Wednesday, 9 September 2009

3Com Firmware Hassles

A few weeks ago I reflashed my Access Point to see if it resolved an Wireless associating problem with my Brother laser printer. Since the upgrade my IRC connections keep on dropping and I've hit weird issues when downloading large ISO images, so it's time to revert this upgrade. It appears that the upgrade caused more issues than it fixed. So much for progress!

Downgrading firmware is a bit of a risk, but I had more problems actually getting the firmware. 3Com's website allowed me to find the firmware with no problem, however, it was compressed inside a Windows executable, which meant firing up Windows (which I don't have) and extracting it that way. This is a real pain - especially for us non-Microsoft users - "Hello 3Com, ever heard of Apple Macs and Linux?". The irony was that the compressed image was only a few percent smaller than the uncompressed firmware, so why bother?

The firmware downgrade was less of a problem although my major complaint is that my previous settings were saved in non-volatile memory in a format that was incompatible with the re-flashed firmware and so I had to reset all my settings and re-configure the device from fresh. This must be down to poor design - surely the format/location of non-volatile settings should not change between upgrades.

So, next time, I won't be buying any 3Com kit if all their products are so painful to reflash. Thanks, but no thanks 3Com.


  1. Often the .exe that drivers are supplied in are self extracting zip files and can be extracted using unzip from the command line (and probably gui tools too).

  2. Yep, that's a good point. However, I could not extract the data using unzip or any other archiving/uncompressing tool, so I had lots of Windows pain. :-(