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Cisco DNA Software Essentials for Wireless
Deliver exceptional wireless performance for high-density environments

DNA Software Essentials for Wireless

Get networking essentials, including basic automation, monitoring, and easy management.

Cisco Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA) software delivers automation, security, predictive monitoring, and a policy-driven approach. Turn your vision of an intelligent network into reality. It delivers an unbound network on an open and extensible architecture to help you navigate the digital journey. Benefits include lower initial costs, investment protection, agility to respond more quickly to business needs, and better budget predictability.

Cisco DNA licenses are required for connecting any access points to Catalyst 9800 Series Controllers and/or Cisco DNA Center.

Unlock value with software

Cisco DNA Software subscriptions can help your IT team keep pace with your network's expanding demands. Purchase subscriptions individually or through the Cisco Enterprise Agreement.

Quickly detect and stop threats

Make network access easy without shortchanging security, even for remote access.

Enhance customer experience

Use intelligence from your wireless network and location analytics to personalize customer experiences.

Automate workflow in minutes

Eliminate manual provisioning with automated workflows across wired and wireless networks.

Gain useful insights

Identify and resolve issues through analytics that shed light on real-time user and application behavior.

See what you can do with Cisco DNA Software for Wireless

Learn how innovative software features paired with Cisco Catalyst access points and Cisco DNA Center help to make your workspaces more dynamic and agile.

  • AI-Enhanced RRM
  • AP Performance Advisories
  • Wireless 3D Analyzer

Compare Cisco DNA Software licensing tiers

Cisco DNA Software

Get networking essentials, including basic automation, monitoring, and easy management.

Features include:

  • Basic automation
  • Monitoring
  • Centralized management

Cisco DNA Software

Provides all functionality of Essentials, plus policy-based automation with software-defined access, monitoring, assurance, location analytics, and AI network analytics.

Includes all features of Essentials, plus:

  • Policy-based automation with Cisco Software-Defined
  • Access Assurance and AI network analytics
  • Location analytics with Cisco Spaces
  • Detection and mitigation of security threats

Optional add-on
Expansion Pack

Purchase the following add-on Cisco licenses, appliances, and services along with a Cisco DNA Essentials or Advantage license.

Available for:

  • Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)
  • Secure Network Analytics (Stealthwatch)
  • Cisco Spaces
  • Cisco ThousandEyes

Cisco DNA Software Wireless Feature Matrix

Network Essentials

  • License type: Perpetual software, compatible with Cisco DNA Essentials subscription license
  • Management options: CLI, Web UI

Network Advantage

  • License type: Perpetual software compatible with Cisco DNA Advantage license
  • Management options: CLI, Web UI

Cisco DNA Essentials

  • License type: 3/5/7 year term subscription
  • Management options: CLI, Web UI, Cisco DNA Center

Cisco DNA Advantage

  • License type: Includes Cisco DNA Essentials, 3/5/7 year term subscription
  • Management options: CLI, Web UI, Cisco DNA Center


Hover over each feature for a description of the capabilities.

Network Essentials Network Advantage Cisco DNA Essentials Cisco DNA Advantage
Essential wireless capabilities
802.1x authentications, Guest access, device onboarding, Infra and client IPv6, ACLs, QoS, Videostream, Smart defaults, RRM, Spectrum intelligence, TrustSec SXP, AP and client SSO, Dynamic QoS, Analytics, ADP, OpenDNS, mDNS, IPSec, Rogue Management and Detection on controller, Mobility.
High availability
AP and Client SSO.
DevOps integration
PnP Agent, NETCONF, Yang Data Models.
Optimized radio frequency
FRA, Client link, ClearAir Advanced, NG-HDX, Predictive/Proactive RRM.
IoT optimized
Identity PSK, Enhanced Device profilers
Telemetry and visibility
Model-driven telemetry lets you monitor your network by streaming data from network devices, continuously providing near-real-time access to operational statistics.
Cisco trustworthy solutions
Help ensure hardware and software authenticity for supply chain trust and strong mitigation against man-in-the-middle attacks that compromise software and firmware.
Advanced high availability and resiliency (patching) features
In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU), AP Device Pack (APDP), AP Service Pack (APSP), Rolling AP upgrades, Hot Patching, SMU.
Flexible network segmentation
VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN).
Network Plug and Play (PnP) provisioning
Zero-touch provisioning for new device installation allows off-the-shelf Cisco devices to be provisioned simply by connecting to the network, managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Network Site Design and Device Provisioning
Design your wireless network for proper coverage and maximize the throughput. Provision wireless network appliances with the proper setting to maximize perfomance.
Software Image Management (SWIM)
Automatically manage software upgrades and control the consistency of image versions and configurations across your network, managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Full Flexible NetFlow
This next generation in flow technology optimizes the network infrastructure, reducing operating costs and improving capacity planning and security incident detection.
Cisco IOS Embedded Event Manager (EEM)
EEM is a powerful and flexible subsystem that provides real-time network event detection and onboard automation. It gives you the ability to adapt the behavior of your network devices to align with your business needs.
Wireless automation
Automate configurations and deployment of networks with Cisco DNA Center
Overall health dashboard
Gives a high-level overview of the health of every network device/client on the network, wired and wireless, Cisco and Meraki, managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Network health dashboard
Provides operational status of every network device connected to Cisco DNA Center, with suggested remediation for any communication issues, managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Client health dashboard
Displays operational status of every client connected to Cisco DNA Center, with suggested remediation for any issues, managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Application health dashboard
Displays overall health of all applications on the network, with special section for business-relevant application issues and suggested remediation, managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Wi-Fi 6/6E Dashboard
Prepares your network for the new Wi-Fi 6 and 6E standards, verifying your hardware and configuration compatibility and checking your capacity readiness. After upgrading, advanced wireless analytics will indicate performance and capacity gains due to Wi-Fi 6/6E deployments.
Wireless Sensor dashboard
Shows overall tests, connectivity statistics, and top wireless issues discovered by Cisco Aironet Active Sensors. Tests include DHCP, DNS, host reachability, RADIUS, email, Microsoft Exchange Server, web, FTP, and a complete IP SLA for data throughput speed, latency, jitter, and packet loss. Provides guided remediation for any test failures.
Base Security - Rogue
A wireless security solution that uses Cisco Unified Access infrastructure to detect, classify, locate and contain wired and wireless rogue threats
Cisco Prime Infrastructure License
Provides a single integrated solution for comprehensive lifecycle management of the wired or wireless access, campus, and branch networks, and rich visibility into end-user connectivity and application performance assurance issues.
Out of box reports
Cisco DNA Center pre-built reports that can be consumed directly or exported to third party tools such as Tableau.
SD-Access and Network Health insights
Enables policy-based automation with secure segmentation, complete visibility, and delivery of new services quickly on SD-Access devices, managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Wireless 3D Analyzer
High-definition 3D simulations for AP placement, heatmaps, and predictions of wireless LAN performance for network admins to reduce design flaws and mitigate future performance issues.
Cisco AI Endpoint Analytics
Identify and check compliance of endpoints, and use AI/ML techniques to classify them into groups.
AI-Enhanced RRM
Leverage the power of Machine Learning to optimize your enterprise wireless configurations on the Catalyst 9800 controller automatically, be provided with complete visibility into the benefits through an aesthetic assurance dashboard, and much more.
Group-Based Policy Analytics
Get visual traffic flows between endpoint groups, so you can define the right segmentation policies
Cisco User-Defined Network
Allows IT to give end-users control of their very own wireless network partition. End-users can then remotely and securely deploy their devices on this network.
Intelligent Capture
A troubleshooting tool that allows you to capture packets view an AP’s surrounding RF spectrum, and both client and AP stats in live time
Location Plug and Play
Helps to automate the onboarding of new devices on the network by applying configuration settings without manual intervention.
Automated ISE integration for guest
Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) guest services enable you to provide secure network access to guests such as visitors, contractors, consultants, and customers.
Third-party API integration
A flexible framework is provided to integrate third-party application software
Cisco AI Network Analytics
AI and machine learning technologies are implemented on Cisco DNA Center and in the AI Network Analytics cloud to enhance the insight and remediation capabilities of Cisco DNA Assurance.
Network Services Analytics Dashboard
View AAA and DHCP services for wireless devices across Cisco and all third-party servers in a comprehensive view while also accessing Cisco’s AAA servers’ (Identity Services Engine, or ISE) AI-based root cause analysis. Leverage a snapshot of the overall health of these critical services all in one place, highlighting the worst-performing service server, site-level impact, and scope of end-user impact.
Cisco Spaces See
A powerful, end-to-end, indoor location services cloud platform that unlock insights and trends into customer, employee and asset behavior.
Cisco Spaces Act (optional upgrade)
A powerful, end-to-end, indoor location services cloud platform that translate network view of people and assets into business view
Cisco Spaces Extend
A powerful end-to-end, indoor location services cloud platform that extends platform capabilities via integrations and partner applications. Includes Cisco Spaces See.
Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA)
Detect malware within encrypted traffic. This is an optional feature of Cisco Stealthwatch (which can be purchased a-la-carte), managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Adaptive Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (aWIPS)
A wireless security solution that uses Cisco Unified Access infrastructure to detect threats based on aWIPS signatures. Cisco DNA Center allows you to customize the thresholds and capture packets for each signature.
EasyQoS configuration
With an end-to-end effective QoS configuration, each part of the QoS policy is cohesive and compatible achieving an end-to-end service level.
EasyQoS dynamic monitoring
Assign policies to applications based on business relevance and business-critical QoS priority for life-saving devices, for example.
Policy-based automation
Policies, in the form of rules, can be used to automate various services provided by Cisco for policy-based network management.
Patch lifecycle management
Intelligent device management for lifecycle patching, managed by Cisco DNA Center.
Guided remediation
Automates resolution to keep your network performing at an optimal level with less mundane troubleshooting work.
Intel Connectivity, Apple, and Samsung Analytics
Cisco’s exclusive ecosystem partnerships enable enhanced insights on Intel Connectivity, Apple, and Samsung device connectivity and health in Cisco DNA Center. These impactful insights make it possible to deliver optimal performance and resolve issues faster by getting the client’s point of view of the network — what access points it sees, the reasons for disconnections, and the current state of the user experience — all provided through Cisco DNA Assurance.
Wide Area Bonjour
This is a software-defined controller-based solution that enables devices to advertise and discover Bonjour services across Layer-2 domains, making it applicable to a wide variety of wired and wireless enterprise networks
Compliance reports managed by Cisco DNA Center
RCM (Randomized and Changing MAC) Solutions
This solution allows Cisco DNA Center to properly track clients in the network that have a RCM and even provide a history of all macs for a specific client. An RCM icon will be placed next to any clients with such behavior, allowing you to gain full control of the users in your network.
Proactive issue detection
Aironet Active Sensor Tests, Intelligent capture, Client Location Heatmaps, Spectrum Analyzer.
Application experience
Tracks performance of predefined “critical business applications.” Shows user experience and performance metrics. Provides specialized rapid troubleshooting per application and client. Enables unparalleled visibility and performance control over the applications critical to your core business on a per-user basis.
Application hosting
IOx Applications can be deployed onto Cisco Catalyst APs, leveraging an RF USB dongle inserted into the AP’s USB to communicate with nearby IoT devices. This solution allows Cisco’s enterprise wireless solution to go beyond Wi-Fi and solve use cases with IoT, such as retail management with electronic shelf labels, asset management with environmental sensors and real-time location software, and much more.
App 360, AP 360, WLC 360, and Client 360
Display devices and client connectivity from any angle or context, providing for very granular troubleshooting in seconds.
Webex 360
Enhance Webex end-users experience by proactively identifying and troubleshooting Webex clients using Webex 360 to compare quality metrics across audio, video, and shared components.
Support Network Essentials Network Advantage Cisco DNA Essentials Cisco DNA Advantage
Software Support Service in the subscription software stack and OS software on the AP (requires SNTC on the WLC), and includes 24-hour TAC support and software updates and upgrades in Cisco DNA Center.
Smart Net Total Care, 24-hour hardware and network software stack support provided by TAC.
Optional Optional    

Cisco Networking

Cisco Networking is your team’s bridge to an intent-based network. It is an open, extensible, software-driven portfolio that helps accelerate and simplify your enterprise network operations while lowering costs and reducing your risk. Only Cisco provides a single-network fabric that is powered by deep intelligence and integrated security to delivery automation and assurance across your entire network organization at scale. Cisco Networking gives IT time back from time-consuming, repetitive network configuration tasks so you can focus on the innovations your business needs.

Cisco DNA Software subscriptions provide customers with four key benefits:

  • Investment protection of software purchases through software services-enabled license portability
  • Software suites that address typical customer use case scenarios at an attractive price
  • Flexible licensing models to smoothly distribute customer’s software spending over time
  • Access to new technology from Cisco

IT management challenges and Cisco DNA Software benefits

The outlines common IT management challenges and the ways that Cisco DNA Software helps customers to address them.

IT management challenges Cisco DNA Software benefits

Shrinking IT budgets
Budgets are shrinking while IT demands continue to accelerate. As the costs of IT and downtime skyrocket, companies need to balance shrinking budgets with easy-to-deploy networks that enhance operation efficiency.

Deliver more value for your money
Cisco DNA Software is designed for typical customer use scenarios and is offered at a better-together price, making it easier and less expensive for you to deploy complete solutions.

Increase investment protection
Software services-enabled license portability lets your software licenses stay current through hardware upgrades and replacements at no additional cost.

Infrastructure inflexibility
IT organizations lack an automated way to keep pace with changing business needs and demands for more resources. It often takes months or weeks to procure and provision a new network service.

Enhance business agility
Cisco DNA Software delivers critical business solutions and provides you with the tools you need to deploy, maintain, and manage your software.

Lack of buying options
Organizations need more options for buying software to improve their flexibility, reduce risk, and cut costs.

Supplies flexible licensing models
Evenly distribute your software spending over time with subscription-based and other flexible purchasing models.

Implementation obstacles
Deploying software and implementing new use cases can often cause major disruptions in your current operations.

Reduce risk
Cisco’s technical and professional services provide the expertise, smart tools, and proven processes that reduce risk and downtime.

Excessive time and costs for maintenance
The majority of your IT budget and most of your workloads are focused on routine maintenance, limiting your ability to innovate and grow your business.

Accelerate ROI and time-to-value
Optimize the performance of your networks to get the most from your technology investments. Accelerate your business outcomes with expert guidance from Cisco technical and professional services.

Cisco Technical Services

We recommend that Cisco DNA subscription customers purchase Cisco Solution Support for both hardware and license support.

Cisco Embedded Support is included with the purchase of the software subscription. Cisco Embedded Support provides Cisco technical support access online or by phone.

Cisco Embedded Software Support includes:

  • Access to support and troubleshooting through online tools and web case submission; case severity or escalation guidelines are not applicable.
  • TAC access 24 hours a day to assist by telephone, or web case submission and online tools with application software use and troubleshooting problems.
  • Entitlement to maintenance releases, and software updates for software.
  • Access to this system offers customers helpful technical and general information about Cisco products as well as access to the online Cisco Software Center library.

No additional products or fees are required to receive these services with a software subscription.

Cisco Solution Support

Cisco Solution Support is the recommended service on both the hardware and software licenses. Cisco Solution Support is an essential element of the Cisco DNA networking architecture because it helps customers maintain its performance, reliability, and return on investment. This service delivers centralized support across the Cisco and third-party solution partner products in your solution ecosystem. Cisco’s team of solution experts is the primary point of contact and owns the case from first call to resolution, no matter where the problem resides in the customer’s network.

Refer to the service description for more detailed information regarding Cisco Solution Support.

  • Cisco Solution Support with Smart Net Total Care
  • Cisco Solution Support with Software Support Services

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