.

Wireless active sensor

A compact network sensor designed to monitor your wired or wireless network, with location-based sensor heatmaps to quickly identify failed tests and potential network issues.

Simulates real-world client experiences in order to validate wireless performance for critical venues and high-value locations such as conference halls and meeting rooms.

Intelligent capture

Uses connected access points to provide advanced troubleshooting for wireless issues. This includes on-demand RF scanning, real-time client location, Wi-Fi application analytics, and anomaly-based packet captures.

Offers an unprecedented level of wireless service facilitation based on detailed and proactive analysis of wireless performance per access point or per Wi-Fi client. Allows system administrators to prepare for special events or VIP visits, or simply to troubleshoot a stubborn wireless issue.

Wi-Fi 6 readiness dashboard

Verifies your hardware and configuration compatibility for the new Wi-Fi standard, and locates areas most served by an upgrade. After upgrading, advanced wireless analytics will indicate performance and capacity gains as a result of the Wi-Fi 6 deployment.

Improves visibility of wireless network. Identify generation/version of access points in use and clients connected. View wireless load, throughput, and performance from many angles. Upgrade where and when it makes sense, then document the results.

On-device analytics

Assurance and analytics are performed on a Cisco switch, router, or wireless controller where the anomaly is discovered.

Critical metrics can be identified and immediately acted on before an incident occurs. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are core to business operations can be maintained in real time and close to the users that rely on them.

iOS and Samsung client device analytics

Provides communication from smartphones running Apple iOS or Samsung android to Cisco DNA Assurance. Smartphone client sends error codes and other wireless diagnostic information.

Allows Cisco DNA Assurance to provide extremely accurate remediation recommendations when an iOS or Samsung mobile client is having wireless connectivity issues to the network.

Application experience

Tracks the performance of predefined critical business applications. Shows user experience and performance metrics. Provides specialized rapid troubleshooting per application and per client.

Provides unparalleled visibility and performance control of the applications critical to your core business, on a per-user basis. Allows users to have the performance they need on the applications that are key to their company role.

Cisco DNA Center platform

A broad set of APIs, SDKs, and adapters that extend the capabilities of Cisco DNA Center to external applications, cross-architectural domains, systems and processes, and third-party devices.

Allows Cisco DNA Center to share network data and insights that can provide important intelligence related to business and IT operations. It also allows real-time control of the network in lockstep with business needs.

Cisco AI network analytics

AI and machine learning technologies are implemented onsite and in the cloud to enhance the performance and remediation capabilities of Cisco DNA Assurance.

Increases network performance through baseline customization, reduces noise while identifying issues that are core to performance improvement, and automates remediation for faster issue resolution.

Cisco DNA Assurance allows you to run the network with maximum performance, reliability, security, and open interfaces. Unlock the power of data by starting your journey with Cisco DNA Assurance today.

How Cisco DNA Assurance works

How Cisco DNA Assurance works

Cisco DNA Assurance allows users to define a set of policies to help ensure optimal network performance for the applications and services they rely on. Four complex and complete processes in Cisco DNA Assurance manage the baseline for each user experience:

     Network telemetry and contextual data: Data is collected from 17 sources in the network in real time. Collecting from so many different points allows Cisco DNA Assurance to view issues from many different angles and contexts. You can compare this to having multiple cameras in a football game, offering more detailed information on critical plays. Moreover, offering more than just multiple angles, these 17 sources also provide context for the many different conditions under which any event occurs.

     Complex event processing: A series of analytics engines divides the event processing between critical metrics, which need instantaneous action, and noncritical metrics. Distributed on-device analytics located on select Cisco switches, routers, and wireless controllers handle critical decisions in real time and at the source of the incident. Cisco DNA Center’s centralized analytics engine can collect and process the full set of data coming from all areas of the network.

     AI/ML insights: Using AI and machine learning, Cisco AI Network Analytics customizes your network baseline for alerts, reducing noise and false positives while enabling IT teams to very accurately identify issues, trends, anomalies, and root causes. Comparative benchmarking between peers or sites improves network performance consistency across branch offices and can identify network optimization opportunities and allocate IT resources.

     Automated remediation: Cisco AI Network Analytics uses machine reasoning to automate logical remediation options for appropriate workflows and client issue resolution. It is fast, simple, and intuitive for greater IT efficiency.

Cisco AI Network Analytics

Cisco AI Network Analytics

Cisco’s intent-based networking just got smarter by applying advanced analytics and machine learning, both on premises and in the cloud. Cisco AI Networks Analytics works inside of Cisco DNA Assurance to increase intelligence in the network, empowering administrators to accurately and effectively improve performance and facilitate issue resolution.

Visibility—AI-driven baselining: No two networks are the same. AI-driven technologies can learn the user trends, services, and application metrics that are specific to your network. Cisco DNA Assurance can then create a customized performance curve for analytical decisions. The AI-driven baseline for the performance parameters that are unique to your network is constantly adapted as your network grows and changes.

Insight—intelligent issue analysis: When every device is sending streaming telemetry, every client is communicating errors, and applications are subject to deep packet inspection, the IT team can suffer from data overload—too much noise from too much data. Cisco AI Network Analytics uses machine learning to make sense of all this data, accurately detecting performance issues and ignoring unusual but harmless network anomalies. This reduces noise and false positives while accurately identifying issues that have the greatest impact on your network. Comparative analytics leverages AI technologies to improve network performance consistency across branch offices through comparative benchmarking between peers or sites. Teams can correctly identify network optimization opportunities and allocate IT resources intelligently.

Action—accelerated remediation: Cisco AI Network Analytics uses machine reasoning to perform the logical troubleshooting steps that an engineer would execute in order to resolve a problem. This helps users detect issues and vulnerabilities, perform complex root cause analysis, and execute corrective actions faster than ever. Machine reasoning accelerates remediation, making your team more precise in problem solving and more productive overall.

Cisco AI Network Analytics is now a standard part of Cisco DNA Assurance and is included in the Cisco DNA Advantage software licensing tier.


Getting started with Cisco DNA Assurance

Getting started with Cisco DNA Assurance is as simple as installing the Cisco DNA Center appliance and licensing the devices on which Assurance capabilities are desired (for example, wireless access points and wireless controllers). Cisco DNA Assurance capabilities are delivered through three software subscription offers: Cisco DNA Premier, which is Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) and Assurance ready; Cisco DNA Advantage, which is SD-Access and Assurance capable; and Cisco DNA Essentials, for basic monitoring, and automation. The most value-rich offer, Cisco DNA Premier, delivers policy-based automation with SD-Access, Cisco DNA Assurance, and enhanced security. Customers can enable all Cisco DNA use cases with Cisco DNA Premier.

You can start your journey today to an intent-based network on your current portfolio of network equipment, then continue to adopt network innovations in the months and years ahead through the power of software. Get software details.

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Cisco Services

Accelerate your intent-based networking journey with our Cisco services for enterprise networks. Our team helps accelerate adoption of Cisco DNA Center solutions while reducing risks. Cisco service experts help speed time to value, allowing you to troubleshoot and monitor your network using Cisco DNA Assurance. We provide a comprehensive lifecycle of advisory, implementation, optimization, managed, technical, and IT training services to help you move to an open, secure, and automated intent-based network with ease and confidence.

Get started with our Cisco DNA Center Advise and Implement services that provide solution design and implementation support to help you quickly deploy your Cisco DNA Center solution. Using an architectural approach to network design, automation, and assurance, Cisco experts work with your IT staff to manage, scale, and securely integrate Cisco DNA Center with IT and business systems for greater efficiency.

Cisco Capital

Flexible payment solutions to help you achieve your objectives

Cisco Capital makes it easier to get the right technology to achieve your objectives, enable business transformation and help you stay competitive. We can help you reduce the total cost of ownership, conserve capital, and accelerate growth. In more than 100 countries, our flexible payment solutions can help you acquire hardware, software, services and complementary third-party equipment in easy, predictable payments. Get payment details.

Why Cisco?

You need a network that is constantly learning, constantly adapting, and constantly protecting. This is the future of networking.

With our deep understanding of technology and relationships with IT, Cisco can help bring your IT and the boardroom together to work effectively toward better outcomes for IT and the business. With Cisco DNA, we can help you create revenue opportunities, lower costs, reduce risks, and ensure regulatory compliance. And we can help you simplify your network operations and accelerate your response to changing IT and business needs.

Together with our partners, we help you innovate, manage market transitions, and turn technology into business advantage.

Customer success stories

Cisco customers in every industry are changing the way they manage their network with Cisco DNA Assurance. Take a look at the latest customer case studies to learn how customers are deploying Cisco DNA Assurance and how it is aligning their network operations with their business goals. Read stories.

Next steps

For more information:

     Visit the Cisco DNA Analytics and Assurance website at https://www.cisco.com/go/assurance.

     Review the Cisco DNA Assurance use case getting started guide.

     Read the design guide for enabling Cisco DNA Assurance on an existing network.

     Get started with programming to take full advantage of the Cisco DNA Center platform capabilities. Learn more at Cisco DevNet.

Learn more