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Background: I've been doing research into LTSP, to see if it would be a viable option for my school. However, (almost) everything I've found say that wireless LTSP isn't possible. This is a problem since my school almost exclusively uses Apple laptops.

Question: Having every classroom wire its laptops into the network is unrealistic, so is there a way to have clients wirelessly boot into the LTSP server?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted
+50

LTSP doesn't really care about the network as long as it can PXE boot. Unfortunately the idea of netbooting off of a wireless network is just something that isn't generically supported across multiple vendors, this seems to suggest that certain hardware supports it:

I've set up LTSP on a normal ethernet network, and even those "ethernet over power" 200mbit devices, which happen to support PXE just fine. The superuser question mentions some support for this on macs, so maybe a good place to start investigating is if LTSP supports or can support this:

Apple has built drivers for those Wi-Fi chipsets, as well as a UI for joining a Wi-Fi network, into the EFI bootROM on those models. As far as I know this is an Apple proprietary scheme, not PXE-based.

One thing you might want to investigate is scripting logging into a remote LTSP server from the local Macs, they wouldn't be true "thin clients" would it would get you up and running.

Still, having deployed LTSP at a school, if you're doing this at scale (I did about 200 clients) you'll want/need a very fast gigabit network anyway; if you have rooms worth of laptops that you were hoping could all hop on the WiFi and get a full remote desktop with great performance, then that's really not going to happen anyway.

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Hmm, I was afraid the scaling might make it difficult/impossible. I might still see about experimenting with it though, if only for an independent study. Thanks for the answer! –  DaimyoKirby Dec 10 '12 at 3:16
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I found out that you can take a wifi router and use the existing dhcp on your wired network. Then use virtualbox and bridge to your wifi adapter. Then boot PXE on vbox.

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The main problem here is joining a wireless network for the DHCP offer to come from. With a wired network, its easy because you're physically connected to a network over a standardised connection - Wired Ethernet over RJ45 (can't remember the "correct" term, if anyone wants to correct please do).

With Wi-Fi you have to specify what network to connect to, along with any passwords. What you could want is iPXE - open source boot firmware which can network boot over both wired and wireless networks. You would have to configure iPXE for your network appropriately and install it to the laptops (this can be done en masse by network booting from LAN or USB on a one off occasion).

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I chose Jorge's answer because it seemed a bit more thorough in answer my questions, but this is helpful too. I'm going to have to keep it in mind for later. Thanks for answering! –  DaimyoKirby Dec 10 '12 at 3:18
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Look this: Sarath Lakshman - Wireless LTSP

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