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Old 10-03-2006, 02:13 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: /dev/null
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3
Posts: 61

Rep: Reputation: 15
why is my 8169 gigabit card operating too slow ?

Hello all,

I need a little help with a gigabit network adapter, the E-Tech GBP102 with an RTL8169 chip on it. I want to install this on Knoppix 3.3 with the 2.4.22-xfs kernel, running on a pentium III.
I just bought a gigabit switch and a gigabit card to speed up things a little at home.
Unfortunately things are not going so fast. I have browsed the forum for a while but i could not find anything similar to my problem.

I got a linux driver from the manufacturer E-tech, r8169.c, edited the Makefile to set the right path and kernel version. I ran "Make", got my r8169.o file and placed this inside /lib/modules/2.4.22-xfs/kernel/drivers/net.

when i ran the following command :

insmod r8169.o media = 0x10
i got an error warning me about tainting the kernel. I looked this up at and all i could understand was that is has to do with some sort of license issue. I could be wrong there.

I then tried :

insmod -f r8169.o media = 0x10
to simply force the module in the kernel and to tell it it has to be gigabit.
This seemed to work since i didn't get any errors.

I then did an ifconfig up, followed by a ' pump ' and the adapter got an ip-adress.
From my other PC i can see the shared folders on the linux machine. I can drag files to it and download from the linux machine. So i got communication working.
My other PC runs XP and it shows that i have got a 1 Gbps connection.

On the linux machine i ran dmesg | tail which gave me this :

root@Bigmofo1:/lib/modules/2.4.22-xfs/kernel/drivers/net# dmesg|tail
blk: queue c0334960, I/O limit 4095Mb (mask 0xffffffff)
blk: queue c0334aa8, I/O limit 4095Mb (mask 0xffffffff)
parport0: PC-style at 0x378 (0x778) [PCSPP,TRISTATE,EPP]
parport0: irq 7 detected
lp0: using parport0 (polling).
lp0: console ready
eth0: Identified chip type is 'RTL8169s/8110s'.
eth0: RTL8169s/8110s Gigabit Ethernet driver 1.6 <2003-08-25> at 0xd49b6000, 00:02:44:b0:d6:84, IRQ 11
eth0: Force-mode Enabled. 
eth0: 1000Mbps Full-duplex operation.
So Linux tells me i have a 1 Gbps connection as well. (Or it tells me because i forced the adapter in 0x10 mode, which stands for full duplex Gbit).
I am not able to run the mii-tool. Giving the command throws the error :

SIOCGMIIPHY on 'eth0' failed: Operation not supported
no MII interfaces found
After a reboot i do not get an ip-adress, and the error :
error fetching interface information. Device not found.
After applying some gentle force again i get it running.

edit :
After an hour or two of operation the Linux PC dissappears from the network and does no longer respond to any keystroke (local).
I have to brutally press the reboot button to get it working again. Maybe forcing the kernel to swallow the driver was not such a good idea. If somebody please can give me some help, i would really appreciate it. It's is turning into a small home-network-disaster.

And now (finally) my question :

Why does it still take me 4 minutes to drag a 700 MB file from one to the other computer ? It looks like it is still running on 100 mbit.
What do i have to do to get it working the way it should ?
Please help me.

Last edited by Grafbak; 10-04-2006 at 12:32 PM.
Old 10-04-2006, 03:47 PM   #2
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: New Jersey, USA
Distribution: SuSE
Posts: 492

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As to to actual network throughput issue, is ALL of your hardware (both cards, switches, cables, etc.) rated at 1000 Mbps?

What about other traffic on the network?
Old 10-04-2006, 04:29 PM   #3
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As jantman notes, the entire network infrastructure must be gigabit, not just one card. For instance, I use the gigabit adapters on my motherboards if they are there. But, my router, which is a linux firewall/dns server/nat/router box uses 100 base T cards. I use the gigabit ports built into the mobo on the clients, but that's just because it's easy. It isn't to get gigabit speed. Gigabit is 125 MB / s in theory, but it is difficult to sustain those speeds. 100 base T works for everything you could imagine. That's 100 Mb / s or 12.5 MB / s. It is even difficult to sustain that speed, which is 1/10 gigabit. Another thing is: Gigabit adapters will operate in gigabit or 100 base T, and most will even operate at 10 base T. You need to insure the entire network infrastructure is all running at gigabit, and then you might get sustained transfer rates of 50 MB / s. You need to use the proper cabling, also. If there are too many errors in the transmission, both gigabit adapters drop down to 100 base T because, although it is slower than gigabit, there won't be continuous errors, which then need to retransmitted. If you buy modern ethernet cabling, and the socket on the network card has metal shielding around it, you should not have a problem with cabling.
Old 10-05-2006, 01:07 AM   #4
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: /dev/null
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3
Posts: 61

Original Poster
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Thank you for your reply's.

I have two linux fileservers and two windows boxes, and they all have the same Gigabit card inside.
I am using 4 network cards of the same manufacturer and they are the same type.
I bought everything at once at one store. All products (cards and GB-switch) are from manufaturer Etech.

Card : GBP102 with rtl-8169
switch : SG0802

Between two windows boxes i have Gigabit comunication. I transferred 15 GB in 7 minutes from one XP box to the other, which is more than acceptable to me. I did this test to see if my network really was faster and indeed it was.

But now the linux box :

Once i got it working and got an ip adress i was able to drag files to it and download from it.
But the speed was no more than 100 mbit.

So i am doing something wrong.
But if you look at the diagnostics i pulled from linux than i can not see anything weird.
Everything seems to be in order.

Maybe my real question should be :

How do you install a network driver for linux into an opensource-GPL-Kernel while the driver is not opensource ?
I think i did it right but i'm not that knowledgeable.


adapter, network

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