Product Documentation

Preparing network switches

Mar 08, 2017

Network switches provide more bandwidth to each target device and are very common in networks with large groups of users. The use of Provisioning Services in the network may require changes to switch configurations. When planning an implementation, give special consideration to managed switches.

Note: For Provisioning Services networks, you must specify all network switch ports to which target devices are connected as edge-ports.

Managed switches usually offer loop detection software. This software turns off a port until the switch is certain the new connection does not create a loop in the network. While important and useful, the delay this causes prevents your target devices from successfully performing a PXE boot.

This problem manifests itself in one of the following ways:
  • Target device (not Windows) login fails.
  • Target device appears to hang during the boot process.
  • Target device appears to hang during the shutdown process.

To avoid this problem, you must disable the loop detection function on the ports to which your target devices are connected. To do this, specify all ports to which target devices are connected as edge-ports. This has the same effect as enabling the fast link feature in older switches (disables loop detection).

Note: A network speed of at least 100MB is highly recommended. If using a 10MB hub, check whether your network card allows you to turn off auto-negotiation. This can resolve potential connection problems.

Switch Manufacturers

This feature is given different names by different switch manufacturers. For example:
  • Cisco; PortFast or STP Fast Link
  • Dell; Spanning Tree Fastlink
  • Foundry; Fast Port
  • 3COM; Fast Start