Sorry. Cisco SmartNET does not mean you can upgrade.


This is the 5th project I’ve been engaged on where the end customer is seeking a Unified Communications upgrade. This is great and all but the #1 misconception is that they have the rights to the software. Sorry people but just having SmartNET or even an ESW contract does not mean you can upgrade to the latest version.

So what do you need? Great question. You need something called Unified Communications Software Subscription or UCSS for short.

This is a software subscription with Cisco that enabled you to obtain major release upgrades for a set period of time. Let’s say you are on a Cisco Communications Manager release 6.x and you want to upgrade to the latest 8.x. You’ll need UCSS.

How do I renew my original UCSS? Great question. You don’t. When the Cisco UCSS expires you just buy it again for a set period of time and during that timeframe you can obtain the media and licensing to upgrade to the latest version.

How do I check for UCSS coverage on an existing contract? Easy. You e-mail the team and ask “Do I have UCSS or major revision upgrades rights on contract #8675309?” They reply back and tell you yay or nay.

I bought UCSS from my favoriate Cisco partner and want to get the latest and greatest Cisco software, now what? You need to work with an engineer and account manager that knows your solution in detail. Navigate over to the upgrade tool at and enter your contract information. If you’re accepted past this point you have won the lottery because Cisco associated everything correctly.

Work with your engineer to select the part numbers you need specific for your solution and place the order. This tool you’re working in is also called the PUT tool for “Product Upgrade Tool”. Be kind and please rewind.

Great I placed a PUT upgrade order – now what? Now you get to engage with the licensing team and this is something done with help from your Cisco partner engineer doing the upgrade. They will know whether you are re-hosting a license file or obtaining a new license file. Give yourself plenty of time during an upgrade for license file obtainment because the license team can sometimes delay for quite a while.


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