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network card diagnostic

Posted on 2011-03-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
hello,

i want to run a test on my network cards, but was unable to find any diagnostic for lan cards.
does that exist or not?
can you recommend one (preferably free)
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Question by:nobus
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by:Pieter Jordaan
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Hi

The intel and 3com network card drivers include a diagnostic utility for windows which should start up automatically after a full install. You will have to look on the manufacturer web sites for the other types.

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by:nobus
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can you point me to those - i never saw them..
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by:nobus
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also - all cards i had came without anything - no drivers, nothing..
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by:dbrunton
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by:giltjr
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At a minimum you need to know who manufactured the cards and get drivers and testing software from them.

If you can't find the manufacture, you might be able to get some generic drivers from the chip manufacture.
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by:nobus
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ok -  i am interested in a tool that tests all lan models, if that exists (i thought it would not be difficult finding a diagnostic for all basic operations)
barring that, am i correct in saying that for each one i have to look it up ?
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by:nobus
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also, most cards i have have the RTL8139cchip on it, but do not have a model N°
@dbrunton - that 3Com diag dates from 2000 - would it still be valid??

anyhow for the card with the AN983b chip, nothing turned up

any info is appreciated (i cannot believe it does not exist)
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by:giltjr
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The AN983b chip is from AMDTek, I've found drivers, but no diag tools.
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by:nobus
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yes - that's what i found too -  most do not have a diag listed...nor a manufacturer
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by:Davis McCarn
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Roadkill's CommTest: http://www.roadkil.net/program.php?ProgramID=5
Microtik's The Dude: http://majorgeeks.com/The_Dude_d5130.html
SoftPerfect's NetScan (I use this one a lot): http://www.softperfect.com/products/networkscanner/

The second two are more for network information and management; but, the first will let you test cards and connections.
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by:giltjr
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nobus what are you looking for?

Something that will check network connectivity or card level diagnostics?

Card level dignostics would test things like verifying the SPROM, control registers, DMA, card level loopback, and on card memory.

Network connectivity would test to make sure you got and IP address, you can ping default gateway/router, and test network through-put.
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by:nobus
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i work a lot with different pc's and repair them - so i have a lot of cards, pc's and parts
i had an "unusual" problem on my pc  : p5Q-vm board that i suspect has problems with the onboard lan
so i installed other cards, some mentioned above.
to my amazement only the Intel Pro card  works - all others don't
so i'd like to test them  (i KNOW i can just put them in another pc and check for network, and uinternet connectivity -  but there's more than that before a card is fully operational, no?

that's why i started looking for a lan diag -  and was unable to find one.

i hope this explains my quest for the Holy Grail?

i will test the posted ones (already a big thanks to those who posted)
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by:giltjr
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O.K., sounds like you really want card level, not network level, diagnostics.  Which is what I thought.  That would really need to be provide by either the card or chipset manufacturer.

There would be no generic software, as each card is designed different.  This is why each card has their own drivers.
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by:nobus
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i know it has it's own drivers - but xp, vista and win7 have most of the drivers
so why can't i find a decent diag for all ?
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by:Pieter Jordaan
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Hi

If your network switch supports from 10mpbs half duplex to 1000 full duplex, then you can manually test them by setting the speed and duplex to all available settings, and checking for packet loss when you ping the gateway.

ping -t gatewayIP

If you don't plan to use the lower speeds, just test 1000 half and full duplex.

If you don't get packet loss, then you can assume that it works perfectly.

There really isn't much more too it.

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by:dbrunton
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RealTek seem to have diagnostic utils.

See

http://drivers.softpedia.com/downloadTag/Realtek+Ethernet+Diagnostic
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Network-Tweak/RTNICDiag.shtml


3Com in the old days (around 2000) used to have a CD with all of their drivers and tools on it.  That is at the link I supplied above.  Since then I don't know what they are doing in relation to drivers and tools.  They aren't the force they used to be in NICs.
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by:giltjr
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Again, assuming you want to test the card and not network connectivity, the diag would be unique for each chipset/firmware.    

That is you want to know that the NIC is not working because the SPROM (or whatever type of ROM it has) is bad.

I would assume that since NIC's are so cheap, that it is easier to replace than test at the board/chip level.  So, if it connects you to the network, you don't need to test.  

If you have network connectivity issues by looking at things outside of the NIC, patch cables, switch ports, driver levels, you can rule out the NIC.  If you rule out everything other than the NIC, you just replace it.



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by:nobus
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giltjr - all that i know - i  also explained why i DO WANT to test them, but tx for your post and effort
i have several i can replace them with, and they ALL work - except in this pc - BUT 1 card does work...

dbrunton, tx for the links - that is useful info

if anybody can come up with more diags or tools -  glad to know
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by:Davis McCarn
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Did you see my post?
Roadkill's CommTest: http://www.roadkil.net/program.php?ProgramID=5
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by:giltjr
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nobus, I am fairly sure I  understand what you want to test.  

I'm trying to get the others to understand.  They keep posting links for programs that do what I would call "networking testing" and not NIC card diagnostics.  There is a big difference.

"network testing" would include pinging a remote host(s), doing trace routes, and running some type of network "speed" test.
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by:nobus
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yes Davis i saw it, and while it is nota diag, it will be useful; in fact i had it downloaded already, so tx!
giltjr yes - that is what i want to do : eg install 1 or more lan cards and run a diag on 1 or all (tha last would be a nice feature  - but i doubt it exists)

but i keep hoping for more..
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by:nobus
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i tried all - most are :
-for a specific card
-show the properties of all cards
-or don't work
but not one was giving me a way to start a diag
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by:giltjr
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I don't think you are going to find one.

That I am aware of there is no standard interface to NICs like there is with BIOS to the MB.
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by:nobus
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i agree - but since all cards are viewed in windows, i would presume it would not be an enormous task to put together a driver database for it, and a diag
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by:giltjr
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It would be more than just getting a driver data base.  

I would require knowing what function and features each card has and how to invoke them.

As an example:  Some cards may allow you to put the card in "loopback" mode.  So that everything that gets sent to the card from the OS gets sent right back to the OS.  

Card #1 may do this in one way and Card #2 may do this in another way, and Card #3 may not externalize this through the driver, but if you communicate directly to the card you can.  You would need to build a data base knowing this type of information.


Ever watch Star Trek?  What you want to build is a universal translator.  There is a big difference between building a catalog of all languages; knowing what drivers there are, and actually being able to translate all of the languages; knowing what functions and features each driver supplies and how to use them.
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Davis McCarn earned 250 total points
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All of the older, traditional network diagnostics had two modes; one for loopback testing, and one where you set one card to be a listener so you could test connectivity.  The listener; though, was effectively a remote loopback; echoing packets back to the other card.  Setting those modes was done by setting registers in the network chip and was often card specific (meaning the utility only worked on a small familly of cards, even from the same manufacturer)
Now, if IBM hadn't screwed up how operating systems worked in 1982, we would still be calling what was called the BIOS in the operating system to perform all hardware functions and a "universal tester" would work on almost all cards.  But; because IBM screwed up, MS-Dos and its evolutions uses hardware directly so there is no such thing as standard function calls.
The diagnostic you are envisioning would have to have a library of thousands of network chips so it knew which registers to set and their values.
Some of the commercial diagnostics should approach 90% of the NIC's out there ( http://www.pc-diagnostics.com/pc_diagnostics_tools/nictest.shtml ?) or the forbidden H*rens says it works on over 300 brands.
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by:nobus
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what nic tool for 300 brand are you talking about
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by:nobus
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Davis, you posted a nic testing software - so it does exist, now i'm confused - since all others say it cannot exist??
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by:Davis McCarn
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The H*rens web site states it supports 300+ wireless nics; but, does seem to have very few diagnostic utilities for the network.
Your best return for the least effort will be to look at the commercial products such as Micro2000, PC-Tools, PC-Diagnostics; because they will include a library which supports the vast majority of NIC's.  What to look for are the features and usage of the tests you want to perform.
Unfortunately; none of them were bright enough to have a listing that I could find easilly.
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by:giltjr
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If I lead to you believe that one does not exist or can't exist, I am sorry.  I believe I have been saying that I doubt if you find one.  

As I said in one of my other posts, it is more than just getting a database of each driver for each NIC, it would require knowing each the functions the card had and how to invoke them via the driver.

Obviously as long as the NIC vendors publish how to do this, somebody could write a program to do it.  I had never seen one that claims to this until DavisMcCarn's post.  I have no idea what it actually tests, but it does say it provides low level card information.  However, it also says it does not require a loop back adapter.  Which to me would be a requirement for any full testing of a NIC card.

For $20 it may be worth the try.  In fact the NIC testing part is included in other tools sets that you might be interested in if you are doing full PC diag testing.
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by:nobus
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it was the only post for a NIC diag - not a network scanner or such
i hope that's fair to everyone
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