Overview of Upgrading the Controller Software
This section describes the upgrade process and the methods to upgrade the Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controller Software.
Newer versions of the controller software are released at regular intervals. This includes major releases as well as rebuild releases that focuses on bug fixes. The version of the AP software is also tied to the controller software release. Every major Cisco IOS XE software release contains new sets of features that are essential for the enterprise-class customers.
Each Cisco IOS XE software release is classified as either a Standard-Support release or an Extended-Support release.
A sustaining support lifetime of 12 months from First Customer Shipment (FCS) with two scheduled rebuilds
Rebuilds are typically released at 6 months intervals after FCS.
Extended-Support release Details
A sustaining support lifetime of 36 months from FCS with ten scheduled rebuilds.
These rebuilds are at 3, 4, 4, 6, 7 months intervals after FCS or via SMU support. Last 12 months of support will be via SMU.
Based on your requirement, such as upgrading the full image or applying a software patch for bugs, you can go for an appropriate software upgrade, using either GUI or CLI.
Software Upgrade Options
Software Maintenance Upgrade: This method installs a software package on the system to provide a patch fix or a security resolution to a released image. This upgrade package is provided on a per release and per component basis, and is specific to the platform.
Hitless Upgrade: This method allows the APs to be upgraded in a staggered manner, while still being connected to the same controller. This avoids upgrade downtime even for N+1 networks.
In-Service Software Upgrade: This method upgrades a wireless controller image to a later release while the network forwards packets. This feature is supported only within and between major releases.
We recommend In-Service Software Upgrade if you are upgrading the entire image or cold controller SMU. Use Software Maintenance Upgrade for software patches or bug fixes.
The software upgrade time is estimated to be less than 6 hours for a large network. However, the upgrade time depends on factors such as the number of APs, the percentage of APs to upgrade in each iteration, the controller type (9800-80, 9800-L, and so on), and the connectivity between the controller and the APs.
Device Upgrade Options
The following device upgrade options are available:
NBAR Dynamic Protocol Pack Upgrade: Protocol packs are software packages that update the Network-Based Application Recognition (NBAR) engine protocol support on a device without replacing the Cisco software on the device. A protocol pack contains information on applications that are officially supported by NBAR, and are compiled and packed together.
Field Programmables Upgrade: These are hardware programmable packages released by Cisco to upgrade the hardware programmable firmware. Hardware programmable package upgrade is necessary only when a system message indicates that one of the field programmable devices needs an upgrade or when a Cisco technical support representative suggests an upgrade.