[Etherlab-users] Enable normal Ethernet devices with native e1000e driver

Gavin Lambert gavin.lambert at tomra.com
Tue May 4 00:11:30 CEST 2021

Activating or deactivating the ec_e1000e (or other device-specific) network modules will disconnect and remove all devices with the same chipset/family, and then add them all back again (both regular Ethernet and EtherCAT).

The end result is that all ports should be available for use again, but it is possible that they may come back with a different name (especially if you're using the old ethN names rather than the new hardware-based names) and/or not be configured the same way as previously (e.g. they will lose the IP assignment and might come back with no address or a different address, although that is unlikely if you're using standard DHCP).  It will also disrupt any existing connections using those ports, although they should normally be able to re-establish afterwards provided that the IP is recovered.

It can be useful to use hardware that has different chipsets for your "main" Ethernet port and your EtherCAT ports, to avoid temporary disruption as the services are restarted, especially if you're connecting to the machine over a remote network connection.  But this is not absolutely required.

It's recommended to use a modern kernel that does not use the legacy ethN names.

Gavin Lambert
Senior Software Developer


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From: Douglas Lopez
Sent: Thursday, 22 April 2021 2:51 pm
To: etherlab-users at etherlab.org
Subject: [Etherlab-users] Enable normal Ethernet devices with native e1000e driver

Hello IgH Etherlab,

First off, I would like to thank you for your hard work with etherlab.  I found the manual very useful and was able to implement IgH ethercat master to run my slaves without too many issues, and I am new to plc development in general.  I apologize in advance if this is the incorrect place to contact, if so, could you please redirect me?

My issue is that while the ec master service is running, the ec_e1000e driver disables all other ethernet devices on my machine that are not configured for an ethercat master in the etc/sysconfig/ethercat file.  While the etherCAT master service is running, ifconfig lists only the network device configured for the master.

After rereading the v1.5.2 manual Section 4: Dedicated Hardware, I am unsure if the native e1000e driver will be able to use one device (ex:  eth2) for etherCAT master while using  others (ex: eth0, eth1) as "normal" ethernet devices.  However, Section 4.2:  Ethernet and EtherCAT Devices indicates that the native driver is "one networking driver for EtherCAT and non-EtherCAT devices" which seems contrary to the point made in Dedicated Hardware.  Section 4.2 does not indicate that the non-EtherCAT devices will be available while the service is running, so maybe the fault is in my understanding.

Is it possible to start the master service for one ethernet device (eth2) and then use the other ethernet devices to ssh, with the native e1000e driver?  Or does activating the master service remove all devices from the network stack so that only the master device is operational?

If this is not possible due to "dedicated hardware" for the native driver, after reading section 4.3: Device Activation, the generic driver should be able to handle this feature?  If I recall correctly, the generic driver will not work for RT applications, so I will have to lose Xenomai.

System Specs:
Linux version:  3.2.21
Xenomai:  2.6.21
Distribution:  AntiX 16 (Debian 8.5 Jessie)

Master version: 1.5.2
Ethernet Driver:  e1000e

Thank you very much for your time,

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