Stone Computers Knowledgebase

Realtek LAN Controller Problem on 8 Series Systems - LAN Reports not Connected, Is Missing, or no Traffic

Article ID: 360
Last updated: 24 Aug, 2016
Article ID: 360
Last updated: 24 Aug, 2016
Revision: 21
Views: 4351
Posted: 05 Aug, 2014
by Andrew Sharrad
Updated: 24 Aug, 2016
by Andrew Sharrad

Problem

Haswell systems based on Intel 8 Series / Haswell chipsets with a Realtek LAN Controller fitted may experience LAN connectivity issues after using out of date LAN driver software under Windows. These systems were shipped in 2014 and 2015.

These include:

  • Stone NT310-H (NOTCHA-260)
  • Stone / Asus B85M-E (BOAMOT-463)
  • Stone / MSI H81M-P33 (BOAMOT-464)
  • Stone / Asus H81T (BOAMOT-471)
  • Stone / MSI H81I (BOAMOT-472)
  • Stone / Asus H81M-P-SI (BOAMOT-476)

This problem does not appear on Haswell systems that only use an Intel LAN Controller.

Symptoms

These include:

  • The network adapter keeps disappearing from device manager; the network adapter is not visible to the system at all.
  • You cannot get any network connectivity or traffic.
  • You cannot get an IP address via DHCP.
  • The adapter may report that the cable is unplugged when it is not.
  • You may not even be able to network boot the system (PXE boot).
  • Cold or warm reboots may not fix the problem.

Root Cause

The root cause is an out of date Realtek LAN controller driver which mis-programmed the LAN PHY chip. This mis-programming will survive cold and warm boots. The Realtek LAN driver on an 8 Series chipset based system should be updated to a November 2013 or newer version using the Stone Driver Finder.

If you have up to date drivers running on the machine and on any PXE boot or deployment system but are experiencing problems, then you are likely not affected by this issue. Please contact the Stone service desk for assistance for additional troubleshooting.

An example of a driver that may cause this problem is shown below:

Realtek LAN Driver

Note: Unfortunately the original component manufacturer's driver disk may contain a problematic, out of date driver. Please ensure you obtain all of your system drivers from the Stone Driver Finder or Stone Support.

Resolution

Step 1:

The driver must be upgraded to a newer version, by obtaining a newer version from the Stone Driver Finder. If you need network connectivity to do this, you should do Step 2 first to regain some connectivity, then update the driver, and then repeat Step 2.

Step 2:

The LAN PHY chip must be reset. To do this after having updated the driver, perform the following:

  • Shut Windows down.
  • Disconnect the mains from the power supply (and in the case of a notebook system, also remove the battery).
  • Disconnect the LAN cable.
  • Wait for at least 20 seconds for the system to completely discharge.
  • Reconnect the LAN cable and then the power (and again in the case of a notebook system, reattach the battery).

Note: If you do not complete Step 2 after updating the driver then the problem may re-occur as the LAN chip programming has not been cleared. The LAN chip is programmed by the driver; step 2 must be completed after updating the driver.

Additional Example Scenario - PXE Boot

  • A new Stone system arrives with a customer with a pre-installed image; the network connectivity is fine.
  • You then decide to PXE boot the system to capture an image from it.
  • The Realtek driver in the PXE Image WIM file used to boot the system is significantly out of date.
  • The driver believes is supports the network adapter and the adapter may initially connect to the network.
  • The network connection then fails - either no traffic, or the adapter disappears.
  • You then reboot the system into the pre-installed image and find that the network connectivity still doesn't work.
  • You believe that the network interface has failed - however this is incorrect - the PXE driver has mis-programmed the interface - this now needs to be cleared using the steps above.

​Applies to:

  • Haswell based systems (with an Intel 8 Series Chipset) fitted with a Realtek PCIe Gigabit LAN Controller.
This article was:  
Article ID: 360
Last updated: 24 Aug, 2016
Revision: 21
Views: 4351
Posted: 05 Aug, 2014 by Andrew Sharrad
Updated: 24 Aug, 2016 by Andrew Sharrad
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