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PXE server with Raspberry Pi 1

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Recent days we get the announcement about releasing Raspberry Pi 3. Those of you who play with embedded systems or just try to make things probably still got good old Raspberry Pi (1). Because during time old platforms loose value as potential candidate for new projects I decided to sacrifice my old RPi and make test server from it.

One of my customer required testing his software against PXE server with various configurations. I realized that using my home network with my TP-Link router I have no way to create such configuration on server machine I usually use. I would need to connect directly to server and with one Ethernet port this was not the solution for me. My other platforms like A20 boards, Odroid or RPi2 are occupied by some projects. I recall that I have old RPi that can be used for that purpose.

Configuration described below is very limited because it test just PXE booting, there is no outside world connection. This connection can be added by adding wifi dongle to Raspberry Pi and modifying iptables and routing.

Prerequisites

  • download recent Raspberry Pi image and flash it to SD card. I used Raspbian Jessie Lite.
  • if you don’t have free keyboard and HDMI monitor use UART to connect serial console – you can use this post, if you don’t konw how to connect it
  • flash recent iPXE to your hardware or use what is already provided by vendor

Raspbian Jessie Lite – initial setup

Setup TFTP

Install server TFTP:

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sudo apt-get install tftpd-hpa

Change configuration according to your needs. My looks like that:

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# /etc/default/tftpd-hpa

TFTP_USERNAME="tftp"
TFTP_DIRECTORY="/srv/tftp"
TFTP_ADDRESS="0.0.0.0:69"
#TFTP_OPTIONS="--secure"
TFTP_OPTIONS=""

Download netboot files for Debian, which we will use for testing purposes:

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wget http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/jessie/main/installer-i386/current/images/netboot/netboot.tar.gz

Unpack netboot package in /srv/tftp:

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cd /srv/tftp
sudo tar xvf /path/to/netboot.tar.gz

Setup udhcpd

Install udhcpd and remove conflicting packages:

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sudo apt-get install udhcpd
sudo apt-get remove isc-dhcp-client 

At the end of /etc/udhcpd.conf add:

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siaddr          192.168.0.1
boot_file       /srv/tftp/pxelinux.0
opt     dns     192.168.0.1 192.168.10.10
option  subnet  255.255.255.0
opt     router  192.168.0.1
opt     wins    192.168.0.1
option  dns     129.219.13.81
option  domain  local
option  lease   864000

You can also assign client MAC to given IP address by adding:

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#static_lease 00:60:08:11:CE:4E 192.168.0.54
static_lease <mac> <ip>

Comment DHCPD_ENABLE in /etc/default/udhcpd:

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# Comment the following line to enable
# DHCPD_ENABLED="no"

# Options to pass to busybox' udhcpd.
#
# -S    Log to syslog
# -f    run in foreground

DHCPD_OPTS="-S"

Change eth0 configuration to static IP:

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auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
        address 192.168.0.1
        netmask 255.255.255.0
        gateway 192.168.0.254

Then reboot device and connect your PXE client device.

Testing PXE server

When device boot press Ctrl-B to enter iPXE shell. If you cannot enter shell please replace iPXE with recent version using this instructions.

Entering iPXE you should see something like that:

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iPXE (http://ipxe.org) 00:00.0 C100 PCI2.10 PnP PMMpmm call arg1=1
pmm call arg1=0
+DFF490B0pmm call arg1=1
pmm call arg1=0
+DFE890B0 C100


iPXE (PCI 00:00.0) starting execution...ok
iPXE initialising devices...ok



iPXE 1.0.0+ (e303) -- Open Source Network Boot Firmware -- http://ipxe.org
Features: DNS FTP HTTP HTTPS iSCSI NFS SLAM TFTP VLAN AoE ELF MBOOT NBI PXE SDI bzImage COMBOOT Menu PXEXT
iPXE>  

First let’s configure interface:

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iPXE> ifconf net0
Configuring (net0 00:0d:b9:3f:9e:58)............... ok
iPXE> dhcp net0
Configuring (net0 00:0d:b9:3f:9e:58)............... ok

And boot Debian installer:

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iPXE> autoboot
net0: 00:0d:b9:3f:9e:58 using i210-2 on PCI01:00.0 (open)
  [Link:up, TX:20 TXE:0 RX:8 RXE:2]
  [RXE: 2 x "The socket is not connected (http://ipxe.org/380f6001)"]
Configuring (net0 00:0d:b9:3f:9e:58)............... ok
net0: 192.168.0.194/255.255.255.0 gw 192.168.10.2
net0: fe80::20d:b9ff:fe3f:9e58/64
net1: fe80::20d:b9ff:fe3f:9e59/64 (inaccessible)
net2: fe80::20d:b9ff:fe3f:9e5a/64 (inaccessible)
Next server: 192.168.0.1
Filename: /srv/tftp/pxelinux.0
tftp://192.168.0.1//srv/tftp/pxelinux.0... ok
pxelinux.0 : 42988 bytes [PXE-NBP]
PXELINUX 6.03 PXE 20150819 Copyright (C) 1994-2014 H. Peter Anvin et al+---------------------------------------+
| ^GDebian GNU/Linux installer boot menu |
|---------------------------------------|
| Install                               |
| Advanced options                    > |
| Help                                  |
| Install with speech synthesis         |
|                                       |
|                                       |
|                                       |
|                                       |
|                                       |
|                                       |
+---------------------------------------+Press ENTER to boot or TAB to edit a menu entry     

Summary

It took me some time to put this information together an correctly run this server, so for future reference and for those confused with udhcpd and other tools configuration this post should be useful. Thanks for reading and as always please share if you think this post is valuable. If anything is not clear or I messed something please let me know in comments.

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