Upgrading a Ruckus 2942 AP

August 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

I recently came across a few old Ruckus APs that had been neglected for quite some time.  These are quite old, only supporting 802.11b and g.  Checking the Ruckus Wireless website, they were just End of Life’d in July of this year.  A check of the user guide shows that they came out in late in 2007.  These APs were running version 5.0.0.0.193 (or something similar).  In looking at their support website, I see that the latest version of firmware for this hardware is some version of 9.6.  Six years is a LONG time for a piece of wireless technology!  I commend Ruckus for continuing to support a piece of hardware for this long.

The web interface is quite simple.  It looks like they wanted to have a very easy to configure AP that has a good bit of power.

To upgrade, it appeared that all that you’d need to do is go to the Upgrade page, and hit the Perform Upgrade button.  So, once connected to the Internet, that’s exactly what I did.  It upgraded to 5.0.3.0.199 pretty quickly.

But, it’s no-where close to 9.6!  That’s far from the latest…

I did a little research, and their website directs you to download the latest version directly, then upgrade from your workstation.  The screenshot shows the upgrade options as TFTP, FTP, Web, and Local.  Umm…  There’s no Local on mine.

With the firmware I have, when you upgrade, aside from the FTP server, username, and password, you also enter in a Firmware Control File.  Mine was set to zf2942_500_cntrl.rcks.  That didn’t change when I upgraded.  There’s a “auto-upgrade” feature, so I figure this firmware control file is a feature meant to keep people from upgrading to the latest and greatest, but rather staying with the main version they are on, only getting bug fixes for that version.

By looking at the Support Info link on my AP, I was able to find the password for the firmware upgrade FTP server.  I logged into it with a standard FTP client and saw that there were quite a number of firmware control files out there.

I replaced the 500 in the filename of my firmware control file with 511.  I think this is when I started having some GUI weirdness.  The web interface kicked me out with an “Apparently you aren’t logged in.” message.  I waited a little bit, then I logged back in, went to the Support Info page, and found in the “Firmware Upgrade” section it said “new software installed successfully”.  I went to the Reboot / Reset link and booted it again.  It was upgraded to the latest 5.1.1 version!

I successively went through each of these versions, with similar GUI strangeness.  Note that I’m not sure if I had to incrementally upgrade like this, but it just took a few minutes each, so I thought I’d play it safe and incrementally upgrade.  Here’s the numbers I put in my firmware control filename, all taken from the FTP server:

600.
701.
820.

912.  Didn’t have any GUI issue with this one.  It upgraded just fine.  Now, it’s running 9.1.2.0.8.

AH ha!  Now, after installing this version, I can see the “Local” upgrade option.

So, I downloaded the latest version, 9.6.0.0.267, directly from the Ruckus Wireless support site and proceeded to try to upgrade to the latest version.  It stuck on the “Loading” screen for a long time.  Finally, I tried loading the Support Info link (in a new tab).  It started to come up, but showed an empty log, then seemed to hang.  I waited several minutes, then tried again to bring up the Support Info link.

This time, I got a login page.  I logged in, and low and behold, I was running version 9.6.0.0.267.

The Status: Device screen shows a LAN Port Status now, something I’ve not seen on any of the previous versions.   It shows that eth0 is Up, at 100 Mbps, full duplex, and my eth1 interface is Down.

New menu items….  The left menu now includes Local Subnets under the Status section.  The Configuration section also has a Local Subnets item, along with Ethernet Ports and Hotspot.

Somewhere (version 7?) I noticed that instead of the 4 SSIDs that were originally supported, I can now have 8.

In the Local Subnets section, it appears you can add up to 4 subnets, and even have the Ruckus serve as DHCP server for the subnet.

The Ethernet Ports section lets you set the port type (Access, Trunk, or General), the Packet Forward (Isolated, Bridge to WAN, Local subnet NAT and Route to LAN, or Bridge to L2TP tunnel), enable 802.1X, set the VLAN ID, insert DHCP option 82, and enable Client Fingerprinting.

Of course, the Hotspot page lets you enable the Hotspot service, and edit a bunch of setting there…

Oh, and one thing that is broken in this version is the “Wireless 1” … “Wireless 8” pages, in Safari on the Mac.  With this browser, it got to the page, but all the options were left at default.  It’s like the ajax lookup doesn’t fire for Safari or something.  In Chrome, it opens the page up with all the default values, then all the real values pop in.  It is possible that the GUI problems I had were because Ruckus doesn’t play well with Safari in older firmwares too, but aside from that everything else seemed to work properly with it.

The Safari issue isn’t huge, but a bit of shame, as this is probably the last version of firmware for this hardware.

Anyhow, this has been my experience upgrading a Ruckus 2942.  I hope it helps someone else.

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Entry filed under: Networking.

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