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Restoring an image over a wireless network (Read 6399 times)
Brian
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Restoring an image over a wireless network
Nov 22nd, 2008 at 3:40am
 
This is a hobby type question. Do you know of any ways to restore an image to a computer via a wireless network? No cables allowed. The image has to travel over a wireless network from a remote computer. Depending on the size of the image, this can be impractical due to slow wireless speeds but some people have expressed interest and would be prepared for a long duration restore.

TeraByte's Image for Linux can do this and a wireless restore works on my laptop. Any other apps?
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #1 - Nov 22nd, 2008 at 5:46pm
 
Brian wrote on Nov 22nd, 2008 at 3:40am:
Any other apps?

This, rather obviously, has nothing to do with the applications.

Rather, it's entirely a question of whether the preOS you are using supports wireless, which is itself largely only a problem because of the difficulties in dealing with authentication (the necessary UI componentry to supply credentials is the main reason it's hard to get wireless networks running under WinPE).

So in essence, your question should have been phrased as "what other imaging software runs under Linux"? Both Acronis and Ghost have Linux versions (Linux having been the standard PreOS for Acronis for many years, and an option for Ghost from GSS2.5 onwards). It's really then a question of whether the binaries in question happen to run on whatever distro you have built for yourself with the appropriate wireless drivers.
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #2 - Nov 22nd, 2008 at 6:00pm
 
Nigel,

My Linux knowledge is minimal. I haven't heard of anyone doing Wireless restores in the Acronis TI forum. Are you confirming that Ghost can do this in a Linux environment?
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #3 - Nov 22nd, 2008 at 11:51pm
 
Brian wrote on Nov 22nd, 2008 at 6:00pm:
Are you confirming that Ghost can do this in a Linux environment?

What on earth is there to confirm? Either you have a base OS which has drivers that do support TCP/IP over 802.11, in which case it's a done deal for any tool that can TCP/IP (or for that matter can use it indirectly, e.g. via SMB networking over TCP/IP to access an image file), or you can't. It has virtually nothing whatsoever to do with the tools themselves.

Of course, it's a silly thing to do with 802.11g if there's wired gigabit anywhere within at least 10 minutes walk, since it'll give you more than 20 times the throughput. Or, for that matter, if you have a USB2 or firewire device anywhere nearby; given the size of any realistic disk image you're generally better off copying it a USB hard disk and walking that to where you're doing the restore.
 
 
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #4 - Nov 24th, 2008 at 8:40am
 
We had similar problems, years ago, trying to backup files from one computer to another using the old RS232 transfer cables.  It was just too slow for whole drive transfers.

Direct transfer, hard drive to hard drive was always the best way to go.
All my experience with transferring any amount of files over a network has been all bad.  It's way too time consuming and ties up two computers for an excessive amount of time.

Nigel, I was told that for Gigabit (802.11N) data transfer you need a CAT6 cable.  Is that true?

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Nigel Bree
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #5 - Nov 24th, 2008 at 2:36pm
 
TheShadow wrote on Nov 24th, 2008 at 8:40am:
Nigel, I was told that for Gigabit (802.11N) data transfer you need a CAT6 cable.Is that true?

Nope, you've been told wrong. Incidentally, the spec for Gigabit Ethernet is 802.3z with 802.3ab dealing with gigabit over wired copper (.11 is the suffix for the wireless standards).

CAT5 is the minimum, and works fine on short runs.  CAT5e is preferable and CAT6 is better, but remember that the standards are set up for cable runs of the maximum segment length (100m or so). At that kind of length at GigE speeds, CAT5 definitely will have a higher level of packet resends due to frame errors, although in light use it's debatable whether it'd be something noticeable. But for 3-4 meter runs in homes or from a desktop switch to a PC, it's neither here nor there and CAT5 works perfectly well.

There are other cable systems for 1GigE as well; 1000Base-SX (multi-mode) and -LX (single-mode) are the main optical fiber standards, while -CX forms are short-run shielded copper cables; these are the primary cable systems used in 10GigE (802.ae, etc). There is a relatively new spec (802.3an) for 10GigE over unshielded twisted pair, so it is possible to install cable which can support the transition from 802.3ab, but it's not cheap and it's not particularly fast compared to the primary cable systems.
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #6 - Nov 24th, 2008 at 2:36pm
 
I've done one WinXP restore over a wireless network. That's enough for me. But my mate loves the procedure. His WinXP image does restore in less than an hour over 802.11g and he plans to upgrade to 802.11n in the near future.

I asked in the Acronis True Image forum and you can't do a wireless restore using the Acronis TI boot CD as there is no way to install wireless card drivers. Some people have done wireless restores from VistaPE with a True Image plugin. But they had to turn encryption off in the router. Undoubtedly it was a once only procedure.
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #7 - Nov 24th, 2008 at 2:59pm
 
Brian wrote on Nov 24th, 2008 at 2:36pm:
can't do a wireless restore using the Acronis TI boot CD as there is no way to install wireless card drivers

That's hardly a big deal. We don't let you inject drivers into the Thinstation distro we provide with GSS2.5 either, because the entire point of it is to supply a starting point that *actually works* for most people. Linux drivers have the problem that the kernel interfaces in Linux are so unstable (especially compared to the genuine UNIXes, which in the early 90's adopted stable kernel ABIs); it's just not workable to let folks try and post-customize them in the same way that you can for WinPE environments.

This means that to provide an RE with wireless drivers means a large amount of extra cost (having to QA all this third-party junk costs bucketloads of money) and taking up more space in the RE, when it's not of any use to the vast bulk of the customer base and the 0.0001% who would find it useful can easily take care of it for themselves.

But TI and Ghost and just about every other major piece of disk imaging software (e.g. RapidDeploy) comes with a Linux build that you can just drop on whatever distro you can get hold of, if you can get one that does what you want. Any RE that works for one, you can basically use for any of them.
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #8 - Nov 24th, 2008 at 3:32pm
 
Quote:
Any RE that works for one, you can basically use for any of them.  

Does that apply to a boot CD? My Linux knowledge is showing.
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #9 - Nov 24th, 2008 at 7:46pm
 
Brian wrote on Nov 24th, 2008 at 3:32pm:
Does that apply to a boot CD?

Yes, with the minor caveat that you should aim to start with a LiveCD that in addition to supporting your Wireless drivers, is as broadly similar as possible to the Linux distro the particular tool you want to use was originally built for.

Linux systems vary far more amongst themselves than Windows systems do, by the nature of the platform (especially since it's connected to Stallman's "free software" movement). Having stable binary platforms for applications is something that benefits paid software particularly - it's also very good for users, but because it's something that makes it possible for non-free software to exist some distributions deliberately eschew it. RHEL or Ubuntu-type distributions, in contrast, have in practice tried for reasonable binary compatibility; these two distributions in particular aim to provide a useful platform for users, including commercial users who buy support contracts and want to use non-free software.
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #10 - Nov 24th, 2008 at 8:44pm
 
Nigel,

Thanks for sorting out my cockeyed thinking on this wireless restore issue. As a side benefit I've since done a few wireless restores from a WinXP dual boot. Restoring an image to the non booted OS. As you mentioned, any software could have been used.

I'm still unclear on using Linux for a wireless restore. Did you initially mean this to be from an installed Linux? As in a dual boot? Or did you mean all along that Linux would be on a LiveCD?

 
 
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #11 - Nov 24th, 2008 at 9:17pm
 
Brian wrote on Nov 24th, 2008 at 8:44pm:
Or did you mean all along that Linux would be on a LiveCD?

I did (that being what the term "preOS" in reply #2 generally implies - some form of non-installed operating system for recovery or initial deployment), but historically for UNIX systems, there hasn't really ever been much of a difference between the OS running an installer on removable media and the full deal (back when I was working on Coherent in the early 90's, for example, the full OS was floppy-bootable and the installer was just a UNIX shell script to run the standard commands based on prompts, and it was much the same for all the other vendors).

There's nothing about WinPE that prevents it doing the same, it's merely that the vendors of wireless equipment (whether chipset vendor or final system manufacturer) just don't make their Windows drivers configurable through INF edits or with command-line tools instead of their own funky GUI utilities that need a full OS install before they'll do anything. It's just a cultural thing (despite the fact that NT was built on Mach, and so is in many respects as much a UNIX as Linux is).
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Restoring an image over a wireless network
Reply #12 - Nov 25th, 2008 at 1:23pm
 
Crystal clear now.
 
 
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