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> Realtek 8168 problem and fix
Crystal Cowboy
 Posted: Mar 8 2012, 10:43 PM
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Scientific Linux 6.1 2.6.32-220.4.1.el6.x86_64

Ethernet ports are Realtek RTL8168D/8111D

The driver which was being used was r8169, and it generated many dropped packets, many error messages as below, and the occasional complete freeze-up.
kernel: r8169 0000:06:00.0: eth0: link up

I found out there is a better driver for this hardware, r8168, which is installed by the elrepo package kmod-r8168. r8168 is not a standard part of SL6.1.

There is also a package kmod-r8169 which updates the r8169 driver so that it does not recognize the 8168 hardware. I installed this too, in order to let the r8168 take over.

Some brief testing showed a significant reduction in error messages.
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joutlan
 Posted: Mar 9 2012, 02:58 AM
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Thanks for the info, Cowboy....hardware drivers are *huge*, i.e. better ones......hope this helps someone else. biggrin.gif


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Crystal Cowboy
 Posted: Oct 17 2012, 10:12 PM
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As of SL6.3 with current updates (2.6.32-279.9.1.el6.x86_64), the r8169 ethernet driver still is unstable on RTL8168E-VL/8111E-VL hardware. Needed to install both kmod-r8169 and kmod-8168 to get it going.

R8168 still does not appear as a separate driver, unless you do the kmod.
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toracat
 Posted: Oct 18 2012, 05:50 PM
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I am not sure why you need both kmod-r8169 and kmod-8168. What is the vendor:device ID pairing of your NIC?

lspci -nn | grep -i net

You can use the IDs to search for appropriate driver(s) on ELRepo's DeviceID page.


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Crystal Cowboy
 Posted: Oct 18 2012, 08:21 PM
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As explained in the opening post, kmod-r8169 provided a newer version of the r8169 driver which ignores the RTL8168 hardware, and kmod-r8168 supplied a more specific driver for it. Installing kmod-r8168 alone did not work, because the 8169 driver grappbed it first.

That worked fine on my older machines (RTL8168D/8111D) at the time I made the posting, and those machines are still doing just fine with both kernel mods in place. They were initially built with SL6.1 I think, and then I installed the mods after instability was noted.

---

But yesterday I installed a brand new workstation with Z77 chipset and RTL8168E-VL/8111E-VL network hardware. I put SL6.3 on it, and loaded the latest updates. Now it seems more stable WITHOUT kmod-r8169 and kmod-r8168, although I will keep an eye on it for a few days to make sure it's not a hardware problem i am seeing.

===========
Device pairings:

The older machines:
06:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller [10ec:8168] (rev 03)
07:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller [10ec:8168] (rev 03)


On the new machine:
66:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller [10ec:8168] (rev 06)
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Crystal Cowboy
 Posted: Oct 22 2012, 07:14 PM
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I still haven't solved this yet for the new hardware.
I have the latest updates as of today (2.6.32-279.11.1.el6.x86_64)
I have seen the network shut down with the default r8169 driver version=2.3LK-NAPI
and with the kmod-r8168 driver version=8.032.00-NAPI
kmod-r8168-8.032.00-1.el6.elrepo.x86_64

There is no kernel dump message, its just like the network falls asleep and doesn't wake up. By unplugging and replugging the connector, I can force it to wake up and start working again.
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Crystal Cowboy
 Posted: Nov 5 2012, 02:23 PM
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Ethernet service on RTL8168E-VL/8111E-VL continues unreliable. It fails once a day or so. Unplugging the ethernet cable and plugging it back in brings the interface back to life.

To circumvent, I added in a card with a RTL8168D/8111D port, which is working fine, so the problem must be specific to the RTL8168E-VL/8111E-VL.
Filed a bug with RedHat bugzilla: 873303
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Crystal Cowboy
 Posted: Jan 31 2013, 08:09 PM
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I notice that SL6 has promulgated an update of kmod-r8168 from 8.032 to 8.035, but I won't be in a position to test it for a month or two.
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