Gigabit Connectivity Problems
Posted on 2006-11-30
Last week, Compusa has a 5 port Netgear gigabit switch on sale. As I've been thinking about converting my home network to gigabit (since the switches and NIC's are relatively cheap now), I went ahead and purchased it with the intent of connecting my Windows 2003 server to it. This server has an Asus A8R-MVP mobo, which includes an onboard gigabit NIC (Yukon).
The Windows server is in my basement where my cable modem / other cabling comes in. As I already had a Linksys wireless router down there (which is also where my Internet connection is plugged into), I ran a cable from an open port on the Linksys router to a port on the gigabit switch so as to connect the gigabit switch into my home network. From there, I ran another cable from the gigabit switch to the server. While I was able to establish gigabit connectivity initially, it dropped back to 100 Mbps if I rebooted the server or if I disabled / enabled the interface. I confirmed the cable going from switch to server was Cat 5e, which it was but went ahead and swapped in a new cable to see if that would make any difference, which it did not. When I went to view the advanced properties of the NIC, I noticed that the settings were auto-sense and 10 / 100 Mbps full/half duplex -- nothing for 1000 Mbps. I thought this was odd but since I was able to connect via gigabit (at least for a short period), I just assumed auto-sense detected things OK.
Anyhow, thinking perhaps the onboard NIC was an issue, I went out and purchased a Dlink Gigabit PCI card and encountered the same results -- including the driver settings not showing 1000 Mbps. Unlike the Marvell adapter, a event log error noting the driver for the adapter encountered an internal error preceded the downshift to 100 Mbps. When the connection was working OK -- albeit temporarily, no errors occurred so I imagine the error is relative to the downshift.
At this point, I really don't understand why I can't get and keep a gigabit connection. I realize that I won't be able to take full advantage of the connection until I upgrade at least one other PC to gigabit but I have to start somewhere -- this server being it.
Any thoughts / suggestions on where the problem may be? I am considering returning the switch for a different brand/manufacturer but not truly convinced that it will resolve my issues. All this said, one thing I did notice is that the cable going from the linksys router to the switch is Cat5 and not 5e. I thought I had already tried a Cat5e cable there with the same results but don't remember. I don't think this is a problem per se but perhaps it is.
I'll provide any other details / info as requested.