Engineering Bulletin – 2011/01/12

Adept Systems Inc Engineering Bulletin 2011/01/12 for GRouter4 Firmware Versions 4.11.011 and earlier.

Under certain conditions with older versions of the firmware, when the user does not follow proper procedure, the configuration data stored in flash for the GRouter4 can become corrupted during configuration from the web page. This happens if the router is rebooted or power cycled before changes to the configuration data have been completely written to flash. If the IP information is corrupted, then the router may not boot successfully and may have to be re-flashed at the factory.

As the user manual instructs, before rebooting the GRouter4 device, one should click the “Prepare to Power Down” button on the “Router Setup” web page. This correctly checks the status of any pending or current flash writes and displays an “It is Safe to Power Down the Router” message if all flash writes have completed or a timer that estimates how long until the flash writes will be completed. Following this procedure will avoid any flash corruption.

However some users have not been following the proceedure described above and have had units experience corrupted configuration parameters. Some web pages have a reboot button that will cause the router to reboot. This is needed when changing the IP information such as host address or port as the new IP address will not become valid until after the next reboot. This is also the case for other configuration parameters as indicated on the web pages and user guide.

Normally, when using a web page reboot button, as an additional safeguard, the GRouter4 first checks to see if there are pending or ongoing flash writes before executing the reboot. This safeguard was meant as a backup in case the user neglected to hit the “Prepare to Power Down” button before hitting the “Reboot” button.

It has been discovered, however, that is some cases where one hits the “Reboot” button without first checking the status of pending flash writes with the “Prepare to Power Down” buton, that pending flash writes may not always be detected and the unit may reboot before all the data had been written to flash. This is more likely if both IP configuration and 852 Router configuration have updated and the reboot button is pressed immediately after making a change to the IP configuration.

The solution is to always check the status with the “Prepare to Power Down” before hitting the reboot button or otherwise rebooting the GRouter4.

This susceptibility has been fixed in firmware version 4.12.050 or later. Now when the “Reboot” web button is pressed, the GRouter4 now detects the flash write status before allowing the reboot to occur.

It is highly recommended that all units be upgraded to firmware version 4.12.050 with bootloader 4.12.048.C. The only exceptions will be units being used with LNS versions 3.1 or earlier.

The configuration parameters are stored redundantly in flash. Upon bootup a CRC check is made of flash. If the primary copy is good, it is used. If not, the backup is checked. If the backup is good, then it is used. If both are corrupted, default parameters are used. In some rare corner conditions this process would fail and the unit would fail to boot and would require reflashing. These conditions have all been resolved.

The GRouter4 has a recovery procedure in the bootloader that allows reflashing using tftp. However in some cases if the IP parameters were corrupted the tftp procedure would fail. This has been fixed in the new bootloader 4.12.048.C.

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