PFsense RC 3 / Embedded Realtek 8111E Chipset not recognized

  • Hi all,
    I'm currently frustrated with pfsense on recent hardware.

    Here is a summary :
    1. I need to replace an ipcop machine (which works very well), mainly to be able to load-balance two internet interfaces.
    Moreover the ipcop machine is a ~8 years old P3 which may fail one day.

    2. I performed thorough tests on an "auxiliary" machine with PFSense RC3. Eveything works well after some fine tuning :
      - Don't use an exotic crypto algorithm for openvpn or too big key sizee, it will kill the server
      - OpenVPN client creation process and export is not as easy as in ipcop, and I could not import previous client keys, but that does not matter
      - I have ~170 ipsec tunnels and if internet interface is down, pfsense web interface becomes irresponsive (problem solved thanks to the forum - just put an internal DNS server with

    3. I bought a brand new motherboard and installed what I believed to be the final PFSense machine.

    But internal network interface is Realtek 8111E chipset and driver load fails with the message :
    re0 : Chip rev : Ox2C800000
    re0 : MAc Rev : 0x00000000
    re0 : Unknow H/W revision Ox2C800000
    then re interface does not appear anywhere.

    As I needed at least 4 network interfaces and had only 3 PCI Slots, I had to buy another motherboard with 4 PCI Slots.
    Again, the internal netwokr chip was realtek with the same error message.
    Someone speaks about that here :

    I found some informations here :
    Tried the driver .ko without success.

    I downloaded FreeBsd 8.1, followed the procedure given with .c and .h from Realtek site :
    recompiled kernel then the driver, but got the same message loading the driver with kldload.

    I bought an additional PCI express intel network card and will tell you if it works, but I'm really frustrated at this time.
    Is there a mean to make this Realtek chip works with pfsense ?

    Maybe using VLan's could be a workaround and make me "save" one or two interfaces. But I have to deal with old network switches which don't seem to support VLAN's,
    so I need : LAN / WAN / Client DMZ / Internet DMZ / Additional internet DSL Line which gives 5 network interfaces.

    If some BSD's angel could solve this stupid 8111E Realtek chip issue it would really be great !

    Last minute : tried the latest snapshot, then tried a 8.2 Freebsd (no pfsense) : same message … :-[

  • FreeBSD (and pfSense) support of new hardware often lags behind that of Windows and Linux.

    It seems you have already done the simple things to get your onboard NIC working. It should be possible to get your NIC working but it could take many hours.

    Soekris ( sell a couple of different 4 10/100 port PCI cards that have been supported in FreeBSD (and pfSense) for some years.

    A VLAN capable switch can be used as a "port multiplier", e.g. an eight port switch could have a "trunk" port to pFsense (in all VLANs) and the other 7 ports for single VLANs. Other switches "downstream" on the VLAN switch need not anything about the VLANs. You could use an Intel PCI GigE board or one of the older Intel PCI Express GigE cards (say 82571 chipset) for these will almost certainly be supported in pfSense 2.0 and can probably be picked up cheaply on eBay. (You can consult the FreeBSD 8.1 hardware compatibility list at for greater precision about what is supported in FreeBSD 8.1 and hence pfSense 2.0 snapshot builds.)

  • Hi,
    well everything's said here. Thanks a lot for such a documented answer. Maybe I should have bought one of those wonderful boxes !
    A good book about VLAN's will do tghe job.
    Thanks again.

  • @TheBlast:

    A good book about VLAN's will do tghe job.

    From memory the wikipedia article on VLAN is pretty good source.  Maybe you won't need a book after reading that.

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