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Intel X550-T2 where is firmware update for promised 802.3bz (official NBase-T standard)?

blogthis
New Contributor I
4,848 Views

Hi,

 

We have many Intel X550-T2, and I have one genuine Intel X550-AT2 in our lab for testing.

 

The official standard for NBase-T is known as IEEE 802.3bz, and was promised as a feature-update via firmware by Intel, at the launch announcement within that X550 Product Brief, in this original Product Launch Intel file:  "Intel_Ethernet_Controller_X550_Product_Brief.pdf"

 

A few links to Intel's promise from Intel resellers:

https://www.uptimed.nl/downloads/uptimed-intel-x550-product-brief.pdf

http://8thgen.pillarglobalsolutionsinc.swcontentsyndication.com/sw/swchannel/CustomerCenter/documents/19765/39003/Intel_Ethernet_Controller_X550_Product_Brief.pdf

https://docplayer.net/55770857-Intel-ethernet-controller-x550.html


/quote/

"In addition, the X550 controller also supports NBASE-T* technology.
NBASE-T technology can increase network speeds of 2.5 Gb/s or 5 Gb/s using existing CAT 5e/CAT 6 cables at lengths up to 100 m.
Intel’s NBASE-T technology can be firmware upgraded to support the emerging IEEE 802.3bz specification(1).

NBASE-T Technology Support (IEEE 802.3bz "ready")
* Provides 2.5 GbE and 5.0 GbE link speeds over CAT5e/CAT6 cabling deployments. Firmware upgradable to IEEE 802.3bz(1)

(1) Feature to be enabled in a post-launch firmware release."

/unquote/

 

I also found this:

 

Filename: X550_SpecUpdate_Rev2.9.pdf

Quote, "NBASE-T speed advertisement (2.5 GbE/5 GbE) is disabled by default in the X550 NVM. An NBASE-T enabled driver should be used to link at NBASE-T speeds."

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000030131/ethernet-products.html

 

Quote, "The Windows* drivers support the NBASE-T technology"

Indeed, yes I found that Windows 10/11 are now supported with NBASE-T 2.5/5.0 link speeds in Intel Driver pack Wired_PROSet_27.6_x64.zip

 

And:

https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/release-notes/ethernet-controller-x550-feature-support-matrix.pdf

 

So.... the IEEE 802.3bz firmware "feature" upgrade from the draft Nbase-T, was promised by Intel in year 2015 (at Intel's x550 product launch) - And the IEEE 802.3bz standard was ratified in year 2016 - But, I can't find that firmware anywhere, now 6 years later in year 2022?

 

WHERE is the IEEE 802.3bz firmware, and what VERSION of the firmware added it?

HOW do we confirm if our older X550 NIC's have 802.3bz enabled?

Is IEEE 802.3bz integrated into an NVM image for X550; if so, which one and where is its release notes that specifically say 802.3bz now supported?

Or, is this IEEE 802.3bz added with an EEPROM update etc; if so how do I obtain it?

 

Note:  I've dug through NVM update release notes, and I do NOT see any specific mention of IEEE 802.3bz being "enabled" in the regular/mainstream NVM firmware.
If this feature-update for adding 802.3bz is in a NVM firmware, please give me the link to the Release Notes that specifically say it.

 

In general - Please provide details.

Thanks!

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1 Solution
blogthis
New Contributor I
2,405 Views

To Answer my own thread:

NO, the X550-T2 does NOT, and apparently NEVER will support 100% compliance to IEEE 802.3bz mGig support (based on Intel post above, and elaborated in root cause below).

However..

YES, the X550-T2 supports NBase-T cross-compatibility with ALMOST ALL IEEE 802.3bz devices/features, now enabled in Windows 10/11 drivers v26+ with NVM firmware v3.6+..

 

The only two things we confirmed do NOT work right now at time of posting:

(a). Link speed Auto-Negotiate with SOME switches fails (but works if Manually set), and

(b). IEEE 802.3az "green" Energy Efficient Ethernet ("EEE") mode is still unsupported.

 

Very importantly, and in all fairness:

The official IEEE 802.3bz mGig standard itself provides for NBase-T backwards compatibility, and in our testing this X550-T2 DOES indeed work as expected when NBase-T driver is Manually set link speed to 2.5g or 5.0g in Windows 10/11.

 

Root cause:

(1). Preliminary-Draft Nbase-T upgrade to official IEEE 802.3bz MGIG firmware, as confirmed above by Intel, DOES NOT EXIST in full compliance, and,

(2). Based on our own research - The REASON is official IEEE 802.3az standard for EEE is the main problem, because it is ALSO missing from the physical chip, and CANNOT be added by just NVM firmware, but EEE is unfortunately REQUIRED to be in fully official IEEE 802.3bz compliance (this EEE standard is a part of the official mGig standard).

NOTE: Intel admits EEE is unsupported on X550-T2 (despite saying its supported in outdated Docs) here:

https://community.intel.com/t5/Ethernet-Products/802-3az-EEE-support-on-X550-T1-2-NICs/m-p/284819

https://community.intel.com/t5/Ethernet-Products/On-the-state-of-802-3az-with-Intel-X550/m-p/1364016

 

Summary..

A large amount of X550-T2 documentation and spec sheets etc, contradict themselves and are now inaccurate, due to two fundamental reasons: 

(a) Docs are still based on the two promised IEEE 802.3 wired Ethernet features that were retracted by Intel and NOT released, and,

(b) Features were added by Intel slowly over time to its NVM Firmware and Drivers but then poorly documented, not documented at all, or not consistently documented across all possible sources of the release notes and various places on the Intel website that host such docs.

(c) Outdated docs/specs, results in tremendous customer confusion with this product.

 

IMHO:

Basically, Intel just needs to go on a documentation especially spec sheet update project on their own website to clear up all this confusion across all their numerous sources of information for features working in the X550-T2 to properly align with the CURRENT (post-launch) newer drivers and firmware capabilities.

View solution in original post

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33 Replies
Mike_Intel
Moderator
1,260 Views

Hello blogthis,

 

I hope this message finds you well.

 

We just want to update you that we are still checking this request with our Engineers. This is still for further investigation and we will give another update once we heard from them but no later than 3 business days. 

 

Hoping for your kind patience.

 

Best regards,

Michael L.

Intel® Customer Support


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Mike_Intel
Moderator
1,230 Views

Hello blogthis,

 

I hope you are having a good day.

 

We just want to update you that we are still checking this issue with our Engineers. Please give us another 2 to 3 working days to provide an update.

 

Hoping for your kind patience.

 

Best regards,

Michael L.

Intel® Customer Support


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Crisselle_Intel
Moderator
1,206 Views

Hello blogthis,


Good day!


Please be advised that this request is still escalated to our engineers. We apologize if this is taking too long but rest assured that we will give you an update as soon as we receive any feedback from them but no later than 2-3 business days. 


Thank you for your kind understanding. 


Best regards,

Crisselle C.

Intel Customer Support


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Crisselle_Intel
Moderator
1,198 Views

Hello blogthis,


I hope this message finds you well!


Please be informed that we are still actively working on this issue for you and we are still waiting for the feedback from our higher level Engineers. We will give you an update as soon as possible but no later than 1 week.


We highly appreciate your kind patience on this matter.


Best regards,

Crisselle C.

Intel Customer Support


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Crisselle_Intel
Moderator
1,178 Views

Hello blogthis,


Good day and I hope everything is great!


This is just an update to inform you that we are still waiting for the feedback from our engineering team. We understand that this is taking too long but rest assured that we are still working on this request. 


Kindly expect another update for the status of this one no later than 1 week.


Thank you for you kind understanding. 


Best regards,

Crisselle C.

Intel Customer Support


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Keeop
Beginner
1,152 Views

Any further updates? It has been more than a week now.

 

Cheers.

Keeop

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blogthis
New Contributor I
1,135 Views

@Crisselle_Intel  and @Mike_Intel 

 

I did not see the usual promised Intel update and am concerned my ticket went forgotten last week.

Please confirm you have not abandoned this thread, and provide where and how to download the firmware and release notes, with how and what upgrades X550-T2 from the draft N-BaseT to the standard IEEE 802.3bz.

Or if you still don't know - Since I've asked this for over a month, can this be escalated?

Thank you.

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Keeop
Beginner
993 Views
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blogthis
New Contributor I
842 Views

@Crisselle_Intel  @Mike_Intel 

Hi Crisselle and Mike,

Are you still working at Intel?

My post has not received the promised follow-ups for months.

Someone at Intel please respond.

Thanks.

 

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blogthis
New Contributor I
842 Views

Hi Crisselle and Mike,

Are you still working at Intel?

My post has not received the promised follow-ups for months.

Someone at Intel please respond.

Thanks.

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blogthis
New Contributor I
841 Views

I have waited months for Intel reply, and do not want to start over on this question:

https://cdrdv2-public.intel.com/333293/333293-Intel%20Ethernet%20Controller%20X550-product-brief.pdf

Quote, "Intel’s NBASE-T firmware can be upgraded to support the IEEE 802.3bz specification"

Where is this upgrade for Intel X550-T2?

 

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Fariz_Intel
Moderator
775 Views

Hi blogthis,

 

We deeply apologize for what happen and the inconvenience caused by this issue. We understand how you feel regarding this situation as it take quite some time in providing the assistance for your inquiry.

 

We believe the short and simple answer for your inquiry is that there were no official firmware update version or documentation available for Intel X550 regarding the NBase-T support, however most of the software/driver release were developed and updated through all those year in order to make sure the NBase-T can be works since Intel X550 hardware is capable to support the IEEE 802.3bz specification.

 

We do understand that this inquiry is align with the statement from the product brief itself which is "Intel’s NBASE-T firmware can be upgraded to support the IEEE 802.3bz specification". As we confirm with engineering team that the NBase-T can works with Intel X550, it looks like the work towards support for the IEEE 802.3bz has been done mostly through the software/driver release and unfortunately we don’t have much exact details on timeline of the process.

 

In short, mostly Intel X550 can support NBase-T however if you found an issue on any platform either Windows or Linux you can submit a new question as this thread will no longer be monitored since this is the only information available that we could provide regarding this inquiry.

 

You may also check other inquiry regarding Intel X550 NBase-T support on Intel Ethernet Community link below:

https://community.intel.com/t5/Ethernet-Products/network-adapter-X550-T2-driver-no-support-2-5GbE/m-p/551451

 

 

Best regards,

Fariz_Intel


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blogthis
New Contributor I
2,406 Views

To Answer my own thread:

NO, the X550-T2 does NOT, and apparently NEVER will support 100% compliance to IEEE 802.3bz mGig support (based on Intel post above, and elaborated in root cause below).

However..

YES, the X550-T2 supports NBase-T cross-compatibility with ALMOST ALL IEEE 802.3bz devices/features, now enabled in Windows 10/11 drivers v26+ with NVM firmware v3.6+..

 

The only two things we confirmed do NOT work right now at time of posting:

(a). Link speed Auto-Negotiate with SOME switches fails (but works if Manually set), and

(b). IEEE 802.3az "green" Energy Efficient Ethernet ("EEE") mode is still unsupported.

 

Very importantly, and in all fairness:

The official IEEE 802.3bz mGig standard itself provides for NBase-T backwards compatibility, and in our testing this X550-T2 DOES indeed work as expected when NBase-T driver is Manually set link speed to 2.5g or 5.0g in Windows 10/11.

 

Root cause:

(1). Preliminary-Draft Nbase-T upgrade to official IEEE 802.3bz MGIG firmware, as confirmed above by Intel, DOES NOT EXIST in full compliance, and,

(2). Based on our own research - The REASON is official IEEE 802.3az standard for EEE is the main problem, because it is ALSO missing from the physical chip, and CANNOT be added by just NVM firmware, but EEE is unfortunately REQUIRED to be in fully official IEEE 802.3bz compliance (this EEE standard is a part of the official mGig standard).

NOTE: Intel admits EEE is unsupported on X550-T2 (despite saying its supported in outdated Docs) here:

https://community.intel.com/t5/Ethernet-Products/802-3az-EEE-support-on-X550-T1-2-NICs/m-p/284819

https://community.intel.com/t5/Ethernet-Products/On-the-state-of-802-3az-with-Intel-X550/m-p/1364016

 

Summary..

A large amount of X550-T2 documentation and spec sheets etc, contradict themselves and are now inaccurate, due to two fundamental reasons: 

(a) Docs are still based on the two promised IEEE 802.3 wired Ethernet features that were retracted by Intel and NOT released, and,

(b) Features were added by Intel slowly over time to its NVM Firmware and Drivers but then poorly documented, not documented at all, or not consistently documented across all possible sources of the release notes and various places on the Intel website that host such docs.

(c) Outdated docs/specs, results in tremendous customer confusion with this product.

 

IMHO:

Basically, Intel just needs to go on a documentation especially spec sheet update project on their own website to clear up all this confusion across all their numerous sources of information for features working in the X550-T2 to properly align with the CURRENT (post-launch) newer drivers and firmware capabilities.

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