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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox-tech mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox-tech] What's the real deal with network cards
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Re: [vox-tech] What's the real deal with network cards


  • Subject: Re: [vox-tech] What's the real deal with network cards
  • From: jdnewmil@dcn.davis.ca.uMAPSs
  • Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2001 03:47:48 -0800
  • References: 20010228220955.A29976@sphere.math.ucdavis.edu

On Wed, 28 Feb 2001, Bill Broadley wrote:

[...]

> > Tulip chipsets are a bit too flexible for their own good... you may have
> > to go to extra effort to get recent versions of the driver(s) to make a
> > tulip card work.  Not such a problem for workstations, but if you are
> 
> I've seen none of this since the Lite-on conversion ummm 12 months
> ago?

I don't know if it has continued. I don't buy Linksys cards, because I
don't want the hassle.

> > setting up an LRP box it can take some legwork to get all the pieces in
> > place.  From a hardware standpoint they are supposed to be better
> > (simpler, less cpu overhead) than rtl8139 or ne2k-pci.
> 
> Interesting, did you have to download a new tulip.c and compile a kernel/
> module?  Or did the kernel just a make menuconfig?  I'd be kinda surprised
> if any semi-new distribution/kernel (i.e. > 2.2.14) needed anything. 

Me personally? No, it is just a FAQ on the LRP mailing list.  The best
documented version of LRP uses kernel 2.0.36, and others have updated to
various points 2.2.10-18, but most LRP users don't recompile their own
kernels for it, since various elements of black magic have to be employed
to keep the kernel size small, and only recently have people started
disseminating that knowledge. (There are a couple of custom patches too.)
Only people using the very latest kernels seem to avoid problems with
tulip cards.

My understanding is that tulip chipsets are configurable enough (or
require a significant amount of supporting logic) that it is unlikely that
any two manufacturers will set it up the same way... thus, the tulip
driver has had to evolve a lot, and will continue to evolve.

> > 3com cards are reputed to be very good, but I haven't found any reason to
> > pay the premium for them. I don't manage a large network, though, and
> > those are the people who swear by them.
> 
> Yeah the price premium seems kinda crazy, not like the large customers
> pay for them, typically they buy network enabled pc's in the first
> place, i.e. Dell Optiplex, compaq, hp "business" machines.
> 
> > I have been satisfied with the rtl8139 and NE2000 cards I have used, even
> > though they aren't great performers. 
> 
> Did you quantify it?  I'm curious as to the diff, every time I have
> it comes out pretty much exactly what I could expect once I took
> into account packet header overhead and similar.

Nope.  More than enough for DSL, and I haven't had to setup high
performance data centers.  I am just repeating general consensus from LRP
mailing list.

I am not a hotrodder in any field.  Once it satisfies the customer, go on
to the next thing.

> > Unless you intend to push the
> > limits or performance or use older computers, I have never had trouble 
> > with network cards the way I have with some sound cards.
> 
> Even a pentium-60 + ne2k should be able to saturate ethernet pretty
> easily.

Yes, for 10BaseT.  Start hotrodding 100BaseT and the quality of the PCI
implementation may become a factor, so a faster machine might be needed.  
CPU is "out of the loop" for most of the ethernet function, but good PCI
busses come with faster/newer CPUs.  (Keeping in mind that "faster" might
be 133 or 233 MHz instead of 60.)

[...]

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go Live...
DCN:<jdnewmil@dcn.davis.ca.us>        Basics: ##.#.       ##.#.  Live Go...
Work:<JeffN@endecon.com>              Live:   OO#.. Dead: OO#..  Playing
Research Engineer (Solar/Batteries            O.O#.       #.O#.  with
/Software/Embedded Controllers)               .OO#.       .OO#.  rocks...2k
---------------------------------------------------------------------------


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