DNSMASQ as DHCP Proxy to Enable PXE on your network

In my office-network I like to have simple solutions instead of very complex ones. But still I like to have sophisticated functionality. One of this is PXE support to boot from the network. My Qnap nas has the option to act as a TFTP server to transfer the files to the computers.

Since I am using a Fritzbox as modem, firewall and router which does not have much options in the DHCP server to configure it will be a challenge to put the PXE options in it.

One option is to replace the firmware on the Fritzbox with a custom firmware and add dnsmasq for DNS and DHCP service. The down-side of this is that I break the default installation, maybe it will be unstable afterwards and maybe more things.

So, I looked around and found the there is a standard which is Proxy DHCP. Microsoft is using this technology in his WDS (Windows Deployment Server). So you don’t have to alter the DHCP server to enable it.

DNSMasq can also used to act as a Proxy DHCP. You have to use the following configuration for this:

pxe-service=X86PC, "Boot from network", pxelinux
#enable-tftp                                          # if you also like to enable DNSmasq as TFTP server
#tftp-root=/tftpboot/                      # if you also like to enable DNSmasq as TFTP server

I installed DNSMasq on my QNap NAS. But you can also run dnsmasq on any other Linux distribution, or even look for another Proxy DHCP service.