[nSLUG] Broken PCI bus?

Matt Yanchyshyn matthewy at cs.dal.ca
Wed Nov 7 14:33:33 AST 2001


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Hello everyone.. 

I've had this weird problem with my network for about a year now.. I've come 
up with many solutions, workarounds and fixes and I seem to have finally 
found the problem: it seems as though on the firewall machine, PCI-based 
cards (I've tried 3Com and Realtek NE2K-compat PCI)  cause the 
internet connection to "die" -- the (cable) modem lights stay fine.. but the 
connection ceases to work.  I know that it's not the card's fault because 
I've now tried 3 PCI cards (all different chips) and they all generate the 
same problems while ISA cards do not.  Also, these cards seem to work alright 
with the modem on other machines.  

The weird thing is, when I simply reset the modem, leaving the (possibly) 
broken computer untouched, the connection picks up again... for another 10 
minutes or whatever random value it chooses.

I have the internal network running through a seperate ISA card and it works 
fine.  Come to think of it, I've run the internal network through the PCI 
card(s) and that works fine too.  This seems to be a problem explicity 
between the modem and one machine's PCI network cards.

Have you guys every heard/seen something like this before? Am I correct in 
thinking that the PCI bus might be broken somehow, therefore causing the 
modem to "shutdown" and need to be reset? How would it do so? ...naively I'm 
imagining a short of some kind sending a bogus signal or electrical jolt up 
the network wire and into the modem.  Would simply picking up a new modem 
from Eastlink solve this? How can I diagnose the PCI bus if indeed there 
might be a problem there? Or can one bad card, no matter where it is on the 
network, cause the modem to cease sending/receiving packets?

Any comments/help would be greatly appreciated.  

Cheers...
Matt
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