Need USB to Ethernet Adapter that works with Ipxe



  • My company is now starting to get Lenovo Laptops (ex. like X1 Carbon) and Surface Pro 4’s that are going to require the use of an Ethernet to USB adapter in order to create/deploy images. We had a Startech USB to Ethernet and after checking with their support, that adapter didn’t support pxe boot. Is there an adapter that will work universally with these products? Something that can boot to ipxe? I did check: https://wiki.fogproject.org/wiki/index.php/WorkingDevices#USB_Ethernet_Adapters but wasn’t sure if I would need to order separate adapters for different models?


  • Moderator

    @Blsmith said in Need USB to Ethernet Adapter that works with Ipxe:

    Thanks everyone for their help. I have purchased the official USB-to-Ethernet adapters from Microsoft and Lenovo and are going to try them out since they state that they support LAN or pxe boot. Once they come in I will let you know if they work with the guides you have posted. Thanks again for your assistance.

    This is what we are finding is the best solution (purchase the recommended ones from the hardware mfg). WIth UEFI the firmware has to support the ethernet driver (usb or otherwise) for pxe booting to work with uefi systems. Without the supported network adapter the firmware will simply not see the network adapter.



  • Thanks everyone for their help. I have purchased the official USB-to-Ethernet adapters from Microsoft and Lenovo and are going to try them out since they state that they support LAN or pxe boot. Once they come in I will let you know if they work with the guides you have posted. Thanks again for your assistance.


  • Testers

    @Blsmith I just realized I didn’t answer part of your original question directly. In some cases (such as the surface) you need a special adapter to work out of the box. For most scenarios something with the smc lan 7500 chipset will work as a network boot option. At least from my experience.
    So you don’t typically need a different adapter for different models, though there are special cases. It’s probably possible to get around those special cases, but Microsoft probably made that difficult on purpose so people would have to pay the extra money for their adapter.


  • Moderator

    #wiki worthy

    There’s some listed in the working hardware list in the wiki. Look there.

    Also - a donation of 100+ dollars would allow me to purchase several adapters to test.




  • Testers

    @Blsmith I have a usb 2.0 startech gigabit ethernet adapter that works rather well.
    For some of the old surface pro’s (haven’t played with a 4) you had to have the official surface adapter to get the native pxe boot to work from the bios.

    However I would reccomend looking over my guide here
    https://forums.fogproject.org/topic/9010/booting-to-fog-from-efi-shell-for-imaging-windows-tablets-intel-compute-sticks-intel-atom-soc-devices-usb-ethernet-adapters-and-other-uefi-based-computers-that-don-t-boot-to-the-network-standard

    It may help you out in getting that startech usb to work, unless it’s their usb 3 model, if it is that’s the problem. Sadly since USB 3 is still new (compared to usb 2 anyway) there aren’t as many pxe drivers built-in to bioses/firmwares for the newer adapters, and in some cases the support doesn’t exist yet. It kind of sucks to take the speed hit during imaging, but it’s the price of reliability at this time. I haven’t looked in a while for a usb 3 that works or has available pxe/uefi drivers, so there may be some that exist.

    Granted the guide above is really for making the pxe boot work outside of the normal network boot. If the laptops have a option for adding 3rd party uefi drivers in their bios/firmware settings. Then maybe adding the uefi driver found in the guide above would get them to recognize the usb you have as a bootable device.

    Hope that helps.
    Thanks,
    -JJ


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