IEICE Transactions on Electronics
Online ISSN : 1745-1353
Print ISSN : 0916-8524
Low-Power Fast Partial Firmware Update Technique of On-Chip Flash Memory for Reliable Embedded IoT Microcontroller
Jisu KWONMoon Gi SEOKDaejin PARK
ジャーナル 認証あり 早期公開

論文ID: 2020LHP0001


IoT devices operate with a battery and have embedded firmware in flash memory. If the embedded firmware is not kept up to date, there is a possibility of problems that cannot be linked with other IoT networks, so it is necessary to maintain the latest firmware with frequent updates. However, because firmware updates require developers and equipment, they consume manpower and time. Additionally, because the device must be active during the update, low-power operation is not possible due to frequent flash memory access. In addition, if an unexpected interruption occurs during an update, the device is unavailable and requires a reliable update. Therefore, this paper aims to improve the reliability of updates and low-power operation by proposing a technique of performing firmware updates at high speed. In this paper, we propose a technique to update only a part of the firmware stored in nonvolatile flash memory without pre-processing to generate delta files. The firmware is divided into function blocks, and their addresses are collectively managed in a separate area called a function map. When updating the firmware, only the new function block to be updated is transmitted from the host downloader, and the bootloader proceeds with the update using the function block stored in the flash memory. Instead of transmitting the entire new firmware and writing it in the memory, using only function block reduces the amount of resources required for updating. Function-blocks can be called indirectly through a function map, so that the update can be completed by modifying only the function map regardless of the physical location. Our evaluation results show that the proposed technique effectively reduces the time cost, energy consumption, and additional memory usage overhead that can occur when updating firmware.

© 2020 The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers
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