How borrowing a concurrent ArcGIS license works, and how it doesn’t

At the University of Manchester we use Concurrent Use licenses for ArcGIS. For working offline, e.g. for fieldwork, users can borrow ArcGIS licenses onto their laptops while are on the university network or VPN, and then use ArcGIS for a certain length of time while offline. 

Now some ArcGIS users borrowed licenses (ArcGIS 10.2.1), then took their laptops home or on fieldwork, and found that when launching Arc first nothing seems to happen, and only after about 20 minutes the application starts. Only when they were at their work site ArcGIS would start without delay.

This is what happened: they used the laptops on their home or hotel Wifi to check their email. When they then launch ArcGIS the software checks if it has internet connectivity, it does, so it tries to contact the license server. Only when this times out after about 20 minutes it falls back to the borrowed license. When the users were completely offline at the work site and started ArcGIS, the network check took no time and ArcGIS launched immediately.

Workaround 1:

Before you start ArcGIS applications make sure your laptop is connected

  • either to the internet AND the university VPN,
  • or to on none of the two.

Workaround 2:

After borrowing a license in ArcGIS Administrator, clear the license server field.

No, it is not intuitive. I understand borrowing a license as “From now on I want use a borrowed license instead of the concurrent one.” ArcGIS obviously understands borrowing as “Well, yes, I borrow a license, but really I continue to use the concurrent one, but just in case I am really, really completely offline, only then I will use the borrowed one.”

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