[nSLUG] Happy Meal Ethernet

Rory Bray rory at vudu.nb.ca
Fri Mar 14 21:45:41 AST 2003

What sort of other network equipment are you connecting to?

I know that on Solaris the hme cards/drivers don't get along well with some
switches, Cisco for example.   The problem in that case is related to auto
negotiation.  I regularly have to disable autoneg on Sun boxes for this
reason, it's not good enough to only set the speed and duplex.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Teed" <dteed at artistic.ca>
To: <nslug at nslug.ns.ca>
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2003 9:59 AM
Subject: [nSLUG] Happy Meal Ethernet

> Sounds strange, but that is the name of the ethernet device in my Sun box.
> Also known as HME.
> It is running Debian 3.0 sparc.
> I've been battling a little problem with reliability of this machine's
> ethernet connection.  I've seen some discussion of it in mailing lists
> accessible to google, and some people claimed the problem was fixed in
> kernel 2.4.19 .  I've tried that, I've tried .20, and I've tried
> compiling my own kernel of .20 from source.  I checked the source
> for sunhme.c and there are some comments in there about buggy hardware.
> This section of Linux source is a little famous for having several
> instances of rude comments embedded in the source.  It may have been
> a very frustrating project.
> I thought for a little while that ethtool, used to set the speed and
> duplex, was my solution.  Things were a little more reliable, but still
> not absolute.
> The typical trigger point for the ethernet to fail is a burst of data.
> For example, an nmap probe from another machine, or fast scrolling text
> output from a ssh session will cause the connection to close or fail.
> Often I cannot get it back by running ifdown/ifup and ethtool - I need
> to do a full reboot.  Tried restarting the networking init.d as well -
> no luck and I end up rebooting.
> Running test net from bootprom doesn't reveal hardware problem.
> Given that there are some other people with this problem, and the amount
> cussing in the driver source, I am thinking this is just a buggy
> hardware/driver combination.
> I thought I'd bounce this problem out here in case someone has encountered
> it before or can suggest a more reliable SBUS ethernet device to seek out.
> I should try the Sparc Linux mailing list too.
> I'm not running any essential service on this old box, but it is useful
> to me and annoying to reboot every second day.
> --Donald Teed
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