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Updated:June 27, 2023
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This document describes how to choose a stable Cisco IOS® XE release for enterprise routing platforms.
This document covers recommended releases for Catalyst 8000 Edge, ASR1000, ISR4000, CSR1000v, and ISR1000 Platforms.
The software versions provided in this document are generally considered stable for the majority of deployments. Before you select a release, review the associated Release Note document and verify there are no open caveats that can impact the device based on its configured features. The Release Notes also contain tables that identify when Rommon, Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), or Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD) versions must be upgraded before you perform the Cisco IOS XE upgrade.
Whenever possible, it is advised to install an Extended Maintenance (EM) release of Cisco IOS XE software. Where hardware support or support for a particular feature is not yet available in an EM release, a Standard Maintenance (SM) release is required. When the next EM release becomes available, it is advised to move from the SM to an EM version that provides the same hardware and software support.
Cisco IOS XE Software Support
Each Cisco IOS XE software release is classified as either an SM release or an EM release.
SM Release - A sustaining support lifetime of 12 months from First Customer Shipment (FCS) with scheduled rebuilds. Examples are Cisco IOS XE Software releases 16.8, 16.10, and 16.11. EM Release - A sustaining support lifetime of 36 months from FCS with scheduled rebuilds. Examples are Cisco IOS XE Software releases 16.9, and 16.12.
Note: Every subsequent third release (for example, Cisco IOS XE Software release 16.6, 16.9, 16.12, 17.3, 17.6, 17.9, and so on.) is an EM release.
Version 17.3 and 17.6 continue to receive long-term bug fix support with additional rebuilds to incorporate fixes in the future. The 17.3 and 17.6 releases provide support for Cisco SD-WAN and Cisco IOS XE routing in a single software image. If you have a feature or hardware requirement that is only available in a Cisco IOS XE 17 release, the latest release of Cisco IOS XE 17.3.5 or 17.6.3a is recommended. If you run a 17.5 release, consider the long-lived release 17.6.
Cisco IOS XE release 16.10.1 requires Smart Licensing for Cisco enterprise router platforms. Prepare for smart licensing as you consider the long-term software strategy for your network. In Cisco IOS XE 17.4, the Smart Licensing with policy feature is available. More information is available here.