Cisco made good on plans to expand its much-hyped intent-based networking and software subscription models across platforms by tying both into its wireless access business.
The intent-based networking component takes advantage of Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA). This adds automation and machine learning into network operations to allow for proactive measures, instead of just being reactive.
(Check out this article for a more in-depth explanation of Cisco’s intent-based networking.)
Greg Dorai, vice president of product management for Cisco’s Enterprise Wireless Solutions group, said the wireless platform is proactive in accessing connections and the quality of those connections. This is enabled through the end-to-end view and machine learning embedded in the DNA platform.
The more robust Cisco wireless platform also allows for a single point of management using software to control wireless access points and wired local area network (LAN) controllers within an enterprise.
“This allows for a consistent deployment of wireless and wired policies and trouble shooting,” Dorai said.
He noted that wireless was becoming a default access method inside organizations, which placed increased strain on the management of devices accessing the network and the quality of those connections. “Users expect wireless to work 24/7,” he said. “But, with unlicensed spectrum, sometimes it doesn’t.”
The wireless platform is not able to manage cellular connectivity inside an organization, but it does show network managers if a rogue IP address that could be coming from a cellular-based mobile hot spot device is present inside a network.
Software Subscription Model
The wireless platform also absorbs the software subscription model Cisco is looking to spread across its product offerings.
Dan Lohmeyer, vice president of product management at Cisco, said the wireless subscription model would be structured similarly to its switching portfolio. Access to those capabilities will be determined through a “good, better, best” pricing tier.
Specifically for wireless, the subscription model includes access to Cisco’s policy-based automation and network segmentation, which is based on its SD-Access platform; application priority for devices running Apple’s iOS; network-as-a-sensor capabilities through the Cisco Identity Services Engine; and location-based analytics through the Cisco Customer Mobile Experience.
Licensing terms are in three-, five-, and seven-year increments. Lohmeyer noted that so far most organizations have selected the top tier with a five-year term.
The model also builds on Cisco’s Enterprise Agreement software licensing model. Lohmeyer said companies selecting this option are provided more headroom in terms of expansion opportunities when selecting the EA licensing model for wireless.
“We build in the option of letting customers add new access points or software licenses to their agreement without any additional charge,” Lohmeyer said.
He reiterated previous statements from Cisco that the subscription models provide more flexibility for customers. “IT people want to build in a predictable amount of spend,” he explained, noting this allows for the movement of those costs from CapEx to a more linear OpEx spend model.