Firmware TCP/IP Upgrade using TFTP


This document covers the TCP/IP procedures required for upgrading the firmware version of all Microplex products (with flash PROMs), using the TFTP protocol.


Upgrade Steps


For demonstration purposes only, the following assumptions and values will be used for the TCP/IP upgrade steps given below;

  • Throughout this document the Microplex product being upgraded is represented by <prod>, some examples are;
    • m205
    • m206
    • m270
    • m270clr
  • This <prod> is being upgraded to the latest firmware level.
  • This <prod> uses the IP address "".
  • The TFTP server (i.e. host running the TFTP daemon and containing the upgrade files) is a Unix host and uses IP address "".
  • The TFTP server uses the directory "/tftpboot" as the common directory for TFTP files based on the "tftp" line in "/etc/inetd.conf" file.

Steps for upgrading firmware:

  1. Get the required upgrade files for the Microplex product you are upgrading (see "Getting Upgrade Files" section), and place them on to your TFTP host server. You will need;
    • Downloader binary file (e.g. <prod>
    • Firmware binary file (e.g. <prod>
  2. Uncompress these binary files which were downloaded in ZIP format (e.g. <prod>.hex).
  3. Place these uncompressed binary files into the "/tftpboot" directory with global read permissions.
    • If using a Unix host as the TFTP server in this process, you will need to look at the "tftp" line in the file "/etc/inetd.conf", to find out the best place for these files.
    • If you see a "-s" option followed by a directory at the end of this line, you will need to place the upgrade files into this directory specified.
    • If you do not see a "-s" option at the end of this line, then you can safely assume that the files need to sit at root or in a "/tftpboot" directory with open permissions.
    • If using a PC as the TFTP server in this process, look to your product documentation for your TCP stack or TFTP service to find out where to place these files.
  4. Telnet to the <prod> you are upgrading and log in as "root".
  5. Thru this telnet session, put the <prod> into upgrade mode by typing "upgrade".
    • The <prod> will automatically reset itself meaning you will lose your login session.
  6. After 30 seconds, log back into the <prod> you are upgrading again (as in step 4). A message should appear telling you the unit is now in upgrade mode, for example:
    • telnet
    • Connected to
    • Escape character is '^]'.
    • NetworkEye Version 1.0 (
    • login: root
    • Password: ****
    • Welcome root user
    • WARNING: Unit is in firmware upgrade mode.
  7. Start the downloader program by typing the following command at the command prompt:
    • "boot tftp_server_IP_address:/downloader_filename/firmware_filename"
    • The following is presented as an example;
    •> boot<prod>_dl.hex /<prod>.hex
  8. After this command, you will see output similar to this:
    • Download <prod>_dl.hex from ? (y/n) y
    • tftp: resolving ethernet address for
    • tftp: found 8:0:20:b:b1:7c
    • tftp: reading file <prod>_dl.hex / got 133646 bytes
    • <prod>_dl.hex downloaded
    • Start firmware upgrade ? (y/n)
  9. This shows that the downloader program now wants to get the firmware file. Enter "y" to continue with the firmware upgrade.
    • The telnet session will be closed by the <prod> being upgraded after pressing "y"
    • You will not see any further diagnostic messages.
  10. Leave the <prod> undisturbed for at least 5 minutes. During this time, the <prod> will reprogram it's flash memory as follows;
    • The new firmware file is read twice.
    • During the first pass, it validates the file.
    • If the first pass succeeds, it then reads the file and writes the contents to flash memory.
    • Do not disturb this upgrade process or else the flash memory may get corrupted. However, if you find the upgrade process takes longer than 30 minutes, you're only choice may be to reset the product. Usually an upgrade taking this long means the unit could not find the firmware file so the flash memory activity may not have taken place. This means the flash may not get corrupted with a reset but be sure to wait the 30 minutes before doing this!
  11. On the <prod>, you should see the LED labelled "STAT" flashing quite regularly, and the LED labelled "NET" should be on most of the time indicating network activity.
  12. Once the <prod> flash memory has been upgraded, it will automatically restart and you should notice that the LED labelled "STAT" will only flash once per second again (after waiting one minute).
  13. End of procedure.


Testing Upgrade Progress/Results
If you'd like to test whether the upgrade procedure has completed or not, you can try telnetting to the <prod> after a few minutes.
  • If it refuses the connection, it's still working on the upgrade.
  • If it allows you in, log in as root and execute "list sysinfo" to check for the new firmware level.

If you find the same version exists after telnetting back in and checking the firmware level, try resetting the <prod> by unplugging and plugging it back in and then check again.

If you run into upgrade problems, please contact Microplex Technical Support for additional help.


Product Specific Notes


These Microplex products can be upgraded across routers, meaning if the unit sits on one subnet, the TFTP server does not have to be sitting on the same subnet.


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