Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Community Live FAQ- Introduction to Smart Licensing on Catalyst Switches


This event had place on Thursday 30th, July 2020 at 10hrs PDT 


In this session, the Cisco expert covered single image orchestration changes with

This event provides an introduction to smart licensing on Cisco Catalyst switches, including 9000 (9200, 9300, 9400, 9500, 9500H, and 9600 Series) and 3000 (3650 and 3850 Series) switches. Cisco experts review the benefits, basic concepts, considerations, different types of registrations, and general FAQs. In addition, a live demonstration on how to register a license with a Cisco server is provided.

Featured Expert

lcelisve.jpgLuis Celis is a Technical Consulting Engineer on the Enterprise Routing & Switching team at Cisco’s Technical Assistance Center in Mexico. He provides top-level technical support for global customers with Catalyst 9000 and 6800 switches. Previously, he collaborated with the Service Provider team. Before joining Cisco, he worked with Ericsson solving customers challenges and providing solutions for massive network optimizations. Luis holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Electronics Engineering from the Instituto Politecnico Nacional (IPN) in Mexico.

You can download the slides of the presentation in PDF format here.

Live Questions

Q: If someone upgrades a platform to a version that has Mandatory Smart Licensing, but the end-users don’t want to go ahead with such licensing at the moment, can they downgrade back to a version of IOS that is not mandatory for Smart Licensing?

A: Yes they can do it, they will have to use the Right to Use again, but It is suggested to go to SL since the IOS versions that support RTU will not be supported eventually.

Q: Is this only for IOS-XE? NX-OS is not getting smart licensing?

A: NX-OS and Nexus switches also support Smart Licensing. However, this session focuses on Catalyst 9K platforms.

Q: What is difference between Network Advantage and DNA Advantage?

A: The Network advantage license is the perpetual License that will allow the switch to use advance L2 and L3 features such as VXLAN,LISP,SGT,MPLS, MACSEC, etc. While the DNA advantage add-on is the license needed in case that the switch is required to be part of SDA solution.

Q: How to move back licenses if assigned to individual smart license instead of virtual license?

A: You can have multiple virtual accounts associated with your Smart Account in CSSM so you can assign licenses accordingly based on departments in your organizations or other criteria. You can move licenses between virtual accounts. There's also a default virtual account. Licenses can be unregistered from the device so those can return to the pool in CSSM.

Q: Can i use the same satellite VM to other technologies like collaboration (CallManager for example)?

A: Find the answer to this question in the Ask Me Anything for this session

Q: They realize that they will have to go to SL in the future, just don’t want to do that just now, does that have to go back to an IOS version that is RTU only, or can they go to a hybrid version and still be RTU?

A: They will have to go back to RTU again, SL starts from 16.9.1 onward, no hybrid version.

Q: If a license is assigned to an individual person, smart account not to virtual account. What is the process to unregistered from that account and move to a virtual account?

A: In that case, you need to get in touch with the Smart Account Support Team so they can provide that license to a different account. Cisco TAC can assist in contacting the Smart Account Support Team.

Q: Can IP routing be enabled on a C3850 L2 switch?

A: IP routing can be enabled on an L2 3850 switch, the features available depends on the license that the switch is running.

Q: What is a DNA license, and why you use it for?

A:T he DNA license is the add-on needed in case that the switch is required to be part of SDA solution, if that is not the case, there is no need for an add-on license in the switch.

Q: What happens if I upgrade a switch to a code that needs SA and I don't have it? Could you elaborate a complete answer? and, what happens if my device with SA stops having communication with the Cisco cloud?

A: Find the answer to this question in the Ask Me Anything for this session

Q: Many of my switches are not going to connect to the internet, am I correct?

A: For switches that will not connect to the internet, we have the Specific License Reservation.

Q: Must the interface used for registration maintain internet connectivity after the initial registration is complete?

A: Yes, the device will communicate with CSSM every 30 days. So, that connectivity is required. There is another option for devices that will work in closed networks.

Q: What was the command to enter the token on the switch?

A: Switch # license smart register id token.

Q: When I'm validating the license in the WS-3650 equipment, it appears REGISTERED, and after 30 days it appears in the CSSM portal, it appears expired, what is the reason for that behavior?

A:We need to make sure that the switch is able to reach the internet since every 30 days the switch will communicate with the Cisco servers again.

Q: Is this a onetime thing or do I have to do this every year?

A: It's a one-time thing unless the switch is RMA's so you will have to transfer that license to the new one.

Q: Does anything change with the existing software subscription?

A: Smart Licensing scheme is mandatory, starting with IOS-XE 16.9.1 and above.

Q: How do I pay and upgrade? Get started in this system?

A: You need to open a case with the Smart Account Support team. They will help you to provision your switch licenses to the software manager under your virtual account. Once the license is visible, we will be able to register the switch.

Q: What do I do with Switches in a Lab?

A: Find the answer to this question in the Ask Me Anything for this session

Q: How can this work with the Cisco cloud?

A: That's the main method in which the switch communicates with the Cisco CSSM server through HTTPS via CSSM having the pool of licenses.

Q: What if the satellite can't reach the internet? I have networks that do not have any access out.

A: There's a way in which you can manually provision the licenses on the Satellite server without the need for that one to have Internet access.

Q: Where do you download the satellite server vm?

A: That method is called disconnected mode:

1.Navigate to

2. In the Select, a Product field, enter Smart software Manager Satellite.

Q: Do I need to use smart licensing for the 3650 switches we use in our NetAcad lab?

A:Smart licensing would be needed when you upgrade the iOS to any higher version than 16.8.x. If c3650 is still using RTU schema on releases (16.6.x, 16.8.x, 16.3). Smart licensing is not available and, therefore, not needed.

Q: The only time I will reload the switch is if I want to upgrade from one license version to another and not a first-time registration. Are my thoughts right?

A: Yes, that is correct.

Q: What do I do with switches in a Lab. These switches might not have access to the CSSM. Or these switches may be powered off for a more extended period. To me, Cisco does not want me to use specific licensing, as I need a special permission?

A: In that case you could go with the Smart License Reservation (SLR) option. Also, at the moment there's no enforcement and the features will continue to work even if the device reaches the Authorization expired state. 

Q: If I do an RMA I just have to wait until evaluation expires and it will convert automatically, am I right on this?

A: No, you will need to register the replacement device. It will not happen automatically.If an already registered device is RMAed, the new device needs to be registered into the CSSM, from the CSSM part, the license needs to be released to be available from the new device.If you do not want to wait, and you can manually remove that license in the software center.

Q: Should I use the same steps for routers and voice gateways?

A: Steps are based on Catalyst 3k/9k switches, for routers and VGW steps can vary due to device iOS architecture.

Q: The switches are always offline, so I guess the easiest would be to get them on the internet once a year. Am I correct?

A: If devices are always offline, the best approach would be SLR procedure, but that would depend on which is the offline registration.

Q: What is the difference between allowed and not allowed "Export-Controlled Functionality: Not Allowed"?

A: When Export-Controlled Functionality is shown as Not Allowed, it means that Communication transport is not available, it could be related to all-home is not enabled with "service call-home or profile is not enabled on config switch.

Q: Are there any additional costs for support when you move to smart licensing?

A: No additional costs are added when you move to smart license.

Q: How do I get one of these for the equipment I already have?

A: For the equipment question, you can review more details and the answer in these videos: and

Q: What do you buy a Cisco firewall?

A: Find the answer to this question in the Ask Me Anything for this session

Q: Can I implement a transport Gateway for firewall?

A: The answer would be that if that firewall can reach the Internet, and that target will need to be able to reach the Cisco server. So we are going to just let the direct the traffic to the firewall like the destination. The only to be told that, because that's the final destination. But for the traffic itself, like, if you are creating a route or things like that, you can use the route for firewall. I mean that the firewall would be your gateway to reach that destination.

Q: If you are buying switch from VAR can they do this registration for you and they also authorize for your company?

A: Regarding registration, the only possible method that we could be having is that when the offline process.There's a particular requirement if you're authorized for that. You can also request that when you receive the switch because it's going to be completely offline, it could include all already the license file, so you would just need to install it to enable it, but regarding the other types of registration, because you need to configure how to reach the server or the satellite, or if you have a proxy, and also associated with your smart account and things like that. Summary, it is not possible if it's an online method, we cannot have it already because also every 30 days the switch will communicate back to the server. So we need to do that proper configuration on the switch.

Q: Do you have information to convert traditional PAK or existing license (from previous IOS version) to Smart Licensing?

A: Regarding catalyst switches on catalyst which is 38 50 etc, or demand kit. We don't use a PAK file for a license. So, there's no way that we can convert a file that we don't use those PAK are used more on firewalls and on other devices Nexus also, but paddle switches, we don't have that PAK file. If you have a PAK file, that means it is for a different device, so you can go ahead and just convert that PAK to a smart.

Q: What if you buy a switch that is used? How does that work?

A: Normally when you buy a switch, you buy it with a license. So sales order includes the fact the device the switch, and the license. You just need to contact Cisco, and they do the proper they checked that sales order and updated and assign it to your account. So you would see that license available on your account and you can just do the registration of.

Q: How do I pay and upgrade? Through this system?

A: If you're migrating to smart licensing, that doesn't generate any extra costs. It's just doing the registration part, but you don't need to buy something extra. Why would you would need to pay like extra to upgrade or not upgrade would be for example if you're going from the basic to a more complete one so for example if you're going from network essential to network advantage that would require an extra payment.

Q: I have been attempting to update some equipment I have and have been looking at this SMART system only to have someone in the ping pong game tell me this is going away.

A: Regarding Smart licensing, it's mandatory in 16.9.1 and above. So, any software version that you would be running after that is mandatory. This solution is not going away from the question I understand that he had heard does is going away. No, it's not going away.

Q: Is there an IPv6 endorsed set of config guidance?

A: Find the answer to this question in the Ask Me Anything for this session

Q: How can this work with Cisco firewall?

A: For Cisco Firewall, Smart Licensing will work pretty similarly.

Related Information