Old MacBook Pro (mid-2011) running OS X Sierra was out of commission as the power supply had gone bad. I got a new power supply and fired it up. I was greeted with a warning from Chrome that it would no longer be updated unless I updated the OS. Trying to stream something, got an error about enabling DRM, which apparently needs the newer Chrome version.
According to Apple support pages this machine should be able to run High Sierra.
I downloaded the High Sierra installer and ran it. After about an hour, it exited and said the OS could not be installed. It said I could restart, or I could restart and hold the D key to run diagnostics. I did the diagnostic restart, ran all the tests, and it said it identified no issues.
When I restarted though, I quickly got a kernel panic, and then it just went in a reboot-panic-reboot loop. So I booted to internet recovery. It brings up the screen that says click to continue setting up High Sierra, but then a few seconds later I get a dialog box saying "The recovery server could not be contacted".
I verified that it was connected to the internet (it's on the same wi-fi I'm using to post this) and I also used the terminal to reset the system time...no difference. I've been hitting continue periodically for the last several hours and I always get the same message.
I ran the disk utility and it said there were no issues. I also used the network utility to verify that I can ping google, so it appears the network connection is working. I checked the Apple server status page and they seem to indicate everything is up and running.
So what else can I try? This machine does not appear to have a recovery partition on the disc. Probably a remnant of it being a dual apple/windows machine some years back.