Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cisco 5508 WLAN controller licensing


I recently looked into increasing licensing on three WLAN controllers that are currently licensed for 150 access points each.  The decision was made to add 150 licenses to each controller - however as you can see, the math doesn't work out well after you look at the available part numbers for when placing an order.



I would need add a 50 and a 100 AP license to each controller, so I contacted a vendor for pricing.  I’m not going to mention the vendor – this is just an example of pricing.  The far right column is the extended price I would pay for each.



I was curious as to how much each AP license cost per SKU.


L-LIC-CT5508-25A = $270.44

L-LIC-CT5508-50A = $232.64

L-LIC-CT5508-100A = $175.85


In order for me to add 150 access points to each controller, I would need to spend $29,216.47.  That’s $194.78 per AP license.


I decided to ask around to see if there was a 150 AP SKU, and the conversation ended up going in the direction of “Can I buy a 250 AP adder license and carve it up”?  Nobody seemed to know the answer, so I emailed  I was told by someone on the licensing team (after providing the serial number of the 5508 controller) that they would carve up a larger license into smaller ones!  Who knew!


Next step was to return to the vendor and ask for pricing for a quantity of two 250-AP licenses.



2x L-LIC-CT5508-250A = $158.50 per AP.


Even if I do the math and divide by 450, which is the number of licenses I actually need, I end up with $176.11 per AP license.


Any way you look at the numbers, it is cheaper to buy bigger licenses and carve them up among your controllers when adding capacity.


At the time of this writing, I have not purchased the licenses mentioned above, which means I have not actually had the licenses carved up.  I do, however, have documentation from the licensing team stating they would do it for me.


Needless to say, I think it is worth the inquiry if you are doing any upgrades on your Cisco 5508 series WLAN controllers.  I would love to see a 500-AP SKU if it turns out to be true!






  1. Great article on the bane of every Cisco WiFi engineers existence. I'm hoping the licensing on the 5700 series turns out as promising as it seems.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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