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TFTP is a very simple protocol; simple enough to be implemented in small boot loaders. The basic idea is as follows:
You must determine whether your hardware's bootloader has a TFTP client or server. Consult your specific model's OpenWrt Wiki devicepage for details on necessary settings and the TFTP type offered if any.
This documentation will use example IP addresses according to RFC5737. Please consult your model's wiki documentation for actual IP addresses specific to your device.
Cleanup IP addresses as 192.168.1.x is common, but not universal. Use of RFC5737 might be more appropriate or just italic ipv4.x.y.z indicators.
Then you must run a TFTP server. Detailed instructions are given on the Setting up a TFTP server for TFTP Recovery/Install wiki page.
RouterBoards have a TFTP and DHCP clients running in their RouterBoot bootloader. See : Common Procedures for Mikrotik RouterBoard for details.
Bash script to set static IP address, run DHCP server and run TFTP server (exemple for Mikrotik).
Note: Don't forget to change USER, IFNAME, IP/DHCP IP-range and file name/folder path for your needs.
#/bin/bash USER=user IFNAME=enp1s0 ip address flush dev $IFNAME ip address add 10.1.1.10/24 dev $IFNAME dnsmasq -i $IFNAME --dhcp-range=10.1.1.50,10.1.1.100 \ --dhcp-boot=openwrt-ar71xx-mikrotik-vmlinux-initramfs.elf \ --enable-tftp --tftp-root=/home/$USER/openwrt -d -u $USER -p0 -K --log-dhcp --bootp-dynamic
sudo apt-get install tftpd-hpa tftp sudo cp ~/uboot/arch/arm/boot/uboot.img /var/lib/tftpboot
tftp localhost tftp> get uboot.img tftp> quit cmp /var/lib/tftpboot/uboot.img uboot.img # no output other then a prompt means it worked correctly
telnet 192.168.20.81 9000 Redboot> load uboot.img go
In case of the xxx Step 3 from Example 1 above is not applicable. There is no console to login to, the bootloader will automatically try to get a firmware over TFTP from a pre-configured IP address at every boot.
Note: TftpServer.app places a pleasing GUI on top of the native OSX tftpd. There's a writeup of using TftpServer.app at tftpserver. If you prefer to use the command-line, read on…
OS X Lion comes with a tftpd but its disabled by default. Like most services in OS X, tftpd is controlled by launchctl. The configuration with which the daemon is lauched is in /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist and the the identifier is com.apple.tftpd
before you make changes to the config run:
sudo launchctl unload -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist
sudo launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist
to stop tftpd run:
sudo launchctl stop com.apple.tftpd
to start tftpd run:
sudo launchctl start com.apple.tftpd
Here is an example config file that will work:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd"> <plist version="1.0"> <dict> <key>Label</key> <string>com.apple.tftpd</string> <key>ProgramArguments</key> <array> <string>/usr/libexec/tftpd</string> <string>-l</string> <string>-s</string> <string>/private/tftpboot</string> </array> <key>inetdCompatibility</key> <dict> <key>Wait</key> <true/> </dict> <key>InitGroups</key> <true/> <key>Sockets</key> <dict> <key>Listeners</key> <dict> <key>SockServiceName</key> <string>tftp</string> <key>SockType</key> <string>dgram</string> </dict> </dict> </dict> </plist>
Differences from the default include removing this, to enable the service:
Add this to the ProgramArguments array to make it log to /var/log/syslog.log
Place the openwrt image file you want to serve in:
Notice that even after running launchctl start com.apple.tftpd you will not see tftpd running when executing ps aux | grep tftpd because of the way launchctl works. tftpd is in fact not running but launchctl will launch it as soon as it is required.
In some cases, when the output on the serial console is grabbled you can still act on faith and executer the following commands, which will work in most cases:
setenv ipaddr 192.168.1.1
setenv serverip 192.168.1.100
tftpboot 0x80000000 openwrt-xxx-generic-xxx-squashfs-factory.bin
erase 0x9f020000 +0x332004
cp.b 0x80000000 0x9f020000 0x332004
tftpd works out-of-the-box also on the old 10.4. Maybe the tftp dir is not yet created but this is just a mkdir. Get a root shell and issue these commands:
bash-4.2$ sudo bash Password: bash-4.2# mkdir -p /private/tftpboot/ bash-4.2# cp /path/to/openwrt-image /private/tftpboot/ bash-4.2# launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist bash-4.2# ps axu|grep ftp root 23494 0.0 0.0 27696 152 ?? Ss 4:34PM 0:00.00 launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist root 23496 0.0 0.0 38604 4 p3 R+ 4:34PM 0:00.00 grep ftp bash-4.2# launchctl start com.apple.tftpd bash-4.2# ps axu|grep ftp root 23494 0.0 0.0 27696 152 ?? Ss 4:34PM 0:00.00 launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist root 23498 0.0 0.0 27244 464 ?? Ss 4:34PM 0:00.01 /usr/libexec/launchproxy /usr/libexec/tftpd -i /private/tftpboot root 23500 0.0 0.0 38604 4 p3 R+ 4:34PM 0:00.00 grep ftp bash-4.2# tftp 192.168.100.72 ### just testing tftp> get openwrt-ar71xx-generic-hornet-ub-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin Received 7270950 bytes in 2.7 seconds tftp>
The basic procedure of using a tftp client to upload a new firmware to your router:
The TFTP commands vary across different implementations. Here are some examples:
The network link must be up and established during power up. One way to ensure this happens is to use a switch or hub inbetween your computer and the device you are flashing as this will leave the link established when you power off the device.
Another option is to disable network manager in Linux (or use a distro/LiveCD that doesn't have it). Some commands that may disable it (depends on the distribution of Linux used):
As a single command-line:
atftp --trace --option "timeout 1" --option "mode octet" --put --local-file openwrt-xxx-x.x-xxx.bin IPv4.x.y.z
Step by step:
atftp connect IPv4.x.y.z mode octet trace timeout 1 put openwrt-xxx-x.x-xxx.bin
As a single command-line:
echo -e "binary\nrexmt 1\ntimeout 60\ntrace\nput openwrt-xxx-x.x-xxx.bin\n" | tftp IPv4.x.y.z
Step by step:
tftp IPv4.x.y.z binary rexmt 1 timeout 60 trace Packet tracing on. tftp> put openwrt-xxx-x.x-xxx.bin
Setting “rexmt 1” will cause the tftp client to constantly retry to send the file to the given address. As advised above, plug in your box after typing the commands, and as soon as the bootloader starts to listen, your client will successfully connect and send the firmware.
Some devices will also respond to ping while others do not.
Note: for some versions of the CFE bootloader, the last line may need to be “put openwrt-xxx-x.x-xxx.bin code.bin”. If this does not work try other variations instead of code.bin - e.g. openwrt-g-code.bin or openwrt-gs-code.bin.
One CFE version only worked after renaming the '….bin' file to 'code.bin'. From Linux Ubuntu I then used the command 'tftp -m binary 192.168.1.1 -c put code.bin' and the transfer process came to life.
curl -T openwrt-xxx-x.x-xxx.bin tftp://IPv4.x.y.z
On Mac OS X, you should be able to flash the router with the command line tftp client, which behaves identically to netkit's tftp above.
Some people have had problems with the command line tftp client, however, and recommend using MacTFTP Client instead:
Many Macs will disable the Ethernet card when the router is powered off and will take too long to re-enable the card, causing the TFTP transfer to fail with an “Invalid Password” error. Many people have had success if they manually configure their network card (in the “Ethernet” tab of “Built-in Ethernet” in System Preferences' Network panel) to:
Alternatively, you can connect the router to the Mac via a hub or switch; see the troubleshooting section for more information.
There are multiple tftp clients that you can choose from.
tftp -i <bootloader IP tftp server address> PUT OpenWrt-gs-code.bin
Note that some bootloaders do not respond to ping.
Don't forget about your firewall settings, if you use one. It is best to run the “put” command and then immediately apply power to the router, since the upload window is extremely short and very early in boot.
|Code pattern is incorrect||The firmware image you're uploading was intended for a different model.|
|Invalid Password||The firmware has booted and you're connected to a password protected tftp server contained in the firmware, not the bootloader's tftp server.|
|Timeout|| Ping to verify the router is online
Try a different tftp client (some are known not to work properly)
|Timeout|| Ping to the router works
NetworkManager (Linux) may still be running causing autosense. Try again with manual configuration.
Some machines will disable the ethernet when the router is powered off and not enable it until after the router has been powered on for a few seconds. If you're consistantly getting “Invalid Password” failures try connecting your computer and the router to a hub or switch. Doing so will keep the link up and prevent the computer from disabling its interface while the router is off.
Before you go searching for a hub to keep your link live, try setting your TCP/IP setting to a static IP (192.168.1.10; 255.255.255.0; 192.168.1.1 [gateway]) method instead of DHCP.
If you can flash your router and after that it says “Boot program checksum is invalid” or “Invalid boot block on disk” on serial console try a different tftp client - atftp works well. This occurs with some netkit tftp packages and big firmwares.
would this be better to just exist in specific model's wiki pages?
should we create a page to list models with tftp support, noting which ones need the reset button trick?
On many routers, including the Asus WL-500g Premium v1 that I use, you flash an image by disconnecting power, press and hold down the reset button, and connect the power again. Wait a few seconds and the PWR LED will start to blink. Release the reset button. The device will now have a TFTP server running on
Note that many TP-Link models are reported to support the same trick, including the TL-WR740Nv4, TL-WDR4300v1, TL-WDR3600v1, TL-WR842NDv1, TL-WR841NDv8, TL-MR3020v1, TL-MR3220v2, TL-MR3420v2, TL-WR940Nv2, TL-WR941NDv5, TL-WR1042NDv1 and possibly any other TP-Link model that has a recent firmware upgrade from the manufacturer. For a summary and ongoing experiments, see: http://bkil.blogspot.com/2014/12/hidden-tftp-of-tp-link-routers.html
You’ll have to use a Ethernet cable at this point. Connect it to LAN1-LAN4, not WAN. Configure your local machine on the
192.168.1.x/24 network, for example as
192.168.1.42. The router will use
$ tftp 192.168.1.1 tftp> trace Packet tracing on. tftp> binary tftp> put openwrt-brcm-2.4-squashfs.trx sent WRQ <file=openwrt-brcm-2.4-squashfs.trx, mode=octet> received ACK <block=0> sent DATA <block=1, 512 bytes> received ACK <block=1> sent DATA <block=2, 512 bytes> received ACK <block=2> sent DATA <block=3, 512 bytes> received ACK <block=3> sent DATA <block=4, 512 bytes> ... received ACK <block=4742> sent DATA <block=4743, 512 bytes> received ACK <block=4743> sent DATA <block=4744, 512 bytes> received ACK <block=4744> sent DATA <block=4745, 0 bytes> received ACK <block=4745> Sent 2428928 bytes in 6.2 seconds tftp> quit $
Wait one minute and restart the box by disconnecting and reconnecting power. Some documentations claim that the device should restart by itself but I have never seen this happen, no matter how long I wait.
Check if your TFTP Server has sufficient access rights to files or directories. U-Boots TFTP Client / tftpboot can complain with:
## Error: 'Access violation' (2), starting again!