The easiest network equipment I have ever upgraded

Through out my career I have spent many hours reading release notes before I would perform a software upgrade on a piece of network equipment. I always look for memory requirements, incremental versions, what line cards or access points are supported. The list goes on and on.

I have upgraded a large number of Cisco devices, I have even turned a few of them into bricks because I didn’t read the release notes. I found that the Foundry/Brocade NetIron platform seems to be the most complex, while the Riverbed Steelhead WAN accelerators are the easiest to upgrade.


Riverbed has done a great job at making this process very easy. After you log into Riverbed’s Support . You select the software version your Steelhead is on, then select the version you want to go to, then click submit. The website then tells you if you need an incremental upgrade or if you can go directly to the version you want. It also provides you with the links to download the software that it just told you that you need.

This feature on the website eliminates the time to research the upgrade process. There is no searching through the release notes for the information, then the download links are right there for you. They have made this very easy.

I have a couple of different Steelhead models, I have accidentally uploaded the wrong file to the wrong model. After making this attempt, it gave me an error stating that it wasn’t a compatible version. This was nice because I was able to avoid turning my Steelhead into a brick.

After you download the software file, you simply click “Browse” from the software upgrade page, then select the file from your PC. No extra TFTP/FTP servers or firewall access is required like a lot of other network equipment.

Once you get the file transferring, the system gives you a status message, then when the software is installed, it tells you to reboot the Steelhead. You go to the “Reboot/Shutdown” link and click “Reboot”.

Riverbed Steelhead Upgrade Process

Riverbed Steelhead Upgrade Process

Even though this article explains how to upgrade your Riverbed Steelhead, I still suggest that you read your release notes so you don’t cause a problem. At the time of this writing, these steps are correct for the CX-555 model (probably many more).

What network equipment have you used that the vendor has made the upgrade process easy?

If you find this interesting and or helpful, please reply and share it with the social media below!!

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About Scape

Over 10 Years in the networking field. Have worked in the Service provider and Enterprise environments. I have worked with Cisco, Foundry/Brocade, F5, Riverbed, Scientific Atlanta, Routers, Switches, Firewalls, Load Balancers, WAN Accelerators, DWDM, SONET, Multicast etc...

2 thoughts on “The easiest network equipment I have ever upgraded

  1. Look at the equipment you’re comparing though. A NetIron is one big ass enterprise classed router vs the WAN Accelerator you compare it to. The NetIron is pretty much a set and forget for the most part as a lot of places only do updates on them every now and then (which maybe isn’t the best policy but why take down your network to upgrade?) Plus the NetIron doesn’t just flash once and it’s done.. the flash is held in the Chassis code, and when a new module/card is inserted the chassis flashes the card with the same firmware as the chassis its self (doesn’t matter if the card has newer firmware or older firmware.. if it doesn’t match it gets flashed if you don’t interrupt the process within the 1 minute window given).

    Yes I’ll agree it’s “easier” to upgrade the WAN Accelerator, but to me it’s comparing two different classes of products

    • Ron, I agree with you on the types of products.

      It is refreshing to have any easy to upgrade product!!

      I do believe other vendors could do a better job of making the process easier.

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