README.TXT Driver File Contents (3ComNT_2.exe)

                        3Com (R) Corporation
                   3Com EtherLink Server CD for
                   the 3C980C EtherLink Server NIC
          Technical Notes and Frequently Asked Questions

The EtherLink Server NIC Features:

-   Parallel Tasking (R) architecture for highest performance
-   Bus mastering for low CPU utilization and optimal overall system
-   Ease of installation and Auto Select Media Type and Link Speed
-   Driver support for NetWare 4.x & 5.0, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, 
    Microsoft Windows 2000, and SCO Unix
-   Lifetime warranty
-   Full duplex enabled for switched 10/100 Mbps environments
-   DynamicAccess server features (load balancing, failover, VLANs)
-   Hot plug NIC installation 

Frequently Asked Questions and Technical Notes
This file contains technical notes and answers to some frequently
asked questions to help you obtain maximum performance from your
3Com EtherLink Server NICs.  This information is updated
regularly on 3Com BBS (bulletin board service), and 3Com's World
Wide Web site (

Technical Notes
       This technical note documents additions to the 
       EtherLink Server Network Interface Cards User Guide.
       Online versions of the user guide in PDF and HTML
       formats are located in the root directory of the
       3Com EtherLink Server CD. Last minute corrections 
       (if any) to the user guide located in the printed 
       Release Notes found in the product package. 

       These technical notes document other known issues with 
       server hardware and with the Windows NT, Windows 2000, 
       NetWare, and SCO Unix network operating systems.  If 
       you need a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing 
       PDF format user guide, obtain it from the Adobe Systems 
       Incorporated web site:

Software Compatibility
       The 3C980C-TX server NIC version 2.0 software is
       fully compatible with 3C980B-TX server NIC hardware.

Upgrading from the Previous Driver Release
       It is strongly recommended that you install the
       3C980C-TX server NIC and version 2.0 software on a
       server where no earlier-version EtherLink
       Server NICs and drivers are installed. Installing
       the software on an existing 3C980-TX configuration
       will invalidate the resilient server links and VLAN
       tagging that was defined in version 1.03.

Performance Considerations

        Load Balancing performs better with a Switch
        When using load balancing, performance may
        be impacted if all the NICs in a load balancing
        group are connected to a single hub (or the
        equivalent).  The best performance is realized
        when all the NICs are connected to a switch.

        A separate PCI bus for each NIC may increase Load
        Balancing performance
        Because of bus contention, increased performance may
        be realized when each NIC is placed on a separate
        PCI bus.

Hardware Considerations

        Auto-Negotiation using older 3C980 NIC
        3Com recommends that both ends of the server network
        connection be forced to full duplex mode when using a
        3C980 NIC with ASIC revision 00. The ASIC revision can
        be viewed using the diagnostic utility. Poorer
        performance than expected is the symptom of this older 
        3C980 NIC and it appears most often after  failback
        has occurred with network connections set for

        Auto-Negotiation using Alteon AceSwitch 100
        This switch selects a half-duplex setting instead of the
        better performing full-duplex when performing NWay

        Spurious Hardware Interrupts on the Compaq Proliant 5000
        When running a server on the Compaq Proliant 5000 lot of
        Spurious interrupts warning messages may appear.  3Com has
        found that these warnings have no effect on normal
        operation and should be ignored. 3Com has noticed that
        these warnings also happen with NICs from other
        manufacturing companies.

        Tyan 16 Dual Pro with Matrox Video Card, PVR,
        and Windows NT 4.0
        NIC not detected by 3Com DOS Diagnostic Program
        Neither the 3Com DOS diagnostic program nor Windows NT 4.0
        server/workstation recognizes the NIC in the following

        * Tyan motherboard 16 with 200 MHz dual Pentium processors
          and 5 PCI slots
        * Award BIOS 4.5
        * Windows NT 4.0
        * Matrox Video 2 Mb RAM (PCI)
        * Digital Perception video recorder (PCI) used for video

        Action: Move the 3C980C-TX Server NIC to slot 2, the
        Digital Perception video card to slot 3, and the Matrox
        video card to slot 4.

        Micron Millennia M55HI
        Unable to run DOS diagnostic program

        When attempting to run the DOS diagnostic program for the
        3C980C-TX Server NIC on a Micron Millennia M55HI with
        Stealth 3D video, the following error appears:

        "!!! Error!!! Incorrect configuration is set by the BIOS. 
        Get an updated BIOS from the PC manufacturer or try to
        install the adapter in another slot."
        The user cannot proceed any further with diagnostics. 
        The error appears when the NIC is installed in slots 1, 2,
        and 3, but not 4.

        Action: Install the NIC in slot 4. If slot 4 is not available,
        disable the plug and play option in the Advanced area of the
        BIOS. This eliminates the error in all four slots.

        Cisco Catalyst 5000

        CRC and alignment errors when connecting to a Cisco Catalyst
        5000 Alignment, CRC, and runt errors may occur when the
        3C980C-TX Server NIC is connected to the Cisco Catalyst 5000

        Action: Do one of the following:
        * Force the port speed of the switch to AUTO and set the NIC
          for NWay auto-negotiation (IEEE 802.3u).
        * Force the ports on the switch and the attached NICs to the
          same settings (SPEED = 100 and DUPLEX= Full duplex).

        Once the speed setting is forced on an NWay device, NWay 
        auto-negotiation is disabled. When an NWay device is
        connected to a link partner that does not support or is
        not set for NWay, it uses a feature called Parallel
        Detection to determine the appropriate media type 
        (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX) but defaults to half-duplex transfer
        mode. When the NIC is in Nway mode and the switch is forced
        to 100 Mbps with full-duplex operation, the NIC will
        negotiate to 100 Mbps but fall back to half-duplex because
        of the limitation explained above. Consequently, network
        errors result from the mismatch in the transfer mode

        Performance Hint for the EtherLink Server NICs on
        HP NetServers
        During testing of HP NetServers and the EtherLink Server
        NIC, 3Com has observed that the performance can be maximized
        by customizing the NetServer's BIOS.  Within the BIOS of the
        NetServer, access the Advanced Chipset Setup and set the DRAM
        Buffer Write to 0 and the Snoop Ahead to 1.

        NOTE: This was tested on an HP NetServer 466 LF and a 466 LC,
              but could apply to other models of the NetServer

        Compaq Prolinea 575 Computer Notification
        3Com has observed issues with a particular system BIOS
        revision for the Compaq Prolinea 575 computer.  If the
        system BIOS version is dated 7/26/95, it should be updated
        to a later revision.  The Compaq Prolinea 575 Configuration
        and Diagnostics utility should be used to verify the
        revision date of the system BIOS (system ROM). Consult the
        manual for the Compaq Prolinea for instructions on
        verifying and updating the system ROM version and on
        obtaining updated system ROM software, or contact Compaq
        for assistance.

        Using a SNI machine with the 82440LX chip set running
        Netware 4.1, causes the server to abend with a stack
        overflow error.
        If the SNI machine, with the 440LX chip set, is running
        Netware with an Adaptec SCSI card and the 3C980C NIC
        installed and a stack overflow occurs, please contact
        Adaptec or SNI for an updated SCSI driver for the

        DOS diagnostics incompatibility with 3C980C and
        Gateway E-3000
        During testing 3Com encountered incompatibilities with our
        3C980C NIC and the Gateway E-3000 series PC when loading our
        DOS diagnostics program. 3Com suggests using our Windows based
        diagnostics if you encounter this problem. The Windows
        diagnostics have been shown to work without error.

        Installation of multiple 3C980Cs

        Since each 3C980C BootROM will take up 16K Upper Memory, if
        you are installing multiple NICs in a system, you should disable
        the BootROM option via DOS or Win Diagnostics.

Window NT and Windows 2000 Issues

        Refer to the README.TXT file in the WINNT subdirectory.

Novell NetWare Issues

        Refer to the README.TXT file in the NWSERVER subdirectory.

Windows 95 & 98 support
        3Com does not support the operation of the 3C980C-TX
        Server NIC with Microsoft Windows 95 nor 98.


Troubleshooting Installation Problems
            3Com has found that some PCI computers require additional
            configuration steps in order to install a PCI NIC.  3Com
            recommends these steps:

            1.  Determine whether you have the latest BIOS version for
                your computer.  Contact your computer's manufacturer
                to make sure you are using the latest BIOS.  Here are
                the phone numbers for some PCI system manufacturers:

                Company    Phone           Notes/Web site

                ALR*       (800) 257-1230
                AST*       (800) 727-1278
                AT&T*      (800) 531-2222
                Compaq*    (800) 652-6672
                           (800) 345-1518

                NOTE: Compaq DeskPRO XL should have a BIOS dated Oct.
                      1994 or later for best performance.

                Dell*      (800) 626-4308
                           (800) 624-9896
                Digital    (800) 354-9000
                Gateway*   (800) 846-2070
                           (800) 846-2301
                Hewlett-   (800) 322-HPPC
                Packard*   (800) 752-0900
                IBM*       (800) IBM-3333
                Micron*    (800) 438-3343
                Packard    (800) 733-4411
                Unisys*    (800) 328-0440  http://www.marketplace
                Zenith*    (800) 227-3360
                ZEOS*      (800) 554-7172
                           (800) 228-5390  /file_lib/zeosbbs

                In addition, here are the phone numbers and on-line
                addresses of several popular OEM motherboard

                Company     Phone             On-line address

                Intel*      (503) 264-7999
                Micronics   (510) 651-6837
                ASUS        (408) 956-9084    http://asustek.asus

                * Third-party trademarks and copyrights are the
                  property of their respective owners.

            2.  Make sure the BIOS is set up correctly.  In some PCI
                computers, you may need to enable the PCI slot using
                the BIOS Setup program.  This is especially common in
                PCI computers with a Phoenix BIOS.

                After installing the NIC, turn on the computer and
                enter the Setup program during system initialization
                (usually by pressing [F1], [F2], or [Ctrl]-[Alt]-[S]).
                The correct key to press is usually shown on the
                screen. Once in the Setup program, find the entry for
                PCI slots (it may be in the main menu, or sometimes in
                advanced system configuration) and set these
                parameters to:

                BIOS System          Setting

                PCI Slot Number      Slot where the 3Com PCI NIC is
                                     installed (1-3)
                Master               ENABLED
                Slave                ENABLED
                Latency Timer        40
                Interrupt            Choose any one of several
                                     available interrupts that
                                     Setup provides.
                Edge or Level        Level Triggered Interrupt

                NOTE: The exact wording of each of the parameters will
                      vary from computer to computer. Save the
                      changes, exit the Setup program, and continue
                      with the installation.

        Performance on Some Early Pentium Pro Models
        During testing, 3Com has observed that some early Pentium Pro
        models using Intel's (54x?) PCI chip sets do not fully support
        the full bandwidth throughput of the PCI bus.  Symptoms can
        include an abnormal number of dropped packets or performance
        below what the wire can support.  This problem can sometimes
        be fixed by getting a more recent BIOS from your system
        vendor. Contact your vendor to see if such an upgrade is

General Support Questions

        The most accurate and up-to-date support information can
        be obtained from 3Com's World Wide Web site

3Com, DynamicAccess, EtherLink, and EtherDisk are registered trademarks of
3Com Corporation.

                  (%VER 2.0d)

Download Driver Pack

How To Update Drivers Manually

After your driver has been downloaded, follow these simple steps to install it.

  • Expand the archive file (if the download file is in zip or rar format).

  • If the expanded file has an .exe extension, double click it and follow the installation instructions.

  • Otherwise, open Device Manager by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting Device Manager.

  • Find the device and model you want to update in the device list.

  • Double-click on it to open the Properties dialog box.

  • From the Properties dialog box, select the Driver tab.

  • Click the Update Driver button, then follow the instructions.

Very important: You must reboot your system to ensure that any driver updates have taken effect.

For more help, visit our Driver Support section for step-by-step videos on how to install drivers for every file type.

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