Solaris x86 - adding hardware

I'm sorry to say that I've just been through a somewhat painful experience adding a second ethernet card to my solaris 8 intel box. So I thought I'd document some tips that I learned in the process.

Plug-n-Play is a pain in the rear.

Part of my problem (I think) was that my two cards insisted on coming up with the same IRQ. I discovered this by going into the DCA, also known as the "Device Assistant" (mentioned at boot time, press ESC to enter). After doing the initial scan, press F4 for "Device Tasks", then select "View/Edit devices", and F2.

I'm not sure if this was because of my motherboard, or because of solaris. But the solution was to change slots. (?? Yeup, that's right ). The two cards were in PCI slots 4 and 5. After I moved the one in slot4, to slot2, they then decided to come up with separate IRQs.

Change the slot, change the name

Any time you "successfully" install a device like this, it will tend to get a number of 0. For example, "iprb0", is the name of the first Intel Ether PRO/100 card you install.

The next card of the same type you install, if it is not in the same PCI slot, will get the name "iprb1". Even if the original card is not there any more!!! So if you move a card from slot X, to slot Y, it gets treated as a completely new card. I kept banging on "iprb0", when "all" I had to do was start using "iprb1".

This behaviour might not be true for ISA cards. But these days, everyone should be moving to PCI. And FYI, this behaviour has always been true for Sun Sparcs+Solaris.

It doesn't work... does it?

Just because it doesnt work... doesnt neccessarily mean it doesn't work :-) At one point, I had the ethernet interface plumbed, and up, and I could even use "snoop" to see packets that I sent out... but nothing came back. I had a good link light on the interface, but NOT on the hub. I almost thought it was a bad card... but it is working fine now. I eventually ended up using a crossover cable to go directly to the other computer in question, and then it worked.

Also, the first ether card I, that previously worked... stopped working. It was connected directly to my cablemodem. I "knew" it was a good card, and the machine could see it, and snoop showed packets going out, but none coming in.
I ALMOST called my cablemodem provider, but I'm glad I didn't, becuase the problem was all on my end. The issue seemed to be the IRQ conflict when I added the other card in. Once the IRQs were different, the original card starting working fine.

Written by: Philip Brown
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