Understating Cisco IOS v15 Licensing

IOS 15 is a single software package for the hardware platform that your are using. Now that flash is cheap and large, there doesn’t need to be a different IOS image for the different versions with the advanced features. So you get one software image that has all the features for that platform.

Prior to IOS 15 , we used to have 8 IOS images, all routers came with IPBase image and according to your needs you can choose what IOS image to install on your router as each image had different features than others as illustrated below.


The universal IOS image is loaded by Cisco manufacturing on all shipped routers. An IOS universal image contains all IOS features. Feature sets in the universal image are unlocked using licensing keys, i.e. the level of IOS functionality available is determined by the license applied to the device. A new license only needs to be applied to upgrade IOS functionality on the router. Maintenance upgrades of IOS, i.e. moving from one IOS universal image version to another, does not require a new licensing key. Reboot of a router is also licensing transparent.


Each device ships with universal image, IPBase, DATA, Unified Communications (UC) and Security (SEC) technology packages are enabled in the universal image via Cisco Software Activation licensing keys.

The details of each technology package license can be found in the table below. The new ISR routers also offer a Software Activation feature license and right to use feature licenses. The Software Activation feature licenses use the same Software Activation model as the technology package licenses, while right to use feature licenses are not enforced. Feature licenses work in conjunction with technology package licenses, e.g. the SSLVPN feature license requires a SEC technology package license.

Technology Package


Software Activation Feature Licenses

Right to Use Feature Licenses


Offers features found in IPBase IOS image on ISR 1900,2900 and 3900 + Flexible NetFlow + IPV6 parity for IPV4 features present in IPBase. Some of the key feature are AAA BGP, OSPF, EIGRP, ISIS, RIP PBR IGMP, Multicast DHCP HSRP, GLBP NHRP HTTP HQF QoS ACL, NBAR GRE CDP, ARP NTP PPP PPPoA PPPoE RADIUS TACACS SCTP SMDS SNMP STP VLAN DTP IGMP Snooping SPAN WCCP ISDN ADSL over ISDN NAT-Basic X.25, RSVP, NTP, Flexible NetFlow etc.




Offers the security features found in the advanced security IOS image on the ISR 1900,2900 and 3900 e.g. IKE v1 / IPsec / PKI, IPsec/GRE, Easy VPN w/ DVTI, DMVPN, Static VTI, Firewall, Network Foundation Protection,GETVPN etc.

SSLVPN (Counted)
Intrusion Prevention (Subscription)
Content Filtering (Subscription)



Offers the UC features found in IPVoice IOS image on the ISR 1900,2900 and 3900 e.g. TDM/PSTN Gateway, Video Gateway[H320/324],Voice Conferencing, Codec Transcoding, RSVP Agent (voice), FAX T.37/38, CAC/QoS, Hoot-n-Holler etc.


Land Mobile Radio
CME: Voice & Video (Counted)
SRST: Voice & Video (Counted)
VXML/IVR Gateway (Counted)
CUBE [IPIP Gateway] (Counted)


Data features found in SP services and enterprise services IOS image on the ISR 1900,2900 and 3900 e.g. MPLS, BFD, RSVP ,L2VPN, L2TPv3 ,Layer 2 Local Switching , Mobile IP, Multicast Authentication,FHRP-GLBP ,IP SLAs, PfR ,DECnet, RSRB, BIP, DLSw+, FRAS, Token Ring ,ISL, IPX ,STUN, SNTP, SDLC, QLLC etc.

SNA Switching


How to get License from Cisco and how to install it in my Router ?

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

  • The Product authorization key 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

Get the license file using one of these options:

  1. Cisco License Manager, which is a free software application available at http://www.cisco.com/go/clm.
  2. cisco license registration portal  http://www.cisco.com/go/license

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

  • 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 device and also can be known through (CLI) and SNMP

To know what is your UDI , type show license udi as follow


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.

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


Using CLI to Manage Licenses


Displaying brief summary  about each feature and  installation status:


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

Installing Permanent License for feature set  (technology-package)

  • After downloading the license file to your device’s flash issue below command
R1# license install flash0:uck9-2900-SPE150_K9-$%#%^&*.xml

R1# reload

Backing up the License

R1# license save flash:all_licenses.lic

Uninstalling the License

  • First we need to disable the license
Router(config)# license boot module c3900 technology-package uck9 disable

Router(config)# exit

Router# reload

  • Then we clear the license
Router#license clear uck9
Router#config t
Router(config)#no license boot module c3900 technology uck9 disable



Posted on August 30, 2016, in Cisco and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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