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I've been using CrucibleWDS for the past year to image machines in my environment. My dhcpd.conf file lists the PXE boot information for clients attached to the particular network I use for imaging.

For efficiency's sake I'd like to merge that network and our main LAN onto the same sets of hardware rather than having physically separate switches and copper ethernet runs for each. Our NICs (Intel Pro/1000 PT) are 802.1q aware, so I could trunk VLANs coming off the switch and give a single workstation connections to multiple networks using a single run of ethernet cable.

As far as I can tell however that will preclude me from being able to use PXE boot/Crucible to image my systems since the card won't be aware of the VLAN tags prior to boot. Can anyone tell me for sure if this is the case? Can you PXE boot a machine when the network the imaging server is on is one of many tagged VLANs on a 802.1q VLAN trunk?

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For this to work you will need to set the VLAN tag in the NIC's BIOS, if there is any.

Another solution would be to run the imaging network untagged into the systems, making PXE boot possible if the card can't boot from a tagged network. Then configure the operating system driver to use a tag for the production network.

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  • Thanks, that's what I had suspected. It doesn't look like the Intel PXE BIOS has any settings for VLAN tags. Seems to be purely driver-based. – Adam Apr 5 '16 at 18:36
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As long as you are not on a trunk port, it is not an issue.

Firstly although I am not familiar with your specific pxe server, My unboot project is used over vlans all the time. If you use standard practice of only tagging on and only allowing tagging on trunk ports and never booting directly from trunk ports, it is not an issue. No card support is needed even if your server is on a 802.1q tagged trunk (I have run three different dhcp servers on one linux box all on separate vlans). Again the general advice of do not mix tagged and untagged packets on a single wire and do not boot from a wire with tagged packets will avoid most issues and headaches and mostly just work.

That said it is possible to boot from a trunk port in specific non recommended configurations if you are careful. (Again no card support required, but may be available.)

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