The Sysadmin’s Daily Grind: Ethtool



A touchy LAN that plays like a movie diva can spoil any admin’s day. Ethtool to the rescue!

Murphy got on the bus I was riding a couple of days ago and followed me into my apartment. When I fired up my laptop, Murphy’s Law struck. My harmless plan was to watch TV via streaming from my office. I have a VDR [1] set up in my lounge for this purpose, and a well-kept home network [2] between the lounge and the office to handle the rest. But the performance was so jerky, I really thought I was watching a breakdancing movie. A (fairly exhaustive) diagnosis of the network hardware failed to reveal broken components. My switch is a dumb device without management functionality, so there was nothing to diagnose. What finally helped me save the day was Ethtool [3].