Understanding Software Installation on EX Series Switches


A Juniper Networks EX Series Ethernet Switch is delivered with the Juniper Networks Junos operating system (Junos OS) preinstalled. As new features and software fixes become available, you must upgrade your software to use them. You can also downgrade Junos OS to a previous release.

This topic covers:

Overview of the Software Installation Process

An EX Series switch is delivered with a domestic version of Junos OS preinstalled. When you connect power to the switch, it starts (boots) from the installed software.

You upgrade Junos OS on an EX Series switch by copying a software package to your switch or another system on your local network, then use either the J-Web interface or the command-line interface (CLI) to install the new software package on the switch. Finally, you reboot the switch; it boots from the upgraded software. After a successful upgrade, you should back up the new current configuration to a secondary device. You should following this procedure regardless of whether you are installing a domestic or controlled Junos OS package.

During a successful upgrade, the upgrade package removes all files from /var/tmp and completely reinstalls the existing software. It retains configuration files, and similar information, such as secure shell and host keys, from the previous version. The previous software package is preserved in a separate disk partition, and you can manually revert back to it if necessary. If the software installation fails for any reason, such as loss of power during the installation process, the system returns to the originally active installation when you reboot.

Software Package Security

All Junos OS releases are delivered in signed packages that contain digital signatures to ensure official Juniper Networks software. For more information about signed software packages, see the Junos OS Installation and Upgrade Guide.

Installing Software on a Virtual Chassis

You can connect individual EX Series switches together to form one unit and manage the unit as a single device, called a Virtual Chassis. The Virtual Chassis operates as a single network entity composed of member switches. Each member switch in a Virtual Chassis must be running the same version of Junos OS.

For ease of management, a Virtual Chassis provides flexible methods to upgrade software releases. You can deploy a new software release to all member switches of a Virtual Chassis or to only a particular member switch.

You can also upgrade the software on a Virtual Chassis using nonstop software upgrade (NSSU). NSSU takes advantage of graceful Routing Engine switchover (GRES) and nonstop active routing (NSR) to ensure no disruption to the control plane during the upgrade. You can minimize disruption to network traffic by defining link aggregation groups (LAGs) such that the member links of each LAG reside on different line cards or on different members . During an NSSU, the line cards and Virtual Chassis members are upgraded one at a time, so that traffic continues to flow through the other line cards or members while that line card or member is being upgraded.

Installing Software on Switches with Redundant Routing Engines

You can install software on a switch with redundant Routing Engines in one of two ways:

  • Perform an NSSU—An NSSU upgrades both Routing Engines with a single command and with a minimum of network disruption. An NSSU takes advantage of GRES and NSR to ensure no disruption to the control plane. You can minimize disruption to network traffic by defining LAGs such that the member links of each LAG reside on different line cards. The line cards are upgraded one at a time, so that traffic continues to flow through the other line cards while a line card is being upgraded.

    You cannot use NSSU to downgrade the software running on a switch.

    For more information about NSSU, see Understanding Nonstop Software Upgrade on EX Series Switches.

  • Upgrade each Routing Engine manually—You can perform a Junos OS installation on each Routing Engine separately, starting with the backup Routing Engine. You can use this procedure to downgrade the software running on a switch.

Installing Software Using Automatic Software Download

The automatic software download feature uses the DHCP message exchange process to download and install software packages. Users can define a path to a software package on the DHCP server, and then the DHCP server communicates this path to EX Series switches acting as DHCP clients as part of the DHCP message exchange process. The DHCP clients that have been configured for automatic software download receive these messages and, when the software package name in the DHCP server message is different from that of the software package that booted the DHCP client switch, download and install the software package. See Upgrading Software by Using Automatic Software Download for Switches.

Autoinstalling a Configuration File on an EX2200 or EX3300 Switch from a Disk-on-Key USB Memory Stick

You can use an autoinstallation process to configure the software on an EX2200 or EX3300 switch. You can use a configuration file that is in either text format or XML format. If you want to use an XML-formatted file, you use a Junos Space platform to create the configuration file. You place the configuration file on a Disk-on-Key USB memory stick.

Installing Software on an EX2300 or EX3400 Switch

Before installing software on an EX2300 or EX3400 switch:

  • Ensure that at least 620 MB of disk space is available in the system before downloading the software installation package to the /var/tmp directory. Use the command show system storage to get details of the available space.

  • If the space available is inadequate, use the command request system storage cleanup. Additionally, you can manually delete any other log or unwanted files from the /var/tmp or /var/log directories.

You can now follow the procedure in Installing Software on an EX Series Switch with a Single Routing Engine (CLI Procedure) to complete the software installation.

Configuration Image Validation on EX Series Switches

If you upgrade or downgrade the Junos OS image on a switch that supports configuration image validation, the system validates that the existing configuration is compatible with the new image before the actual upgrade or downgrade commences. See Validating the Configuration Image Before Upgrading or Downgrading the Software for details about using image validation. See Feature Explorer for information about which EX Series switches support image validation.

Troubleshooting Software Installation

If Junos OS loads but the CLI is not working for any reason, or if the switch has no software installed, you can use the recovery installation procedure to install the software on the switch. See Troubleshooting Software Installation.


You can also use this procedure to load two versions of Junos OS in separate partitions on the switch.