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We have a Dell PowerEdge T300 with Intel Xeon X3323 2.50GHz and 16gig RAM runningWindows Server 2008 FE, SP 1 (SBS 2008) with a Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet.

About once a week, usually when network traffic is high, the network card goes to "not connected" state showing like the cable is missing. Changing cables, switch ports, has no effect the same as doing a "repair" from the network connections. The only way to fix this, is rebooting the server.

Needless to say, it is becoming a big problem with the customer. Any ideas what is the cause of this or what to look for in order to troubleshoot this issue?

The disconnects used to happen at almost the same time every week (during backup to a NAS)

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I personally would install an Intel NIC, you wouldn't be the first person to have an issue with Broadcoms. –  Robin Gill Feb 21 '12 at 18:24

3 Answers 3

Are you using Broadcom's NIC teaming application (BACS)?? If so, I've found that certain switch hardware (Nortel) does not play nicely with that feature enabled in it's default failover mode (Smart Load Balancing and Failover). To test this, disable the NIC team for a period of time (you said a week?) and just use one NIC to connect for the time being. If this resolves the problem, but you must have teaming enabled, then you'll have to investigate the other teaming modes, all of which require some configuration on the switch to implement.

imho...BACS is a steaming pile of manure. The HP Network Configuration Utility (which works with HP approved Broadcom hardware oddly enough) is a superior application and one of several reasons why I still pay a premium for HP hardware.

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Can you reproduce the problem on demand by initiating the backup yourself? (Hopefully you can.) Have you been able to reproduce it by any other means? You might give a traffic generator tool a try to see if you're able to reproduce the issue (or to isolate it to something related more to the backup software than to network traffic).

On the surface it sounds like a driver problem. If you haven't already, download and install the most current drivers for the NIC from Dell.

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I have tried by initiating a big backup, but it does not happen. It is more of a "timed random" thing...if such things ever exist =) –  Nathan Feb 21 '12 at 19:19
    
Nathan, I had the same problem for months. Are you using BACS to team your NICs? –  John Homer Feb 21 '12 at 19:27
    
Hi John, no teaming. Just using one of the ethernets on the NIC. –  Nathan Feb 21 '12 at 19:42
    
Okay...so much for that idea. In that case, I would seriously consider adding an Intel NIC and moving on. Sorry mate. –  John Homer Feb 21 '12 at 19:44

He guys. Just a quick input. We had the same problem for over 6 months. Tried to rebuild our server core, applied all patches, disabled the ipv4 offsend, updated the NIC drivers , recreated the teams on the NICs and disabled the teams. Nothing worked. In the end, I purchased two intel NICs , disabled the inboard broadcom NICs , created the team and bang!!! Server has been running like a dream. No connection losses, stable and running smooth

Dont bother messing about trying to find a solution, replace the NICs with intel. Will save you loads of time and in our case money

Oh and by the way, ms and dell both said it had nothing to do with the Broadcom NICs. We have prOved then wrong

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