Which network driver for RTL8211 or 8201 NIC's?

Mike Clarke jmc-freebsd2 at milibyte.co.uk
Thu Jan 20 11:18:38 UTC 2011

On Thursday 20 January 2011, Pyun YongHyeon wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 11:54:54PM +0000, b. f. wrote:
> > Mike Clarke wrote:
> > > I need to replace a failing motherboard. I'm aiming to keep the
> > > existing Athlon CPU so I'm tied down to to a socket AM2(+) board
> > > and the majority of those available seem to have nForce 630a
> > > chipsets and RTL8211CL or 8201EL NIC's which aren't explicitly
> > > mentioned in the release notes
> > > <http://www.freebsd.org/releases/8.1R/hardware.html#ETHERNET>. I
> > > see that the strings RTL8211C(L) and RTL8201L (but not EL) appear
> > > in /usr/src/sys/dev/rgephy.c and rlphy.c but the man page for the
> > > rl driver only mentions RealTek 8129/8139 and I'm not sure which
> > > driver is built from rgephy.c.
> > >
> > > Am I going to have problems if I get a motherboard with one of
> > > these NIC's?
> >
> > It's a bit confusing, because there are product numbers associated
> > with NICs, and with different individual component chipsets, and
> > some
> Correct. Identifying exact model number is the one of hardest thing
> in Realtek controllers. I think RTL8211CL or 8201EL are not MAC
> controller but the PHY model name. These PHY are supported by
> rlphy(4) since they are not gigabit PHY(e.g. Fast Ethernet).

I recently found someone with a motherboard with the same chipset in a 
Windows PC and was able to experiment with it by booting off a FreeBSD 
install CD to confirm that the RTL8211CL was recognised. So I went 
ahead and bought my new motherboard (Gigabyte GA-M68M-S2P) and things 
are working fine.

According to the specs the RTL8211CL is Fast Ethernet, claiming 
10/100/1000 Mb/sec. I'm only using 100Mb/sec so can't confirm the 
1000Mb capability.

In case the information is of use to anyone, here's an extract from 

nfe0: <NVIDIA nForce MCP61 Networking Adapter> port 0xec00-0xec07 mem 
0xfe02d000-0xfe02dfff irq 20 at device 7.0 on pci0
miibus0: <MII bus> on nfe0
rgephy0: <RTL8169S/8110S/8211B media interface> PHY 3 on miibus0
rgephy0:  10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, 1000baseT, 
1000baseT-FDX, auto
nfe0: Ethernet address: 6c:f0:49:9e:88:97
nfe0: [FILTER]

... and pciconf -lv

nfe0 at pci0:0:7:0:        class=0x068000 card=0xe0001458 chip=0x03ef10de 
rev=0xa2 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'NVIDIA Corporation'
    device     = 'Nvidia Networking Card (nForce 405)'
    class      = bridge

Mike Clarke

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