Jun 09

Is it worth upgrading that old network device?

I used to have the opinion of performing software upgrades on old equipment to bring the software version up to a modern version. I have had issues in the past and the vendor refuses to help me until I perform a software upgrade. So, to avoid lack of support, I always wanted to have my equipment on newer version.


Recently, I have had a change of heart on this. I recently performed some software upgrades on some Cisco 2106 wireless controllers that have been in place for years. Version 6.x was no longer supported and I had to have the controller on version 7.x for support reasons. After my upgrades were done, I was left with a large number of failed access points that could not handle the upgrade.

Last weekend I traveled to a remote site to perform a software upgrade to another Cisco Wireless Controller, that upgrade went very well. While I was there, I thought I would upgrade the software on the Cisco 6509 and a couple of 3560G switches in the data center. The software on these switches were well over 4 years old, so I thought I would upgrade them. The 6509 upgrade went well. As I performed reboot on the 3560G, it blew a puff of smoke out of the fan vent and died. After scrambling to find a spare 3560 (Not G), I was able to get it replaced. When I get a replacement switch, I get to replace it again with the correct type of switch.

Due to the hardware failures, I’m not so sure I will be performing software upgrades on old network devices unless I am having a problem with it. Then when I do, I’ll have the expectation that it’s going to fail.

What is your opinion about performing software upgrades on network equipment that is not having issues?
My failures were with Cisco equipment, Do you see the same failures on other vendors equipment?