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I'm a software guy with little networking experience. I need to deploy a Windows 7 Professional appliance PC (on which I'll pre-install my server application) at my customer's office - probably in their server room.

The problem is that the appliance PC doesn't come with monitor. I do not think that it is professional for me to lug along a monitor, and the client has no obligations to let me use their KVM. Note that the appliance has only 1 Ethernet port and 1 WLAN port.

I reckon that I can use a cross cable to connect my laptop to the appliance and then configure the IP address, subnet mask and gateway IP using RDP. But after configuring the network settings, I'll not be able to RDP into the appliance from my laptop. Am I correct?

What is the best way for me configure the PC successfully on my client's network without embarrassing myself? Thank you.

@afrazier:

Are those the only ports on the appliance, or does it have other (standard PC) ports as well, like USB/Video/etc.?

You can find the specifications here - http://www.fit-PC.com/web/fit-pc2/fit-pc2-specifications/

My instinct says to just let it use DHCP, if the customer has a DHCP server running on their LAN.

I can't use DHCP because the appliance acts as a server and needs a fixed IP address.

You can always use a crossover to sniff out the Mac address if its not printed or easily visible anywhere else. That's going to be the easiest, most portable solution.

Sorry, I don't get you. Do you mean I can RDP to Mac address instead of IP address? Does Mac address work regardless of network setting?

How do you intend to RDP in in the first place? Once network information is set, you just have to modify your laptop's network configuration to something compatible that will let you communicate with the laptop again.

I will configure networking setting in my office, assign an IP address like 192.168.0.10, default subnet mask. At the customer site, I will configure my laptop to 192.168.0.11, default subnet mask and then hook up the 2 using cross cable - I assume this is enough for me to RDP into 192.168.0.11 from my laptop?

Also, with Gigabit Ethernet, Auto-MDIX is part of the specification. Crossover cables aren't required if both devices have GigE NICs.

Meaning I can use regular LAN cable? My laptop is using Broadcom NetLink Gigabit Ethernet.

Erm, I think it'd be unprofessional for you to show up poorly equipped for an appliance installation. If you need a monitor, have one handy if the client can't or won't provide you with one. Alternatively, you can use devices like the ioGear GCS661U -- it's a USB-based KVM for using one PC to control another. You could use your laptop to control the appliance with this via USB. There may other, better devices. I just happen to have one of these that I got for free from a vendor as a promo. It's still enclosed in its clamshell packaging since I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. But it looks like it could be exactly the kind of thing you could use if the appliance has a USB port.

Sounds good, I'll try that. Thanks. :)

Site Report: Firstly, the IP configuration disappeared after I plugged into the client's network! Luckily, I still had the GCS661U, but which i spent 20 mins to get it to work - the client either shows "inactive" or "protocol error". Without a screen, I had to hard reset the appliance 3 times before the KVM came up successfully! After 15 mins, my customer asked if I had a cross cable! I wasn't able to get the cross cable network to work as shown in this Question - Need help to connect to my client's server from my laptop using a cross cable Luckily, 5 mins later, the KVM came up!

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You can't RDP into the machine if the network settings are not setup in the first place. How was Win7 Pro installed into the machine in the first place? –  surfasb Jan 19 '12 at 18:47
    
@surfasb - Win7 Pro is preinstalled by the manufacturer. I can hook up the machine to a monitor and keyboard at my office to configure networking. –  Joshua Lim Jan 20 '12 at 3:28
    
Your specified IP configuration will work. Once on-site, just use the IP configuration given to you by your client for the device and ask to either use a system on the same LAN or ask to use your laptop on their LAN temporarily to connect to the new IP. –  afrazier Jan 31 '12 at 16:51

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Edit: It occurs to me that maybe you're making this a lot harder than it needs to be. :-)

What is the best way for me configure the PC successfully on my client's network without embarrassing myself?

Ask your client for their network configuration (IP/Subnet/Gateway/DNS/etc) in advance and pre-configure the system before delivery. Then it should be plug and go on-site.


Note that the appliance has only 1 Ethernet port and 1 WLAN port.

Are those the only ports on the appliance, or does it have other (standard PC) ports as well, like USB/Video/etc.?

My instinct says to just let it use DHCP, if the customer has a DHCP server running on their LAN. You can always use a crossover to sniff out the MAC address if its not printed or easily visible anywhere else. That's going to be the easiest, most portable solution.

But after configuring the network settings, I'll not be able to RDP into the appliance from my laptop. Am I correct?

How do you intend to RDP in in the first place? Once network information is set, you just have to modify your laptop's network configuration to something compatible that will let you communicate with the laptop again.

Also, with Gigabit Ethernet, Auto-MDIX is part of the specification. Crossover cables aren't required if both devices have GigE NICs.

I do not think that it is professional for me to lug along a monitor

Erm, I think it'd be unprofessional for you to show up poorly equipped for an appliance installation. If you need a monitor, have one handy if the client can't or won't provide you with one.

Alternatively, you can use devices like the ioGear GCS661U -- it's a USB-based KVM for using one PC to control another. You could use your laptop to control the appliance with this via USB. There may other, better devices. I just happen to have one of these that I got for free from a vendor as a promo. It's still enclosed in its clamshell packaging since I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. But it looks like it could be exactly the kind of thing you could use if the appliance has a USB port.

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By default, the first user that is created already has RDP access, so once the network configuration is in place, he should be ok. –  surfasb Jan 19 '12 at 18:46
    
@afrazier - Thanks, please find my reply appended to the original description. :) –  Joshua Lim Jan 20 '12 at 7:04
    
@afrazier - I tried GCS661U, it works great, except one problem, it can only work after you login to Windows. Any thoughts on how to overcome this problem? –  Joshua Lim Jan 31 '12 at 8:51
    
Maybe that device isn't the best solution to your problem then. It's a downer that it only works post-login. –  afrazier Jan 31 '12 at 16:45
    
@afrazier - for the time being, i'm attaching a usb keyboard and typing the password without the screen! –  Joshua Lim Feb 1 '12 at 17:49

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