Well i think I have the same setup as BigJeffy and I setup a macbook air using 1. usb ethernet, 2. thunderbolt ethernet and 3. wifi to binded to AD for authentication.
I have to use a local account to get the mac booted, then after it is booted I can logoff and THEN use any of the 3 methods listed above and authenticate to our AD domain, it even creates a mobile account. But then on next restart it wont show me the AD authenticated accounts. Only the local accounts. But again after I logon with the Local account and logoff then and only then the AD authenticated accounts show up to be used.
So the similarity is how do we get the mac to reconize that there are available network resources such as usb eithernet or thunderbolt ethernet to use to authenticate.
The sad thing is we may have to ban all non-ethernet built in macs if we can not get this to play well. We have imacs and mac-minis that authenticate just fine on boot up. Just the external ethernet systems have the issues.
As much as I want to ban macs in my AD enviroment I know Im stuck with them logging on without AD credentials as a home toy and not a business laptop. I mean if we can just order the addon ethernet usb or thunderbolt kits then we would do that for our staff when they purchase these macbook airs.
To test the wifi network adapters that would require going off campus to a coffee shop as you suggested would not get me authenticated to my AD as I would need a VPN to go thru to get to my AD.
Using the Ethernet adapters of thunderbolt/usb wont work since there is no AD to authenticate against. Both adapters work fine once the OS loads the drivers to activate the devices. But the OS never attempts to use them prior to logon.
So if there is some way to get the wifi to work prior to logon or let me choose settings but the wifi is grayed out as a tease to say it is there but it is not configurable.
If there is some way to get the OS to load the Ethernet drivers prior to logon that would resolve the issue.
Hardware works after logon so they are not broken or malfunctioning.. just the OS doesn't interact with them during POST.or until after Logon.
So basically this is an Apple problem of not loading external perphierlals prior to logon when they are most needed in our case.