iPXE

Screenshot

iPXE is the leading open source network boot firmware. It provides a full PXE implementation enhanced with additional features such as:

  • boot from a web server via HTTP
  • boot from an iSCSI SAN
  • boot from a Fibre Channel SAN via FCoE
  • boot from an AoE SAN
  • boot from a wireless network
  • boot from a wide-area network
  • boot from an Infiniband network
  • control the boot process with a script

You can use iPXE to replace the existing PXE ROM on your network card, or you can chainload into iPXE to obtain the features of iPXE without the hassle of reflashing.

iPXE is free, open-source software licensed under the GNU GPL (with some portions under GPL-compatible licences), and is included in products from several network card manufacturers and OEMs.

Some PXE ROMs

Quick start

The easiest way to start experimenting with iPXE is to use the bootable ISO image. Burn the ISO image to a CD-ROM (or DVD-ROM) and boot from it. You should soon see a welcome banner such as:

  iPXE -- Open Source Network Boot Firmware -- http://ipxe.org
  Features: HTTP iSCSI DNS TFTP AoE FCoE TFTP COMBOOT ELF PXE PXEXT
  
  Press Ctrl-B for the iPXE command line...

A CD-ROM

Press Ctrl-B at this point, and you should reach the iPXE command line:

  iPXE>

You can list the network devices that iPXE has detected using the ifstat command:

  iPXE> ifstat
  net0: 52:54:00:12:34:56 using rtl8139 on PCI00:03.0 (closed)
    [Link:up, TX:0 TXE:0 RX:0 RXE:0]

and acquire an IP address using the dhcp command:

  iPXE> dhcp
  DHCP (net0 52:54:00:12:34:56).... ok

You can examine the IP configuration and other DHCP options:

  iPXE> route
  net0: 10.0.0.155/255.255.255.0 gw 10.0.0.1
  iPXE> show dns
  net0.dhcp/dns:ipv4 = 10.0.0.6

You can boot something over the network. Unlike a traditional PXE ROM, iPXE is able to boot over a wide area network such as the Internet. If the machine you are testing is connected to the Internet, you can boot the iPXE demonstration script:

  iPXE> chain http://boot.ipxe.org/demo/boot.php

iPXE demonstration image

 
start.txt · Last modified: 2014/03/31 17:10 by mcb30
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