Who thought it was a good idea to require an additional license to use cli configuration?


I just purchased a XS1930-12HP for use at home and missed the part of the documentation where I would need to buy an additional license in order to run 'configure' type commands on the cli of the switch. I understand many switches require additional licenses for Layer3 features like BGP, etc. This is common practice among vendors like cisco. But to require a license to configure the switch seems a bit ridiculous. For instance, the switch seems to only support SSH hostkey algorithms that are deprecated in openssh. So I was thinking… Hey I'll check the CLI to see if I can generate a ECDSA or ED25519 key. Nope, can't even look without paying for a license. Ridiculous! In an 800 dollar 'managed' switch. I would strongly encourage Zyxel to re-think what features actually require an additional license and what features do not. Look at your competitors and see what they offer 'in the box' vs what you are offering. A quick look through the licensed feature list, and I see things like this that are usually not additional licensed features:

CLI (Command Line Interface) configuration

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) Trap

BPDU (Bridge Protocol Data Units) Control

ARP Inspection

( Funny enough DHCP snooping is enabled in the default license, but not ARP inspection so you can't do anything with it).

DHCP Server Guard

MAC Pinning

These aren't even layer3 features. They are standard managed switch features. There are more, but this is just a few items.

All Replies

  • Zyxel_Melen
    Zyxel_Melen Posts: 1,632  Zyxel Employee
    First Anniversary 10 Comments Friend Collector First Answer

    Hi @sjcolo,

    Upgrading to a 10G network is not a small investment and we would like to make network upgrades an easier path by offloading some of these up-front costs through the optional license. This is also one of the reasons why 10G Switches are being segmented into Smart switches and Managed switches, like the Gigabit Switches setting for different features / cost.
    XS1930-12HP is a Lite-L3 smart switch that comes with a static route via Web GUI which is quite often used for most home users. (though we understand advanced users certainly feel CLI to be much more handy). It is also a unique 10G Switch that offers a high 375W power budget and 60W/port to power up WiFI 6/6E and even up to the latest WiFi 7AP which leaves much more room for new technology early birds. To level up networks, the additional license not only offers more advanced L2 features, but also expands the capacity for the L2 MAC table, L3 static routing table, and many more.
    Though it requires a license to use CLI, the standard firmware still offers the option to view Switch configuration via Telnet / SSH.
    Currently, the switch doesn't support ECDSA/ED25519, however, we plan firmware v4.90 to support ECDSA. You can use the command "show SSH" for more detailed information.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and hopefully we have answered some of the doubts you have about our product.

    Zyxel Melen

  • sjcolo
    sjcolo Posts: 3
    First Comment
    edited December 2023

    I strongly disagree that it was a good idea to gatekeep cli functionality behind an additional license. This is the first switch I have ever heard of to restrict this feature. It looks like this POE++ switch is based on a reference design, at least one other vendor is in the market with a similar specification that doesn't require a license to purchase basic features. I expect more will follow soon. I can't find a single online vendor to purchase the license: LIC-ACSL3-ZZ0005F in United States. So that means calling a distributor directly and asking for a quote. Super inconvenient for something that I should already have functioning on my switch.

    The fact that I can show running-config with the non licensed image is extra annoying. You know the commands are there you just can't access them.

    Also the latest firmware image generates an ECDSA hostkey, despite it not being in the release notes.

  • sjcolo

    I'm an end user. LIC-ACSL3-ZZ0005F isn't available in the zyxel markeplace for purchase. I don't think ingram micro is going to sell me a license as an end user. I can't even get a price quote. I imagine it probably costs about as much as the price difference for the competitor's switch with the same features and power budget (and a console port). I wonder which one can get to my house faster, an email with the license that I'm willing to buy, or a competing switch from another company with the licensed features included.

  • Zyxel_Melen
    Zyxel_Melen Posts: 1,632  Zyxel Employee
    First Anniversary 10 Comments Friend Collector First Answer

    There is always a cost gap to set apart smart managed switches from a fully-CLI Managed switch due to the difference of features offers. License offers flexibility for users that only need basic setup while reserves room for future upgrade, and we hope that this benefit can also be around for pro-users who pays for 10G network upgrades. The additional benefit of Zyxel switches is also the Cloud manageability. Purchase of AccessL3 license also comes with one-year free usage of pro-pack license on Zyxel Nebula Cloud.

    You can watch this video and the rest of the videos on this channel to learn about Nebula Control Center:

    This link is for you to reference the difference between the Nebula Pro Pack license and other licenses: https://www.zyxel.com/global/en/products/management-and-reporting/cloud-networking-management-nebula-control-center/subscribe-nebula

    We are just in the middle of bringing the Switch License to Zyxel Marketplace. To help facilitate the issues you encountered, we have specifically expedite the process for LIC-ACSL3-ZZ0005F which you can find that online now. Here's the link for the Zyxel Marketplace.
    And here are the steps to purchase LIC-ACSL3-ZZ0005F:

    1. Please navigate to Menu > License Store > Software Licenses.
    2. Scroll down to find the Access L3 license.
    3. Check the license and click "Add to Cart" button.
    4. Confirm the order and check out.

    Though there’s another premium to pay for license, but it also brings much more features for both on-premises or Cloud management.

    As for ECDSA hostkey, indeed it should be included in the release note. Thanks for the reminder. We have added it to the release note post.

    Zyxel Melen