Cisco ONE licensing and 5508 WLC

When new licensing models are being published the first thing that vendors release are the marketing brochures. Due to this is selling the new “stuff” usually not the biggest problem (except when certain features have been moved to another “level”, but how often does that happen.. right?..). The more difficult part is finding out how the new process works and which codes, files and/or commands need to be entered on the box to get it running. This post is about Cisco ONE licensing in conjunction with the 5508 WLC to help fellow engineers πŸ™‚ .

Regular licensing for the 5508 WLC is pretty straightforward: you buy a 5508 with a certain amount of AP licenses on it and you can upgrade this amount if needed up to 500 AP licenses. It gets a little more complicated if you add HA SSO in the mix: the primary 5508 needs to have a permanent license (12 AP licenses is enough), the secondary 5508 needs to be at least licensed with 50 AP licenses or needs to be a dedicated HA SKU unit (which is just as expensive as a regular 5508 with 50 AP licenses).

With Cisco ONE the idea is that you always buy controllers (C1-AIR-CT5508-K9) with zero AP licenses and depending on your needs you buy a certain amount of C1 licenses. The nice part with those C1 licenses is that also node licenses for Prime Infrastructure, MSE and ISE are included so you don’t need to order them separately anymore. When you order the controllers and C1 licenses you will receive a eDelivery link to download the PAK codes. Those PAK codes can be registered on the Cisco website and will give you for the 5508 controller regular LIC files which you need to upload to the controller. Nice detail: the C1-AIR-CT5508-K9 controller without any licenses can function as a HA SKU as well, which is a much cheaper solution comparing to the regular licensing.

What about mixing this new license model with install base? This is the tricky part. The official statement that I received from Cisco is that mixing the old and new licensing model is not supported and the install base should be migrated to the new form of licensing. From my own testing I can say that you can pair a regular licensed 5508 with an C1 controller as secondary unit in HA SSO setup without any problems. Same goes for upgrading the AP licenses of regular licensed controllers with C1 licenses. Official documentation regarding this is simply not available but I don’t think that Cisco wants you do to that…

Hopefully this information helps with your first Cisco ONE implementation πŸ™‚