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Xircom PCMCIA ethernet adapters light up but won't ping
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Joined: 25 Nov 2003
Posts: 54
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 10:55 pm    Post subject: Xircom PCMCIA ethernet adapters light up but won't ping Reply with quote

I have seen a number of posts here and there without reply in the forums regarding Xircom PCMCIA network adapters with this problem, identical to the one I had:

After installing Gentoo, and following charlieg's PCMCIA Howto, or using the kernel PCMCIA support (as kernels after 2.4 seem to require, while still using the pcmcia-cs tools), the card is identified, it lights up, sounds a beep, and returns the following errors:


cardmgr[519]: executing: './network start eth0'
cardmgr[519]: +  * WARNING:  "net.eth0" has already been started.
cardmgr[519]: executing: './serial start ttyS3'
modprobe: Can't locate module /dev/modem   (repeated several times)

And, even more baffling and frustrating, when you try to do anything over the network, or even to ping the IP of another system on the network, it says repeatedly:

From icmp_seq=1 Destination Host Unreachable

I have a Xircom CEM56-100, and am running the 2.4 kernel, and I went to considerable trouble trying to find the painfully simple solution, so I am posting it to spare other Gentoo users with Xircom PCMCIA cards.

As for the first part, it doesn't matter that it says net.eth0 is already started. That is apparently an harmless quirk in Gentoo's rc scripts at the time of this writing, which will likely be corrected later, according to UberLord.

Someone can correct me if I am wrong, as I have not tested the modem in this setup, but I believe the '/dev/modem' error is also harmless, triggered apparently by the kernel's normal serial support trying to drive a serial port already driven (and rightly so) by serial_cs. If it indeed is a problem, I should like to know myself.

These two errors have nothing to do with the problem of the card not working, but they can lead us on a wild goose chase. The real culprit: your 10mbps hub. That's right, Xircom cards work in all flavors of Windows (and even OS/2) in 10mbps mode, but in Linux at least some Xircom 10/100 cards MUST connect to a 100 mbps fast ethernet switch or hub.

Until someone corrects me on this point, I have to recommend that the cable be plugged into the network at the time of bootup if possible, though it seems to work regardless. I say this only because dmesg reports:

eth0: autonegotiation failed; using 10mbps

Someone else might know of a command or setting to force the driver into 100mbps mode, eliminating the need for this admonition.
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