Author Topic: NICs don't work  (Read 1164 times)

rsbrux

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NICs don't work
« on: October 12, 2008, 01:35:16 am »
I have a well-tested (under Win XP MCE) onboard Realtek NIC and added a second Realtek PCI NIC to fulfill the recommended configuration of 2 NIC adapters, even though I don't have any clients yet and plan to use linuxMCE as standalone only.
I am attempting to install using the Kubuntu live-CD + 2 linuxMCE CD approach ( newbielink:http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Installation_Guide [nonactive]).
I chose this method  in hopes of keeping my Win XP MCE installation intact, but gave up and let Kubuntu format my drive when it's attempt to resize the data partition failed.
Under Kubuntu 7.10, both NICs are found and enabled, but nothing I have tried can get them to connect to my ADSL hub/router at 192.168.1.1.
The onboard NIC was connected to the external network during Kubuntu installation, but was nonetheless configured as eth1.
The onboard NIC doesn't even show a life sign on the hub port it's connected to, even though it's enabled in BIOS.
The PCI card NIC shows a life sign when connected to the hub, but neither card connects via ping to 192.168.1.1, nor am i able to make the setting of 192.168.1.1 as default gateway "stick".
The new PCI card appears to be based on the infamous Realtek 8168.  Perhaps this is the cause of the problems.
newbielink:http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/R8168 [nonactive] is not very encouraging about this.
As a Linux noob, I don't feel capable of "hacking the kernel".
What alternatives do I have?
Buy yet another NIC, in the hope that it will work?
Give up the whole project and go back to Media Portal under Windoze?
The blurb on newbielink:http://linuxmce.org/ [nonactive]:
Quote
LinuxMCE is a free, open source add-on to Kubuntu including a 10' UI, complete whole-house media solution with pvr + distributed media, and the most advanced smarthome solution available. It is stable, easy to use, and requires no knowledge of Linux and only basic computer skills.
led me to expect something easier!

tschak909

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Re: NICs don't work
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 02:01:01 am »
Sorry for the problems you're having.

Yes, from what you describe, you should get another network card. I recommend Intel.

-Thom

rsbrux

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Re: NICs don't work
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 06:21:16 pm »
Thom,
Thanks for responding, but I'm thinking more & more of giving up.
Here is what I have encountered so far:

1. Video
The test of the 3 different video modes offered (static, OpenGL or OpenGL with blending) showed no differences between the 3 modes with my Nvidia GeForce 6600.  However, all 3 showed problems with jaggies on the rotating cube and with the layering of the overlays.  Updates of the rotating cube kept putting it in front of the burning match.  I am only guessing that this is wrong, because I couldn't find any explanation of what I *should* be seeing here.  Since I didn't see any difference in the options offered, I  chose the recommended one: OpenGL w/blending.
When the wizard got to selecting video resolution, it didn't offer the native resolution of my LCD TV (1280x768), even though this is supported by the NVidia windows driver.  Furthermore, selecting other supported modes (e.g. 1280x1024) didn't actually change the video mode.  Instead it created a virtual screen which I could pan around (neither useful nor expected).  When the wizard finally got to the video test screen, I found myself in an endless loop.  I have tried proceeding cancelling, etc., but somehow always wind up back on this screen.  The video appears in a small window on the left side of the screen.  It flickers and appears intermittently overlaid with a smaller version of the screen in which it is embedded.

2. Audio
I have 2 audio adapters, one (Realtek HDA) on board and one (old Creative SB) PCI card.  The installation wizard apparently chose to use the PCI card without giving me a choice.  IAC, there is no audio.  I tried to fix this using Kmix from the KDE desktop, but to no avail.

3. Remotes
I also have 2 IR interfaces, one built-in and one connected via external USB.  The installation wizard doesn't recognize either one.

4. Network
Based on newbielink:http://forum2.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=6042.0 [nonactive] I tried disabling my on-board NIC and was able to get connectivity through the suspect PCI card.  Even though my HTPC (FSC Scaleo E) doesn't have a WLAN interface, linuxMCE somehow managed to make it the DHCP server for my WLAN, disrupting the Internet connections of other equipment in the apartment.

Since the  symptoms described for the Realtek 8168 didn't match mine, I am still not sure what the real problem is.  IAC; the NICs are the least of my problems.  To sum up, *none* of the essential components for a Media Center work.
I did take the trouble to read both the FAQs and the Installation manual before starting.  It is particularly disappointing to have such miserable results in the video department, since the documentation specifically suggests that my Nvidia is supported.
I didn't find any reports (positive or negative) on the mainboard in my HTPC, but I had the (perhaps unreasonable) expectation that HW specifically assembled for this purpose ought to work reasonably well.  IAC; I don't have the luxury of custom-building a replacement system, just to accomodate linuxMCE.
Because of its closer integration with the OS and based on the many commentaries about it, I had high hopes of a more fluid, appliance-like experience with linuxMCE.  Unfortunately, these hopes have been dashed by my inability to get even the basic functions working.  AM I REALLY THAT STUPID?

tschak909

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Re: NICs don't work
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2008, 07:03:27 pm »
It seems you've just had a run of incompatible hardware.

I'm sorry you've hit this wall, the main thing i would recommend, is getting another motherboard, one supported in the wiki.

This would alleviate the majority of your problems.

There are also lists of working video cards, myself, I've had the most success with:

NVIDIA 6150, 6200, 7300, and the 8500GT.

given the resolution of your TV, you should use the 720p setting.

IR transcievers supported best: USB UIRT, IRTrans, and Tira. Please use one of these. They support IR learning, and can and should be used to control the A/V gear in your setup. This is where a good portion of the power of LinuxMCE comes from.

LinuxMCE should be the central DHCP server of your apartment. You should not fight this, and system breakage will result if you do. This system is designed to be the center of the entire house, to manage all your devices, a lot of good comes from this, but you'll need to reconfigure your network to disable any other DHCP servers on your internal network, and you should reconnect the system so that your other computers route through it. This system becomes your core, and should be left on 24/7, with media directors attached at your TVs for media use.

-Thom



freymann

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Re: NICs don't work
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2008, 08:49:55 pm »
To sum up, *none* of the essential components for a Media Center work.
-snip-
IAC; I don't have the luxury of custom-building a replacement system, just to accomodate linuxMCE.
Because of its closer integration with the OS and based on the many commentaries about it, I had high hopes of a more fluid, appliance-like experience with linuxMCE.  Unfortunately, these hopes have been dashed by my inability to get even the basic functions working.  AM I REALLY THAT STUPID?

Having been in your position once, I can sympathize with you, and at the same time I must say that Thom's advice is sound and solid.

I guess your sound and network problems would be resolved by using a motherboard known to work. Check the wiki.

Thom has given you a good list of nVidia video cards to choose from, same goes for the IR transceivers.

LMCE *can* be quite fluid when it is fed equipment is gets along with. Unfortunately, us newbies who think our existing equipment should work but find out it doesn't, well, that doesn't make for a nice introduction does it. Fortunately for you, you've just been told how to correct your problems, so now the ball is in your court.

It is true, not all of us have the luxury to get more parts and try them out, only to find out that didn't work either and you need other stuff and try that out. However, in your case, you have very specific information to work with. Go for it if you can afford it and have the time and if not, feel free to come back later and try again.

Trust me, follow the advice given if you're really serious about giving LMCE a try. When you get it working it'll be worth the extra effort.

colinjones

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Re: NICs don't work
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2008, 11:27:41 pm »
Just to clarify/expand some previous points.

On the network connectivity and DHCP - LMCE needs 2 NIC cards, one connected to your existing network (called the external network) and one connected to your LMCE network or internal network (this is the new LAN that you will put any media, Media Directors, home automation equipment, telephony, etc - anything you want to be part of and controlled by LMCE).

LMCE provides DHCP on the internal network, so if you have moved anything to that network that performs DHCP you need to turn that off and let LMCE do this. This does not in anyway effect your external network - you can have your own DHCP server on that. The point being that LMCE does not effect anything in your external network. Of course it is recommended that you move everything from your external network to your internal one so that LMCE can manage it, but that is up to you.

So yes, if you have moved your wireless AP to the internal network LMCE will start providing DHCP services for your wireless clients as well. If it still on your external network that likely means that you have your internal and external networks swapped, and that will screw up most things in LMCE!

The AV Wizard is only presenting some basic common "TV-like" modes, it isn't intended to work out what your monitor or card is capable. Just choose 720p like Thom suggests. Once set up, it is fairly easy to design a custom mode for your screen.

If you didn't want to use the PCI audio card, then I would suggest you remove it! Get the thing working first, add complexity later.

You really do need to sort out your networking issues as this will influence a lot of the functionality. Once you get something in that area wrong it can be easy to get into a loop! FYI - linux needs to see your external NIC as eth0 and your internal NIC as eth1. The external NIC can be set to DHCP and get an address from whatever DHCP server you are currently running. The internal NIC needs to be static and will automatically choose 192.168.80.1 and start providing DHCP services to all devices on that internal subnet. Any device on that internal network should be able to ping any device on the external network or the internet. If this doesn't match your current environment then let us know what you actually see and we can try to fix it up.

rsbrux

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Re: NICs don't work
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2008, 01:52:14 am »
Hi guys,
Thanks for all of the helpful advice.  Many of the problems I experienced seem to be related to the CD installation method.
I have repeated the installation using the DVD and am having much better results. 
FWIW, I think that this indicates that at least the MoBo (FIC P4M-915GD1-LF) is satisfactory, if you want to add it to your list.
In particular the video now works.  Since the monitor has no 720 line mode, I have selected 1280x1024, which is rescaled by the monitor.  This has the advantage of filling the screen, instead of leaving about 7% unused. :(
Please note that I have read and respected the information provided, and that I did provide 2 network cards.
The second audio card is needed for recording purposes.  LMCE continues to insist on using it for output, although normal PC sounds during startup come through the on-board sound system.
I have no problem with using my HTPC as dedicated DHCP server on a separate network and adapter provided for that purpose.  However, the  WLAN was provided by my wife's employer for her home office use, and I can't have LMCE unilaterally appointing itself as DHCP server for that network.
The installer interface is generally difficult to interpret.
In particular, visual feedback from button clicks would be useful, as it often takes a long time to get a reaction (if any).
Intrigued as I am by its possibilities, I have to conclude that LMCE is not for me at this time.
If I am ever in a position to replace my hardware, I may take another look at it.
Thanks for your efforts to help.

colinjones

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Re: NICs don't work
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2008, 02:33:15 am »
"...not for me at this time." - Understood, but for completeness for future users reading this thread, and if you do decide to come back, I will make a few points here. There are a number of issues, so I will try to delineate them as clearly as possible:

- The DVD is always the preference for installing as it is much quicker and easier (although ironically the CD installation method is usually the fallback when you have compatibility issues - you seem to have had the reverse experience!)

- I can't help with the audio issues as I don't have much experience in that area, but I would assume this is a simple case of editing a .conf file somewhere to tell LMCE which one to use... alsa.conf?

- On DHCP, correct, that is all that LMCE does - for the internal LMCE network. Your Wifi is on your external network (deducing this from the fact that its purpose is nothing to do with LMCE), so if you are finding LMCE is serving DHCP out to it and its wireless clients then you definitely have the LMCE networking setup back to front. ie. your "internal" NIC is facing out into your "external" network. This is the only way that the LMCE DHCP server could access your WLAN as DHCP broadcasts cannot traverse subnets on their own. I think during your struggles with your network cards, LMCE may have gotten confused as to which interface is which. It is easy to fix after following the diagnostic info gathering I posted in the previous post.

- On the button feedback and delays, I agree, but it is a minor issue for me now.