Friday, March 21, 2014

Understating Cisco IOS v15 Licenses

Understating Cisco IOS v15 Licenses

Prior to IOS 15 , we used to have 8 IOS images Types (Feature set) , by the way it was 12 before it comes 8.

any router was coming with IB Base  feature set and according to your company needs you can go for advance feature set and replace the IOS , check the below pic :
The following Picture explain each one and what features you will gain once you run that feature set :

Now with IOS 15 it become 4 instead of 8  Feature sets and  these 4 Features set comes in one single IOS image ,now days we use the term (technology package ) when referring to feature set.

What are the ISO v15 Feature sets (technology package) types we have now days with ISR G2:

  1. IP Base (ipbaseK9)come and running with any new ISR G2 routers (1900,2900,3900 Series) , its entry level for Cisco IOS functionality
  2. DATA (dataK9)support MPLS.ATM. Multiprotocol support
  3. Unified Commuincations (ucK9) support VOIP & IP Telephony
  4. Security (securityK9) support Cisco IOS Firewall , IPS , IPsec , 3DES, VPN

The following picture summarize these Feature sets (technology package):


ISR Integrated Service Router G2 come with IPbase and to  run the other three technology package we need to understand the concept of licenses which similar to ASA firewalls licenses by the way .

Licenses has two types:

Evaluation (Temporary) License
which mean will be available with all functionality for trial period would be 60 days

Permanent License
which mean you must get new license from cisco to run it for ever

Any License has Status :

any type could had one of two status

  • Active, In Use
  • Inactive

Normally your Universal image come with ipbasek9 built -in with the following type and status 

License Type: Permanent

License State: Active, In Use

So if we want to run one of the remaining three feature sets  ,Licenses need to be activate it so you can use it whatever you will use it as Permanent or Evaluation.

Cisco give you the ability to activate the remaining three feature sets   for Evaluation but if you like to use any of them Permanently you will need to get license from cisco.

Note 1 : The IP Base license is a prerequisite for installing the Data, Security, and Unified Communications license.

Note 2 : if you want to run all feature set you will need license for each as the pic below :

How to get License from Cisco and how to install it in my Router ?
Complete the following steps to permanently activate a software package or feature on the router:

1- Purchase the software package or feature that you want to install. You receive a PAK with your purchase.

What is Product authorization key (PAK):

The PAK is provided to you when you order or purchase the right to use a feature set for a particular platform.
The PAK serves as a receipt and is used as part of the process to obtain a license

2-Get the license file using one of these options:

Option 1 -Cisco License Manager, which is a free software application available at

Option 2 -cisco license registration portal

on any of these options what you will do is  Convert the PAK to a license by entering the PAK and the unique device identifier (UDI) into the CLM or Cisco Product License Registration portal

Note : UDI  has two main components: the PID and the serial

What is the unique device identifier (UDI)?

A. The UDI is a combination of the product id (PID), the serial number, and the hardware version. The UDI is printed on a label that is located on the back of every switch and also viewable from the command-line interface (CLI) (show license UDI) and management tools (using Simple Network Management Protocol [SNMP]). Only the PID and serial number are used for license creation

To know what is your UDI , type show license udi as the following pic showing you :

Also show version command will display the UDI

This information is also present on a pull-out label tray found on the device. See the following two pictures :

After entering the appropriate information, you will receive an e-mail containing the license information that you can use to install the license

• Copy the license file received from the Cisco Product License Registration portal to the appropriate file system on the device.
• Click the Install button on the web page.

What is the License Format ?

The license is in the form of a file with a .lic extension

A Software Activation License is an XML text file with a .lic extension and even can be opened by notepad or any text editor:

3- use the cisco cli to install and manage licenses

Licenses Commands Overview :

Displaying Licenses types and status

Router#show license all

R1#sh license detail   will give you similar information like above one too

Displaying brief summary  about each feature and  installation status

R1#show license feature

Installing Evaluation License for feature set  (technology-package)

Let’s say we want to take the benefit of using   securityk9  Feature set in Evaluation  period to set our router as IOS firewall , we will type the following command

Router(config)#license boot module c2900 technology-package securityk9

Then we will asked to type Yes To accept the Evaluation License agreement

Installing Permanent License for feature set  (technology-package):

After doing the steps we talk about earlier to get the license file , we will copy it to our router flash then type the following command :

R1# license install flash0:uck9-2900-SPE150_K9-FHH12250057.xml

R1# reload

Backing up the License command :

R1# license save flash:all_licenses.lic

Uninstalling the License command (two steps required for uninstalling licenses ) :

1-      First we disable it

Router(config)# license boot module c3900 technology-package uck9 disable

Router(config)# exit

Router# reload

2-      Then we clear it

Router#license clear uck9

Router#config t

Router(config)#no license boot module c3900 technology uck9 disable



Note : some licenses such as built in licenses cannot be cleared. Only licenses that have been added by

using the license install command are removed. Evaluation licenses are not removed.

Finally I recommend you to understand the naming format for IOS 15 it self , example:


The main point here to undersatnd here is what is M & T?

in brief ,M release stay for 16 month and during this period we could see many release of  T including enhancement and  advance functionality added .


More info :

More resources about IOS v15 & Licenses :

Cisco’s Integrated Services Routers Generation Two Licensing and Packaging

Configuring the Cisco IOS Software Activation Feature

Tutorial for IOS V15

CLM eTutorial :

An introduction to Cisco IOS version 15

Yasser Auda
Certified Cisco Systems Instructor  CCSI #  34215

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