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I performed BIOS updates on a stack of Soekris net4511s and net4521s today. Here’s a quick-and-dirty howto for anyone who wants to do the same thing from a Linux host running minicom. Note that these instructions should work on any net45xx series Soekris board, including the net4501.

  1. Download the BIOS update from Soekris’ Downloads Page. As of the time of this writing, if you’re using anything prior to version 1.20 (my Soekris boards were all running 1.15), you’ll want to start with the update to 1.26a, then consider whether you want to upgrade to the latest BIOS from there. Soekris publishes a changelog of their BIOS updates to their website.
  2. Connect your serial port to the Soekris net45xx using a null-modem cable, and use minicom, or your  terminal emulator of choice to establish a connection. Connection settings should be 9600,8,N,1 with hardware and software flow control both turned off.
  3. If your Soekris net45xx’s serial console isn’t already configured to work at 9600bps, you can set this by entering Ctrl-P to enter the Monitor, then set the console speed to 9600bps, and reboot:
    > set ConSpeed=9600
    > reboot
  4. Start up your Soekris box, and enter Ctrl-P when prompted to enter the Monitor. This should bring to you a “>” prompt.
  5. Enter the “download” command, and press Enter.
    > download
  6. In another terminal, run the following command to initiate an xmodem transfer of the updated Soekris BIOS. Substitute in name of the BIOS file:
    # sx -X b4501x_126a.bin > /dev/ttyS0 < /dev/ttyS0
  7. Switch back to your minicom terminal. You should see a “File downloaded succesfully” message. If so, run the following commands to apply the update, and reboot:

That’s it! Your Soekris net4501, net4511 or net4521 should now have an updated BIOS.