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3702AP upgrade from 8.0.152 - issues - rebooting twice


I'm planning on bringing all WLCs up to the same code now we have got rid of old 1240 & 1140s.

Issue have found is taking me 17 minutes to update 1 AP, from reading up on this, this is down to the code upgrading from and upgrading to, has to reboot twice.


Question, if I pre installed the firmware, would this improve the down time upgrading from 8.0.152 -

As heavily really on wireless in certain areas, 17 minute outage is possible to long for a A&E Department at any time of the day.




Hall of Fame Master

It might for a few minutes that’s is all. The rebooting twice is where the ap need to download the second part of the image file and that can take 5-15 minutes.
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Hall of Fame Community Legend

Hi Craig,
We've seen this behaviour before. We called it "double download".
Pre-downloading the firmware, using the controller "pre-download" function, won't work (tried it recently).
The only way to go around this is pre-downloading "manually".
This is how I've done this:
NOTE: I may be wrong, but should have an CAPWAP filename of "ap3g2-k9w8-tar.153-3.JF9.tar".


  1. Download "ap3g2-k9w8-tar.153-3.JF9.tar" into your TFTP server.
  2. In WLC CLI do the following:
debug ap enable <AP name>
debug ap command "debug capwap console cli" <AP name>

NOTE: The command below should instruct the WLC to tell the AP "download and unpack the ap3g2-k9w8-tar.153-3.JF9.tar firmware from <TFTP SERVER IP ADDRESS>, at the end of the unpacking, change the boot variable string to boot the new image.

debug ap command "archive download-sw tftp://<TFTP_IP_ADDRESS>/ap3g2-k9w8-tar.153-3.JF9.tar" <AP name>

3.  Once all the APs have the new firmware uploaded, reboot the WLC to the new firmware.


I had undergone this kind of upgrade 3 weeks ago.  Double-download would mean taking the AP down for about 15 minutes.  The above procedure (reboot) took about 4 minutes.  


NOTE:  During the time when the AP was unpacking the firmware, it is still "operational" and working normally.  



Test the "archive download-sw" first because there are some AP firmware, like 8.1.X.X, that do not "like" the command "archive download-sw".  This will cause the AP to crash before the unpacking is complete.  The workaround is as follows: 

debug ap enable <AP name>
debug ap command "debug capwap console cli" <AP name>

NOTE:  The next command (below) for instruct the AP to delete ALL CAPWAP files (including the RCV files).  The reason behind this is there will be another method to "unpack" the firmware.  This second method is more "archaic" and does not offer the luxury to change the boot variable string.  So, in order to prevent the AP from booting the wrong firmware, there must only be one CAPWAP folder so the AP will boot the one-and-only file left.  

debug ap command "delete /f /r flash:ap3g2*" <AP name>
debug ap command "archive tar /x tftp://<TFTP_IP_ADDRESS>/ap3g2-k9w8-tar.153-3.JF9.tar flash:" <AP name>
Rising star

Did this same upgrade although from 8.2 code unfortunately the pre-download does not reduce the time. Its like the 3700s do a microcode upgrade and thats the reason it takes so long

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Whatever you do or try to do, set the expectations. I would never say that it will only take 15 minutes or take a 30 minute downtime. You should have enough fluff to verify all AP’s are back up, clients are connecting and no issues are being seen. This is why N+1 or having another available controller is key, you can then move certain AP’s at a time this not taking down 100% of the wireless network.
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