[K12OSN] TC wifi initializtion - concept

Burke Almquist burke at thealmquists.net
Sat Apr 5 16:39:34 UTC 2014

On Apr 5, 2014, at 6:01 AM, Barry R Cisna <brcisna at eazylivin.net> wrote:

> Situation,and hopefully a remedy:
> 1) At this point it seems that a big downfall of using tc's is no
> bootable wifi initialization & association possibility with any
> surrounding AP's in the boot process.
> 1a) Has anyone ever thought of incorporating an "option" by adding the
> code in the system bios to add a parameter for wifi association to "an"
> access point along with password if needed .
> This would be very much the same scenario as when we used to add an
> etherboot chip to the nics on tc's back in the day (before pxe became
> prevelant), only using the "native" bios chip rather than an add on
> chip.
> In other words to get away from having to actually have an add
> on,bootable media,onto any given TC system,,such as having to hang an
> usb stick or slap a cd in to achieve wifi initialization  and
> association to a given AP.
> It just seems very odd with the length of time,that wifi has been a
> 'must have' on any network device that a TC vendor has not even come up
> with an spec for just this?
> Thanks,
> Barry

I think there are two reasons that something like PXE/etherboot for wireless hasn’t happened.
1. It’s more complicated to do than ether boot/PXE because of the additional security/authentication requirements, and also less likely to be used since portablity means it might not have a boot server available to boot from. 
2. The nature of wireless connections means that the bandwidth is shared and performance can vary enormously, unlike a properly wired connection which is switched and almost always runs at the rated speed. Thus you are extremely limited in the number of thin clients you can run over such a connection.

What I HAVE seen people do that don’t want to build large wired networks, is to use wireless to ethernet dongles for a small number of individual clients, or to use a cheep wifi router as a sort of bridge for multiple clients that can just plug into it wherever they set up. Using a router solves some signal strength and packet collision issues, though still not a good as having gigabit ethernet obviously.

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