Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN Data Sheet

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Updated:June 4, 2024

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Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN empowers businesses and workforces with high-performance connectivity and robust security. Build a strong and scalable network that delivers seamless user experiences, optimizes application performance, and offers unparalleled multicloud and SaaS optimization, all through a single cloud-managed platform. Unlike limited solutions, Catalyst SD-WAN's built-in security features provide industry-leading cybersecurity protection, securing your network and data from the cloud to the edge. Catalyst SD-WAN allows you to flexibly design your ideal architecture instead of choosing a vendor's solution and fitting your business around that architecture.

Product overview

Catalyst SD-WAN empowers businesses to thrive in today's dynamic digital landscape by delivering a secure, high-performance network foundation. The scalable solution ensures optimal application performance for users everywhere, regardless of location. Simplify branch office management by unifying connectivity and security with centralized control. Recognized as an industry leader in performance and security, Catalyst SD-WAN offers robust networking platforms and unmatched security that surpasses the industry average by 25%, providing unparalleled protection and peace of mind.

Key Features and Benefits:

     Resilient Network: Catalyst SD-WAN delivers a high-performance network infrastructure that optimizes application performance for users everywhere. AI-powered automation proactively identifies potential issues and automates configurations, ensuring operational efficiency and agility.

     Unmatched Security: Built-in, industry-leading security features safeguard your network and data from the cloud to the edge. Unlike other SD-WAN solutions, Cisco empowers you to design your ideal architecture without limitations.

     Seamless User Experiences: Empower your workforce with consistent and reliable application performance, regardless of location. Gain enhanced visibility into user experience for faster troubleshooting and improved business continuity.

     Simplified Management: Simplify branch operations and streamline IT processes with centralized management of connectivity and security. The flexible architecture allows effortless scaling to adapt to your evolving business needs.

     Multicloud and SaaS Optimization: Catalyst SD-WAN offers unparalleled multicloud and SaaS optimization, providing seamless integration and performance acceleration for your cloud applications.

Prominent features

Optimized performance with Application-Aware Routing

Enhanced Application-Aware Routing delivers real-time intelligent path selection based on data plane tunnel quality. It detects tunnel degradation and switches traffic to a better path in as little as 10 seconds. The flexibility of directing application traffic based on business intent ensures that the business-critical applications, as identified by NBAR/SD-AVC, switch to a better performing path when SLA is not met.

SaaS Optimization for Cloud Productivity

Cisco SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for SaaS optimizes the user experience for SaaS applications through proactive path probing, application telemetry and application aware routing to steer traffic over an optimal path.

Cloud OnRamp for SaaS supports 1400+ business critical applications and allows user to define their own internal applications for a fast, reliable and superior end user experience. It also uniquely integrates Microsoft’s Informed Network Routing and Webex telemetry to provide bi-directional data sharing between these applications and the SD-WAN solution. This allows Cloud OnRamp for SaaS to identify even higher-performing paths for each Microsoft 365 application and Cisco Webex session.

Organizations will benefit with faster, more reliable access to SaaS workloads, and optimization of their end user experience while maintaining business continuity through improved uptimes for SaaS applications.

Enhanced User Experience with Application Experience Optimization:

Catalyst SD-WAN offers a comprehensive suite of WAN Optimization (AppQoE) features that work seamlessly with dynamic application-aware routing to enhance WAN performance and elevate application experience.

Catalyst SD-WAN's AppQoE suite empowers you to deliver an exceptional user experience by:

     Minimizing Latency and Maximizing Throughput: Experience faster application response times and smoother user interactions through TCP Optimization, leading to increased productivity and satisfaction.

     Optimizing Bandwidth Utilization: Reduce bandwidth consumption and associated costs with Data Redundancy Elimination (DRE), ensuring efficient use of your WAN resources.

     Ensuring Application Reliability: Mitigate the impact of packet loss and network fluctuations with Forward Error Correction and Packet Duplication, guaranteeing consistent performance for critical business applications.

Unmatched Security for a Secure and Resilient Network Foundation

Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN delivers a comprehensive solution designed to meet your evolving security and compliance requirements. It offers flexible deployment options, enabling you to choose between a cloud-based Security Access Service Edge (SASE) model or on-premises deployment within your SD-WAN routers.

Robust On-premises Security:

Catalyst SD-WAN empowers robust on-premises security by extending distributed security directly to the network edge. This simplifies compliance efforts while offering continuous protection against evolving threats, both internal and external.

The multi-layered integrated security solution and advanced architecture delivers a rich feature set, including:

Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW): The NGFW integration elevates network security with real-time threat detection and precise traffic control at the edge router. Benefit from the multilayered defense and a comprehensive security stack that includes macro and micro segmentation, identity-based policies, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), Advanced Malware Protection (AMP), URL filtering and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. Leverage threat intelligence from Cisco Talos, a world-renowned security research team, to stay ahead of evolving threats.

Zero-trust approach

Catalyst SD-WAN delivers Zero-trust foundation with authentication, encryption, and segmentation. Integration with Cisco ® Identity Services Engine (ISE), enables user identity verification, visibility into every device, and adaptive policy enforcement to secure access to every application.

Monitoring and Visibility: Catalyst SD-WAN provides near real-time visibility into security events enabling proactive decision-making and swift responses to potential security risks. For customized visibility, Catalyst WAN seamlessly integrates with third-party SIEMs and SOAR solutions including Splunk, Microsoft Sentinel and Live Action to meet your logging and event requirements.

Simplified Security

Catalyst SD-WAN simplifies implementing policies with guided workflows, enhanced monitoring and visibility, and access to actionable threat data from a single dashboard.

Certification and Compliance: Catalyst WAN ensures constant protection from cyber threats across branches to multicloud SaaS environments. Catalyst SD-WAN empowers you to build a network foundation with unmatched security and regulatory compliance. Our solution goes beyond industry standards, exceeding rigorous benchmarks to ensure comprehensive security across branches, multicloud environments, and SaaS applications. Our industry certifications include: FIPS 140-2 validation, FedRAMP® ATO, ISO 27001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, ISO 27701, PCI-DSS, C5 System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2), SOC 3.

Learn more about Catalyst SD-WAN Security

Simplified path to SASE with Catalyst SD-WAN

Catalyst WAN enables a smooth transition to SASE through its tight integration with Cisco’s Secure Service Edge (SSE) – Cisco Secure Access. This "Cisco-on-Cisco" solution offers an integrated SASE approach, that combines the power of Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN with the robust security of our SSE solution, Cisco Secure Access. The integration simplifies the transition to SASE by eliminating the complexities of multivendor environments. A unified management platform offers centralized control and oversight of both networking and security functions, significantly reducing operational complexity and saving IT resources. Gain robust security, seamless management, and exceptional performance—all within a single platform.

While Cisco offers a comprehensive SASE solution, Catalyst SD-WAN also seamlessly integrates with leading 3rd party cloud security vendors including Zscaler, Palo Alto Networks, Netskope, Skyhigh Security and Cloudflare. This flexibility empowers you to build a SASE architecture that perfectly aligns with your specific needs and preferences.

Organizations can also adopt a fully unified SASE with Cisco Secure Connect that is a converged solution on one platform with a single dashboard for both SD-WAN and SSE.

Seamless Multicloud Connectivity: Cisco SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp for Multicloud:

Catalyst SD-WAN simplifies multicloud networking by seamlessly integrating with cloud service providers (CSPs) and their underlying backbone networks. This powerful solution delivers automated, secure private connectivity to your multicloud workloads, empowering IT teams to effortlessly connect users, sites, and cloud resources.

Catalyst SD-WAN automation provides simplified and intuitive workflows for connecting to Infrastructure-as-a-Service, discovering cloud resources, and creating segmentation for workloads across Amazon Web Services(AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud public and government clouds. With consistent automation across major public cloud providers, organizations can reduce operational costs by standardizing networking for their multilcoud environments.

The integration with software defined cloud interconnect and cloud provider’s backbones, provides organizations with on-demand connectivity to their multicloud networks. Customers can select from 100+ PoP locations globally to connect users to cloud and SaaS applications, as well as interconnect their sites via a fast and efficient backbone network. This service is available in a Pay-as-you-Go offer for reduced CapEx, or as a term-based offer for customers preferring upfront CapEx.

Learn more about Catalyst SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp

Cisco Catalyst and Meraki SD-WAN interconnectivity

Choose a mix-and-match, best-fit choice of Meraki and Catalyst SD-WAN across all your disparate location types and streamline management from a single dashboard. Sites with similar attributes can run the most operationally efficient SD-Branch solution with Meraki and locations that demand precise WAN configurations can run the most customizable SD-WAN with Catalyst. Using only the Meraki dashboard, a native and resilient link is easily established between the fabrics to allow the flow of desired traffic.

Multi-Region Fabric to scale with ease

Catalyst SD-WAN provides a range of capabilities for scaling your deployments. Multi-Region Fabric (MRF) offers scalability by organizing the network into logical groups via Network Hierarchy (e.g., based on geography, function, department, etc.) and defining resource pools for efficient IP Address Management (IPAM) and group-level controls.

Multi-Region Fabric eliminates the need for complex or lengthy routing or topology policies to operationalize common use-cases with intuitive, intent-driven controls. For instance, simplified hub-spoke topology setup, interconnecting sites with different WAN transports with one-click via Transport Gateway Router, operationalizing horizontal scaling, hub/DC affinity, and similar load-sharing and redundancy use-cases via device affinity groups, and achieving simplified end-to-end flow symmetry across the WAN, among others.

Simplified management and operations of the entire fabric with MRF include:

     Segmenting the fabric into smaller mini logical networks such as regions/sub-regions, with independent WAN transports and topologies per network.

     Expanding the SD-WAN fabric to support hierarchical network designs with ease to incorporate today’s multicloud, SaaS and middle-mile oriented WANs.

     Using regions and sub-regions to easily manage SD-WAN tunnels scale across devices within the fabric

     Route aggregation and advanced filtering capabilities across regions

     Enhanced control plane scalability via Distributed Controllers

     Users can share controllers across all their sites or choose to dedicate sets of controllers to serve one or more group of sites (per-region or group of regions),tremendously increasing the scalability of SD-WAN control plane and offering resiliency, redundancy, and enhanced fault tolerance.

     Intelligent route/path filtering:

     Using device affinity-groups, users can configure branches and hubs with affinity-groups and the controllers can intelligently restrict route/path advertisement within the fabric; without needing additional routing/policies. Using ‘color’ or WAN circuit based filtering to ensure that devices only learn routes/paths that they can reach/resolve via their respective WAN circuits or colors.

     Controller peer scale and routing information base (RIB) scale enhancements

The Enhanced Multi-Region Fabric User Experience (UX) seamlessly integrates Multi-Region Fabric capabilities into the Catalyst SD-WAN Manager's UX2.0 interface, providing a familiar and intuitive platform for efficiently managing all aspects of a multi-region network. This integration empowers customers to leverage the benefits of UX2.0 through features like configuration groups, profiles, policy groups, and improved monitoring screens. This allows them to manage all aspects of their multi-region network consistently and efficiently.

Learn more about Multi-Region Fabric (MRF)

Operational efficiency with Simplified and Centralized Management:

Catalyst SD-WAN Manager empowers IT teams to simplify day-to-day operations with a centralized, intuitive interface for configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting. This powerful management tool streamlines tasks and reduces complexity, freeing IT resources to focus on strategic initiatives.

     Reduced Complexity: A structured configuration approach allows you to reuse configurations across your entire network, regardless of device model. This minimizes errors and simplifies deployments.

     Streamlined Operational Workflows: Guided workflows simplify complex tasks, allowing IT administrators to achieve desired outcomes with minimal effort. Leveraging Cisco Validated Smart Defaults and day N maintenance tasks, businesses can accelerate deployment and optimize ongoing management.

     Intuitive Network Tagging: Intuitive tags facilitate grouping network objects, quick discovery, and easy configuration deployment.

     Actionable Intelligence: A robust alarm system keeps IT teams informed about critical network events, facilitating proactive resolution and minimizing downtime.

     Enhanced Visibility and Control: The interactive and dynamic global topology view aids in assessing the overall health of the network. It allows for viewing network hierarchy and drilling down into individual site topology, providing granular insights and enabling context-relevant troubleshooting tasks without accessing the device command line.

     Customizable Insightful Dashboards: IT teams can create customizable dashboards providing rich insights into network, security, and application health, with intuitive heat maps displaying trending data.

     Enhanced Security: Granular role-based access control (RBAC) and co-management capabilities enhance security by restricting network access (limiting read and/or write privileges) based on user roles (within the enterprise or MSP organization), and device locations/grouping of Edge devices, ensuring compliance and mitigating risks.

     Unified Assurance and Management: A unified interface that combines assurance and management capabilities, providing customers with a comprehensive and near real-time view of network and application health, configurations, and security status.. This single interface simplifies management, reduces operational complexity, and enhances network visibility and control for customers.

     Open Programmability: Developers can leverage a comprehensive workflow-based Software-Development Kit (SDK) to automate the provisioning, configuration, and monitoring of on-premises or cloud network deployments via SD-WAN Manager Application Programming Interfaces (API’s). This open source package can dramatically reduce the time performing routine administrative tasks while providing a programmatic option of managing the network fabric.

Learn more about Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN Manager.

Proactive network operations with Predictive Analytics

Catalyst SD-WAN Analytics simplifies network operations by offering actionable network insights with historical baseline information to help deliver an optimal application experience. IT and network operation teams can maximize productivity and improve operational efficiency and resiliency with following set of rich features:

     Operational insights into the network health of on-premises and SaaS applications.

     Correlated insights into application and network performance, reducing troubleshooting time.

     Historical trend data for baseline behavior insights.

     Comprehensive visibility into circuit performance, like bandwidth usage, % utilization, and availability.

     WAN link capacity planning for forecasting future bandwidth needs using machine-learning-based predictive models.

     Predictive Path Recommendations (PPR) powered by ThousandEyes WAN Insights to forecast network path issues using advanced predictive models, offering path recommendations for improved application experience.

     Global Internet health, powered by ThousandEyes Internet outages map, ensuring quick detection of external network issues affecting your operations

     Leverage Talos Security integration with SD-WAN Analytics for instant identification and alerting of potential security threats across the WAN.

     Schedule reports in PDF and CSV format for offline reviews and analysis.

ThousandEyes Integration

The integration of Catalyst SD-WAN and ThousandEyes brings end-to-end visibility into application delivery and network performance beyond the traditional enterprise network boundaries. This integration provides the only SD-WAN solution with turnkey ThousandEyes vantage points, delivering an optimal application experience over any network. Enterprises and other organizations can expedite the deployment of ThousandEyes agents through Catalyst SD-WAN Manager integration to quickly pinpoint the source of issues, get to resolution faster, and manage the performance of what matters.

Learn more about Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN Analytics

Flexible Deployment Models Meet Your Needs

Catalyst SD-WAN empowers you to choose the deployment model that best suits your organization's requirements. Leverage our on-premises, cloud-hosted, or cloud-delivered options for maximum flexibility.

Customer Hosted

Deploy Catalyst SD-WAN on your own premises (data center) or through a managed service provider (MSP). You have the flexibility to install it on Cisco UCS, VMware ESXi, or KVM platforms, either on-premises or in your cloud.

Cisco Hosted

Minimize your operational burden with Cisco-hosted deployment. We manage the entire Catalyst SD-WAN fabric infrastructure, while you retain control over day-to-day operations through the intuitive Catalyst SD-WAN Portal and Manager.. Cisco provides 24/7 monitoring and support via Catalyst SD-WAN Cloud Operations which does all the heavy lifting.


Experience even more simplicity with cloud-delivered Catalyst SD-WAN. Cisco takes care of the entire lifecycle management of your SD-WAN fabric, including provisioning, infrastructure monitoring, fabric software upgrades, fabric certificate installations, renewals, and more. You manage your edge devices, including configuration and upgrades. Additionally, cloud-delivered deployments come with Single-Sign-On and SD-WAN Analytics pre-integrated for a seamless experience.

Effortless Scaling for Large or Growing Networks

Catalyst SD-WAN delivers industry-leading scalability to seamlessly handle even the most demanding network deployments. Our solution effortlessly scales to accommodate your specific needs, whether you require single-tenant, multi-tenant, or co-managed environments. The highly scalable control plane efficiently manages substantial traffic and data processing within your network fabric, ensuring uninterrupted performance.

Catalyst SD-WAN is tailored to suit various deployment scenarios and can scale to meet the specific requirements of diverse network environments. For the latest information on the scalability of this solution and the recommended computing resources for different deployments and network sizes, please refer to the link here.

Seamless Multitenancy for Scalable Managed Services

Catalyst SD-WAN empowers Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to deliver cost-effective, multi-tenant SD-WAN services to their customers. Our scalable solution allows you to start small and easily grow as your business expands.

You can start with a single-node SD-WAN Manager and seamlessly scale to a six-node cluster to manage numerous tenants and thousands of devices within the same SD-WAN network management system. A single-node SD-WAN Manager can accommodate up to 24 tenants, whereas a three-node vManage cluster supports 75 tenants and 2500 devices, and a six-node vManage cluster supports 150 tenants and 7500 devices.

Empowering Managed Service Providers.

Cisco empowers Managed Service Providers (MSPs) with the technology stack to provide turnkey enablement of a managed Catalyst SD-WAN service, while also helping them reduce upfront costs and operational expenses. This includes:

     A single management console with end-to-end multitenancy – from the management system, Cisco SD-WAN Manager, all the way down to the devices, edge routers.

     A single management console (SD-WAN Manager) for both SD-WAN and traditional routing deployments, simplifying overall WAN management.

     Enhanced co-management capabilities, with dedicated dashboards for the MSP, the tenants, their security teams and much more.

     Comprehensive open APIs augmented with a built-in API Swagger, simplifying integrations into the MSPs OSS/BSS.

     Support for cloud-delivered or on-premises hosting of the solution, based on customers' needs.

     SD-WAN appliances to meet customer demand-thin branches, uCPEs, high-end aggregation platforms for regional hubs and datacenters, 5G integrated cellular gateways and PIMs, and virtual form factors to enable cloud hub/cloud branch deployments, all with built-in advanced security capabilities.

     Robust Ipv6 SD-WAN feature capabilities to meet the compliance requirements.

     On-demand SD-WAN fabric spin up/spin down via Catalyst SD-WAN Portal.

     Cross-domain integrations across SD-WAN, SDA and ACI to provide seamless connectivity across Cisco solutions.

Extensive Protocol Support

Catalyst SD-WAN offers robust support for IPv6, enhancing various aspects of control and data plane functionalities. It extends its capabilities to encompass service-side routing, policy management, network services, and Direct Internet Access to meet the evolving needs of enterprise and service provider requirements. 

The content covers comprehensive protocols support, such as BGP, OSPF, IPv6 etc.

Catalyst SD-WAN supports OMP, BGP, OSPF, OSPFv3, EIGRP and RIP for unicast routing. The Catalyst SD-WAN Overlay Management Protocol (OMP) is the protocol responsible for establishing and maintaining the Catalyst SD-WAN control plane. BGP, OSPF, OPSFv3, EIGRP and RIP for unicast routing can be configured on Cisco IOS XE Catalyst SD-WAN devices in any VRF except for transport and management VRFs to provide reachability to networks at their local sites.

Deploy on Your Terms: Flexible Platform Options

Catalyst SD-WAN empowers you to deploy on the platform that best suits your needs, offering a broad range of physical and virtual options for maximum flexibility. Experience high-throughput performance designed for demanding data center environments.

Industry-Leading Performance: Cisco Catalyst 8000 Series: Deliver secure, cloud-scale SD-WAN with industry-leading performance for SD-WAN and aggregation to the cloud edge. Choose from the Catalyst 8200, 8300, and 8500 Series for on-premises deployments, or the 8000V virtual router for private and public cloud environments.

Unmatched Virtual Routing: Built for secure virtual deployments, the Catalyst 8000V is a powerful virtual router leveraging 30 years of Cisco IOS-XE innovation. This industry leader offers a rich set of features and functions for both SD-WAN and traditional network routing.

Seamless Multicloud Connectivity: The Catalyst 8000V supports on-ramps to all major public clouds (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud in China). It also integrates with colocation facilities such as Equinix and Megaport for software-defined cloud interconnect (SDCI) use cases.

Integrated Security: Benefit from built-in IOS-XE security features such as IPS/IDS/FW/DNS filtering for comprehensive protection

Flexible Consumption: Choose between purchasing through Cisco or cloud marketplaces for a flexible consumption model.

Hypervisors and Distributions: The Catalyst 8000V platform supports a broad range of hypervisors (KVM, VMware, Openstack, Cisco NFVIS

Learn more about Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN platforms

Simplified Management for Routing Environments with SD-Routing

SD-Routing simplifies routing deployment with agile workflows for device lifecycle orchestration, monitoring, and troubleshooting. By centrally managing your Cisco IOS XE routers in autonomous mode through Catalyst SD-WAN Manager, SD-Routing eliminates the need for conventional per-device management. It offers seamless lifecycle device management, robust firewall security integrations, and more—all from a single, intuitive dashboard that integrates seamlessly into your existing environment. SD-Routing provides unified management, enabling you to manage both traditional routing and Catalyst SD-WAN deployments from a single platform.

Effortless Device Management: Manage the entire lifecycle of your Cisco IOS XE routers operating in autonomous mode with ease. This includes provisioning, configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting—all from a single, intuitive dashboard.

Streamlined Operations: Eliminate the need for truck rolls for routine tasks. SD-Routing empowers you to perform software upgrades, monitoring, and troubleshooting remotely, streamlining network operations and reducing OpEx.

Simplified Security: SD-Routing integrates seamlessly with next-generation firewall (NGFW) security, allowing you to establish consistent security posture across your entire network. This simplifies secure DIA deployment at branch offices for enhanced network protection.

Multicloud Connectivity: Connect to leading cloud providers like AWS and Azure effortlessly. SD-Routing eliminates the need for complex, cloud-specific configurations, allowing you to focus on your business goals.

Whether you have existing enterprise networking equipment or are considering Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms, Cisco 1000 Series Integrated Service Routers, Cisco 1000 Series Aggregation Service Routers, or Industrial Routers, SD-Routing unlocks their full potential. Leveraging Catalyst SD-WAN Manager for routing deployments ensures a seamless and integrated management experience.

For more details on SD-Routing, refer to SD-Routing datasheet.


Cisco DNA Software for SD-WAN and Routing

Cisco DNA Software subscription licensing offers two feature tiers: Cisco DNA Essentials and Cisco DNA Advantage. Both are available as a 3-year or 5-year subscription and have multiple bandwidth tier options. Cisco DNA Advantage is also available as a 7-year subscription.


     The latest innovations through simple subscription tiers

     Available across the portfolio

     Flexibility to choose on-premises or cloud management

     Easy license portability across on-premises and cloud

     Easy upgrade across tiers

     Software Support Service (SWSS) included

For more information on Cisco DNA Software subscriptions, go to:

Related image, diagram or screenshot

Figure 1.               

Cisco DNA Software subscription licensing for SD-WAN and routing

For more information, review the Cisco DNA Software for SD-WAN and Routing Ordering Guide. Other buying programs are available, including Enterprise Agreements (EA) and Managed Service Licensing Agreement (MSLA). A Cisco Enterprise Agreement provides a simpler way to manage licenses and reduces costs, and a single agreement covers the purchase of software and subscription licenses as well as application software support. The MSLA helps partners align business costs with a subscription-based model for their customers.

Product sustainability

Information about Cisco’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives and performance is provided in Cisco’s CSR and sustainability reporting.

Table 1.           Cisco Environmental Sustainability Information

Sustainability topic



Information on product-material-content laws and regulations


Information on electronic waste laws and regulations, including our products, batteries and packaging

WEEE Compliance

Information on product takeback and resuse program

Cisco Takeback and Reuse Program

Sustainability Inquiries



Product packaging weight and materials


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Document history

New or revised topic

Described In


The latest features and capabilities introduced in Catalyst SD-WAN have been included in this version.

Prominent Features

June, 03 2024











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