Securing your home computer to work from home part 3: (Upgrading the Network)
Just like your computer, it is important to keep your network equipment up to date and running the latest firmware. Depending on your setup you may have a couple different pieces of equipment, and although the general process will be similar, each piece of equipment may be vastly different. Common pieces of equipment you will need to upgrade are routers, switches, and WiFi access points.
A note of caution. Firmware upgrades to network equipment will cause a temporary outage while the software is installing. Additionally, firmware upgrades are tested before being released it is still possible that the upgrade will not go as planned and you may need to contact the vendor of your item for support. Lastly, this is not always a quick process, and patience is key.
The basic process to upgrade the firmware on a network device is:
Using the internet, go to the support page for your piece of equipment. You will likely need the manufacturer name, the device model number, revision number, and serial number. You can usually find all of this info on a sticker affixed to the equipment.
Review the firmware update process outlined by your manufacturer. Every company has a slightly different process, so after you have found the support page for your equipment, look for the electronic version of the manual, and review the update process.
Download the necessary upgrade files. It is absolutely critical you download these files from the manufacturer and not a third party company. Many vendors will offer a process to verify the file integrity using a file hash (howtogeek.com); consider this step to decrease the chance of installing malicious software.
Backup your device configuration. Within the device website, there will be a way for you to backup your current configuration. It is a good idea to download this backup, in the event you need to restore your settings.
Upload the new firmware to your device. You will need to connect to the internal website of your device and you till find a screen within that will allow you to upload your newest firmware, and install it. Your manual will fully describe this process. Often these uploads will be verified to ensure you are using the right file. and it is compatible. Once your file has been uploaded the installation should begin automatically. At this point, you will likely lose network access.
Wait. Seriously, it will take a few minutes (5-15 is normal) for the process to complete.
Verify your device is working. Once the upgrade is complete, you will be able to access the network again, and you can log in to your device to verify that the upgrade was successful.
Repeat for your remaining network equipment.
Manufacturers will publish an end-of-life date for most equipment. After this date, there will likely be no more updates, and you should begin looking for a replacement. It is extremely common for attackers to discover vulnerabilities in old hardware, and keeping old equipment in service can result in a takeover of your network (ZDNet.com)
If you have an issue with the upgrade and the device is non-functioning, contact the vendor for support. If you want to try to resolve it on your own, try removing the power for 30 seconds, and reconnect. If it is still not working there should be the ability to do a factory reset on the device, usually with a paperclip being put into a small hole. If you do need to factory reset, your previously backed up configuration can be restored to save you from re-configuring from scratch.