Now normally I don’t like to be quite so … well…non complementary about a product …especially when I personally haven’t suffered from the issues surrounding it.  But lately so much weirdness has occurred with one brand of network cards that we’ve begun to label them as downright Evil.

A comment, and a SRX case that had to be opened to get to the bottom of the issue pointed out again how, right now, at all costs, Broadcom nics should be avoided.  Once again, they nailed an SBSer who was trying to install R2 and the WSUS install just wouldn’t.

Buy/scrounge some Intel nics, disable the Broadcoms on the motherboard if that’s where they are at and hopefully at some point in time the Broadcoms will straighten out.

But for right now… avoid them like the plague.

Now in all fairness, Darrin got it working by installing the management software and only installing the drivers, which.. even my Intel wireless nics like/want to load up wireless managent software that freaks things out .  So perhaps that should be “Avoid all management software like the plague” to be fair.

P.S.  D-links are reported by some to have evil tendencies as well.

Under the unofficial blogger code of ethics – no vendor has paid for this endorsement of Intel nics…they just have always been rock solid.  It’s called “been there, done that, they work”.   And I started a new category for the blog…. called “Evil Things”.

8 Thoughts on “The Following network cards are evil

  1. The problem with a lot of these cards are that they switch major things (for example, the entire Ethernet chipset) without changing models. D-Link and Netgear have been notorious for this. This is a big problem on various unix flavors, since these cards ship with Windows driver software, and the unixes have native support for a particular chipset. A linux user trying to buy a card literally can’t tell from looking at the box if it’s going to work or not, because there’s no indicator which chipset is in the the box. It’s just labelled as a “DFX430” or something.

    Now, even though these cards have good Windows support, you run into problems when you get to Win2K3 or x64. They are much stricter with the drivers there, and you might start running into the same kind of chipset issues, since Microsoft is often the one shipping those drivers.

  2. I think you’re making too broad of a statement here. Broadcom NICs are used extensively by HP and we haven’t had any issues with them. In fact, the management software is outstanding. I have heard of problems with them but it’s usually when you’re using a “white box” configuration.

  3. John Currie on January 5, 2007 at 8:28 am said:

    I recently had a new Dell PE1900 go crazy once I installed the ISA 2004 part of SBS premium.

    All the desktops would not login and group policy stopped working, afte rhours of troubleshooting the Broadcom Netextreme II onboard cards were found to be at fault, a £8.00 Netgear FA311 was installed as a stopgap and all is well.

    Lost all faith in broadcom after that

  4. Thanks for the help on this R2 issue Susan. This is one of those ‘Lessons Learned’ Eriq is always talking about. 😉 Your help saved us a nuke-and-pave that would have ultimately wound us back in the exact same spot. I need to find a Mountain Dew Gift Card for you!!

    BTW – What do you do with all those empty cans? 😉

    -Tim Barrett

  5. Anders on January 5, 2007 at 11:34 am said:

    We have discretely turned down new customers (SBS and others) that want to have servers with BCM5708 cards, because of the problems we had in the past with these NICs. The most annoying issues were not related to SBS, but to an installation of ESX server on an xSeries 440. After many days of troubleshooting we resolved the network issues by adding extra Intel NICs and disabling/removing the Broadcom cards. Viola.

  6. Intel. Intel. Intel.

    They just work.

  7. bradley on January 7, 2007 at 12:14 pm said:

    To Joe… the folks that most often report this are the Dell folks. Perhaps HP has the problem licked… but Dell hasn’t.

  8. I have found that at least as of 8 months ago you could not find a NIC with a Windows 2003 certified driver. The box may say it comes with one, the web site may say it has one but when you actually look at the so called Windows 2003 driver it’s either a windows 2000 driver or it’s not certified.

    Has anyone else experienced this. The reason I ask is because I installed an SBS server in Dec of 2005 and when I installed ISA 2004 I too had problems. The server had one internal NIC and I bought another to be the external. ISA would lose connection on the external NIC after a few minutes. I opened a call to PSS and eventually they found the problem was that the driver was not Windows 2003 certified. So I went on a hunt and could not find a NIC with a real Windows 2003 certified driver except this one:

    It worked fine. The wierd thing was that ISA had no problem with the internal NIC,built into the motherboard, which also did not have a Windows 2003 certified driver.

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