HP Cloud Services AP. Just another paperweight…or is it?

hp-365-access-pointConvert an HP Cloud Services AP to an Aruba Instant AP 

In 2014 Hewlett-Packard (HP) acquired Aruba Networks and decided to create a cloud-only spin-off of the virtual controller called “HP Cloud Network Manager” while keeping the original Aruba product line intact. HP Cloud Network Manager was created with the idea that the access points would require no on-premise controller whatsoever, either physical or virtual but it never really took off. During the brief period in which HP had this service available they took a select few of the Aruba IAP models, re-branded them as HP access points and loaded the cloud firmware on to these devices. In July of 216 HP discontinued their cloud service altogether, leaving a slew of HP branded access points with useless firmware on them and no way to manage them. For a while HP had a trade-in program where licensed users could replace their HP branded cloud services access points for Aruba branded IAPs but that program has long since been abolished.

The good news is that there is a way to convert these bricks into something useful, that is to say a fully functional Aruba IAP. Anyone who has an active Aruba contract and access to the IAP firmware can easily perform the conversion. All that is required is a TFTP server and a console cable.

Note: Do this at your own risk! I don’t know if this works on all HP-branded access points. I have done this a few times using HP 365 models purchased on eBay. I have not tried this on other HP models. The 365 and 355 have a standard RJ45 console port whereas the 350 has a funky 4-pin console connection. I assume this would work on that model if one had the right console cable.

The HP/Aruba model match-up is as follows:

  • HP 365 – Aruba IAP-225
  • HP 355 – Aruba IAP-115
  • HP 350 – Aruba IAP-103

The steps to perform the conversion is as follows:

  • Download and install a TFTP server
  • Download the IAP firmware from HP (Aruba) that matches the model of the access point you have. The models that I am aware of are the HP 365 (IAP-225), the HP 355 (IAP-115) and the HP 350 (IAP-103)
  • Copy the firmware to your TFTP root folder
  • Boot the AP with the console cable connected. When you see “Hit Enter to stop autoboot:” press the enter key before the countdown elapses. If you miss it just reboot the AP.
  • When you see the “apboot>” prompt type “osinfo” and it should show both partitions as containing the HP Cloud OS
  • Next type “setenv serverip server_ip” where server_ip is the IP address of your TFTP server
  • Type “upgrade os 0 image_name” where image_name is the entire name of the IAP firmware file. This upgrades the primary partition which normally boots the AP
  • When the upload is done type “osinfo” and you should see that partition 0 now contains the Aruba Instant OS rather than the HP OS
  • Type “upgrade os 1 image_name” where image_name is the entire name of the IAP firmware file. This upgrades the recovery partition in the event that you do a paper-clip reset on the AP. If you skip this step and do a factory reset you will boot back to the HP Cloud firmware
  • When the second upload is done type “osinfo” and you should see that both partitions now contain the Aruba Instant OS

That’s it. Now when you boot the AP it will come up with Aruba’s Instant software and you can follow the same steps you would for any Aruba Instant AP and either configure it as an IAP or convert it to a Campus/Remote AP just as you normally would.

One thought on “HP Cloud Services AP. Just another paperweight…or is it?”

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