[clug] a NIC to avoid

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Wed Aug 2 00:42:03 GMT 2006

Whilst waiting for me to do some work on a hardware compatability
database, here is a negative entry for it.

A local supplier recently supplied a number of "Skymaster" "Realtek
8139D" 100Mbps LAN cards (to be used in a lab here). The boxes and
the main chip are both clearly labelled as RTL8139D. However, the
PCI ID is 1904:8139 (use "lspci -n") and this isn't recognised by
the 8139too module in the kernel (2.6.15 etc.).

You might think that adding this PCI ID to drivers/net/8139too.c
in the kernel source and re-compiling the module would fix this -
it doesn't.

Turns out that this PCI ID isn't actually a RealTek 8139D at all,
but a fake that has been labelled this. The fakes are mainly sold
in Brazil and India, according to research I have done on the web.
They are supplied with a driver disk that makes the card work on
Windows etc. but the driver so loaded will not work with real
RTL8139D-based cards (nor is the card recognised, apparently, by
WinXP, even though real RTL8139Ds are).

Anyway, if you are after a really cheap 100Mbps NIC for your router
etc. I would advise steering well clear of the "Skymaster" range
(others would advise staying away from any RealTek NIC, but that
is another story).


Bob Edwards

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