Cisco 5500 Series Wireless Controllers

Understanding Cisco 5508 Wireless LAN Controller Licensing

Document ID: 112926

Updated: Apr 19, 2011



This document provides information on the Cisco 5508 Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) Licensing, and also answers some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Cisco 5508 Licensing.



There are no specific requirements for this document.

Components Used

The information in this document is based on:

  • Cisco 5508 WLC


Refer to Cisco Technical Tips Conventions for more information on document conventions.

Cisco 5508 WLC Licensing

The Cisco 5508 WLC offers access point (AP) association quantity support via upgradeable software licenses.

This is different than other controller models that have hard set AP quantity support, such as NME-WLC, 2100, 4400 and WiSM series. The number of supported APs for non-5508 WLCs can be inferred from the model number of the corresponding controller. For example, the AIR-WLC4402-12-K9 supports twelve APs, the AIR-WLC2106-K9 supports six APs, and the NME-AIR-WLC8-K9 supports eight APs. WiSM controllers have two onboard controllers which each support 150 APs, for a total of 300.

You can order Cisco 5500 Series Controllers with support for 12, 25, 50, 100, 250 or 500 APs as the controller's base capacity. You can add additional AP capacity through capacity adder licenses available at 25, 50, 100 and 250 AP capacities. You can add the capacity adder licenses to any base license in any combination to arrive at the maximum capacity of 500 APs. The base and adder licenses are supported through both rehosting and Return Material Authorizations (RMAs).

Note: A 5500 Series WLC with a base license of 12 can only support up to 487 total APs because only 25, 50, 100, and 250 adder licenses are supported.

Key Points

Support for 500 AP licenses is a new feature and requires WLC code 7.0.98.

Refer to for more information.

Before 6.0.196, licenses were separated into BASE and PLUS types.—With 6.0.196 and all later code (including 7.0 releases), all features included in a Wireless LAN Controller Wplus license are now included in the base license.

Refer to for more information.

5508s are shipped with both permanent and evaluation base and base-ap-count licenses that expire after 60 days.

For ordering information on Cisco 5500 Series Wireless Controllers:

Refer to


Q. How do I obtain a 5508 license?

A. Licenses can be purchased through Cisco or your Cisco reseller. For instructions on how to obtain an upgrade license for the number of supported APs, refer to the Obtaining an Upgrade or Capacity Adder License section of the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller Configuration Guide, Release 7.0.

Q. How do I install a new 5508 license?

A. The license file must first be downloaded to a TFTP server that the 5508 can reach via IP. Once this has been done, refer to the Installing a License section of the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller Configuration Guide, Release 7.0 for the remaining steps.

Q. How do I view the current license status of a 5508?

A. In order to view the current License status through the controller’s GUI interface, go to Management > Software Activation > Licenses.

Refer to for more information.

Q. What information do I need to have ready to request a license for the first time?

A. The licensing online tool or the licensing agent requires this data:

  1. Product ID, which will always be AIR-CT5508-K9 (this is different from the one needed for an RMA license)

  2. Serial number of the 5508

  3. PAK certificate that is obtained through your Cisco channel partner or your Cisco sales representative, or that you can order online at this URL:

Q. I have received a replacement/RMA 5508 for a failed unit. How do I transfer the license to the new 5508?

A. Replacement 5508s come preinstalled with these licenses: permanent base and evaluation base, base-ap-count, which are valid for 60 days. Within 60 days you need to register the existing license for the new 5508.

Have this information available:

  1. Product ID, which will always be AIR-CT5508-CA-K9

  2. Serial number of the failed/old 5508

  3. (RMA) Number provided with replacement 5508

Once you have this information ready, access this URL to submit the request to have the license reassigned: (registered customers only)

Choose Cisco 5500 Series Wireless Controllers, then click Goto RMA Portal. Enter the requested information along with the security word authenticator and click Continue (the serial and RMA numbers in this screenshot are for display only):


Complete the remaining prompts, and the rehosted license will be emailed to you.

Refer to the Transferring Licenses to a Replacement Controller after an RMA section of the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller Configuration Guide 7.0 for the complete procedure.

Related Information

Updated: Apr 19, 2011
Document ID: 112926