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AutoSense fails on boot for 3COM 3C595-T4 under OS/2 WSeB
- The Problem:
- I had a Warp Server for E-Business (aka: WSeB, Aurora) installation with a 3COM 3C595-T4 PCI NIC adapter installed for TCP/IP communications. The card would almost consistantly fail to AutoSense the connection from warm or cold boot, and would not initialize the network connection correctly. This would leave the network connection down every time the system was restarted for any reason.
- My Solution:
- Part 1
- I perfomed a careful review of the system configuration (both hardware and software). I used the 3C59XCFG.EXE utility to physically lock the NIC adapter to it's settings rather than allow them to be autodetected. I also modified the PROTOCOL.INI entry for the adapter to insure that every possible setting for the card had a value supplied on boot.
- Unfortunately, this didn't resolve the problem.
- In fact, my only method of achieving a 100% connection rate for the card was to:
- 1) physically unplug the NIC from the LAN before the server posted it's BIOS on boot
- 2) then ONLY after I viewed that the driver for the card had loaded from the CONFIG.SYS
- 3) next plug the LAN cable back into the NIC.
- This would consistantly bring the computer back-up on-line but only at a 10MB connection.
- This was not an acceptable solution.
- Part 2
- I spent a good amount of time searching, only to find that apparently a number of Linux users were having this same problem with this card. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to have an answer as to either why it was happening, or how to go about fixing it other than to assign it to the maintainer of the driver.
- After verifing that every other component was working correctly (contacts cleaned, etc...). I decided I would swap out the NIC to see if it was a hardware defect. Fortunately, I also had a 3C595-TX which under OS/2 WSeB is driver level compatable.
- I swapped out the cards, verified the settings under the 3C59XCFG.EXE utility, and booted the server. This time the network connection came on promptly as expected with no need to mess with the cable or anything else. The system 100% consistantly boots with the network active now using the 3C595-TX PCI NIC adapter.
My conclusions are that this problem may very well be at the driver level. The card works fine in the Windows systems I have tested it under. There apparently is some form of initialization from the system that is not taking place on boot. I would have to say at this time that the 3C595-T4 is an unacceptable NIC adapter for use under OS/2, and that if you are looking for a 10/100MBs 3C595 card you should stick with the TX model. As for use under Linux, I will have to suggest you look elsewhere for updated information.
After a good amount of research, it appears that the problem in part has to do specifically with the "T4" qualities of this network card. Apparently the T4 and TX 100MB protocols are incompatible. For more information about the differences between these two architectures, please refer to this document: "100Bast-T4 and 100Base-TX Fast Ethernet solution for UTP cabling". In short, the T4 architecture uses 4 pair cable (eight wires) instead of the standard 2 pair to achieve 100MB connectivity. If it detects an 8 wire cable on initialization, it attempts to connect 100MB T4 and if there are no other T4 devices on the network, it fails deciding there is no available network without stepping down to do a 4 wire detect for 10MB. Why it detects 10MB after I unplug the wire from the card (and only from the card, not the switch) and plug it back in still baffles me. I do suspect though that if I had one of the 3COM "SuperStack II" hubs, I would be able to get this T4 to run 100MB on my LAN based on the information in the linked PDF. If I come up with any more news I will add it here.