UNSOLVED Laptops with no integrated NIC any decent solution?

  • Server
    • FOG Version: 1.4.2
    • OS: Ubuntu 16.04
    • Service Version:
    • OS:

    I’m been searching all over to find answer if there is any workable solution to boot USB dongel NICs so they can connect to my fog server. I found several advice but cant say I found anyone that confirmed its working or any good guide how to make it work.
    I know this worked well with PXE and WDS , were you could easly create a USB stick containing the pxe boot image. But seems a lot diffrent with iPXE.

    It’s a problem that needs solving as there is a lot of laptops nowdays without a integrated NIC.

    Would be greatfull for any help!

  • Moderator

    @Sebastian-Roth I kind of got pulled in a few different directions.

    But the concept is to use grub to make an ipxe call. From grub we would use the menu that would look a bit like this

    menuentry 'Quick Image' {
        set root='hd0,msdos1'
        linux16 /boot/ipxe.krn
        initrd16 /boot/qimage-initrd

    Then the qimage-initrd would contain something like

    param mac0 ${net0/mac}
    param arch ${arch}
    param username fog
    param password password
    param qihost 1
    isset ${net1/mac} && param mac1 ${net1/mac} || goto bootme
    isset ${net2/mac} && param mac2 ${net2/mac} || goto bootme
    chain -ar http://<fog_server_ip>/fog/service/ipxe/boot.php##params

    Understand this is still a concept, but all of the bits look like they fit together nicely. That should provide the quick image menu for unregistered hosts.

  • Moderator

    Just stumbled upon this by accident. Any news on this?

  • Moderator

    @grungeman I was working on that option, but its a bit complicated to get the answer. I have the solution on a usb drive at my office, but I’m traveling this week. Let me see if I can get the right answer with my dev box.

  • @george1421 Thanks, it works !

    But always one more question.
    Would it be possible to add the Deploy Image option, where you can quick deploy image from the database without register them?
    Now it works fine to deploy an image if i first register it, connect it to an image for deploy and reboot with first Deploy/capture option. Which is a acceptable as a alternativ solution but not optimal if it comes to larger deployments.

  • Moderator

    @grungeman OK, I’m not going insane. I looked at the link you provided and the grub file didn’t include the IP address line. Then I realized you referenced an older (dirty) version of the instructions. Here is the proper instructions: https://forums.fogproject.org/topic/7727/building-usb-booting-fos-image I’m going to update the article you referenced (or possibly delete it if it adds no value), to avoid confusion in the future.

    I’m sorry for the confusion the older document created. The creation of the USB boot drive should be identical between the two instructions, just the grub file was refined in the later instructions.

  • @george1421 alright, sounds like a good advice. I’m sorry for my bad knowledge about this. But im not really sure how to set the ip in the grub config file. Where should it be.
    It currently looks like this, no ip in there at all atm.

    set timeout=10
    set default=0

    #insmod efi_gop
    #insmod efi_uga
    insmod all_video
    #insmod font

    menuentry “FOG 32-bit Debug Kernel” {
    linux /boot/bzImage32 loglevel=7 boot_delay=2000 debug init=/sbin/init root=/dev/ram0 rw ramdisk_size=127000 pcie_aspm=off consoleblank=0 isdebug=yes
    initrd /boot/init_32.xz

    menuentry “FOG 64-bit Debug Kernel” {
    linux /boot/bzImage loglevel=7 printk.time=1 init=/sbin/init root=/dev/ram0 rw ramdisk_size=127000 pcie_aspm=off consoleblank=0 isdebug=yes
    initrd /boot/init.xz

  • Moderator

    @grungeman In the grub config file, make sure you entered the IP address of your FOG server. The FOS engine uses a web call to the fog server to ensure the FOG server is reachable. If its not reachable then it goes through the discovery process again.

  • I followed the guide to create a bootable USB stick https://forums.fogproject.org/topic/6532/usb-boot-target-device-into-fog-os-live-fosl-for-debugging
    Seems to be a potentially good solution, but i run into another issue.

    The USB stick boots fine, the NIC is found and IP aquired but after that DHCP request or what else to call it start to loop.

    I get an ip from the DHCP , so there is a communication with the DHCP server. But still its ends No with DHCP respons on interface eth0.

    See attached photo of the screen

    Any ideas what would be wrong?


  • Moderator

    @grungeman said in Laptops with no integrated NIC any decent solution?:

    I found several advice but cant say I found anyone that confirmed its working or any good guide how to make it work.

    Maybe I get this wrong?!? Search the forums and wiki and you’ll find a lot of people successfully PXE booting USB NICs! It just depends on the combination of laptop and USB NIC. Quite often you might be lucky and it all works out of the box. If not, get back to us and we try to help.

  • Our new HP Elitebook x360 laptops have a feature in the bios and a Windows driver for HBMA. Host based mac address. This allows the system to override the include Nic Dongle, or the HP thunderbolt docking stations mac address with one that is unique to the machine.

    So far I haven’t seen this “supported” in the fog linux kernel so, I’m planning to use quick deploy and have the windows agent phone home for inventory and naming.

  • We’re using Clonezilla USB Sticks to Image devices without a NIC. The Image is on the stick itself and you only have to boot from it, the rest is automated. After the imageing is done, FOG takes over to rename the Host and Join the domain.

    In my opinion this is the bet way.

  • Moderator

    Computers without ethernet adapters. This is an interesting mix of issues.

    Most of these portables (without ethernet adapters) are uefi based. These systems need to have compatible ethernet dongles that are supported by the firmware for native pxe booting. Your hardware manufacturer should be able to tell you which usb ethernet adapters are compatible for pxe booting. This is the first and best solution. Then FOG will boot normally.

    The second option is to create a usb stick that contains iPXE boot kernel on it. This usb boot stick will replace the onboard pxe boot roms. The iPXE boot kernel will boot on any usb ethernet adapter it supports (akin to the uefi firmeware but ipxe supports many more adapters). The down side of this is now you must keep track of usb boot media. Also many of these portables only contain a single usb port so you will need an active usb2 or usb3 hub to connect the usb boot stick and the ethernet adapter at the same time.

    The third option is as @x23piracy mentioned in that we find that somtimes iPXE and UEFI firmware don’t get along very well. In this case we can boot directly into the FOS engine (the high performance custom linux OS that runs on the target computer). This method has its down side in that the usb booting computer looses the tight integration with fog and the booting process. The FOS engine supports all network adapters supported by the latest linux kernel.

    So we have several methods to get your device booted. Ideally pxe booting is the best if at all possible.

  • Hi,

    use USB NIC with PXE Support or use @george1421 's FOS USB Stick Image to boot via USB if you find no USB NIC that support PXE.

    Regards X23