Intel Releases Windows Workaround and Patch for Ethernet Stuttering and Disconnects

We reported on issues with Intel's i226-V 2.5 Gbps Ethernet controllers, which are used on a wide range of motherboards with both Intel and AMD CPUs, at the end of January, where users were experiencing stuttering and connection drops. Intel has now issued a workaround and patch for the issue, which affects not only the i226, but also the i225 and the Killer E3100 2.5 Gbps network controller. The workaround turns off the Energy-Efficient Ethernet mode, or EEE as it's also known. EEE is only supposed to activate when an Ethernet connection is idle, and it is claimed to cut power consumption by up to 50%.

However, it appears that EEE kicks in even when the Ethernet connection is active, causing stuttering and connection dropouts. The patch disables EEE for all speeds above 100 Mbps, but EEE can also be disabled manually in Windows device settings. MSI is the first motherboard manufacturer to release an updated driver on its website, but because this isn't a permanent solution to the problem, it's unlikely that we'll hear anything else about it. Intel appears to be working on determining the root cause of the issue, but it's unclear whether it will be possible to patch it in software or if a hardware revision will be required in the end.