Ordering Cisco IOS Software and Managing Licenses

Customers can buy Cisco IOS Software in three ways:

  • With a hardware purchase
  • On a CD

Go to Ordering on for information about ordering Cisco products, including Cisco IOS Software.

Types of CDs

Feature Pack CDs

There are two types of Feature Pack CDs:

  • Multi-Release Feature Pack CD
    Four of the latest maintenance releases from mainline release trains plus the T and Special releases from the latest T-train. The customer specifies the feature set of the releases. For more information about feature packs.
  • Multiple Versions of a Feature Set
    A few revisions of a Cisco IOS Feature Set. For example, the CD26XM-IPB is a CD containing several revisions of the "IP Base" feature set for the 2600XM series access routers. The CD28-AISK9 is a CD containing several revisions of "Advanced IP Services" for the Cisco 2800 access router series.

Bundled Upgrade CD

An upgrade of the default release that you can order when purchasing security or voice bundles with new hardware. Cisco installs the release at the factory.

Spare CD (also called Special Order CD)

Any single release with any feature set except Cisco IOS IP and IP Base.


Customers license the right to use Cisco intellectual property (software) from Cisco. When you purchase hardware, you also purchase the software and the license to use it. Hardware arrives with licensed software. When you need a different feature set, you need to purchase the license for it. Upgrade features may be licensed separately, and special Cisco IOS features are licensed separately, either on a flat usage or per-seat basis, depending on the features.

When customers and partners download software from the Software Center, or e-mail downloaded software to someone, they are obligated to comply to the terms and conditions of the Cisco Software License Agreement.

Licensing Best Practices

  • Pay an additional fee to upgrade to a new feature set—upgrades require new license. No additional fee is due when the feature set stays the same—updates require no new license.
  • Resell software (and license to use) that runs on the Cisco hardware when they resell the hardware.
  • Charge customers for upgrade or special feature licenses.
  • Tell customers to purchase licenses for software running on their equipment.
  • Make one archival copy of software at no charge.
  • Do not operate unlicensed software in customer networks
  • Do not transfer to customers of Cisco IOS software that is deployed on a Partner's own network
  • Do not transfer Cisco IOS software licenses from one company to another except in special circumstances, such as company mergers

SMARTnet Licensing

Customers who have an active SMARTnet contract, and who have paid for a specific feature license (per device), are entitled to access and download the images for which they have paid.

A customer who has an active SMARTnet contract is entitled to unlimited maintenance releases from multiple Cisco IOS trains as long as a service contract has been purchased for the target equipment and the customer downloads only the licensed feature set.

An individual feature license must be purchased for the specific Cisco IOS Software image for each router on which the image will be used. For example, customers who have purchased a Cisco IOS Software IP image along with their Cisco equipment, and subsequently wish to use Cisco IOS Software IP Plus, must purchase a feature license for Cisco IOS Software IP Plus. The additional feature license will entitle them to use the Cisco IOS Software IP Plus image.

Licensing Policies and Information

  • End User Software License Agreement and Limited Warranty (HTML) This single and multiple user software licensing agreement applies to many, but not all, software products that can be downloaded from Cisco. Generally, limited warranties are offered only for release-level products sold and officially supported by Cisco. Unsupported products will be described and marked as such wherever possible.

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