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  1. 1. PROJECT MULTICASTER Kenneth Brian Gilliam Computer Electronic Networking Dept. of Technology Eastern Kentucky University
  2. 2. OUTLINE <ul><li>This presentation will introduce a software solution to aid in deployment of software to network clients. </li></ul><ul><li>The software is optimized for Symantec Ghost but could be used with other network-aware DOS tools. </li></ul><ul><li>The software uses MS DOS and the Windows batch file language. </li></ul>
  3. 3. MOTIVATION <ul><li>When deploying new network clients to a campus, any amount of time saved can be used for other tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>I want my software to be used by IT professionals to streamline their client deployments and save time and/or money. </li></ul><ul><li>Boot floppies are the common way to load the Symantec Ghost client, but they are slow and unreliable. </li></ul>
  4. 4. MOTIVATION <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted the process of loading the right NDIS2 (network) driver for each computer to be imaged to be faster and easier. </li></ul>
  5. 5. INTRODUCTION <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I learned exactly what DOS requires for networking. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I applied what I learned to create a tool that automates the process of loading network support for Symantec Ghost. </li></ul>
  6. 6. INTRODUCTION <ul><li>Previously, I created a version of Multicaster that supports multiple network interface cards via a menu system. </li></ul><ul><li>The new version that I developed for this project automatically loads network support for the detected NIC. </li></ul>
  7. 7. PROBLEM STATEMENT <ul><li>It was observed that floppy disks could take over a minute to completely load network support for a single client. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CDs and DVDs are faster yet fragile. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  8. 8. PROBLEM STATEMENT <ul><li>Multiple discs must be carried by the technician if several different clients with different NICs need software. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple discs take up more storage space than a USB flash drive in a technician’s toolkit. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Misplacing or accidentally damaging a disc can cause loss of time. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. PROBLEM STATEMENT <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  10. 10. PROPOSED SOLUTION <ul><li>To solve this problem, Multicaster was tried on different media during its development. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Floppy disks: Placing multiple drivers onto a single disk was attempted, but floppies are slow and fragile. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CDs: They are faster and hold more data, but are generally more fragile than floppy disks. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The best media for Multicaster is USB flash. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is faster, more durable, physically smaller, and holds more data than CDs or floppy disks. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. IMPLEMENTATION <ul><li>A USB flash drive was prepared for boot using a format utility from HP and Multicaster was created. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DOS and all required support programs were loaded onto the drive. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PCIScan.exe is the program that allows Multicaster to automatically load the NIC. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Config.sys and Autoexec.bat were edited to run the necessary routines for network support. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. IMPLEMENTATION <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li> links the vendor and device codes with the proper driver name. </li></ul><ul><li> tells PCIScan to return the driver name for the first detected network interface card to a system variable that is used in Autoexec.bat </li></ul>
  13. 13. IMPLEMENTATION <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The text for the name depends on another program called </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. IMPLEMENTATION <ul><li>Multicaster was tested on as many different computers (with different NICs) as possible. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The required drivers were downloaded from the manufacturer if the ones already collected were incompatible. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PCIScan’s file was updated as needed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Autoexec.bat and config.sys were edited as needed. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. IMPLEMENTATION <ul><li>Functionality of Multicaster was verified by running Symantec Ghost after network support finished loading on each test computer. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ghost was initialized into GhostCast mode so it would retrieve a DHCP assigned IP address and display it on screen. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. RESULTS <ul><li>Multicaster successfully boots from a USB flash drive and loads full network support automatically. </li></ul><ul><li>The same USB drive containing Multicaster can be used on multiple computers without name conflicts or any configuration changes. </li></ul><ul><li>The success rate is currently 80%, but downloading more drivers and editing will drive this higher. </li></ul>
  17. 17. CONCLUSIONS <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>This tool could be used for many network-aware DOS applications. </li></ul>
  18. 18. FUTURE WORK <ul><li>Some possible extensions for this project include support of wireless networking, support of multiple NICs, DNS, and conversion from Batch file language to C. </li></ul><ul><li>A more advanced version of this software may one day be patented. </li></ul>
  19. 19. CONTACT ME <ul><li>Any questions or suggestions may be sent to: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Please place the text “MULTICASTER” in all caps (without the quotes) somewhere in the subject line of your message. </li></ul>