I am almost 100% sure this is not possible, but just thought about double checking with someone with more expertise on wireless.

Suppose I have the following scenario:

WLC-1 with 25 licenses on building 1 (5508) WLC-2 with 100 licences on building 2 (5508) -- new one being added to the network

There is a total of 75 APs. 25 APs of those APs are in building 1 and primed to WLC-1. WLC-2 will be added and it will be the primary WLC for 50 APs. With the addition of the second WLC, we want to add some redundancy, as follows:

Add WLC-2 as a secondary WLC for the 25 APs in building 1 and add WLC-1 as the secondary WLC for the other 50 APs in building 2, so we could have some redundancy, should one of the WLC fail, the other one would accept the associations of all the APs. Obviously this would be a problem, as WLC-1 only have 25 licenses and once WLC-2 fail, all the other 50 APs would be able to associate with WLC-1 as all the 25 licenses are already used.

My thought process, is that we need 75 more licenses on WLC-1, so both WLCs would have the same number of licenses and the number of licenses is greater than the number of APs.

But the problem is that someone told our customer that we should be able to keep WLC-1 with 25 licenses and leverage Cisco Prime NCS, buying 100 licenses (L-NCS-1.0-100). According to them, this license would give the ability of the WLCs "sharing" (if you will) all the 100 licenses, so should one WLC fail, the other one could use the licenses. I am almost sure that this is wrong, as NCS is more of a management platform with several troubleshooting capabilities, like generating reports and helping on troubleshooting signal issues, etc. So bottom line is that the license, would be for the amount of devices that NCS could have visibility.

Can someone tell me if NCS should be able to share its licenses with the WLC or if my initial understanding of having to buy +75 licenses for WLC-1 is the correct approach.

Thanks a lot in advance..

1 Answer 1


Unless something changed recently in regards to WLC/Prime licensing, you can only do this when you are running a two controllers in a HA active/standby state. In this case, you only need permanent count licenses on the active WLC.

From Cisco documentation: "In Cisco Prime Infrastructure, the only HA configuration is supported is 1:1 - 1 primary system, 1 secondary system."

Prime Infrastructure does not support HA in an active/active mode. While the APs can have a backup controller configured, this is not considered HA. In this case, each controller would require sufficient licenses to support the APs that would be connecting to it.

  • Thanks! So this means that, if I have WLC-1 (25) and WLC-2 (100) running HA under the same NCS, I have the option to prime all the APs I have (75 total) to WLC-2 for example which has 100 licenses and point the same 75 APs to WLC-1 as a secondary controller with 25 licences. Then if that WLC-2 goes down, all the 75 APs would associate to WLC-1 even though it only has 25 licenses? Did I get this right? Thanks a lot for your help Sep 25, 2013 at 11:25
  • @BrownTaylor, if you also check this document, under the "How it works" section, it seems to indicate you can. However, I have never done so personally.
    – YLearn
    Sep 25, 2013 at 14:18
  • Right; thanks for the link, it really helps. One thing that called my attention is that it says that both WLCs should be next to each other as HA is achieved over a cable. In my scenario, the two WLCs would be in different buildings. This could be an issue for HA, right? Thanks for your help, it is greatly appreciated! Sep 25, 2013 at 18:27
  • @BrownTaylor, should does not mean it has to be. For instance, if the buildings are close, you have fiber between the buildings, and can dedicate a pair to the task, they appliances won't be able to really differentiate from their direct connection if they are next to each other or not. There are other requirements as well, you just need to make sure they are all met if you want to use HA.
    – YLearn
    Sep 25, 2013 at 18:44

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