Using your SOLIDWORKS Network Licenses Away from the Office

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE updated March 17, 2020


As SOLIDWORKS network licenses are hosted on a server connected to your network, clients must also be connected to the same network to obtain a license.  In some situations it may be required to use a license away from your office, such as working from home or offsite with a laptop.

There are two methods that can be used for clients to use a license:

  1. Connect to your network through VPN (requires Internet connection)
  2. Borrow a license through the SolidNetWork License Manager (does not require Internet connection)

VPN Connection

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a client-server relationship that requires a server on the end of the corporate network, and a client to connect to that network.  Clients can be network connections from an operating system or provided via an app such as Cisco connect-anywhere or OpenVPN.  Work with your IT department to implement VPN on your network.

From SOLIDWORKS System requirement page:
SOLIDWORKS does not test or certify VPN (Virtual Private Network) solutions but provides best-effort support.  Users may be directed to work directly with their VPN provider to resolve issues on a case-by-case basis.

What is the definition of a VPN (Virtual Private Network)?

From the SOLIDWORKS Knowledge Base Article S-057653: A virtual private network (VPN) is a computer network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure such as the Internet to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organisation’s network. It aims to avoid an expensive system of owned or leased lines that can be used by only one organisation.

Details about support guidelines and policies for VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be found in the notes at the bottom of the SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS PDM System Requirements web page. Please review the notes for the most current information regarding VPN usage.

If users have issues obtaining a license over a VPN connection, there may be issues connecting to the server or firewalls blocking communication.  Review our article SOLIDWORKS SolidNetWork License Manager Troubleshooting.

NOTE: It’s recommended to use the IP address of the server, not the server computer name, within the SolidNetwork License Manager Client application on each users machine.  This can be found under the Server List tab.

Borrow licenses from the SolidNetWork License Manager

A connection to your network is required to initially borrow a license.  Once borrowed, the computer can be disconnected from the network and will not require any internet connection to run.

IMPORTANT: Do not borrow a license when connected to VPN.  Only borrow when physically connected to the network.  The use of an ethernet cable is highly recommended, rather than using Wi-Fi connections.

Open the SolidNetwork License Manager Client on the user machine.  This can be found under Start > SolidWorks Tools 20XX > SolidNetwork License Manager Client 20XX.  There should be 4 tabs at the top.  Select “License Borrowing”.


SOLIDWORKS Network License Borrow

The list of products that have an available license will be shown in the list.  Select the one required and specify the last day you will need the license.  Licenses are limited to a 30-day maximum borrow period.  This maximum period can be shortened using an Options file.

SOLIDWORKS will be available for use through to 11:59pm on the day specified.  At midnight of the following day, the license will expire on the client laptop and the license will be freed up on the server.  The license will need to be borrowed again after 30 days.

Once you have selected a product and the borrow until date, click Borrow.  This will move the license under the Borrowed Product Licenses window.  A Standard License will automatically be borrowed with any higher level license.

SOLIDWORKS Network Licenses Borrowed

A borrowed license will be shown In Use from the network pool until it is returned.  If you get back to the office before the date specified, you can manually return the license.  Reconnect to the network.  Select the license in the Borrowed Product Licenses list and click Return.  The license will be returned and become available to the network pool.

SOLIDWORKS Network License Return

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

Scott is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.