6. Boot the 3Node

Table of Contents


We explain how to boot the 3Node with the Zero-OS bootstrap image with a USB key. We also include optional advanced booting methods using OPNSense and pfSense.

One of the great features of Zero-OS is that it can be completely run within the cache of your 3Node. Indeed, the booting device that contains your farm ID will connect to the ThreeFold Grid and download everything needed to run smoothly. There are many benefits in terms of security and protection of data that comes with this.

1. Booting the 3Node with Zero-OS

To boot Zero-OS, insert your Zero-OS bootstrap image USB key, power on your computer and choose the right booting sequence and parameters (BIOS or UEFI) in your BIOS/UEFI settings. Then, restart the 3Node. Zero-OS should boot automatically.

Note that you need an ethernet cable connected to your router or switch. You cannot farm on the ThreeFold Grid with Wifi.

The first time you boot a 3Node, it will be written: “This node is not registered (farmer : NameOfFarm). This is normal. The Grid will create a node ID and you will be able to see it on screen. This can take a couple of minutes.

If time passes (an hour and more) and the node does not get registered, in many cases, wiping the disks all over again and trying another reboot usually resolves this issue.

Once you have your node ID, you can also go on the ThreeFold Dashboard to see your 3Node and verify that your 3Node is online.

2. Check the 3Node Status Online

You can use the ThreeFold Node Finder to verify that your 3Node is online.

3. Receive the Farming Rewards

The farming reward will be sent once per month at the address you gave when you set up your farm. You can review this process here.

That's it. You've now completed the necessary steps to build a DIY 3Node and to connect it to the Grid.

Advanced Booting Methods (Optional)

PXE Booting with OPNsense

This documentation comes from the amazing Network Booting Guide by @Fnelson on the ThreeFold Forum.

Network booting ditches your standard boot USB with a local server. This TFTP server delivers your boot files to your 3 nodes. This can be useful in bigger home farms, but is all but mandatory in a data center setup.

Network boot setup is quite easy and is centered about configuring a TFTP server. There are essentially 2 options for this, a small dedicated server such as a raspberry pi, or piggybacking on your pfsense or opnsense router. I would recommend the latter as it eliminates another piece of equipment and is probably more reliable.

Setting Up Your Router to Allow Network Booting

These steps are for OPNsense, PFsense may differ. These set are required regardless of where you have your TFTP server.

Services>DHCPv4>LAN>Network Booting

Check “Enable Network Booting”

Enter the IP address of your TFTP server under “Set next-server IP”. This may be the router’s IP or whatever device you are booting from.

Enter “pxelinux.0” under Set default bios filename.

Ignore the TFTP Server settings.

TFTP server setup on a debian machine such as Ubuntu or Raspberry Pi

apt-get update

apt-get install tftpd-hpa

cd /srv/tftp/

wget http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/buster/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/netboot.tar.gz

wget http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/buster/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/pxelinux.0

wget https://bootstrap.grid.tf/krn/prod/ --no-check-certificate

mv ipxe-prod.lkrn

tar -xvzf netboot.tar.gz

rm version.info netboot.tar.gz

rm pxelinux.cfg/default

chmod 777 /srv/tftp/pxelinux.cfg (optional if next step fails)

echo 'default ipxe-prod.lkrn' >> pxelinux.cfg/default

TFTP Server on a OPNsense router

Note: When using PFsense instead of OPNsense, steps are probably similar, but the directory or other small things may differ.

The first step is to download the TFTP server plugin. Go to system>firmware>Status and check for updates, follow prompts to install. Then click the Plugins tab and search for tftp, install os-tftp. Once that is installed go to Services>TFTP (you may need to refresh page). Check the Enable box and input your router ip (normally Click save.

Turn on ssh for your router. In OPNsense it is System>Settings>Administration. Then check the Enable, root login, and password login. Hop over to Putty and connect to your router, normally Login as root and input your password. Hit 8 to enter the shell.

In OPNsense the tftp directory is /usr/local/tftp

cd /usr/local

mkdir tftp

cd ./tftp

fetch http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/buster/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/netboot.tar.gz

fetch http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/buster/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/pxelinux.0

fetch https://bootstrap.grid.tf/krn/prod/

mv ipxe-prod.lkrn

tar -xvzf netboot.tar.gz

rm version.info netboot.tar.gz

rm pxelinux.cfg/default

echo 'default ipxe-prod.lkrn' >> pxelinux.cfg/default

You can get out of shell by entering exit or just closing the window.

3Node Setup

Set the server to BIOS boot and put PXE or network boot as the first choice. At least on Dell machines, make sure you have the network cable in plug 1 or it won’t boot.

PXE Booting with pfSense

This documentation comes from the amazing Network Booting Guide by @TheCaptain on the ThreeFold Forum.

These are the steps required to enable PXE booting on pfSense. This guide assumes you’ll be using the router as your PXE server; pfSense allows boot file uploads directly from its web GUI.

  • Log into your pfSense instance
    • Go to System>Package Manager
      • Search and add ‘tftpd’ package under ‘Available Packages’ tab
  • Go to Services>TFTP Server
    • Under ‘Settings’ tab check enable and enter the router IP in TFTP Server Bind IP field
  • Switch to ‘Files’ tab under Services>TFTP Server and upload your ‘ipxe-prod.efi’ file acquired from https://v3.bootstrap.grid.tf/ (second option labeled ‘EFI Kernel’)
  • Go to Services>DHCP Server
    • Under ‘Other Options’ section click Display Advance next to ‘TFTP’ and enter router IP
    • Click Display Advance next to ‘Network Booting’
    • Check enable, enter router IP in Next Server field
    • Enter ipxe-prod.efi in Default BIOS file name field

That's it! You’ll want to ensure your clients are configured with boot priority set as IPv4 in first spot. You might need to disable secure boot and enable legacy boot within BIOS.

Booting Issues

Multiple nodes can run with the same node ID

This is a known issue and will be resolved once the TPM effort gets finalized.

Last change: 2024-03-14