What is Firmware? What does Firmware do?

A firmware is a set of instructions or software programs that provide the necessary instructions for a device that interacts with other computer hardware components.

Firmware program stored on a ROM on a computer or other hardware device that provides instructions on how the device should operate. Unlike other programs, the firmware cannot be deleted or changed without the use of special programs and it remains on the device until it is updated by the firmware updater.

What is a firmware updater?

Firmware Updater is a program or set of instructions used to update the firmware in devices. For example, the user may install a firmware update for the router that enhances its features or capabilities and fixes issues. Firmware updates are available from hardware manufacturers.

What are the different types of firmware?

There is a huge variety of firmware. This firmware in computer motherboards called UEFI or BIOS, there are DVD / CD / Blu-ray drives, solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disk firmware, range extenders, routers, network cards, Even the firmware exist in your wireless keyboard or mouse, and these are just computer-related examples.

The firmware is also present in most real-life devices such as smart TVs, traffic lights, bank ATMs, in your cars, or even in your automatic washing machines.

Almost every electric device cannot work without firmware.

Difference between Drivers and Firmware?

Although both the firmware and the driver have a role to play in instructing the hardware on what to do,

One important difference is that the driver is installed inside the operating system, while the firmware itself is stored on the hardware device.

Also, the drivers must be run by the operating system while the firmware can start on its own and do what it is programmed to do.

The most important difference between the two is that the driver tells the operating system how to interact with the same devices while the firmware instructs the devices on what they should do.

Levels of Firmware:

levels of firmware

Depending on where it is stored and the complexity of its functionality there are three different levels of firmware:

1) Lower-level firmware:

Lower-level firmware is stored in non-volatile memory chips, such as PROM and ROM, also known as one-time program memory. Low-level firmware is often stored on read-only chips, so they cannot be updated or rewritten. This is considered an intrinsic part of the hardware.

2) High-level Firmware:

High-level firmware is used with flash memory or RAM (read-only memory) that allows updates. It has more complex instructions than lower-level firmware, which makes it closer to software than hardware.

3) Subsystem:

A subsystem is a unit or device that is a semi-autonomous part of a larger system. Because the firmware-level microcode is embedded in CPUs, flash chips, and LCD units and resembles high-level firmware, it often resembles your device.