SolarWinds is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with sales and product development offices around the world. The company provides network management products – including over 10 free tools – that allow administrators and networking professionals the better visibility and control that they need to complete their tasks more effectively and to manage their networks even better than before.
In this overview article series I will be outlining one of their current free tools – their free TFTP Server – made available for free download here.
An Overview of SolarWinds Free TFTP Server
The SolarWinds free TFTP Server is a multi-threaded TFTP server that can be run locally and used to upload and download executable images and configurations to routers and switches. The free TFTP Server runs on Windows XP, Vista, 2000, and 2003.
Advanced Security of the server allows administrators to specify single IP addresses or a full range of IP addresses that can be authorized to use the TFTP Server. Additional parameters also allows admins to configure usage to sending only or receiving only based on user needs and in consideration of following the principal of least privilege.
The server is multi-threaded which allows for concurrent uploads and download images from multiple network devices.
It can also be configured to runs as a service to deliver 24 x 7 TFTP Server availability for your entire network.
The tool also allows for the transfer of files larger than 32MB by supporting the option negotiation protocol (transfer size, block size, timeout) described in the current TFTP protocol specifications enabling the transfer of files up to 4GB via the free TFTP Server.
Many network devices such as routers, switches, hubs, some printers, and some terminal server devices, require a TFTP server to load initial configuration information, IOS files, as well as to transfer configuration file updates to deployed nodes.
SolarWinds created their TFTP Server to transmit and receive multiple configuration files at the same time using multiple connections for versatility and scalability.
[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – A TFTP Server is not an FTP server as the two are different protocols.
You cannot connect to a TFTP server with an FTP client
For additional information on File Transfer Protocol you can start at the Wikipedia page or follow up via some search results to go beyond what is there.
Much the same for the Trivial File Transfer Protocol that the SolarWinds free TFTP Server tool leverages
SolarWinds Free TFTP Server Installation Walkthrough
Installing the SolarWinds free TFTP Server tool is pretty simple and straightforward. Once you download the compressed file (which is about 7.8MB in size; once it is expanded it is about 8.9MB) you would open up the folder and double click on the EXE to start the installation routine.
On systems with User Access Control (UAC) enabled you’ll receive the prompt to acknowledge that you want the installation routine to continue; once you do this you’ll arrive at the InstallShield Wizard start up page.
From there you are presented with the License Agreement page where you need to accept the terms to continue.
The next screen is where you need to input necessary Customer Information and choose whether or not you want to have the tool available for only your use or for anyone that uses the system.
[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – For the walkthrough we will choose “Anyone who uses this computer (all users) option.
The next page is the Choose Destination Location page where you can choose the defaults for where the installation files will go or choose an alternate location.
[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] – For the walkthrough we will the default location.
The next page of the installation Wizard is the next page and from here you’d choose INSTALL to begin the formal installation.
After the install kicks off you’ll see a couple more screens during the installation routine and the final completion screen – once you close out the final window you’ll be able to run the tool the first time.
First Run of SolarWinds Free TFTP Server After Install
Upon completion of the installation routine you’ll be able to launch the tool and you’ll be presented with the default view as shown below
As you can see the tool itself is very simple in view and there is really not much to the initial launch
The TFTP server runs as a service, but some basic configuration may be necessary to ensure the TFTP server behaves in a way that works best within your environment.
The base steps from here to get started are to Click File and then Configure to open up the properties page.
On the General tab you would select START to start the server.
You would select the Add TFTP Server to the Windows System Tray in order to have the TFTP server icon to appear in the task tray.
In the Storage section of the General Tab you would designate a directory to use as the root directory of the TFTP server. Files received by the TFTP server are saved here. Files to be sent by the TFTP server must be first copied to this directory.
On the Security tab you would configure the settings for the Permitted Transfer Types as well as an IP address Restrictions
In the Permitted Transfer Types section you could choose to allow the server to only send files, only receive files or allow it to do both.
As a part of this configuration in the Permitted Transfer Types section, you can choose to allow all IP address to send, receive or to do both or you can deny all and only allow specific IP addresses to take that designated action from the Permitted Transfer Types section by selecting the “Only allow the following IP address to send/receive files” and then enter in that / those addresses.
That’s a wrap for my SolarWinds Free TFTP Server Product Overview and Installation article – I hope you found it a good investment of your time and that you’ll download and make good use of this handy tool.
I am always looking forward to any feedback you have on this or any of the articles I have written so feel free to drop in some comments or contact me directly.
Additionally, I would welcome any suggestions topics of interest that you would like to see and based on demand and column space I’ll do what I can to deliver them to you.
Best of luck in your studies.