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MSM430, 460, 466 Access Points - Two Step Installation Instructions for Prevention of Startup/Boot Problems

Background

In order to prevent MSM430/460/466 units that are in controlled mode from failing due to a software boot issue it is necessary to update the software on the access points. The failure occurs after 3-4 months of running time, but only if the following 3 conditions are all met.
  1. You are using MSM430/460/466 Access Points
  2. You are using controlled mode
  3. Your MSM7xx controller is running a software version prior to V5.5.2 .

When the above conditions are all met, after 3-4 months of running time, the boot software can become corrupted, and a reboot of the AP will result in a failed unit.

We have created a 2 step process to update the software on access points that may be in a state of impending failure (on next reboot). The 2 step process is necessary because our usual single step software installation process reboots the APs before they are updated. As a result, any units that are in a state of impending failure may fail before we are able to update the software on them. BOTH steps must be completed in the correct order to prevent this issue. Simply updating the boot software (Step 1) does not fix the problem permanently; it only clears the errors and restarts the 3-4 month time before the problem occurs, and it only does this one time.

By implementing the extra “first step” we are able to update the boot code before the units are rebooted. This action removes any boot software corruption and allows the units to reboot normally as part of the update process.

Instructions

Click here to go to the customer alert detailing the filenames for steps one and two .

Click here to see the Management and Configuration Guide for the HP MSM7xx Controllers, where the software/firmware update instructions are documented .
  1. Using the standard and documented software installation method, install the proper "Step One" file on your MSM7xx controller. (See Figure 1, below).

    Figure 1 (above): Firmware update screen

    Do not interrupt the installation or power cycle any of the APs involved. This boot software update operates in serial and can take up to an hour if there many access controlled APs.

    When the first step is complete, the MSM7xx will signal you by appearing to restart and logging you out of the MSM7xx Admin GUI. PLEASE NOTE: The MSM7xx does not actually restart at this point.

  2. Using the standard and documented software installation method, install the proper “V5.5.x…cim” file to update your MSM 7xx controller to a version of software that is version 5.5.2.0 or later. At this writing, the current recommended version is 5.5.3.0. (See Figure 1, above).

    Once this step is complete, the MSM7xx will restart with the new software version. Once it is up and running, all of the connected controlled mode access points will be updated to the new version of software.

Once these 2 steps have been completed, there is no need to repeat them again. Any new access points added to the network will receive the proper (5.5.2.x or later) software version and will not experience this issue.

Figure 2, below, shows the AP status after installation of both the step one file and (step 2) the version 5.5.3.0 software:

Figure 2 (above): After installation of both files 1 and 2.

Frequently Asked Questions

1
How do I know when step one has completed?
The controller will appear to restart (but will not restart) and the admin will be logged out of the GUI and have to log back in.
2
What happens if I interrupt the process before that happens?
Interrupting boot code installation can result in boot software corruption and the inability of a unit to start properly.
3
If I look under Status -> System on an AP before I do the step one installation, what version of boot code will I see?
MSM430/460/466 access points are shipping with boot code version “Boot 18.21”. See Figure 3, below the FAQ section of this document.
4
If I look under Status -> System on an AP after I do the step one installation, what version of boot code will I see?
The step one CIM file installs “Boot 18.22” onto the units. See Figure 4, below the FAQ section of this document.
5
Do the APs need to be connected and associated to the controller when I install step one?
Yes!
6
What happens if the APs are not connected?
  1. They won't get the new boot code.
  2. If they are powered off, they may fail due to the problem being addressed by these software updates.
7
What happens if I power cycle my APs before doing this procedure?
If an AP is ready to fail (that is, boot software errors have occurred) the action of power cycling will cause the unit to be unable to start properly. If there was only a single error, then leaving the unit off for 15 minutes or so may clear the error and the unit will recover. If there were multiple errors, the unit will need to be replaced.
Installation of the step one file should always happen before any power cycling or any other software installations.
8
Why can’t I just install the V5.5.3.0 software if it has fixes for this problem?
As part of normal software installation, controlled mode APs are restarted to clear their memory. As discussed above, if a unit has already experienced errors in the boot software then the action of software installation will cause those units to fail.
The step one software pushes new boot code to the APs, which overwrites (fixes) any errors that may have occurred. Then, the software can be updated with the 5.5.3.0 code that contains fixes for the underlying problem that causes the bit errors.
9
Does any information on the controller change when we install the Step One file? That is, can we tell if we’ve installed it or not?
No. The Step One file instructs the controller to push the boot software update to the APs. Nothing is permanently installed on the controller, and there is no harm done by installing the step one file more than once. It simply checks for MSM430/460/466 units and checks to see if their boot software has been updated or not. If not, it updates the access point boot software.
10
How do I know if I have this problem or not?
The following 3 conditions must be met. If your network meets them, then you should assume that you are affected:
  1. You are using MSM430/460/466 Access Points
  2. You are using controlled mode
  3. Your MSM7xx controller is running a software version prior to V5.5.2.0.
11
Are brand new units susceptible to the problem?
No. The issue occurs after a 3-4 month running period. New units won’t fail right away (but need to have their controller updated to version 5.5.2.0 or later (recommend 5.5.3.0).
12
What if I want to use a software version prior to 5.5.2.0?
If you do not update to version 5.5.2.0 or later (no matter what version of boot code you have in your access points), you will have this problem occur and end up having to replace access points.

Figure 3 (above): MSM466 before application of step 1 file.

Figure 4 (above): MSM466 after application of the first step software file.

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