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Ok Toshiba Satellite Pro 4200 series, Micronet SP162A ethernet card, Redhat 6.2 - Some thoughts 

Forum: PCMCIA Network Adapter Issues
Date: 2000, Aug 04
From: David Martin dcmartin

This is just a note about my experiences getting things up and going on some brand new (delivered on Monday) hardware. I thought I would post it to "get it on the record"- someone else might mind it useful (or not).

Firstly about the Satellite-Pro 4220 XCDT. Mine has the ToPIC95 (rev 07) bridge chipset, and despite reports of others having problems with Toshiba chipsets, I have had not problems with it (thankfully). Just to add to the confusion I have heard rumours that there are actually several versions of this model - mine is "Made in Europe" with a ToPIC95 and Trident Cyber video adaptor, there is also a "Made in Japan" variant with a ToPIC97 and Savage S3 video adaptor, so go figure. The only thing I had to do was exclude IRQ 9, as I had problems with SanDisk compactflash cards on that IRQ (Microsoft's SanDisk driver also hiccupped on IRQ 9 under windows 98) - something is obviously lurking on the IRQ line. Other than that, plain sailing.

Onto Redhat 6.2. This was my first installation of Redhat, my first installation with pcmcia hardware and my first x86 installation (only ever worked with PPC and Alpha ports in the past). It ships with pcmcia version 3.1.8, but the package is incomplete - it does not contain ide_info, as I discovered when using SanDisk compactflash cards. Also the pcmcia source is included as part of the kernel source rpm, so if you upgarde or replace it (as I did, read on) it technically breaks the rpm. Also, I have to say that I am not too impressed by Redhat's modified pcmcia network startup arrangement, either. I scrapped it in favour of the supplied pcmcia one.

Lastly the card. The Micronet SP162A PCMCIA Fast Ethernet Adaptor (to give it its complete name) was not an adaptor we had seen before and no information was available about what chipset it used. The accompanying driver disk included a README for linux that implied that if you installed the pcmcia system it would work...and it did, kind of. With pcmcia version 3.1.8 cardmgr autodetected it as a "NE2000 compatible" (from the manufacturer ID string, I think) and picked up the pcnet_cs diver. Output from cardctl showed

Socket 1:
  product info: "Dual Speed", "10/100 PC Card", "1.0", " "
  manfid: 0x0149, 0xc1ab
  function: 6 (network)

Configuration worked ok, but the driver did not appear to work correctly - it produced a 'eth0: lost link beat' (from the driver watchdog reset ?) message immediately after carrier was detected on the Lan at 10Mbps. The interface still worked, you could shift packets using known IP addresses, but TX behaviour seemed a bit odd and arp and dns were hung-up somehow. On the assumption that the card/driver marriage was not a happy one, I upgraded to 3.1.15 - it appeared tp contain the most recent version of the pcnet_cs driver. Compilation and installation was a doddle, and the card worked straight away, so I am guessing that it is based on one of the newer D-Link chipsets that have been recently added to the pcnet_cs driver.

So, overall, it was relatively painless exercise. I have to dip my hat to David Hinds and the other developers, the pcmcia system is a neat piece of work that works way better than I expected it would. Cheers, gents (and ladies)!!!



David Martin.

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