Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Cisco ISR G2 Routers: The Facts Part 1

Cisco ISR G2 Routers

Who what when where why

You have probably heard the fuss regarding Cisco’s release of the next generation of ISR Routers, ISR G2. ISR Routers have been the most successful access routers EVER. Now comes the ISR G2 which appears to be able to continue this success.

Enough marketing talk, plenty of that on Let’s get down to the details on what exactly we are looking at, each article will focus on a different area of the G2, Today we will be looking at

Software Licensing

The software is where the vast majority of the changes to the way you think about Cisco are occurring

First of all, No more separate IOS images per platform: IOS version 15 is a “universal” IOS which means that the same IOS is used across all platforms. What is even more interesting is that this “universal” IOS also comes pre-loaded with all the feature sets (i.e. security etc.) ready to go: They just need to be licensed.

It is also important to note that the different feature sets have been broken up into much smaller and more easily understood sections, rather than ADV IP Services, IP Services, IP Plus etc. etc. the model has been significantly simplified:

A default IP base image is enabled by default and you can then enable the feature sets that you require (SEC, DATA or UC). These are referred to as cisco IOS “Technology packages”

Routers that you have pre-purchased for UC etc will obviously come licensed for that technology package. Just so you know: yes you can enable multiple technology packages at the same time.

How do you license them? With a PAK File, you order the license, a PAK file with a special key number is provided to you, you go to and enter in this PAK number along with the unique ID of the router (which is made up of the serial number of the router and the PID)

Once you have done that you are then sent a .lic file that you can then apply to the router. Your done!

It is important to note that while this sounds like a pain in the butt it makes ordering IOS a lot simpler and means you don’t have to worry about downloading a new IOS in order to apply the feature set you want. What’s even cooler is that the concept of temporary licenses allowing you to try a feature for 60 days is now supported.

What about features such as SSL you say, or CCME? These are enabled using a “feature license” which is basically an add-on to a particular technology package, so for example, in order to enable CME feature license you obviously must have a voice feature package license already. There are two types of feature licenses

Subscription Licenses

Subscription licenses are time-based licenses that require the subscriber to periodically renew or the license will expire after an agreed-upon time. Some examples of Subscription license are URL Filtering and IPS.

Counted Licenses

Feature licenses can be either uncounted licenses or counted licenses. Uncounted licenses do not have any count and simply enable the unrestricted feature on the router when activated. Counted licenses enable a defined number of uses e.g. CME User Licenses”