Sep 012011

This took us some time to figure out… we had a brand new Dell Latitude E6420 over here, and it refused to connect with our LAN when we hooked it up to a Dell PowerConnect 5548 Switch.


  • Direct connections between the laptop and the PowerConnect switch were refused: No DHCP lease, no traffic, sometimes Network link was just down
  • The laptop could connect to this switch if we used a small switch/hub between the laptop and the Powerconnect Switch
  • Direct connections worked if we booted from a live CD (Ubuntu)
  • Direct connections did not work on Windows Xp and Windows 7 (fresh installs)
  • Network cable was not damaged
  • Laptop NIC (Mainboard) has been swapped by Dell, so we made sure this one was not faulty, too
  • We experienced the same behaviour with a second brand new Dell Latitude E6420

After a lot of tests and a few discussions with the Dell Support Team, Dell finally found the reason for this issue:
The Intel 82579 Gigabit Ethernet Controller supports a feature called EEE (Energy Efficient Ethernet). It looks like Intels specifications of this feature differs from the specifications of the Dell PowerConnect 55xx series. So, to successfully hook up this NIC to our LAN we just need to disable the EEE feature using the Device Manager:
  1. Navigate to the Device Manager.
  2. Open the category of “Network adapters”.
  3.  Right click on the icon for the “Intel(R) 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection” and choose “Properties”.
  4. Click on the “Advanced” tab and set the Property of “Energy Efficient Ethernet” to “Disabled”.
  5. Click on the “OK” button to save changes and then close all open windows.
According to Dell, currently only the following systems have a Intel 82579 Ethernet NIC, thus having the communication problems with Dell PowerConnect 55xx switches:

Latitude E6320, Latitude E6420, Latitude E6420 ATG, Latitude E6520, Optiplex 790, Optiplex 990, Dell Precision WorkStation T1600, Dell Precision Mobile WorkStation M4600, Dell Precision Mobile WorkStation M6600

But future systems may have this problems, too… I wonder if Dell is going to update the NIC drivers or the PowerConnect firmware to fix this problem once and for all. IMHO manually switching the EEE option in the Device Manager is not a final solution.

Update: Dell just told me that they are currently working on a new Network Card Driver which should fix the problem. Unfortunately they can’t tell me it’s release date yet.

  4 Antworten zu “Dell PowerConnect 5548 und Intel 82579 NIC”

  1. […] Dell PowerConnect 5548 und Intel 82579 NIC » Yet another Note-Blog Dell PowerConnect 5548 und Intel 82579 NIC. Work Kommentieren. Sep 012011. This took us some time to figure out… we had a brand new Dell Latitude E6420 over here, and it refused to connect with our LA… […]

  2. Same issue here with Optiplexes and Latitudes. The latest firmware for the switches is SUPPOSED to fix this, but it doesn’t. However, you can disable EEE on the Dell switches rather easiler (found this on another blog). Log into the switch, enable, conf, then type: no eee enable

    CAREFUL: it will reset all the ports when you do this, so it will „blink“ the network off and on. I did this during working hours and discovered it the hard way. AGH!

  3. Problem is on the NIC level and NOT the switches. Update NIC firmware to latest will solve the issue.
    Options above are just workarounds.


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