You are here

Guidelines to load AREDN firmware and not brick a device

14 posts / 0 new
Last post
AE6XE
AE6XE's picture
Guidelines to load AREDN firmware and not brick a device

THIS INFO IS NO LONGER VALID --- DOWNGRADES ARE NOT NEEDED ----
03/05/2022



While the AREDN team is always looking to upgrade the documentation, this post is a dump of some additional details not yet in the documentation.     Here's a current detailed update on the issues around loading AREDN for the first time on newly received ubiquiti models with the latest AirOS versions loaded.

Known constraints and factors if you wish to understand why the steps are what they are:

  1. The boot loader (U-boot) version in flash is only updated when an AirOS image (that includes a different boot loader version) is uploaded in the UI of a live node running AirOS.  (The boot loader version in flash is not changed when images are loaded via 'tftp' method.)
  2. AirOs images are packaged and include a boot loader version.   AREDN images do not include a boot loader.
  3. The version of the boot loader that comes with AirOS 5.6.x and beyond is incompatible with AREDN 3.16.1.1 and earlier versions.  Attempting to load one of these AREDN versions with one of these boot loader versions will leave the device in a state that neither AirOS or AREDN will load -- considered 'bricked'.  There are instructions to open the case, attach a terminal on the serial port to recover.   It has been discovered that in this 'bricked' state, 3.17.1.0RC1 (and later) will 'tftp' and load with some incompatible boot loader versions.   
  4. AREDN 3.17.1.0RC1 has a fix included such that it will no longer brick a device with any of the current available AirOS versions and boot loaders.  It will load on some AirOS 5.6.x boot loader versions.  However it lacks a fix such that in more recent boot loaders, and from the AirOS UI, AREDN is not accepted and an error is given--rejects attempts to upload.
  5. The good news.   3.17.1.0 when released will be compatible with all versions of the currently released AirOS boot loaders. Today this is up to AirOS 6.0.7. AREDN 3.17.1.0 release will directly 'tftp" regardless of which boot loader version is in flash.  (This is not the case uploading AREDN within the AirOS UI which places additional restrictions and uses signatures on firmware images  beginning around AirOS 6.0.4).  
  6. Rumors of Ubiquiti blocking open source images from being loaded in latest releases is partially true.    AirOS begins to restrict in 6.0.4 (signed firmware and specific versions allowed) what can be loaded from the AirOs UI.  Ubiquiti has not restricted what can be loaded via the tftp method -- opensource images can still be uploaded.
  7. the U-boot versions that are compatible with 3.16.1.1 (and before) are at least up to "1.1.4-s776 Nov 27, 2013".   The known incompatible versions of u-boot are "1.1.4.2-s956 June 10, 2015" and later.   These U-boot versions are respectively what we are seeing in AirOS 5.5. x and AirOS 5.6.x versions.   There is a linux utility, "binwalk" which will report what u-boot version is packaged within the image.
  8. To determine what boot loader version is running, from the linux shell command in ether AREDN or AirOS, type:   "cat /dev/mtd0 | grep -i u-boot"


 Adding all this up, if you receive a new device, we're starting to see the latest versions of AirOS with a boot loader with the restrictions in #6.   This device must be downgraded to an AirOS that will allow AirOS v5.5.x version to be loaded from the UI (#1).  

Note, if you have a new NSM2 XW or NSM2 Loco XW, these devices were never supported for the below firmware versions.   Thus, there is unlikely to be a path to load AREDN 3.16.1.1 or before.  (If you have one of these models and want to confirm, please let me know.)   Otherwize proceed to install 3.16.1.1:

Step 1:   'tftp' load to the device one of the following XW or XM images depending on which device you have (the current AirOS version will tell you what you have):

The boot loader is still incompatible, see #1 

Step 2:   boot AirOS v5.6.16, and from the UI upload the matching image for your hardware:

Step 3:  Now you have a compatible boot loader version with 3.16.1.1 or earlier AREDN release.   Ether 'tftp' or in the AirOS UI, upload the AREDN firmware.

Joe AE6XE
 

K8KO
K8KO's picture
Still confused

I have an unflashed Ubiquiti Air Router AR that has Ubiquiti OEM firmware ver. 6.0.7(XM).
I am attempting to write a simple "how to" for flashing this router using Win 10 (not Linux).

1. What is the easiest recommended path to AREDN 1.16.1.1 ? (both now and in the near future.)

2. If it involves tftp, where do I find how to use it?

Thanks
Butch K8KO occamrazr   yahoo.com
 

AE6XE
AE6XE's picture
Butch,

Butch,

The 3 steps above in this post are the high level steps to follow to install AREDN 3.16.1.1 on to your device with AirOS 6.0.7.     For future versions of AREDN starting when 3.17.1.0 is formally released, see comment #5 in original post.  When 3.17.1.0 is released, we can directly upload it into the UI (or tftp load it) over any AirOS version (known today).  The current 3 steps are very painful and we'll all be happy to get back to a one step process.

The details of how to 'tftp' load  firmware to a Ubiquiti device are found here (original manufacture documentation):
https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/204911324-airMAX-How-to-reset-your-device-with-TFTP-firmware-recovery

'tftp' is also documented on this web site using windows 7 screen shots (scroll down to section "Recovery installation of AREDN firmware via TFTP").  The only difference is in what specific firmware you are loading (ether AirOS or AREDN 'factory' image):
https://www.aredn.org/content/uploading-firmware-ubiquiti

Joe AE6XE
 

AE6XE
AE6XE's picture
One more thought...  I don't

One more thought...  I don't have an AirRouter, but I recall that it may be an exception to the rule and pot hole to step in.   All the ubiquiti devices default to a 192.168.1.20 hard coded IP address when you first boot them with AirOS or put them in tftp mode.   Those that do have an AirRouter can confirm, but I think it has a default address of 192.168.1.1 or similar.

K8KO
K8KO's picture
default address of Air Router is default address of 192.168.1.1

Confirmed that 192.168.1.1 is correct for AR model.
Will try all the above after some refreshing sleep...

K8KO
K8KO's picture
After sleeping on this...

I think that I will just wait for 1.17.1.0 and crsoss my fingers wink

K5DLQ
K5DLQ's picture
(3.17.1.0)....

(3.17.1.0)....

K1NAR
AirRouter HP -tunneling software deleted after recent update

I need help Today I upgraded my AirRouter HP to the current firmware
There upgrade went fine except I lost my tunnel client and all the settings after upgrading 3.21.4.0
I attempted to reinstall Tunnel client software but it is giving me error "Error .. Package Update failed !"
my PC is connected and online
Is there something else I need to do

Nasrat- K1NAR
 

nc8q
nc8q's picture
Is there something else I need to do

Yes, the nodes needs internet access or a connection to a source of the tunnel app or upload the tunnel app from your workstation.
See
    aredn.@downloads[0].pkgs_arednpackages        
In Advanced Settings.

K6CCC
K6CCC's picture
And your tunnel settings will

And your tunnel settings will be remembered when the tunnel software is re-installed.  And as Chuck said, the NODE (not your computer) needs to have some route to the internet in order to install the tunnel software.
 

nc8q
nc8q's picture
There is something else you can do...

Your can copy current stable and the packages to a mesh accessible web server.
e.g.
http://nc8q-mesh-server/mesh/downloads.arednmesh.org/firmware
http://nc8q-mesh-server/mesh/downloads.arednmesh.org/releases/3/21/3.21.4.0/packages/mips_24kc/arednpackages

Then you can upgrade remote nodes to stable and add packages without
enabling internet access to the entire local mesh.

Chuck
 

K1NAR
Unable to flash GL.iNet AR300M

I'm trying to flash a new GL.iNet AR300M (external antenna version) with current AREDN firmware
I used the  internal software to upload . bin file. 
(unchecked "keep setting")

"uploaded image file does not contain a supported format. ......."
Is there something I need to do prior to uploading AREDN firmware
or my new AR300M-ext device is not compatible ?

Many thanks
Nasrat- K1NAR

 

nc8q
nc8q's picture
AR300M .vs. AR300M16

https://www.arednmesh.org/comment/17683#comment-17683

Nasrat:
I hope this helps,
Chuck
 

kf6iiu
Know how to revert to factory SW

I only have two TP-Link CPE510 devices and have never had any problems loading software, but the first thing I do when I get an upgradeable device like this is rehearse the process to revert to factory software. At least for the LP-Link devices, that is very unlikely to fail since AREDN doesn't override the boot loader and the CPE510 is a supported device. Now, if you have a device where messing with the boot loader is required - well, all bets are off unless you know how that works.

I actually make sure I have this process working in the field, since using the factory TP-Link software is the best approach for a lot of deployment scenarios.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer