8945 Firmware 9.4(1) – Worthwhile New Features – Use Caution Upgrading

Summary

9.4(1) Firmware was just released for the 8941/8945.  This release adds several features that the platform has been needing for sometime.  The two major features that customers have been asking me about are Electronic hookswitch capability, and Firmware file sharing.

The release notes have the complete list of features here.

Please note, the firmware is the first build in the 9.4 train, and shows a significant number of open caveats.

Major Features

Electronic Hookswitch has been sorely needed.  The addition allows for certain Platronics wireless models to answer the phone from the headset without a lifter. –  From Plantronics: Announcing New Cisco EHS Cables
APC-42 EHS for Cisco 6945 phone will be available at the end of February 2014. APC-82 EHS cable for Cisco 8945 phones, samples and customer shipments were available as of January 2014.

Peer Firmware Sharing allows for an 8945 at a remote site to cache and share its firmware with other phones at that site.  This is a huge feature for customer upgrading firmware at sites that have multiple phones over slow WAN links.  This will save a significant amount of bandwidth and time in upgrading remote sites.  (This feature requires the latest Devpack be installed on CUCM to enable CUCM to take advantage of that feature on the phone firmware.)

Gateway Recording for SIP – One major feature in CUCM 10.0 is the ability for CUCM to fork calls to the recording server from teh gateway rather than the BiB in the phone.  This makes sense in cases where there are remote phones, or phone models that don’t have a BiB.  The voice gateway will need to be converted from h.323 or MGCP to SIP to take advantage of this feature, and all phones will need to be upgraded to a firmware level that supports it.

Upgrading – Use Caution

I followed the typical – OS Admin install cop file, restart TFTP, and reboot a test phone, then reboot all of the phones process.

Unfortunately I had several phones completely hang and get stuck in a loop upgrading.  The fix required physical intervention.  Several phones, after initiating the reboot, got stuck at the “Upgrade in Progress” screen.  The phones in this state quit doing CDP and were no longer in the CAM table of the switch they were plugged into, so I had no way to figure out which ports they were plugged into remotely to shut them off.  They had to be physically bounced.  The problem is that they would go right back to the “Upgrade in Progress” hung state.  Infinite loop…

To cure them, I had to:

1) Manually specify the previous code in device’s Phone Load Name field (e.g. SCCP8941_8945.9-3-4-17) (in CUCM – Phone Device Settings)

2) Physically unplug and replug the phone.

After it rebooted it pulled the old code back down rebooted itself and registered to CUCM.

3) Removed the Phone Load Name specified in 1) from the configuration so it would pick the default (9.4.1) and rebooted the phone again (from CUCM this time).

The second time around the phone upgraded successfully.  I had to do this process for every one of the hung phones.

Conclusion

Worthwhile new features, but you might want to be on-site in case some of the phones don’t successfully take the upgrade.

4 thoughts on “8945 Firmware 9.4(1) – Worthwhile New Features – Use Caution Upgrading

  1. One other caveat I ran into is that the must have 9.3(4) firmware installed before attempting the upgrade to 9.4(1).

    http://www.cisco.com/web/software/282074289/111354/cmterm-8941_8945-sccp.9-4-1SR1-1-readme.html
    Because of the increased 9.4(1)SR1 firmware size, SIP 9.4(1)SR1 can be upgraded only from SCCP/SIP 9.3(4) release. This means that if you want to upgrade your phone to SIP 9.4(1)SR1 from releases before 9.3(4), you must upgrade your phone to 9.3(4) first, and then perform the upgrade to 9.4(1).

  2. We have run in the the issue of 8945 hanging during upgrades. They can be identified via show power inline, as cdp has failed they report as IEEE 6.4 watts(2960s/x).

    Great blog🙂

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