How to use Ubiquiti's TFTP Recovery Method

How to use Ubiquiti's TFTP Recovery Method


Ubiquiti's Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) recovery method is the process followed to recover firmware on Ubiquiti devices. This method is useful when there is an unstable device connection or when the device cannot be accessed. These difficulties are typically due to some form of firmware corruption. Firmware corruption can occur due to a number of reasons, but the most common is by Electro-Static Discharge (ESD), and ESD often occurs due to the use of unshielded cable and connectors.

Fortunately, Ubiquiti's TFTP recovery method allows the recovery of firmware on most Ubiquiti devices. In this article, we explain how to perform this recovery.


1. Prepare Prerequisites for a Ubiquiti TFTP Recovery Process

Before attempting the recovery, perform the following steps:

  • Download a TFTP server/client such as PumpKIN TFTP.
  • Download the Ubiquiti firmware related to the device that you are looking to recover. You can find it in the download section of Ubiquiti's website.
  • Have a paperclip or similar object on hand to press the reset button of the device. Configure your PC's IP address to be in the range of the default IP of the device. ie. 192.168.1.xxx where “xxx” is any number between 1-254, excluding 20. This will allow you to communicate with the device.




2. Put the Ubiquiti Device into Recovery Mode

You are now ready to start the process of recovering the Ubiquiti device. First, you'll need to put the device into Recovery Mode. To do this, perform the following steps:

  • Start a continuous ping to the device's default IP (192.168.1.20) e.g.
    Windows: ping -t 192.168.1.20
    Mac: ping 192.168.1.20


  • Hold in the reset button on the device while powering the unit up. Keep the reset button pressed for 20 seconds. You will then see all the LED's on the device light up and flash 3 times before going into a sequence of 2 LED's flashing, then alternate 2 LED's flashing.




    • The device is now in recovery mode and able to accept new firmware packages.


      3. Recover your Ubiquiti Firmware



      To recover your firmware, perform the following steps:

      • Open the PumpKIN TFTP client
      • Click the "Put File" option
      • At "Local File" click the button on the right, navigate to and select the downloaded firmware for the unit.
      • At "Remote Host" type in the default IP of the device i.e. 192.168.1.20.
      • Click "OK"


      When you click "OK", the client should start transferring the firmware to the device and once done, the device will install the firmware and reboot.




      If the correct firmware was used, you will see the client report that the transfer was successful. If you see "Firmware Check Failed", the incorrect firmware was used.




      Once the unit is done and rebooted, you will see that the firmware on the device has been updated.



      This should fix any software related issues that might be plaguing the device. You may even be able to recover a device that was previously inaccessible via the Ethernet with this method.

      Good luck and happy recoveries.


      Blog post by Guy Perry