Howto: ASIX 88178 USB Ethernet Adapter on Ubuntu 10.10 Linux

[update Dec 2011: Linux kernel 3.2 rc3 and later “just work” (with config USB_NET_AX8817X), so the following steps are not needed.]

Support for these devices has been in the Linux kernel since kernel 2.6.21 (file /drivers/net/usb/asix.c). However, prior to version 3.2, this driver fails to find an IP address, and comes up “disconnected”

To get the adapter working, we need to download, compile, and install the latest driver available from ASIX for the AX88X family. This driver is compatible with kernels 2.6.14+

Steps

Assumes you have another net connection on this machine. Download the driver on another machine and copy over if not.

mkdir asix
cd asix
wget http://www.asix.com.tw/FrootAttach/driver/AX88772B_772A_760_772_178_LINUX2.6.35_Driver_v3.5.0_Source.tar.bz2
tar xvjf *
sudo apt-get install module-assistant
sudo module-assistant prepare
sudo modprobe -r asix
make
sudo make install
sudo modprobe asix

Your USB network interface should now come up automatically.

These instructions have been written for our Plugable USB2-E1000 USB Gigabit Ethernet adapter, but should apply to any ASIX adapter with an ASIX AX88178 USB Ethernet controller and Realtek RTL8211CL PHY, which reports ASIX’s USB IDs VID_0B95 & PID_1780.

The steps should work identically on older Ubuntu kernel versions. It was also tested on Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28.10. Comment here if you have any trouble, and we’ll try to figure it out.

Common errors

Before this update of the driver, the common errors you’ll see typically show up as a timeout trying to get an IP address from DHCP. You’ll see messages like

“no ipv6 routers present” in dmesg and /var/log/kern.log

And in /var/log/syslog:
“DHCP transaction took too long (>45s), stopping it”
“Marking connection ‘Auto eth1’ invalid”

Again, this update of the ‘asix’ kernel module should resolve these errors. For the future, hopefully the in-kernel ASIX driver will get patches to catch it up with the driver source available directly from ASIX.

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