If you work with networking devices, you know a little something about Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP). TFTP allows network rock stars to transfer files back and forth from switches and routers to central locations, such as a laptop or configuration archive. TFTP servers are a necessary thing to have for any serious network professional. I’ve talked about a couple that I use before in this post but I’ve started finding myself using my iDevices more and more for simple configuration tasks. Needless to say, having my favorite server on my iPad didn’t look like a realistic possibility.
Enter Mobile TFTP. This is the only app I could find in the App Store for TFTP file transfers. It’s a fairly simple affair:
You toggle the server on and join your iDevice to a local wireless network. I didn’t test whether the app would launch on 3G connection, but suffice it to say that wouldn’t be a workable solution for most people. The IP address of your device is shown so you can start copying files over to it. The most popular suggested use for this app is to archive configurations to your iDevice. This is a good idea for those that spend time walking from rack to rack with a console cable trying to capture device configs. It’s also a great way to have control over your configuration archives, since Mobile TFTP allows you to turn the service on and off as needed rather than keeping a TFTP server running on your network at all times. As a consultant, this app is wonderful when I need to capture a config without booting my laptop. Combined with tools like GetConsole or another SSH client, you can access a device and send the config to your mobile TFTP server without the need to boot up your laptop.
I did attempt to copy some larger files up to the device, but those results weren’t as spectacular. Mobile TFTP Server will support files up to 32MB, so larger IOS files and WLAN controller files are out. The transfer rates from an iPhone or iPad aren’t as spectacular as a hardwired connection, but I think this is more of the platform and less of the software. The only real complaint that I have is that the files you copy to the device are stuck inside the app. Sure, you can hook your iDevice up to your laptop at the end of the day and copy the files out of the app inside iTunes (which is also a great way to preload skeleton configs up front), but in today’s world integration is the name of the game. Giving me the option of linking to a storage service like Dropbox would be amazing. I tend to keep a lot of things in Dropbox, and being able to throw a troublesome router config in there so it would automagically appear on my laptop would be too sweet. Still, you can’t argue with the efficiency of this little app. It does exactly what it says and does it well enough that I don’t find myself cursing at it.
Mobile TFTP Server is $3.99 in the App Store, but as it’s the only dedicated TFTP app I could find, I think it’s worth that to someone who spends a lot of time copying files back and forth and loves the portability of their iDevice.
The creator of Mobile TFTP Server provided me with a promo code for the purposes of reviewing this app. He did not ask for any consideration in the writing of this review, and none was promised. The opinions and conclusions reached here are mine and mine alone.