In preparation of some new changes I would like to bring to the enviroment in my home lab I have also decided to take a quick look at the physical switches and see if there were new updates available. In particular I wanted to check if new upgrades for the Netgear firmware on the physical switches I’m currenlty using was available.
In particular I’m using 4 Netgear ProSAFE Plus Gigabit Switches. These are 8-Ports Managed Network Switches (model GS108Ev3) with a good set of funcionalities for small home labs and since the purchase of the first one I wanted to keep the configuration consistent for the other VMware Hosts I have added to my home lab.
There are plenty of features we can leverage from these Netgear small Switches and they are a good candidate for home lab environments. In my previous configuration I’m using such Switches with basic configurations. The idea is to start leveraging Vlans and Jumbo frames features for the next setup of the vSphere environment.
Before proceeding I wanted to check if newer versions of the firmware are released hence this article showing how quick and simple is to upgrade Netgear firmware on the network Switches to the latest version.
This article is divided in two parts: a first one to install the Netgear ProSAFE Plus utility and a second one to upgrade the Netgear firmware. One important thing to mention is that at the time of writing the latest version of the firmware (2.00.12) is not backward compatible with older versions of the ProSAFE utility prior to 2.5.3. So for this reason let’s proceed installing or upgrading the ProSAFE Plus utility first.
Install PROSAFE Plus Utility
In this first part of the article let’s proceed by installing the latest ProSAFE Plus utility (v 2.5.3 at the moment) which will help us to find and manage the Network Switches in our network. The install and configuration steps are very quick and will also add the install of two components: respectively WinPcap and Adobe AIR.
Let’s download the binaries and install them on a Windows based machine.
The ProSAFE Plus wizard starts the install. Eventually it is also possible to script an unattended install on intended machines on the network.
As per screenshot below let’s choose an install directory.
At this point if not already installed the ProSAFE Plu wizard will install two components: WinPcap used to capture a number of packets for Network Switches detection and Adobe AIR used to run the ProSAFE Plus GUI. Effectively it is possible to manage the Network Switch from a Web GUI. It is highly recommended to install this utility first as newer Netgear firmware are not fully compatible with versions prior to ProSAFE Plus 2.5.3.
The installation really takes a few seconds and we are now ready to use it to find and manage the Network Switches.
As soon as the application starts the utility will start looking for Network Switches and show them in the GUI console. We can now select them and manage the settings for each one of them.
Upgrade Netgear firmware from Web GUI
In this second step we are going to upgrade the Netgear firmware on the Network Switches. In this case I will show the steps using the Web GUI instead. So from a web browser let’s point to the IP address associated to the Physical Switch. Of course we can get the IP Address from the ProSAFE Plus utility as soon as the Network Switches are discovered.
From System > Management > Switch Informartion we can check the Netgear firmware version installed.
Let’s move to the System > Maintenance > Firmware Upgrade section and enter to the Loader Mode.
A message will let us know a reboot is requred when entering into the Loader Mode. In reality the reboot will be executed automatically just after flashing the Netgear firmware.
At this point let’s point to the *.bin file inside the downloaded zip file from the Netgear Support website.
The Loader will now upload and transfer the file. Again the operation will take a few seconds.
The Loader is now installing and upgrading the latest Netgear firmware version. The operation is very quick.
The Loader as a final operation will now reboot the Network Switch. If we now navigate to the Web GUI with a browser to the System > Management > Switch Information we can see the latest version of the Netgear firmware is now running.
And this conlcudes a very quick article showing how to upgrade Netgear firmware to latest version. It is always important to keep an eye on all the components in the network and naturally Network Switches is one of them. Should we have multiple Network Switches let’s repeat the same operations. In a separate article we’ll cover how to setup Vlans and Jumbo frames to support our home lab.