Linux Network Drivers

This is the primary site for information on and updates to the Linux Ethernet device drivers.

Users looking for a PCI driver update SRPM can go directly to the Driver Update page at

Linux has driver support for almost all current production, mass-market PCI Ethernet and Fast Ethernet chips as of November 2002. While a few specific boards are not supported because e.g. of unique transceiver interfaces, they are rare exceptions.

Most common Gigabit Ethernet adapters are supported as well.


Note: Updates to CardBus drivers are distributed as part of the PCI Driver Update package. PCMCIA (the old 16 bit PC Card standard) device drivers are tied to a particular Socket Services version and thus are distributed only with David Hinds' PCMCIA package from Sourceforge or

A few of these drivers were not written by me, even though most include my name on the author list by virtue of starting from my skeleton driver or including generic code. You should contact the other listed authors for updates or bugfixes for those drivers.

--Donald Becker

Other Major Sites for Linux Network Information

Gigabit Ethernet

PCI and CardBus Ethernet Adapters

Note: ISA boards based on the DP83800 are not supported due to the non-availability of documentation for this chip.

ISA and EISA Ethernet Drivers (New and updated versions)

Many additional drivers are in the current kernel. If an update is available here, it is to fix a specific problems, or add an enhancement.

Note: ISA boards based on the DP83800 are not supported due to the unavailability of documentation for this chip.

Parallel Port "pocket" Ethernet Adapters

Cluster Drivers

The following adapters are designed for very high speed, short distance networking. They are typically used in computational clusters, server farms, or storage systems.

Common Problems and Fixes

Support Programs

Support Information

More information on PCI Ethernet Device Drivers

Digital "Tulip" driver for DEC 21*4*-based boards.
This page contains the instructions and updated drivers for SMC EtherPower and others PCI Ethernet and Fast Ethernet adatpers. Driver development is reported on the Tulip development.
3Com logo "Vortex" and "Boomerang" EtherLink III PCI/EISA (3c590 3c592 3c595 3c597 3c900 and 3c905) driver.
This is a driver for the 3Com 100Mbs PCI and EISA ethercards.
With a description and instructions.
Written by me, Donald Becker.
Intel EtherExpress Pro 100 driver.
This is a new driver for the Intel EtherExpress Pro 100B and PCI Pro/10+ boards with the i82557 chip.
Note that this is not for the older Pro 10 or Pro 100A boards.
Intel EtherExpress Pro/10 PCI (w/ i82596 chip) driver -- NEW!.
This is a driver for the Intel PCI EtherExpress Pro/10 with the i82596 chip written by John Stalba,
Note that this is not for the Pro/10+ boards that use i82557 chip (use the EEPro100 driver instead) , or for the ISA EEPro10 with the i82595 chip (see the ISA section below).
TI ThunderLAN driver (external link -- Caldera/James Banks).
The "TLAN" TNETE100PCE chip, rarely seen except on the Compaq "Integrated NetFlex-3 10 T UTP Module"
PCI NE2000 driver.
See also the PCI NE2000 updates (remote link).
Packet Engines "Yellowfin" G-NIC driver
SMC EtherPower II (EPIC/100 83c170 chip) driver.
RealTek RTL8129/8139 driver.
Adaptec DuraLAN (AKA "Starfire") driver.

Pointers to Other Ethercard Drivers

Intel EtherExpress Pro/10 ISA (i82595) driver information and updates
Crystal/Cirrus/IBM-EtherJet CS89[02] device driver.
A Linux driver for Crystal LAN Ethernet chips, as used on several IBM products, written for and maintained by Crystal Semiconductor. Written By Russell Nelson of Crynwr Software.
3Com logo Updated 3Com EtherLink (3c5*9) driver with Plug-and-Play patch.
With a description and instructions. This update is only needed with the 1.2.* kernel and the 3c509B.
Written by me, Donald Becker.
3Com logo A driver for the 3Com 3c515 ISA Fast EtherLink card.
Written by me, Donald Becker.
NI5010 driver
Written by Jan-Pascal van Best .
Updated SMC Ultra / SMC EtherEZ driver for 1.2.13.
Now with Programmed-I/O (in addition to the original ISA "high memory") support.
This driver update source file is for kernels 1.2.13 through 1.3.90. This is a drop-in replacement for drivers/net/smc-ultra.c. The 2.0.0 and later kernels already include these changes.
Written by Donald Becker.

Non License-Conforming Drivers

Several drivers have been distributed that are little more than renamed versions of my drivers. Some have my name, the copyright notice or the Gnu GPL license notice removed. The less flagrant violations merely fail to note that the driver has been modified from the original version. (The GPL requires such a note.) Here is a mapping from the bogus driver name to the official name:
mpx5030.c rtl8139.c
smc1211.c rtl8139.c
rtl8029.c ne2k-pci.c

Unsupported boards

Linux now supports almost every current-production PCI Fast and Gigabit Ethernet chip!

The exceptions are generally unique boards based on supported chips:

  • Boards using the Digital Tulip chip must have a correct media table in the EEPROM. The Tulip driver has explicit support for almost all boards with old-style EEPROM contents, but this isn't assured.
  • There is no plan to support the obsolete Intel EtherExpressPro 100A, which hasn't been produced in years.
  • No board with an on-board processor is supported, because these invariably have a proprietary/undocumented interface. (EEPro Server and Matrox multiport PCI switch cards fall into this category.)
  • The discontinued Essential Communications Gigabit Ethernet board is not supported.
  • The Intel Gigabit Ethernet board is supported by an Intel-written driver. Contact Intel directly for more information.
  • The 3Com encrypting network adapter is supported by an 3Com-written driver. Contact 3Com directly for more information.

Of course we can't make any claims about not-yet-introduced chips.

Token Ring

The 2.0 and later kernels include support for most common ISA adapters. All Token Ring information is now maintained at the Linux Token Ring Project web page at

Other resources

Linux Network Drivers Page
SCYLD information.
Author: Donald Becker
See the drivers for the contact email address. Do not bother sending email to, as email to that address adds your domain or IP address to the known-spammer list.