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HOWTO: Resolve Realtek r8168B dropped packet problems on Redhat/Centos

Many motherboards nowadays have integrated gigabit ethernet that use the Realtek NIC chipset.

The Realtek r8168B network card does not work out of the box in Redhat/Centos 5.3: instead of loading the r8168 driver, modprobe loads the r8169 driver, which is broken as can be seen with ifconfig which shows large amounts of dropped packets. A solution is to download the r8168 driver from the Realtek website and install it using the following steps:

Check whether the built-in driver, r8169.ko (or r8169.o for kernel 2.4.x), is installed.

# lsmod | grep r8169

If it is installed remove it.

# rmmod r8169

Download the R8168B linux driver from here into /root.

Unpack the tarball :

# cd /root
# tar vjxf r8168-8.012.00.tar.bz2

Change to the directory:

# cd r8168-8.012.00

If you are running the target kernel, then you should be able to do :

# make clean modules   
# make install
# depmod -a
# insmod ./src/r8168.ko (or r8168.o in linux kernel 2.4.x)

make sure modprobe knows not to use r8169, and that depmod doesn’t find the r8169 module.

# echo "blacklist r8169" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
# mv /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net/r8169.ko   \ /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net/r8169.ko.bak

You can check whether the driver is loaded by using the following commands.

# lsmod | grep r8168
# ifconfig -a

If there is a device name, ethX, shown on the monitor, the linux driver is loaded. Then, you can use the following command to activate it.

# ifconfig ethX up

After this you should not see any more dropped packets reported.

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