Intel Nic OEM

  • Hello,

    I picked up a sophos WS500 which has two onboard intel nics and a card containing an intel 82546GB but it produced by silicom

    I get :

    pci0: <serial bus,="" smbus="">at device 31.3 (no driver attached)
    pci0: <dasp>at device 31.6 (no driver attached)

    is there a way to it to use the EM driver for that card or is it going to require a recompile of the kenrnel?


  • Netgate Administrator

    Those should be supported by the em(4) driver, yes.
    There have been other Silicom cards that give trouble because they have a PCI bridge that isn't setup correctly by some bioses. Does your card have such a chip? Is it seen by pfSense?,45522.0.html


  • The server i am using used to be a Sophos WS500 appliance, which is just a supermicro superserver 5015B-MRB and came with the silicom card which must have been working.

    It shows up as connected to the intel pci bridge that comes with the motherboard:

    ioapic0@pci0:1:0:1:    class=0x080020 card=0xd18015d9 chip=0x03268086 rev=0x09 hdr=0x00
        class      = base peripheral
        subclass  = interrupt controller
    none2@pci0:2:2:0:      class=0x020000 card=0x00291374 chip=0x00291374 rev=0x03 hdr=0x00
        class      = network
        subclass  = ethernet
    none3@pci0:2:2:1:      class=0x020000 card=0x00291374 chip=0x00291374 rev=0x03 hdr=0x00
        class      = network
        subclass  = ethernet

    I have asked silicom for a driver i can use, so i will see where that gets me, if that doesnt work i will go with the onboard nic and see if its fast enough or an alternative nic

    Thank you

  • Netgate Administrator

    Ah, tricky. So although they're using Intel NIC chips it appears they're using their own PCI vendor and product IDs. I guess it's maybe to drive the bypass control.

    This doesn't look promising:


  • Netgate Administrator

    Looks like it requires a driver that's not readily available:


  • i thought that might be the case, i have made a request from silicom for a driver and see what they say.
    if not, its being junked in favor of something else if the onboard nics prove not to be fast enough.

  • I got a login for their drivers, its essentially the Intel driver with a few changes to detect their cards (their vendor ids and product ids).
    the driver is freely distributable as long as you leave the copyright information in tact…

    i will see if i can compile it in the morning...

  • Netgate Administrator


    the driver is freely distributable as long as you leave the copyright information in tact…

    Better be sure about that before distributing it.  ;) Though I can't see why they would object.
    I assume it also contains some code to control the by-pass relays?


  • It does, its written by silicom, while the rest is Intel.
    it compiled, driver loads and the card is detected, but it fails to initialize the hardware

    silbpi0: <pxgbpig> port 0x2000-0x203f mem 0xd8000000-0xd801ffff irq 24 at device 2.0 on pci2
    silbpi0: Hardware Initialization Failed
    silbpi0: Unable to initialize the hardware
    device_attach: silbpi0 attach returned 5
    silbpi1: <pxgbpig> port 0x2040-0x207f mem 0xd8020000-0xd803ffff irq 25 at device 2.1 on pci2
    silbpi1: Hardware Initialization Failed
    silbpi1: Unable to initialize the hardware
    device_attach: silbpi1 attach returned 5</pxgbpig></pxgbpig>

    I think i will dump the card and use the onboard nic for now and relook at another card when we change ISP

    Thank you for your input


  • Netgate Administrator

    That's disappointing.  :(
    Seems a shame to abandon it, maybe Silicom can offer some advice. Was it a FreeBSD 8 driver?


  • No it was for v7.x
    Looking at the Intel website, the adapter that is based on has drivers for v7 and v9
    v9 drivers wont compile on v8

    I am quite out of my depth but i have asked and see what they say.

    A lot of their other cards they are now pointing directly to the Intel website for drivers, but i will fall into the same problem i originally had and the card would not be detected without their modifications.

    i will update

  • Netgate Administrator

    It's interesting there is an amasingly small amount of info on there cards out on the web. What few clues I could find are all old, like 2008, so may not be relevant. However I notice that in all the logs I've read the cards are detected as:


    rather than


    as in your logs. Your card is a PXG2BPI so maybe it's trying to initialise the wrong hardware. Could just be the name convention has changed slightly in 5 years.  :-\


  • I have been told to buy a newer card or port the drivers myself
    i can do the first, but not the latter

    It looks like a lot of these cards where sold and used in firewall appliances such as Cisco or sophos which may be why the hush hush

    If someone in the UK is in a position and willing to port drivers i would most likely part with it
    i dislike the throw away culture….

    i guess that's where this ends for me.


  • Netgate Administrator

    I'm in the UK…  :) but I probably couldn't port the drivers.  :(

    Interestingly Intel don't have an 8.X specific driver, they too have 7 or 9. Yet I know the most recent igb drivers do compile on 8.3 for pfSense.
    Hmm, the 82546GB seems to fall outside the most recent em(4) driver, 7.3.8. The most recent driver that claims to support it is 7.2.4 and that was released in 2011, before FreeBSD 8.3.



  • Netgate Administrator

    Ok, the 7.3.8 driver looks like it does still support the 82546GB. I had forgotten that the driver was divided into two some time ago (in 2011?), the legacy em driver code still lists it. So maybe just adding the PCI device ID to the current driver would allow it to run without the by-pass hardware.


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