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Firmware update for the access point - do I need a SmartNet?

We have several Aironet 1231 access points. The firmware was not updated for 3-4 years. We don't have a SmartNet support contract on any of the access points. I can download the new firmware from Cisco website, since it is available to download to anyone with the TAC account. Do I need a valid SmartNet contract to apply the updated firmware to our access points? I'm a little confused. Usually the firmware updates are available for free, unless it works differently with Cisco. Please help. Thanks.

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Re: Firmware update for the access point - do I need a SmartNet?

If you can get the firmware, then you can apply it to any device. SmartNet is to cover your butt just in case it dies.

-Scott
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