[Techtalk] nat firewall and tftpboot

Maria McKinley maria at shadlen.org
Mon Mar 19 22:45:43 UTC 2007

I don't remember ever posting the solution, so thought I should. The 
problem was that I had a floppy drive that had destroyed my floppy, so 
the machines weren't using the etherboot floppy at all. However, some of 
the ethernet cards had built-in boot loaders, which were trying to boot 
off the network, but using pxe, which would not work with my setup. 
Since it was attempting to boot off the network, and I had no idea what 
pxe was, I thought it was booting from the floppy and screwing up 
somehow. Creating a new etherboot floppy, and not using the broken 
floppy drive fixed the problem.

I have had to deal with many problems in moving my computers recently 
(at work we moved our offices up a couple of floors), but the most 
frustrating thing is just how much moving stuff around and rebooting 
frequently is correlated with hardware failure. Many of the problems I 
was originally blaming on new ips (which got switched twice!), using nat 
for the first time, and a new firewall setup turned out to be hardware 
problems. Too bad I couldn't have moved the hardware, continue to use 
the old ips and old setup, and then switch over once everything was 
stable again... Also, when one piece of hardware fails, lots of others 
often do as well (the machine with the broken floppy drive had already 
had its hard drive, motherboard, and graphics card replaced).

thanks for all of your help,

Phil Savoie wrote:
> Hi Maria,
> From a short google:
> When using BOOTP / TFTP to download an image, you are limited to 640k real 
> mode memory. The Boot Agent needs 128K, so you will receive this error 
> message if the image is greater than 512K. Either reduce the size of the 
> image you are trying to download or use a PXE service instead.
> Hope this helps,
> Phil
> On Wednesday 07 February 2007 15:32, Maria McKinley wrote:
>> I am having a very hard time getting my diskless servers to boot off the
>> network. It use to work, but unfortunately, a bunch of things have
>> changed, and it was impossible to change things one at a time, so I
>> don't know where the problem lies. (All IPs changed, the firewall
>> changed, the DHCP server changed, and I'm now using NAT, where I wasn't
>> before.) I am looking for a good tutorial or how-to on setting up a
>> tftpboot server, which at least mentions doing this on a network where
>> there is one-to-one NAT. Anyone know of one? I've tried googling, but
>> mostly get stuff for macs and bsd. I'm using debian (although anything
>> based on linux would be helpful).
>> thanks,
>> maria
>> In case someone is an expert:
>> Using ethereal, I see that the client starts to receive the kernel
>> packages, but after a large chunk, the tftp server requests repeatedly
>> to know who has the client's ip, but the client does not appear to
>> answer, and then the client boot fails with the message "Too many packages"
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