FOTA (technology)

Firmware Over- the-air programming ( abbreviation FOTA ) is a variation of over-the -air programming ( OTA ) Over-the- Air Service Provisioning ( OTASP ), over-the -air provisioning ( OTAP ) or over -the-Air parameter Administration ( OTAPA ). FOTA is therefore a method to new system software (firmware) to mobile devices via a radio interface: aufzuspielen (also air interface) (eg via Wi-Fi or mobile network). While in regular OTA only if necessary settings for individual services such as e -mail, WAP, i-mode or MMS to be adjusted, it is at FOTA to the fresh uploading the entire system software on the terminal.

Terminals that support this feature are called " FOTA compatible." Various standards have been agreed for FOTA, including OMA -DM by the Open Mobile Alliance ( OMA).

To use FOTA, this standard must be supported by the handset and the already installed firmware. This must include at least the reception of the new firmware and the subsequent installation can run, without restricting the functionality of the handset or ( etc. contacts, call list ) to change the settings. A support from the mobile network operator (MNO - Mobile Network Operator) is not necessary.

After calling a eg "Update service " called function, the new firmware is transmitted over the air interface and then installed. It may be necessary to restart the handset new or re-register the SIM card.

Rights holder of some important patents in the field of FOTA is the company Bitfone Corporation as FOTA pioneer ( U.S. patents: 6,785,707 / 6,832,373 / 6,941,453 / 6,978,453 / 6,996,818 / 7,047,448 / 7,082,549 - Japan patents: 0,506,785 ).


There are a number of products, for example enabling remote management of devices using the OMA DM protocol, for example, to realize FOTA. Furthermore, it is also the first products, such as ProSyst that combine the function of an OMA-DM server to the capabilities of OSGi and TR -069. OSGi can in this case, for example, as service-oriented architecture (SOA ) are used, which forms the framework on the device on which an OMA DM client itself as well as others - possibly paid - can be ( value-added) services dynamically installed and administered. This is particularly interesting when incremental updates to the device software should be possible, or if the remote maintenance of OMA DM is not sufficient.

For example, mobile phones can be equipped with FOTA functionality. So has the Nokia N73 with firmware version 4 via FOTA.


FOTA allows, at least theoretically, with unwanted features to install firmware (eg the interception of the telephone owner ). However, firmware updates must be digitally signed by the equipment manufacturer to be accepted by phone. Malicious firmware can therefore only be created by someone who has the appropriate secret key.

The danger of subsequently installable apps, as it is possible in smartphones is many times higher estimate.