Intel® FPGA Software Licenses

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Licensing Overview

Most Intel FPGA (formerly Altera® FPGA) software requires you to use a license to enable the software. The license is provided in a file named license.dat. The free Quartus Prime Lite Edition, legacy Quartus II Web Edition (v8.1 and later), and ModelSim-Altera Starter Edition software do not require a license.

A software subscription enables the Quartus Prime (and legacy Quartus II) software (including the IP Library) and the ModelSim‑Intel FPGA Edition software. When you purchase a software subscription, the license file supports the version of the software you purchase, all previous versions, and all versions released within a year of the purchase date. You can use the version of the software you purchase, and all related software, including the ModelSim‑Intel FPGA Edition software and the IP Library, indefinitely.

We also use licenses to enable additional software, such as purchased MegaCore functions, the Intel FPGA SDK for OpenCL, and the Intel SoC FPGA Embedded Design Suite (EDS).

For detailed information on licensing our software, refer to:

Activating Software

If you purchase software from or want to use a version of software included in a purchased kit, you must activate the software before licensing it. 

Software Serial Number: Your serial number comprises 14 alphanumeric characters beginning with an "A." This serial number serves as a license activation code to activate your software license via the Self-Service Licensing Center. The serial number is printed on a small sticker located in the center of the letter you received as well as on the external shipping envelope. The sticker has three bar codes with numbers underneath. The serial number is the bottom-most number. 

Hardware Information Required when You Request a License

You obtain licenses from the Self‑Service Licensing Center on To request a license, you need to provide information about the computer on which you want to install the license.

Most licenses require a network interface card (NIC) ID, which is the physical address of your Ethernet card.

Network Interface Card (NIC) Number: Your NIC number is a 12-digit hexadecimal number. Most licenses use your NIC. You can find the NIC number for your card by typing ipconfig /all at a command prompt. Your NIC number is the number on the physical address line, minus the dashes. An example is shown below:

Although this screen shot is quite old (and kept for posterity), you still use the same ipconfig command.

Host IDs: Your server host ID is an 8- or 12-digit hexadecimal number. This number identifies the UNIX, Windows, and/or Linux workstation that serves Altera licenses. Networked (or floating node) licensing requires a NIC number or server host ID. When obtaining a license file for network licensing, you should use the host ID from the UNIX, Windows, or Linux workstation that will issue Intel FPGA software licenses to distributed users over a network. If you do not know your primary server host ID, contact your server systems administrator.

Software Guard ID: We continue to support software guards (also called T-guards or dong;es) to license software. Your software guard ID number is a 10-digit number beginning with a "T" (hardware guards that connect to the parallel port on your PC). If you have a "T" software guard, you can obtain the ID by using one of the following methods:

  • Read it from the printed label on the guard.
  • In the Quartus Prime or Quartus II software, choose License Setup (Tools menu). The software guard ID is listed in the Local System Information section of the dialog box, in the Software Guard ID box.