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Thread: TP-LINK TG-3468: A $12 Linux PCI-E Gigabit Network Adapter

  1. #1
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    Default TP-LINK TG-3468: A $12 Linux PCI-E Gigabit Network Adapter

    Phoronix: TP-LINK TG-3468: A $12 Linux PCI-E Gigabit Network Adapter

    For those that may be looking for a PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet adapter, the TP-LINK TG-3468 is a suitable choice and costs just $12 USD and runs well with Linux...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTY2ODQ

  2. #2
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    I bought few of these and put them in computers where their onboard network cards were playing up, and I've never had any problems with them.

  3. #3

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    I am kind of a noob when it comes to networking stuff, but I want to know something.

    In what ways can such a fast port could be used for things other than connecting to the Internet. I mean, is there any use on the normal home PC.

    I am sorry if it sounds stupid, but I really want to know.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SangeetKhatri View Post
    I am kind of a noob when it comes to networking stuff, but I want to know something.

    In what ways can such a fast port could be used for things other than connecting to the Internet. I mean, is there any use on the normal home PC.

    I am sorry if it sounds stupid, but I really want to know.
    Multiple computers on your home network can communicate with each other as well as with the Internet. For example, you may have a file server that provides storage for all your desktop computers. Gigabit connectivity means that you can move files between these computers at over 100 megabytes per second. With a 100 megabit adapter, you are limited to a tenth that speed. Large files, like 4 gigabyte DVD images or 20 gigabyte Blu-ray images can take a very long time to copy at the slower speed.

    This is also why Google Fiber is such a big deal. You can effectively backup to Internet disk storage in a reasonable amount of time, for example.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SangeetKhatri View Post
    I am kind of a noob when it comes to networking stuff, but I want to know something.

    In what ways can such a fast port could be used for things other than connecting to the Internet. I mean, is there any use on the normal home PC.

    I am sorry if it sounds stupid, but I really want to know.
    That's not a stupid question at all. The only stupid thing would have been to not ask that question and never to have found out the answer.

    Faster than 100BT networking is useful inside the home for a number of things. If you capture local over the air or cable television, you can get close to the bandwidth of 100BT networking if you do more than one stream at a time. Playback of various other media--such as a BluRay media--can benefit from over 100Mb/s during seeks and fast forward/reverse playback. If you backup machines over the network, you can quickly saturate a 100Mb/s network. One could make an arguement that 1Gb/s networking is easy to saturate in that situation. There are common 2TB drives which can read/write over 200MB/s on sequential operations--like one would see in a backup/restore operation. If you consider SSDs, then 10Gb/s saturation becomes a possibility.

    If you use wireless networking on 5GHz using 40MHz channels and more than one stream, it is easy to exceed 100Mb/s transfer rates. This is one reason routers whilch can perform at these speeds have Gb ports on them.

    Is Gb networking necessary in the home? No, one could do fine with 100BT, but since the price difference isn't very large--and most things come with Gb networking these days--it seems a prudent investment to flesh out the rest of the network with Gb gear.

  6. #6
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    Getting a symmetric 1gb home network over ethernet is pretty easy. Usually it just ends up being an underpowered router being unable to handle concurrent data rates, plus most network switches on routers are combined gigabit, not independently gigabit.

    If I were setting up a home network with big NAS and such, I'd definitely invest in a good custom built Linux gateway with some ethernet expansion cards plus 2 built in gigabit jacks.

    My issue is most of my home is wireless, so I'm much more handicapped than a gigabit there. I get throughput between two dual band Atheros N endpoints of around 10MB/s.

  7. #7
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    Default Get away from Realtek...

    I don't ever want to see their stuff in anything I need to rely on.

    And there simply is no sense in saving on something that can be had so cheaply from intel.

    Get yourself a _good_ Gig-E card for cca 25 and be done with it.


    Intel's gear has good, consistent Linux drivers, open hardware with plenty of features and not that inflated prices, at least not for basic stuff.

    After being burned with Realtek for umpteenth time, I chose Intel's cheapo card and man, did it change things.

    CPU burden weent down and NFS4 throughput went significantly up.

    And I didn't have to worry about crappy HW or drivers. Everything just works.

    That's the only thing I still resent on motherboards for AMD's gear - they have crappy NIC from Realtek.

    AMD should think about integrating decent Ethernet NIC or three into their chipset. Like they used to have bach when nVidia was significant player with chipsets.

  8. #8
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    There are a dozens of Realtek "8111/8168B" PCIe models, it's the revision number that tells them aparts. E.g., the 07:00.0 device below is an on-board NIC where 02:00.0 is a cheap 4.41 $ PCIe GBe card I found on eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gigabit-Ethe...-/281210260615).
    Code:
    lspci -nn | grep Eth
    02:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller [10ec:8168] (rev 02)
    04:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8169 PCI Gigabit Ethernet Controller [10ec:8169] (rev 10)
    07:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller [10ec:8168] (rev 06)
    A close-up picture of this NIC HX-8111D can be found here: https://lekensteyn.nl/files/realtek/...8168-rev02.jpg
    Its speed is fine (initial single iperf test (n=1) showed over 850 Mbit/s). Its latency is a bit worse than the other NICs (https://lekensteyn.nl/files/realtek/ping-plot.png), not sure if it is the driver or hardware.

    I have my reservations about its build quality though. Look at the solder of the clock generator, it almost looks like it is breaking down. Anyway, as long as the PC does not burn down, I am fine with it.

  9. #9
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    Gone are the times when if you wanted to have no probs, you chose 3Com 509. Ah, the nostalgy

  10. #10
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    They are back. If you want to have no problems, go with Intel.

    At least WRT to NICs.

    No chip overheating, no botched-but-sold HW, no wall-of-silence from their tech support, no driver problems or need to ever compile them separately out of kernel, no problems getting EVERYTHING about their chip that might ever interest me ( and more!), ni problems with utilizing all those extra features etc etc. And for what- extra €9 ?

    With RTL, I had alwaas to take limitations of the hardware, if not outright bugs. At best, I would get limitied bandwidth. But usually that would be sprinkled with other problems. Like chip overheating.

    Or sporadic errors wen setting MTU to more than 1500. Or sporadic errors on full moon etc.

    And when everything kind of worked, I could never get quite what I should expect from Gig-E. So amongst other things, I used udp for my local nfs4 shares just to get transfers above 80MB/s peak.

    So I started looking around to augment elcheapo onboard RTL 8111C with something better that could handle jumbo frames.

    And I found cheap NICs from Digitus, based on RTL8111DL and bought couple of those. They didn't state support for Linux on the box, but who cares about that- RTL has suport in kernel and if something goes wrong, I can always use their Linux drivers on site.

    Or so I thought. Whatever I did, after boot, drivers would crash my machine when it attempted to send first packet through the cards. All six cards behaved the same. I looked through the source. I tried to debug the thing and came to the conclusion that Linux driver did not recognise DL version fo the chip and tried to upload default firmware in it, after which chip went berserk with the first frame and crashed the machine.

    So I went for their drivers on the site. Which in the past had their share of the problems ( like crashing the machine), especially with newer kernels, but this was my last option, so I tried those.
    With same result.


    So I contacted their support and we played "dumb-and-dumber game". What problems ? Their drivers work on ALL chip versions. etc etc.
    But it was obvious that something is up, since Digitus usually doesn't omit a feature like linux support from their box for no reason.

    So just at the point I came into fuck that phase, I saw new generation of Intel's cards, based on fresh Intel's 82574L chip. €25 or so per card in local store. I bought IIRC 3 or 4 on the spot.

    Plopped them in the server and my machine and... it just worked.

    NFS4 transfers went from 80+Mb/s with jumbo frames to 116+ even without them. With TCP4 they went even a bit higher, since this thing obviously does thorough TCP assist. TCP6 ? No problem. Jumbo frames ? up to and including stated 9000 bytes no problem. EVER. Many simultaneous streams with TCP/IP HW assist ? No problem.

    Need driver ? That one in even in freshest kernel is actively supported, but just in case you need to get it from manufacturer, you can. Need documentation ? No problem - everything, with even detailed register set etc is on their site.
    Fsck Realtek.
    Last edited by Brane215; 04-20-2014 at 07:57 PM.

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