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Presentation Presentation Presentation Transcript

  • PROJECT MULTICASTER Kenneth Brian Gilliam Computer Electronic Networking Dept. of Technology Eastern Kentucky University
    • This presentation will introduce a software solution to aid in deployment of software to network clients.
    • The software is optimized for Symantec Ghost but could be used with other network-aware DOS tools.
    • The software uses MS DOS and the Windows batch file language.
    • When deploying new network clients to a campus, any amount of time saved can be used for other tasks.
    • I want my software to be used by IT professionals to streamline their client deployments and save time and/or money.
    • Boot floppies are the common way to load the Symantec Ghost client, but they are slow and unreliable.
    • I have worked in the Technology Department at Laurel County Schools during the summer for the past 3 years and have assisted in deployment of many new network clients.
    • I wanted the process of loading the right NDIS2 (network) driver for each computer to be imaged to be faster and easier.
    • During my time at Laurel County, I disassembled many Symantec Ghost boot floppy disks in an effort to reverse-engineer them into a more beneficial form.
      • I learned exactly what DOS requires for networking.
    • I applied what I learned to create a tool that automates the process of loading network support for Symantec Ghost.
    • Previously, I created a version of Multicaster that supports multiple network interface cards via a menu system.
    • The new version that I developed for this project automatically loads network support for the detected NIC.
    • It was observed that floppy disks could take over a minute to completely load network support for a single client.
      • CDs and DVDs are faster yet fragile.
    • When a collection of boot floppies are used constantly, one in 25 disks will physically fail within an hour of use. This is especially true when switching the disks among multiple computers.
    • Multiple discs must be carried by the technician if several different clients with different NICs need software.
      • Multiple discs take up more storage space than a USB flash drive in a technician’s toolkit.
      • Misplacing or accidentally damaging a disc can cause loss of time.
    • If a single Ghost floppy disk is used on multiple computers, computer name conflicts will occur unless the disk’s configuration is edited before each use after the first one.
    • To solve this problem, Multicaster was tried on different media during its development.
      • Floppy disks: Placing multiple drivers onto a single disk was attempted, but floppies are slow and fragile.
      • CDs: They are faster and hold more data, but are generally more fragile than floppy disks.
    • The best media for Multicaster is USB flash.
      • It is faster, more durable, physically smaller, and holds more data than CDs or floppy disks.
    • A USB flash drive was prepared for boot using a format utility from HP and Multicaster was created.
      • DOS and all required support programs were loaded onto the drive.
        • PCIScan.exe is the program that allows Multicaster to automatically load the NIC.
      • Config.sys and Autoexec.bat were edited to run the necessary routines for network support.
    • PCIScan (by Bart Lagerweij of ) looks at the PCI bus and uses a database file called to identify the installed hardware based on vendor and device codes.
    • links the vendor and device codes with the proper driver name.
    • tells PCIScan to return the driver name for the first detected network interface card to a system variable that is used in Autoexec.bat
    • A DOS program called modifies a file inside of Multicaster based on a command in Autoexec.bat to temporarily change the computer’s network name to a random string of five numbers.
      • The text for the name depends on another program called
    • Multicaster was tested on as many different computers (with different NICs) as possible.
      • The required drivers were downloaded from the manufacturer if the ones already collected were incompatible.
      • PCIScan’s file was updated as needed.
      • Autoexec.bat and config.sys were edited as needed.
    • Functionality of Multicaster was verified by running Symantec Ghost after network support finished loading on each test computer.
      • Ghost was initialized into GhostCast mode so it would retrieve a DHCP assigned IP address and display it on screen.
    • Multicaster successfully boots from a USB flash drive and loads full network support automatically.
    • The same USB drive containing Multicaster can be used on multiple computers without name conflicts or any configuration changes.
    • The success rate is currently 80%, but downloading more drivers and editing will drive this higher.
    • Multicaster is practical for use in a live network environment because is saves time and simplifies the process of imaging multiple computers over a network using Symantec Ghost.
    • This tool could be used for many network-aware DOS applications.
    • Some possible extensions for this project include support of wireless networking, support of multiple NICs, DNS, and conversion from Batch file language to C.
    • A more advanced version of this software may one day be patented.
    • Any questions or suggestions may be sent to: [email_address]
    • Please place the text “MULTICASTER” in all caps (without the quotes) somewhere in the subject line of your message.