Friday, 20 March 2020

Top 5 new features in Cisco DNA Center 1.3.3.x

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Cisco DNA Center 1.3.3.x just dropped and it’s full of new features. Here are the five most popular additions in this free upgrade and what they mean to your business.

The next time you login to your Cisco DNA Center dashboard, you’ll see a notification for a new software upgrade to version 1.3.3.x. Included in this free upgrade are 47 new features, all accessible from the Cisco DNA Center dashboard. Here’s a quick look at five of the features that our customers are talking about most.

Cisco’s partnership with Samsung enables Galaxy smartphones, including the S10 and S20 families, to speak to Cisco DNA Center with client diagnostics. This provides a more comprehensive view of all potential root causes of wireless issues.

Samsung client analytics


This feature allows Samsung mobile clients (such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S20 families of smartphones) to send alerts and error codes to Cisco DNA Center for increased insights into the health and user experience of clients on your network. You’ll recall that in early 2018 Cisco and Apple joined together to allow iOS devices to send device information and error codes to Cisco DNA Assurance. The results of this collaboration have been great, and our customers love the ease with which they are able to diagnose connectivity issues with iOS devices.

Now we have added Samsung Galaxy smartphones to this effort. When a mobile client sends an error code to Cisco DNA Center your IT team is given the exact cause of a wireless issue. This eliminates the guess work and troubleshooting and can eliminate any problem that is not a network-related problem.

Wireless sensor enhancements


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From the release of our Cisco DNA Assurance wireless sensors back in 2017, they have been a hit. But many customers have asked for an easier way to deploy these magic boxes in remote offices. We answered by completely rewriting the software on the Cisco AP1800S Wireless Active Sensor and adding new capabilities into Cisco DNA Center. The result are wireless sensors that are easier to setup and scale across large-scale network environments. Moreover, the interface is easier to read with new location-based sensor heatmaps to quickly identify failed tests and potential network issues. We have added “Day-0” provisioning so that the sensor can be automatically provisioned once it is powered on. This makes connecting at a remote office a snap! Next, we made the wireless link to the network a dedicated backhaul link, which means that the wireless connection is “always on” regardless of wireless testing activities. A new Heatmap View displays the top five rankings for statistical categories. This view also displays a heatmap representation of the sensor test result failures. This focus on location makes it much easier for teams to prioritize and locate issues quickly.

Network speed tests can now be performed via NDT or iPerf3, depending on which you prefer. Finally, we have added a “Sensor-360” view with time travel to the main Assurance menu in Cisco DNA Center. This allows you the same analytics and troubleshooting on your sensors as the rest of your network. This feature can verify the appropriate sensor functionality and performance so that you can rely on the tests that you perform with the sensor. If you have never tried the Cisco AP1800S Wireless Active Sensor, now is the time! They are now simple to install, even in remote offices, they are easier to use, and they can save you from constant remote site visits for network troubleshooting.

Executive Summary Reports


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The answer to the question: How can I demonstrate the many network improvements my team have achieved in a clean, simple to understand, graphical report? Cisco DNA Center’s new Executive Summary Reports gives you a myriad of categories with which to assemble a network report.  Set up the areas of focus (sites, users, or devices) and capture detailed data about network devices and clients, which you can use to analyze network performance. From simple reports such as overall health, to device data, or even an overview of network issues trending. A weekly (7-day) overlay shows the change in performance. This feature allows other company stakeholders or executives to get a clear and easy-to-read overview of network performance and trends.

Meraki Automation


Many Cisco customers have deployed a hybrid Catalyst + Meraki network. This is usually because a company needs a sophisticated switch solution for their large campus network, and cloud-managed devices in remote branches that are simple, secure, and reliable. Many of you have asked for ways to provision and inventory Meraki devices from within Cisco DNA Center. In version 1.2.1.x, we included full Meraki visibility and inventory into the Cisco DNA Center dashboard. Now we are including provisioning of Meraki wireless access points. The diagram below shows five branch offices with Meraki enterprise networks. The corporate campus and regional sites are larger operations and have deployed Cisco DNA (Catalyst/Aironet) on their campus’. The new Meraki Automation feature in Cisco DNA Center allows the corporate campus to provision new Meraki access points into any sites in the network and maintain control of the addition of new devices – this is a common company policy.  Once these Meraki devices are installed and provisioned, they can be managed from any site via Meraki dashboard.

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Rogue wireless management


This provides increased security and control of wireless networks by enabling detection of unauthorized access points plugged into local switches or access points with the same SSID but not connected to the customer’s wired network. These wireless security breaches are known as “the honeypot” and “the unauthorized access point.” The diagram below shows a graphic explanation of these scenarios. Cisco DNA Center’s new Rogue wireless management feature will discover and flag both security cases allowing your team to immediately (and remotely) disable the rogue access points.

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The new 1.3.3.x software includes many, many other features including: StackWise Virtual support, ASA Firewall automation, APIC-EM migration, policy extensions for SDA, and customizable device health scores.

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