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Date:      Sat, 6 Dec 2003 09:28:39 +1030
From:      Greg 'groggy' Lehey <grog@FreeBSD.org>
To:        den <moreau@myrealbox.com>
Cc:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: Realtek 8139 unstable?
Message-ID:  <20031205225839.GU77051@wantadilla.lemis.com>
In-Reply-To: <3FD0576B.9020001@myrealbox.com>
References:  <000001c3bafc$38a92540$5201a8c0@intranet.absol.co.za> <20031205072109.GH77051@wantadilla.lemis.com> <3FD0576B.9020001@myrealbox.com>

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On Friday,  5 December 2003 at 13:01:15 +0300, den wrote:
> Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
>> On Friday,  5 December 2003 at  8:51:30 +0200, Chris Visser wrote:
>>>
>>> I'm running FreeBSD 5.1, on a box with a Digi Sync 570 card and a
>>> Realtek 8139 network card.
>>>
>>> The Machine runs fine, most of the time, but every now and again my
>>> network card stops working for no reason.  Rebooting the box fixes this
>>> for a while, but the it starts again.
>>
>> There have been reports of instabilities with the 8139.  I don't know
>> if it's really the hardware to blame or the driver, but the
>> documentation for the hardware is apparently so terrible that it's
>> difficult to say.
>>
>> I'm using an 8139 in a number of places, including (currently) my main
>> server machine.  The switch notes a large number of errors under load,
>> and I'm thinking of changing to a different card the next time I have
>> to reboot.
>
> I have had the problem with this card on FreeBSD 5.0.
> Problem was resolved by recompiling of kernel with new drivers from Realtec.
> It seems there is many modification of 8139 chipset that have a postfix
> ( "D", "C",...).
> When I choose driver that match my chipset all become ok.
> I don't know whether this driver was included in 5.1, so this is only
> assumption, and it doesn't help to you.

The FreeBSD driver has not been replaced, though it's possible that
some ideas from the Realtec-supplied driver have been incorporated.
And yes, there are lots of those cards out there with sometimes
undocumented differences.  This is probably one reason why people say
"it works for me".  Another is that you don't often see the errors.
If I didn't have my switch sitting directly under my main monitor, I
wouldn't see the green LED change to orange under load, and I wouldn't
know either.

Greg
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