M1-based Mac mini Gets 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Lights Out Management

Originally published at: M1-based Mac mini Gets 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Lights Out Management - TidBITS

Looking for more network throughput with an M1-based Mac mini? Good news—Apple quietly started offering a 10 Gigabit Ethernet option for that model, along with support for Lights Out Management.

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Yes. I did notice, and I’ll admit, I’m suitably annoyed at myself for not waiting, as I’d fully intended on moving my M1 Mini into a “server” role at some stage to replace my 2018 Mini with its 10 GB Ethernet.

Oh, well. Perhaps next time, when the much-rumoured “pro” Mac Mini is announced, I’ll do the swap then. I only have a single 2.5 GB port on my switch, anyway, and that’s probably best used by another switch given that everything else I have is 1 GB at the moment. I’ll manage. :slight_smile:

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Interesting. Apple is not shipping a traditional lights-out management solution here.

Apple’s solution is to integrate the Mac with their Mobile Device Management (MDM) system, typically used for managing fleets of mobile devices.

More traditional LOM solutions (e.g. HP’s iLO and Dell’s IDRAC) are technologies that let you remotely log in to a microcontroller on the motherboard (similar to Apple’s SMC). This microcontroller and associated network connectivity is powered and running whenever the computer is plugged in, even if everything else is powered off.

Systems with LOM either provide a separate Ethernet port for this purpose or they piggyback on a pre-existing port (using a second MAC address). You can log in to LOM using all kinds of normal remote-access protocols, including Telnet, SSH, HTTP and others. I’ve even heard of some that support virtual consoles (a-la VNC) so you can use it in lieu of KVM equipment or local consoles (showing whatever the built-in video output would be showing and providing a virtual keyboard/mouse for input).

From the LOM console, you can power-cycle the rest of the computer, change NVRAM settings, access any pre-boot (e.g. BIOS or EFI) screens. Some even let you mount disk images (on network servers) as virtual optical disks, allowing you to remotely perform a clean OS installation.

This would be a really cool feature for Macs to have, especially in a data center environment. From what I understand about MDM, you can remotely wipe, re-install and configure the OS and applications, but it requires you to have an MDM server and you must pair the device with that server. You can’t just plunk it down on your network and automatically get a virtual console.