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Date:   Thu, 18 Jun 2020 19:49:08 +0100
From:   Russell King - ARM Linux admin <>
To:     Florian Fainelli <>
Cc:     Helmut Grohne <>,
        Nicolas Ferre <>,
        "David S. Miller" <>,
        Jakub Kicinski <>,
        Palmer Dabbelt <>,
        Paul Walmsley <>,
        "" <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] net: macb: reject unsupported rgmii delays

On Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 11:06:43AM -0700, Florian Fainelli wrote:
> On 6/18/2020 1:45 AM, Russell King - ARM Linux admin wrote:
> > On Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 10:14:33AM +0200, Helmut Grohne wrote:
> >> On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 02:08:09PM +0200, Russell King - ARM Linux admin wrote:
> >>> With a fixed link, we could be in either a MAC-to-PHY or MAC-to-MAC
> >>> setup; we just don't know.  However, we don't have is access to the
> >>> PHY (if it exists) in the fixed link case to configure it for the
> >>> delay.
> >>
> >> Let me twist that a little: We may have access to the PHY, but we don't
> >> always have access. When we do have access, we have a separate device
> >> tree node with another fixed-link and another phy-mode. For fixed-links,
> >> we specify the phy-mode for each end.
> > 
> > If you have access to the PHY, you shouldn't be using fixed-link. In
> > any case, there is no support for a fixed-link specification at the
> > PHY end in the kernel.  The PHY binding doc does not allow for this
> > either.
> > 
> >>> In the MAC-to-MAC RGMII setup, where neither MAC can insert the
> >>> necessary delay, the only way to have a RGMII conformant link is to
> >>> have the PCB traces induce the necessary delay. That errs towards
> >>> PHY_INTERFACE_MODE_RGMII for this case.
> >>
> >> Yes.
> >>
> >>> However, considering the MAC-to-PHY RGMII fixed link case, where the
> >>> PHY may not be accessible, and may be configured with the necessary
> >>> delay, should that case also use PHY_INTERFACE_MODE_RGMII - clearly
> >>> that would be as wrong as using PHY_INTERFACE_MODE_RGMII_ID would
> >>> be for the MAC-to-MAC RGMII with PCB-delays case.
> >>
> >> If you take into account that the PHY has a separate node with phy-mode
> >> being rgmii-id, it makes a lot more sense to use rgmii for the phy-mode
> >> of the MAC. So I don't think it is that clear that doing so is wrong.
> > 
> > The PHY binding document does not allow for this, neither does the
> > kernel.
> > 
> >> In an earlier discussion Florian Fainelli said:
> >>
> >> | fixed-link really should denote a MAC to MAC connection so if you have
> >> | "rgmii-id" on one side, you would expect "rgmii" on the other side
> >> | (unless PCB traces account for delays, grrr).
> >>
> >> For these reasons, I still think that rgmii would be a useful
> >> description for the fixed-link to PHY connection where the PHY adds the
> >> delay.
> > 
> > I think Florian is wrong; consider what it means when you have a
> > fixed-link connection between a MAC and an inaccessible PHY and
> > the link as a whole is operating in what we would call "rgmii-id"
> > mode if the PHY were accessible.
> > 
> > Taking Florian's stance, it basically means that DT no longer
> > describes the hardware, but how we have chosen to interpret the
> > properties in _one_ specific case in a completely different way
> > to all the other cases.
> How do you ensure that a MAC to MAC connection using RGMII actually
> works if you do not provide a 'phy-mode' for both sides right now?
> Yes this is more of a DT now describes a configuration choice rather
> than the hardware but given that Ethernet MACs are usually capable of
> supporting all 4 possible RGMII modes, how do you propose to solve the
> negotiation of the appropriate RGMII mode here?

This is actually answered by yourself below.

> >>> So, I think a MAC driver should not care about the specific RGMII
> >>> mode being asked for in any case, and just accept them all.
> >>
> >> I would like to agree to this. However, the implication is that when you
> >> get your delays wrong, your driver silently ignores you and you never
> >> notice your mistake until you see no traffic passing and wonder why.
> > 
> > So explain to me this aspect of your reasoning:
> > 
> > - If the link is operating in non-fixed-link mode, the rgmii* PHY modes
> >   describe the delay to be applied at the PHY end.
> > - If the link is operating in fixed-link mode, the rgmii* PHY modes
> >   describe the delay to be applied at the MAC end.
> > 
> > That doesn't make sense, and excludes properly describing a MAC-to-
> > inaccessible-PHY setup.
> The point with a fixed link is that it does not matter what is the other
> end, it could be a MAC, it could be a PHY, it could go nowhere, it just
> does not matter, the only thing that you can know is you configure your
> side of the fixed link.

That is *exactly* my point.

Today, with a PHY on the other end, the four RGMII modes tell you how
the PHY is to be configured, not the MAC.  The documentation states

So, why should a fixed-link be any different?

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