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Upgrading Alcatel DSL Firmware on Cisco 877

Brief Overview

The Cisco 877 comes with the default Alcatel firmware loaded AMR-3.0.014.bin. I decided to upgrade this to the latest one AMR-4.0.015.bin. There is quite a few improvements in this firmware mainly to do with stability and dslam compatibility. Since I had c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-22.T IOS installed the firmware update worked but I could get no sync, the CD light kept flashing constantly. I think they are looking at creating a later version of the firmware to work with the -22T IOS.

In order to get the new firmware (AMR-4.0.015.bin) fully working I had to downgrade the IOS to c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20. After this occured everything worked perfect.

Previously by default if you issued “show dsl int” it would read:

Init FW: init_AMR-3.0.014_no_bist.bin
Operation FW: AMR-3.0.014.bin
FW Source: embedded
FW Version: 3.0.14

Now after the firmware upgrade it read:

Init FW:         init_AMR-4.0.015.bin
Operation FW:    AMR-4.0.015.bin
FW Source:       external
FW Version:      4.0.15

The Process

To upgrade the firmware I downloaded the latest adsl_alc_20190.bin.4.0.15, next I setup my TFTP server.
The file required to be renamed so the adsl modem can pick up the new firmware. So i renamed the file to “adsl_alc_20190.bin”

This file had to be placed on the tftp server so I could perform the upgrade. The following commands were issued as an example:

cisco877#copy tftp flash
Address or name of remote host []? 10.108.1.16
Source filename []? adsl_alc_20190.bin
Destination filename [adsl_alc_20190.bin]?
Accessing tftp://10.108.1.16/adsl_alc_20190.bin…
Loading adsl_alc_20190.bin from 10.108.1.16 (via Vlan1): !!!!
[OK – 996472 bytes]

996472 bytes copied in 9.176 secs (108595 bytes/sec)

I issued the “dir flash:” command to make sure it was present:

cisco877#dir
Directory of flash:/

2  -rwx    18275844  Dec 27 2008 16:42:44 +10:30  c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124n
3  -rwx        3179   Mar 1 2002 10:34:39 +10:30  sdmconfig-8xx.cfg
4  -rwx      931840   Mar 1 2002 10:34:59 +10:30  es.tar
5  -rwx     1505280   Mar 1 2002 10:35:27 +10:30  common.tar
6  -rwx        1038   Mar 1 2002 10:35:44 +10:30  home.shtml
7  -rwx      112640   Mar 1 2002 10:35:58 +10:30  home.tar
8  -rwx      996472  Dec 27 2008 16:43:47 +10:30  adsl_alc_20190.bin

23482368 bytes total (1648640 bytes free)

After this was complete, the command “reload” was issued so the router can reboot and pickup the new firmware.

cisco877#reload
Proceed with reload? [confirm] yes

Note: If I issued “delete flash:adsl_alc_20190.bin” the firmware would be removed and the default one would be loaded from within the IOS “AMR-3.0.014.bin”. So there is nothing you can really do to screw up the upgrade if something goes wrong, simply just delete the file from the flash.

Issues discovered

I needed to rollback to c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T for the firmware to work, and I had c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-22.T installed. So what I did was just issue the command

cisco877#delete flash:/c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-22.T.bin
Delete filename [c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-22.T.bin]?
Delete flash:/c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-22.T.bin? [confirm]

After this I then tried copying the -20.T IOS via FTP however this kept constantly failing, and I had no idea why with the following error:

cisco877#copy tftp flash
Address or name of remote host []? 10.108.1.16
Source filename []? c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin
Destination filename [c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin]?
Accessing tftp://10.108.1.16/c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin…
Loading c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin from 10.108.1.16 (via Vlan1): !!!!!!]

%Error reading tftp://10.108.1.16/c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin (Connectio)

I was now thinking, what am i going to do now without the ability to copy this IOS via TFTP. So I did a bit more research and found you can also copy the IOS image via FTP. So then I setup a FTP server with anonymous login and attempted again..

cisco877#copy ftp://10.108.1.10/c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin flash
Destination filename [c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin]?
Accessing ftp://10.108.1.10/c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin…
Loading c870-advsecurityk9-mz.124-20.T.bin !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[OK – 18275844/4096 bytes]

18275844 bytes copied in 220.164 secs (83010 bytes/sec)

And YESS! The copy worked perfect and IOS loaded just fine, no idea why TFTP didnt like the file 🙁

So if you are in the same scenario ever like this, simply use FTP instead of TFTP to copy an IOS.

A Tip

Remember previously how you had to issue the command “service internal” to configure noise margin settings…well that is no longer the case with this new firmware! Now it is by default in the atm0 interface mode, and theres a few other settings you can adjust as well..

cisco877(config-if)#dsl ?
bitswap              Bitswap Feature
enable-training-log  enable the fw training log for Showtime and failure  cases
gain-setting         ADSL programmable gain setting
lom                      Loss Of Margin watch counter for line retrain
max-tone-bits     set maximum bits per tone limit
noise-margin       set noise margin offset
operating-mode   auto or specific ADSL mode
power-cutback     Noise Threshold for Power CutBack
sync                    ADSL sync preferences

If you decide to take this upgrade path, let me know how you go and if you have any comments or further tips to add to this 🙂

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15 Comments

  1. nilsson
    nilsson February 24, 2009

    Hi,

    thanks for the post. I haven’t checked firmwares for a while and I thought 3.0.33 was the latest fw. I’m running c870-advipservicesk9-mz.124-22.T and it seems to work ok with AMR-4.0.015.bin.

    Cheers,

    nilsson

  2. aLcAtRoN
    aLcAtRoN March 4, 2009

    I still cant get my head around what the dsl powercut back command does? Can it be used for stability issues? Recommendation of a good setting?

  3. Pau Ruiz
    Pau Ruiz April 2, 2009

    The service internal is not supported by default in 12.4-20T, the router remembers the configuration and it seems to you that it’s enabled by default.
    You can disable in any time with no service internal.

    I’m guessing about powercut back… Maybe powercut back (reading the help – Maximum Noise Margin in dB before power cutback).
    Could be related to the noise margin in which the router would lower the power output?

  4. john lagman
    john lagman April 7, 2009

    Hello , i own a 876 with the latest firmware 4.0.15 but with ios c870-adventerprisek9-mz.124-15.T1 in atm0 if i give dsl ? i get only this options

    enable-training-log enable the fw training log for Showtime and failure cases
    lom Loss Of Margin watch counter for line retrain
    operating-mode auto or specific ADSL mode
    sync ADSL sync preferences

    what i am doing wrong ?

    Thank you.

  5. aLcAtRoN
    aLcAtRoN April 7, 2009

    In global configuration mode, you can try enter command service internal

    cisco877#service internal

    Then try going to atm0..

  6. john lagman
    john lagman April 7, 2009

    Thank you very much… i am searching years how i can configure my router(876) in a way that i have the minimum delay from my isp, cause my isp is giving interleaved(64depth download,8depth+ upload) to all his clients… fastpath is not a choice on my isp . So if i change the dsl operating-mode from adsl2+ to g.dmt i get about 10 to 20ms less.

    And now thanks to you i can try new settings that might give me better ms.

    Thank you for answering so fast 🙂

  7. ben
    ben May 19, 2009

    Where did you get 4.10.9 from? The version on Cisco’s FTP is only 300k and seems to be corrupt – looks like yours is listed as around 900+

    Thanks

  8. Ben Ryan
    Ben Ryan July 8, 2009

    Power cutback is basically the CPE minimising its tx power. This is done to reduce crosstalk into other pairs in the cable plant. Noise threshold is the point as which the CPE decides the SNR is ‘good enough’ to drop the tx power. It’s a complex interrelationship between trained rate, SNR, margin and power (and what constitutes a “solid” rate). It could be tuned if there’s upstream issues.
    The default is 31. As I understand it, the lower you go the better the SNR must be before the CPE decides to scale back TX power. Using “1” would force max TX power but this isn’t a nice thing to do 🙂

    And yes interleaving is a Bad Thing, I avoid DSL2 because of the introduced latency. I haven’t tried forcing Fast on DSL2 from the CPE. I reckon it’s achievable though as long as you’re happy to take the downstream hit.

  9. Ed Tolentino
    Ed Tolentino August 2, 2009

    Hello Fellows,
    I am a new newbie; HELP!

    I just got the 877 ADSL but I need to get a working copy of the firmware and all necessary software. Can somebody share to me?

    Regards!

  10. lukas
    lukas October 5, 2009

    Hi,

    where did you get the AMR-4.0.015.bin image from? Can’t find it on CCO. From the Cisco FTP only AMR-3.0.033.bin works, 4.10.9 doesn’t (fallbacks to embedded firmware).

  11. acrz6666
    acrz6666 January 16, 2013

    Thanks for your information.

    I have a Cisco 876. My router connected with Telefonica at 6144 / 448 Kbps. I copied the file adsl_alc_20190.bin.3.0.43, specially designed for Telefonica. Now, my router connects at 6144 / 640 Kbps.

    Regards.

  12. Jayko
    Jayko February 16, 2013

    is a nice read, thanks for your effort in sharing this tips with us. I am using a 877, which is ADSL over POTS, and I realized that Deutsche Telekom are mostly using ADSL over ISDN, is that mean my 877 can’t be configured to use for their ADSL network? i am running on :c870-advipservicesk9-mz.124-24.T8.bin now, but the dsl command doesn’t seems to annex b feature available.

    cisco(config-if)#dsl operating-mode ?
    adsl2 ITU G.992.3 Annex A and L
    adsl2+ ITU G.992.5 Annex A
    ansi-dmt ANSI T1.413
    auto auto detect mode
    itu-dmt ITU G.992.1 Annex A

    so i guess is pretty tough luck, anyone?

    thanks.

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