USB to Ethernet dongles host registration

  • In our company we have several new Dell XPS-13 laptops witch do not come with an internal ethernet card.
    Therefore we have several USB to Ethernet dongles witch work fine with PXE boot.

    The only issue is that the MAC address that is used to identify systems is collected from the dongle. If the dongles get lost, swapped or as the IT staff uses their own dongle, the system is not seen correctly. Is there a way to work around this? The option To use the Pass-trough MAC-address does not work with the dongles we have right now. Is there no other way in the FOG server than to recognize the system other than by the used MAC address?

  • Moderator

    @vervoordeldonk What we are finding is the mainstream hardware vendors (dell, hp, lenovo, intel nuc so far) do an excellent job of making each system unique so coming up with an alternate method of identification isn’t a problem.

    The issue is like the system below

    System Manufacturer xxxxr
    System Product TMB-3010
    System Version R0M0
    System Serial Number To be filled by O.E.M.
    System Type Type: Notebook
    BIOS Vendor American Megatrends Inc.
    BIOS Version 1.00/636G00WPC76508
    BIOS Date 05/06/2016
    Motherboard Manufacturer xxxxr
    Motherboard Product Name WEB-889A/WEB-889AA
    Motherboard Version R0M0
    Motherboard Serial Number To be filled by O.E.M.
    Motherboard Asset Tag To be filled by O.E.M.
    CPU Manufacturer Intel® Corporation
    CPU Version Intel® Core™ i5-3210M CPU @ 2.50GHz
    CPU Normal Speed Current Speed: 2500 MHz
    CPU Max Speed Max Speed: 3800 MHz
    Memory 3.74 GiB
    Hard Disk Model 2.5" SATA SSD 3ME3
    Hard Disk Firmware S15A19
    Hard Disk Serial Number xxxxxxxxxx000025
    Chassis Manufacturer xxxr
    Chassis Version
    Chassis Serial To Be Filled By O.E.M.
    Chassis Asset 

    I put the lower case “x” in just to mask a few values, but as you can see there is nothing unique on this system from the next system from the same manufacturer other than the disk serial number. I have a few examples of other systems that are very similar. One solution is to go ahead and use the mac address as part of the mix for system identification. In that case we would be no worse off than we are today by only using just the mac address.

    We also want to bring in the asset tag value so at the very least if FOG can’t identify the system the IT tech will need to populate that field to create a unique ID for that system. (sorry I’m a bit thinking out loud here)

  • @Sebastian-Roth Dell has got a ServiceTag (serialnr) for each system that is unique. Is it possible to use that as an identifier?

  • Senior Developer

    @george1421 said in USB to Ethernet dongles host registration:

    With almost no unique values. In this case pulling the hard disk serial number is the only thing unique. But I don’t think hard drive serial number is exposed by smbios.

    Thanks heaps!! Yeah I remember that we were down to hard disk serial when discussing this last as well. I even started to talk to the iPXE devs about implementing HD serial I think. But it turned out to be very complicated since iPXE doesn’t care about disks… Don’t think this is a viable road to go.

  • Moderator

    @Sebastian-Roth Sorry it was in the other thread from your fist post in this thread:

    I’ve been collecting examples of FOG inventoried values. The mainstream manufacturers is no problem to get system unique values. We have found some industrial and pos systems that will be very hard since the hardware manufacturer enters stuff like this in almost every field “To Be Filled By O.E.M.” With almost no unique values. In this case pulling the hard disk serial number is the only thing unique. But I don’t think hard drive serial number is exposed by smbios.

  • Senior Developer

    @george1421 Mind posting the (dmidecode?) commands you are using for testing right now? I can run those on Lenovo laptops for example.

  • Moderator

    @vervoordeldonk That’s OK. I have the details I needed for Dell and HP. I’m now seeking other hardware manufacturer’s inventory data. I can say for at least Dell and HP systems the new method will work very well to properly identify the device without using mac addresses.

  • @george1421 No, as we are using Dell as a prefferd supplier we only have Dell hardware 🙂

    I could bring in my personal HP laptop if it can be any help for you?

  • Moderator

    Do you have non-Dell computers at your location? I need to collect some data to see if its possible to move away from MAC addresses as the system IDs. I have Dells at my location, I need to know about other hardware manufacturers.

  • Senior Developer

    @vervoordeldonk It’s funny that it has been quite about this topic for a while and now you are number three asking about it in just a few hours. See my post here