Firmware Upgrade Tips

Upgrading an AREDN® node is a straightforward process accomplished using the Setup > Administration > Firmware Update feature on the node’s web interface. Follow the procedures documented in the Downloading AREDN Firmware section to ensure you have the correct firmware version from the AREDN® website to install on your node

The newest firmware versions have a built-in check to verify that the firmware image you selected is appropriate for the device on which you are installing it. Earlier firmware versions (3.16.1.x and 3.18.9.0) do not have these checks, so be sure you selected the correct firmware version for your device before starting the upgrade.

Here are some “best practice” tips to assist with the firmware upgrade process. These ensure that memory utilization is at its minimum on the node. The upgrade process can fail due to lack of memory, but such a failure will leave the node unchanged on its previous firmware version.

Use a stepped approach to firmware upgrades
For example, if your node is running version 3.18.9.0 you may want to upgrade to version 3.19.3.0 before attempting to apply a newer version.
Clear the web browser cache
When using a web browser to perform an upgrade, be sure to clear the browser’s cache to remove any cached pages remaining from your node’s previous firmware version. A clear cache will help to eliminate confusion when displaying node data in the browser.
Free node resources

Before starting the firmware upgrade, it may be necessary to stop, disable, or uninstall extra packages such as Meshchat, snmp, and tunneling. The goal of this step is to keep those processes from using RAM memory and to free as much RAM as possible before the upgrade. Rebooting the node will ensure that its RAM utilization is at a minimum.

You may also want to stop node programs or services that are not needed during the upgrade. For example, if you can telnet or ssh to the node and type the command wifi down you can free the memory used by this driver.

Tips for legacy nodes with low memory (32mb)

Legacy equipment with only 32mb of memory will become more difficult to upgrade as the footprint of firmware images continues to grow. Be sure not to use these types of devices at sites which are difficult to access. The sysupgrade process needs around 10mb of free memory to succeed.

  • You may need to try the sysupgrade procedure several times before it succeeds. Be patient and keep trying.
  • Get everything ready to do the upgrade, then do a fresh reboot of the node and immediately start the sysupgrade process before the node has time to initialize services which use memory.
  • Use command line access to copy the sysupgrade.bin image to the /tmp directory on the node, then run the sysupgrade process manually from the command line on the node. This procedure is described in the Troubleshooting Tips section of Installing AREDN Firmware.
  • As a last resort, use the TFTP procedure to load the factory.bin firmware image to the node. This procedure is described in the First Install sections of Installing AREDN Firmware.