Firmware is a software running on a piece of network hardware. It can act as an operating system, such as Android or iOS on your phone. On Plasma Cloud devices, the firmware allows you to activate network adapters like Ethernet ports and WiFi radios, connect you to the Internet and much more. 

Firmware upgrades are essential to keep your devices up-to-date in an ever changing and evolving environment. They typically come with bug fixes and brand new features, giving you the smoothest possible Plasma Cloud experience. Please note that any device running on outdated software may become incompatible or a potential security risk over time. This is why we strongly recommend upgrading all your devices to the latest firmware whenever a new release becomes available. Plasma Cloud keeps growing and improving and you sure do not want to be left behind 😉

To ensure your devices are always up to date, we have created a list with the 5 most important things you need to know about firmware upgrades in Plasma Cloud

Ready? Let’s get started.

( 1 ) You can decide whether you want to have firmware upgrades.

Yes, you read it right. We understand that upgrades may cause temporary disruptions and that any downtime may be a sensitive issue for high availability networks. Although we strongly recommend to upgrade your firmware whenever possible, we still want our users to freely enable or disable firmware upgrades if they wish to. 

You can configure ‘over the air’ firmware upgrades in the Plasma Cloud console by navigating to Settings > Network. The toggle is in the “Firmware upgrade” section of the page. Please note that firmware upgrades are enabled by default when you create a new network.

( 2 ) You can select which firmware release you want to upgrade to.

There are two firmware releases available at any given time: stable and beta. 

A stable firmware is the production ready version that has been widely tested and made as reliable as possible. It mostly contains security and bug fixes to minimize regressions, and only those new firmware features that have undergone thorough testing. It effectively keeps your network up-to-date while ensuring best performance.

On the other hand, a beta release comes with brand new firmware features for public testing as well as bug fixes. While it allows you to stay at the forefront of our latest technological development, the risk of experiencing bugs or issues is higher.

You can select the firmware release you wish to upgrade to in the Plasma Cloud console by navigating to Settings > Network. Pick the desired release from the drop-down menu in the “Firmware upgrade” section of the page. Please note that the firmware release is set to stable by default.

( 3 ) You can schedule firmware upgrades using the maintenance window to manage downtimes.

A maintenance window is a predesignated period of time during which unattended maintenance, potentially causing temporary disruption of service, may be performed. Generally, it is advisable to configure the maintenance during those times of the day and week when the network is least busy. 

Your devices will upgrade to the latest firmware release, if the option is enabled, according to your custom maintenance schedule. Please note that if you don’t have a configured maintenance window, devices will auto-upgrade as soon as a new firmware release becomes available.

Read more on how to configure a maintenance window in this article.

( 4 ) You can bypass the maintenance window and perform a firmware upgrade immediately, if available.

Let’s assume a new firmware release becomes available and you want to upgrade your devices right away. On Plasma Cloud, there is no need to wait until the scheduled maintenance occurs. A simple click will do the trick.

Read more on how to perform immediate firmware upgrades in this article.

( 5 ) You can check the firmware upgrade status as it is happening.

The article linked above in section ( 4 ) also mentions this next point, but it surely deserves a paragraph of its own in this article as well.

Thanks to Plasma Cloud’s firmware upgrade status flags, you can easily check when an upgrade is available, in progress or even when it fails. This information is available for each individual device in your network(s) and shown in the device tables in our console.

Plasma Cloud is designed for the needs of those tired of endless manual tweaking and cumbersome monitoring. Our aim is to make your life simpler, even with firmware upgrades. Stay tuned for more exciting news & guides!