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VLANs don't work with (XEN-)bridge on Broadcom Ethernet Cards with bnx2 driver

This document (3672866) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10


You want to use VLANs inside or outside a (XEN-)bridge. You use Broadcom
Chipset based Ethernetcards which uses the bnx2 driver. Without the (XEN-)
bridge you have tested VLANs and they work perfectly. As soon as the
(XEN-)bridge is brought up VLANs stop working. Even more worth, when the
VLANs are inside the (XEN-)bridge the whole network stops working.


Apart from replacing the card with a other type you can disable
the ASF/IPMI firmware on the card with a DOS management tool.

A bootable DOS CD with this tool can be downloaded from:

Additional Information

The chipset on this broadcom cards have a special ASF/IPMI firmware
which requires to strip all VLAN tags to make the ASF/IPMI firmware
work properly. Unfortunately this make the cards unusable in bridged
environments. According to Broadcom this limitation will be fixed
with chipset revision 5709.
To run the card with linux this ASF/IPMI firmware is not necessary.

According to the driver source code this issue can also happen on
tg3 based network cards but all tg3 based cards we have inspected
recently had disabled the ASF/IPMI firmware per default.

To identify the chipset on your card you can use
hwinfo --netcard | grep Model

example output
Model: "IBM NetXtreme II BCM5708S Gigabit Ethernet"
Model: "IBM NetXtreme II BCM5708S Gigabit Ethernet"

The Number in the output refers to the chipset. In the above example
the chipset is 5708


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:3672866
  • Creation Date: 08-Oct-2007
  • Modified Date:15-Mar-2021
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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