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Swapping Cisco Phones with Inadequate Licenses

Posted on 2014-02-28
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Last Modified: 2014-02-28
We have 30 cisco phones in use, 30 licenses in use with the Cisco phone manager, and 2 extra phones (already configured for the phone network).  When we try to deploy one of the extra phones, the phones fail registration with the server ... someone told us that is because of the licensing issue (too few licenses for the number of phones), which makes perfect sense.  

However, one of our phones has been giving us problems ... we would like to swap out the problem phone with one of the extras, but simply unplugging the problem phone doesn't allow the extra/replacement to register.  Is there some way to "clear" or "force" the problem phone off the server to free up a spot to add the extra in its place?

I realize the easiest solution is to simply purchase extra licenses, but you know how management can be sometimes - that's what we are dealing with here - but if we simply must buy the licenses, so be it :)
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Question by:PowerEdgeTech
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choward16980 earned 500 total points
ID: 39895245
Since version 5, Cisco CallManager doesn't allow spare part usage.  You have to purchase a new license for the phone.

http://networkingnerd.net/2010/11/12/license-to-call-a-guide-to-unified-communications-manager-licensing/

Should your phone ever break, you could always order a replacement part, CP-7960=.  The equals sign meant it was a “spare” part.  What made it spare?  It didn’t ship with a license.  It was meant to replace a broken phone.  Consequently, it was also about $100 cheaper.  If a person was so inclined, they could order a whole bunch of spare phones and use them with CallManager.  How?  Because CallManager 3.x and 4.x had no mechanism for license enforcement.  Other than your conscience, there was nothing stopping you from saving $100 per phone and using the spare parts with no licenses.  And, I’m guessing a lot of people started doing this.  Which led to improvements in 5.x
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by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39895287
Ha ha ... and that was just like the old IT guy too :)  For example, he bought workstations without Windows licenses, then installed volume license on them.

Perfect ... thanks!
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by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39895324
Can you point me in the right direction for what/where to purchase the licenses?
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by:José Méndez
ID: 39895386
Try this:

Log into the web interface. Go to Device > Phone and list the device you wish to swap out. Locate where it says Device Name, and change the MAC address to reflect the one that belongs to the "new" phone you wish to start using.

Now, if you have already added the replacement phone to the database, go ahead and just delete the old phone and the new one will take the licenses. The only catch is that if there are other devices waiting for licenses to be freed up, the one you wish to add may not get them assigned and won't register. Better to trim out all pending phones (delete them), delete the one you no longer to use, and by that time you'll have free license units. Then add the phone you wish to use.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39895439
I thought about that and wondered if it would work, but right now, the phone works, just not the handset (swapping the handset does not help), so if we delete the phone, I'm afraid they would have no phone at all until a proper solution was found.  

Also, I didn't want to mention/admit this earlier (even though it was not my doing), but when I went investigating the license question, I found we are actually using 34, so I'm afraid we could end up deleting 5 phones to get 1 added, which is losing too many phones.  Yet another reason why I'd rather tell them to simply buy licenses to properly license all the phones.

Thank you though!
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