Broadcom TOE, Dell, ISA 2004 and my headache….

A while back I posted about how Broadcom and it’s TOE system in the Dell PowerEdge 2900 stops ISA from functioning on Small Business Server 2003.

Well, since then I have installed a few more Dell servers, all with Intel cards and have had no problems.   However, once recent order managed to slip through the net and came with only the Broadcom Netextreme II card.

Researching the web, I found that people have tried removing the TOE connector that disabled this feature at a hardware level on the PowerEdge box.   They have also tried installing the Broadcom drivers, as well as the most recent Dell ones.  Some have even gone as far as to upgrading the firmware on the device.   I even tried the Scalable Networking Pack from Microsoft.  Nothing seems to work…  

What is worse is that if you call into Dell Technical support about this issue, they will not easily acknowledge that this is their issue.  In fact, just today I had to purchase the Intel replacement.  (I conceded with my account manager that this would be the easier and less stressful process).

This stuff needs to be easier.   But for the moment my recommendation is still to avoid the Broadcom solution.


  12 Replies to “Broadcom TOE, Dell, ISA 2004 and my headache….”

  1. Victor
    March 27, 2007 at 10:43 am

    Hi Nick,

    I´m a Server support analyst at Dell.
    This evening I had a case of ISA malfunction with Broadcom Nics.
    I didn´t finish the torubleshoot with my customer yet, but at first it seems the issue is related to “Receive-side Scaling”, not to TOE. You can try by disabling it in the Broadcom Driver properties.

    I hope it helps you.


  2. March 27, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Hi Victor, I believe that this does not fix 100% of the issues. But thanks for your feedback.

    I believe Broadcom recently updated the drivers on the site again, but I am not sure if it fixes things.

    Also, the Microsoft article on the subject is being worked on and made clearer.

  3. Mike
    March 29, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks for the tip on the “Receive-side Scaling”. I have been having problems with this for almost 2 weeks. I had tried the new drivers from Broadcom, which didn’t fix my issue. Tried the firmware updates, didn’t help, completely re-installed SBS, which worked, right until I put ISA back on.

    Now with disabling the Receive-side Scaling, I can remove workstations from the domain and re-add them successfully.

    Thanks Victor.

  4. July 3, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    We’ve fought the same issue, infact, Windows Server 2003 SP2 included SNP (scalable network pack) which re-enabled TOE if you have previosly disabled.,

    Just disable it TOE at command prompt,

    netsh int ip set chimney DISABLED

  5. pie8ter
    July 30, 2007 at 5:21 am

    A lesson learned. I wish I’ve seen these blogs before we purchased three Poweredge 2950s with broadcom. We are having ton of problems with the Broadcom.

  6. Greg
    October 2, 2007 at 4:54 am

    We had major problems with the TOE where we had a 64bit server with VM Ware on it. The VM’s wouldn’t communicate with the host and vica versa. Disabled the TOE and all problems resolved.

  7. October 10, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Had the same problem yesterday. Was determined to find a better fix than uninstalling sp2 for windows 2003.
    I posted it on my blog with a couple of photos that could help.
    It fixed my problem and I confirmed the solution with Dell

  8. Soonersby50
    November 6, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Sounds like the Receive Side Scaling issue to me..If you want to use your TOE license/key in the future for offloading features then you may need to apply these and disable the RSS feature:

    You may experience network-related problems after you install Windows Server 2003 SP2 or the Scalable Networking Pack on a Windows Small Business Server 2003-based computer

    You cannot host TCP connections when Receive Side Scaling is enabled in Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2

  9. Tai
    December 7, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    you guys are the bomb, fixed mine with this command on the host server.

    netsh int ip set chimney DISABLED

  10. January 14, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Confirmed here too. Dell Poweredge 2950 with Broadcom NICs, SBS R2. Numerous network problems. No software fix whatsoever worked. Had to physically pull the TOE 2 adapter. Problem solved.

  11. March 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I concur, it’s a year later and these Broadcom NICs are still just awful. I learned a lesson from these things, ALWAYS upgrade to the Intel NICs when you purchase a Dell.

  12. Greg
    May 13, 2010 at 10:55 am

    We had the same problem on a Dell but not much of the above worked other than NAT. We came up with a new option, number 5 below and that went great so we could continue to use the bridge configuration.

    1. Disable TOE in the GUI NIC interface – no help
    2. Disabled TOE from the CLI from above – no help
    3. Removed the TOE plug from the motherboard – no help
    4. Switched from Bridge to NAT – that worked!
    5. Switched back to Bridge but added another Network interface for Host Only – that worked!


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