[3c509] upgrading flash on 3c905b

Daniel Gimpelevich daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us
Mon Sep 19 12:43:06 PDT 2005

You've made a rather common mistake: posting questions about a 3c905 to 
the mailing list for the 3c509 family. Five-zero-nine is not 
nine-zero-five, which I think is part of the Vortex family, and you 
could probably get a more knowledgeable response on that mailing list. 
That said, here is what I have noticed regarding PXE/Etherboot on 
off-the-shelf NICs, which may or may not be 100% wrong: Most NICs are 
capable of either PXE booting or Etherboot booting, or both; however, 
they are typically sold with an empty socket where the boot ROM would 
go. The boot ROM chip itself is then sold separately by either the card 
manufacturer or a third party. Sometimes such a chip will be an EPROM, 
other times, an EEPROM. The card itself would not have circuitry to 
flash the boot ROM chip. It must be pulled off the card and flashed 
externally if you would like to alter its contents. One may also simply 
replace the chip with a ready-made newer one. Many motherboard BIOSes 
are not capable of booting from a NIC's boot ROM. In such cases, the 
PXE or Etherboot bootstrap is stored on a floppy or hard disk, and the 
boot ROM chip, if any, is not used. This method also works just fine 
even when diskless booting is possible, with the added advantage of 
easy upgradability. Network booting is far easier than most people make 
it out to be. Now, about WOL (wake-on-LAN): Even when properly enabled, 
WOL is often never properly invoked, so people often think it doesn't 
work when they don't even realize that the truth is they never used it 
in the first place. When a machine is in low-power hibernation, WOL 
looks for a specific magic Ethernet packet to wake the machine from 
sleep. There are programs that send such a packet at 
<http://www.gknw.com/wol.html>. Feel free to ask for clarifications of 
any of the above.
"No gnu's is good gnu's."   --Gary Gnu, "The Great Space Coaster"

On Sep 17, 2005, at 4:41 PM, Ed wrote:

> Hope this isn't a frequently asked question.  Is it
> easy to upgrade the PXE bootstrap on the 3c905b
> from v0.99j to something newer (like PXE v2.x)?
> I recall using a utility named pxeflash.exe for a
> Dell Optiplex (with a 3c905c on the motherboard).
> Would like to do something similar for an old
> HP Vectra with a 3c905b PCI NIC installed.  Is the
> PXE code entirely on the 3Com NIC, or would this
> require a BIOS change?
> Also, wake on LAN doesn't appear to be working on
> the Vectra, even though it's enabled in the BIOS config
> settings and there's a WOL cable from the NIC card
> to the motherboard.  Will updating the 3c905b onboard
> flash help?
>     Thanks,
>     Ed
> _______________________________________________
> 3c509 mailing list
> 3c509 at scyld.com
> http://www.scyld.com/mailman/listinfo/3c509

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