The ROM Monitor is a bootstrap program that initializes the ASR 9000 hardware and boots the Cisco IOS XR software when you power on or reload a router. A version of the ROM Monitor software exists on each card and is factory supplied. The ROM Monitor program provides an initial power-on environment for each card. If the Cisco IOS XR software is rebooted or unable to run, the corresponding card returns to the ROM Monitor mode.
When you connect a terminal to a card that is in the ROM Monitor mode, the ROM Monitor CLI prompt is displayed.
Cisco ASR 9000 Series Router Prompt
The ROM Monitor software is known by many names. It is sometimes called ROMMON because of the CLI prompt in ROM Monitor mode. The ROM Monitor software is also called the boot software, boot image, or boot helper.
Although it is distributed with routers that use the Cisco IOS XR software, ROM Monitor is a separate program from the Cisco IOS XR software. During normal startup, the ROM Monitor initializes the cards, and then control passes to the Cisco IOS XR software. After the Cisco IOS XR software takes over, ROM Monitor is no longer in use.
Understanding the Role of the Route Switch Processor (RSP) Card
The Cisco ASR 9000 Series Router contains series of chassis slots, each of which can hold one of several types of line cards (LCs). Two slots in the chassis are reserved for route switch processors (RSP) cards that provide the central point for chassis provisioning and management.
The active RSP for the owner SDR is called the Designated Shelf Controller (DSC). This card performs system-wide functions. If the active RSP card is placed in ROM Monitor mode, it is no longer running the Cisco IOS XR software. If a standby RSP card is available, then the standby RSP card resumes router operations. If both the RSP cards are not available or if the active RSP (previously standby) is also placed in the ROM Monitor mode, router operations will stop.
Designated Secure Domain Router Shelf Controller (DSDRSC)
When the Designated Secure Domain Router Shelf Controller (DSDRSC) in an SDR is placed in ROM Monitor mode, the router operations are transferred to the standby DSDRSC (if available). If both the primary and standby DSDRSCs are in ROM Monitor mode, then the router operations cease because the Cisco IOS XR software is no longer running.
Accessing ROM Monitor Mode on the RSP Card
In most situations, you interact with the ROM Monitor mode only on the RSP cards. The active RSP card contains the administration configuration for the entire system and distributes the required software to all the other nodes in the router. All the tasks in this document describe ROM Monitor mode accessed through the RSP card for the system.
The line cards have its own ROM Monitor software which can be upgraded using the RSP FPD upgrade operation, if required.
Environmental Variables and the Configuration Register
Two primary connections exist between ROM Monitor and the Cisco IOS XR software: the ROM Monitor environment variables and the configuration register.
The ROM Monitor environment variables define the location of the Cisco IOS XR software and describe how to load it. After ROM Monitor has initialized the card, it uses the environment variables to locate and load the Cisco IOS XR software. The common environment variables are BOOT, IP_ADDRESS, DEFAULT_GATEWAY, TFTP_FILE, TURBOBOOT and SUBNET_MASK.
The configuration register is a software setting that controls how a card starts up. One of the primary uses of the configuration register is to control whether the card starts in ROM Monitor mode or Administration EXEC mode. The configuration register is set in either ROM Monitor mode or Administration EXEC mode as needed. Typically, you set the configuration register using the Cisco IOS XR software prompt on the active RSP when you need to use ROM Monitor mode. When the maintenance in ROM Monitor mode is complete, you change the configuration register so the card reboots with the Cisco IOS XR software.
Throughout this guide, the term RSP is used to refer to the RSP cards supported on Cisco ASR 9000 Series Routers. If a feature or an issue applies to only one platform, the accompanying text specifies the platform.
Accessing ROM Monitor Mode with a Terminal Connection
When an RSP is in ROM Monitor mode, you can access the ROM Monitor software only from a terminal connected directly to the console port of the card. Because the Cisco IOS XR software (EXEC mode) is not operating, the nonmanagement interfaces (such as GigabitEthernet interfaces) are not accessible. Basically, all Cisco IOS XR software resources are unavailable. The hardware is there, but no configuration exists to make use of the hardware.
Network Management Access and ROM Monitor Mode
Some people get confused when they start to use ROM Monitor mode. It is important to remember that ROM Monitor mode is a router mode, not a mode within the Cisco IOS XR software. It is best to remember that ROM Monitor software and the Cisco IOS XR software are two separate programs that run on the same router. At any given time, the router is running one of these programs, but it never runs both at the same time.
One area that can be confusing when using ROM Monitor and the Cisco IOS XR software is the area that defines the IP configuration for the Management Ethernet interface. Most router users get comfortable with configuring the Management Ethernet interface in the Cisco IOS XR software. When the router is in ROM Monitor mode, however, the router is not running the Cisco IOS XR software, so that Management Ethernet interface configuration is not available.
To access other devices, such as a TFTP server, while in ROM Monitor mode on the Cisco ASR 9000 Series Router, you must configure the ROM Monitor variables with IP access information.