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Why i can't download IOS => "Service contract required" ???!!!


I try to update IOS for my router (Cisco 2821 ).

When i click to download button, i receive this message : Service contract required

What can i do for upgrade IOS on my hardware ? Is it needed to pay for this ? WTF ?

Thks for your advise in advance.

Best Regards.

Cisco Employee

Why i can't download IOS => "Service contract required" ???!!!

This is true.   You can read more at:

Cisco software updates do require a service contract.  A service contract also provides phone support, hardware replacement and access to advanced tooling on

You can get software updates without a service contract to fix security problems. 

You can find platform-relevant security issues and related mitigation instructions at

New Member

I know this is old, but this

I know this is old, but this is an idiotic policy. Network vendors who's low-end devices are sold online by NewEgg and CDW really have to provide easy access to firmware updates without the runaround. When the next massive IOS based exploit is released, and the internet is falling to its knees, I'll be the first to sign up for the class action suite blaming Cisco for negligence. Really. We just want to secure our devices.

New Member

I agree with Andrew. A

I agree with Andrew. 

A company trading in network security appliances shouldn't restrict users from downloading updates. 



Cisco Employee

Most low-end devices that

Most low-end devices that offer "free" software updates get updated only a few times before the vendor stops providing fixes at all. The fix for any future problems is to buy new hardware.  Many bugs are never fixed on such devices, only very critical problems.

Cisco has a very serious commitment to hardware longevity and providing ongoing software updates and maintenance.  Any device that is subject to a known exploit is eligible for a complimentary software upgrade through the PSIRT program.  (

For ordinary ongoing maintenance and access to the constant stream of software improvements, Cisco requires that a device be under a service contract. 



New Member

"Most low-end devices..."

"Most low-end devices..."

"Many bugs are never fixed..."

I'm not interested in your anecdotal evidence. My experience has been the opposite. My Asus consumer wireless router had 5 firmware updates in the last year. The updates are checked for automatically from the dashboard panel, and the user is alerted whenever there's a new release. Installation is as easy as a click of a button.  So don't give me some BS about "low end" devices not providing firmware updates.

If Cisco was so serious about providing timely updates and making them convenient for users to install, they wouldn't require them to jump through hoops just to get a security update. Nobody's looking for a free ride, or extra features. We paid a lot for the features we require. We just don't like to be nickel and dimed, and/or forced to subscribe to meaningless marketing/data harvesting programs just so we can be assured that our appliances are secure. I'm busy, and so are my many colleagues out there, and frankly we're sick of being treated like second class citizens because we don't have million dollar contracts.

New Member

Hello, this problem become

Hello, this problem become really sarcastic, i can believe my eyes when i see that for just grab the last NBAR2 version, we need a valid service contract... serious Cisco, this is not fair at all... so people need to stay your customer for live -:( ? This policy need to be improve... can you imagine, we are in a far region in Africa, a company deploy our network as turnkey project, and now we can't even make a basic upgrade to improve our network stability...
I suggest you to do not allow reseller to sell your device and sell it directly to end users.
As i understood if you purchase a used Cisco Router, you will never access on IOS Upgrade... sorry but for me it's too commercial aggressive politic... Cheers

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Why i can't download IOS => "Service contract required" ???!!!

What can i do for upgrade IOS on my hardware ? Is it needed to pay for this ? WTF ?

A few years ago, Cisco had put a "gentleman's agreement" when it comes to downloading IOS.  This means that you are FREE to download any IOS as long as you have a valid Service Contract.  Cisco has stopped this from happening after they discovered people were abusing this goodwill when they download, for example, Advanced IP Services IOS when they never bought license-to-use this feature set in the first place.

Now, if you bought an appliance from a valid Cisco dealer, you can get the dealer to furnish you with the service contract which associates to the serial number of the Cisco product(s) you now own.  However, this also means you need to pay for the "right" to download software.  It's like buying a computer.  You still need to purchase additional software.

Cisco Employee

Re: Why i can't download IOS => "Service contract required" ???!

Just for the record, let me clarify some terminology.

An update is when you get software of a newer version but the mostly same capbility.

An upgrade is when you get software of substantially improved capability or new features in a feature family.

A feature set upgrade is when you move up to a different licensed set of features.

In general, service contracts will get you updates and ugrades, but feature set upgrades will require a purchase (just like going from Windows Home to Windows Ultimate, for example)

The issue that Leo refers to was the January 2011 change where software center started a more rigourous enforcement of access based on covered products, which prevented users from downloading software for devices and device families for which they had no service contract.  Customers have always needed a service contract to download Cisco IOS; the change merely disabled the ability to inadventently download software for which no active service contract existed.

For more details on the Software Download center, please see

New Member

So I have Cisco wireless,

So I have Cisco wireless, purchased not even a year ago, 3 APs and WLC 2504. My company is involved in developing and testing collaboration appliance that employs AirPlay, GoogleCast, and other protocols for discovery\advertisement to BYOD. Bonjour is what I want to talk about

What I want to point out is; I've went through FIVE different iOS version is order to get one semi working one. There's still issues of stale records, advertisement frequency, and more. Thus I'm looking for new software in high hopes that the new version has those issues handled.

Keep in mind Bonjour is 14 YEARS OLD. Cisco still doesn't have that Sh*t working and wants nearly 30% appliance cost every year in order to provide me with their half a$$ed software updates. Zero guarantee, they every fix it.

I'm done, next hardware refresh cisco will be out of my closets for good. Bye!

Cisco Employee

Simon, I can appreciate your

Simon, I can appreciate your dissatisfaction with the Bonjour gateway ... frankly, I don't think much of Bonjour myself, as an enterprise protocol.

If you don't like our Bonjour gateway implementation ... then why not bypass it?  Just configure the APs and WLANs as FlexConnect locally switched.  Then the wireless infrastructure will just bridge the Bonjour (and all of those other home networking protocols) with no effort to track or filter the services at all.

Good luck and best regards,


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