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Date:   Mon, 31 Oct 2016 12:23:35 -0500
From:   Timur Tabi <>
To:     Florian Fainelli <>,,,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH] net: phy: at803x: the Atheros 8031 supports pause frames

Florian Fainelli wrote:

> May I suggest reading about standards a bit more, or just looking at
> other drivers, like tg3.c.

I have been doing that for over six months now.  There's only so much I 
can glean from reading source code and standards documents.  The inner 
workings of our NIC are a mystery lost to time.

>> Ok, to me that means that the PHY driver must tell phylib whether or not
>> it supports pause frames.  The question becomes:
>> 1) Is my patch correct?
>> 2) Is my patch necessary?
>> 3) Is my patch sufficient?
> Your patch is correct but also insufficient, although, as indicated
> before, there is an misconception with PHY drivers that they should be
> setting SUPPORTED_*Pause* bits,

If that's a misconception, then why is my patch correct?  It modifies 
the PHY driver to set those bits.  These drivers do the same thing:


 >  the MAC should do that, based on what it
> does, anyway, but more importantly you need to have your Ethernet MAC
> react properly upon what the auto-negotiation and locally configured
> pause/flow control settings are, and configure the Ethernet MAC accordingly.

Ok, so I should enable support for pause frames in my MAC if 
phydev->pause and/or phydev->asym_pause is set, and disable it otherwise?

If I read the spec correct (tx=MAC sends pause frames, rx=MAC 
understands received pause frames),

pause    asym_pause    enable tx?    enable rx?
-----    ----------    ----------    ----------
   0           0           No             No
   0           1           Yes            No
   1           0           Yes            Yes
   1           1           No             Yes

The last two seem backwards.  The internal driver enables RX and TX if 
pause and asym_pause is enabled.

> When you want pause frames to be enabled, you need to advertise them,
> and in order to do so, you need to set phydev->supported to have
> SUPPORTED_Pause and SUPPORTED_AsymPause, and call genphy_restart_aneg()
> to transfer that to a write to the MII_ADVERTISE register, resulting in
> your link partner to see that you now support Pause frames. Since pause
> frames are now in use, you want your Ethernet MAC, not to ignore pause
> frames (have flow control enabled).

Is there a way to enable pause frames without ethtool?  I intend to add 
ethtool support to my driver, but I want to fix this last bug first.

>> 1) I believe my patch is correct, because many other PHY drivers do the
>> same thing for the same reason.  If the PHY supports register 4 bits 10
>> and 11, then those SUPPORTED_xxx bits should be set.
>> 2) I don't know why my patch appears to be necessary, because I don't
>> understand why a 1Gb NIC on a 2Ghz processor drops frames.  I suspect
>> the program is not performance but rather a mis-programming.
>> 4) Is my patch sufficient?  The internal driver always enables pause
>> frame support in the PHY if the PHY says that pause frames are enabled.
>>   In fact, I can't even turn off flow control in the internal driver:
> Please stop abusing this "PHY says", the PHY advertises what it is being
> told to advertise, by the MAC...

Then I need help understanding why there are 10 other PHY drivers that 
set the SUPPORTED_Pause and SUPPORTED_Asym_Pause bits in their .features 

>> $ sudo ethtool -A eth1 tx off rx off
>> $ sudo ethtool -a eth1
>> Pause parameters for eth1:
>> Autonegotiate:  on
>> RX:             on
>> TX:             on
>> The driver insists on leaving flow control enabled if autonegotiation is
>> enabled.
> Actually, the driver forces the enabling of flow control in the MAC,
> period, but does not do anything with the auto-negotiation results, or I
> could not spot it.

Sorry, the internal driver is very different that the external one.  It 
lacks phylib support.  You can see the internal driver here:

Flow control is enabled or disabled via the TXFC and RXFC bits in 
function emac_hw_config_fc():

> This was spotted in the review, but not addressed, but your adjust_link
> callback seems completely bogus, it does a full MAC stop,
> reconfiguration and restart,

I've been struggling to figure out what exactly the driver should do 
during adjust_link, although I don't see where it's doing a full 
restart.  If the link is up, it just calls emac_mac_start(), which just 
starts the MAC.

 > that is at best unnecessary and costly, but
> it also misses a few things and does not act upon reading phydev->pause
> and phydev->asym_pause to set or clear TXFC and RXFC, that really seems
> to be your problem here.

Now that I understand (barely) what phydev->pause and phydev->asym_pause 
do, I can modify emac_mac_start() to use those values to set TXFC and RXFC.

Unfortunately, that won't explain why my driver needs the PHY to pass 
those frames to avoid 10% packet loss.  You would think a 1Gb NIC on a 
24-core 2Ghz SOC could handle 900 Mbps.

Note that if I throttle my bandwidth to 90 Mbps, I still get packet 
loss.  However, if I switch the link from gigabit to 100Mbps, then I 
don't get packet loss.  So it's not the actual throughput that's the 
problem.  I get CRC errors in gigabit mode no matter what, if the pause 
frames are blocked by the PHY.

> Here is what could possibly go wrong right now:
> - your Ethernet MAC unconditionally enables flow control at the MAC
> level, but does not advertise support for that in MII_ADVERTISE until
> you set SUPPORTED_Pause and SUPPORTED_Asym_Pause in the PHY driver, fair
> enough
> - the link partner you are testing against does not keep up well with
> your transmit rates, but supports flow control, so Pause frames that it
> sends back at you to tell you to stop transmitting so quickly just get
> ignored, because not being advertised, you experience packet loss

The link partner is an e1000 NIC on an 8-core 3.6GHz PC .  Is it 
conceivable that I'm overloading it?

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