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compile realtek network driver for pfsense 2.4.x

How to compile and install latest realtek network driver in pfSense 2.4.x (FreeBSD 11.1)

  1. Download FreeBSD 11.1 VMDK and create a VM with it as HDD.

  2. Get FreeBSD source tree for your exact FreeBSD version and uncompress it to /usr/src:

    fetch -o /tmp`uname -s`/releases/`uname -m`/`uname -r | cut -d'-' -f1,2`/src.txz
    tar -C / -xvf /tmp/src.txz
  3. Download latest Realtek network driver (you need to input an email address).

  4. Uncompress driver:

    tar xvzf 0007-rtl_bsd_drv_v194.01.tgz
  5. Make driver:

    cd rtl_bsd_drv_v194.01
    1. If the last command fails, change the following line in file if_re.c

      From: #include <dev/re/if_rereg.h>

      To: #include "if_rereg.h"

  6. Copy the file if_re.ko to the /boot/kernel folder in pfSense device.

    scp if_re.ko root@<pfSense device IP>:/boot/kernel

  7. Change file permissions in if_re.ko file accessing through SSH to pfSense.

    chmod 555 /boot/kernel/if_re.ko

  8. Modify /boot/loader.conf.local file and add the following line at the end of the file: if_re_load="YES"

    • Through console: vi /boot/loader.conf.local
    • Through web: Diagnostics > Edit File and click Load. When finished editing click Save.
  9. Reboot pfSense.

  10. After restart, verify if module is installed through ssh with kldstat. Example execution:

    [2.4.2-RELEASE][root@pfSense.local]/root: kldstat
        Id Refs Address            Size     Name
         1    7 0xffffffff80200000 2c3ea98  kernel
         2    1 0xffffffff82e3f000 80900    if_re.ko
         3    1 0xffffffff83021000 46c6     cryptodev.ko

Based on:

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Thank you !

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ygaeon commented Sep 29, 2020

About 1 month ago I ditched my XCP-ng installation of pfSense in favor of bare metal installation. Since then I've had weird disconnects (seemingly when I load the connection a bit ~>300Mbit/s) and Gateway alarms going of, causing the gateway to be brought DOWN and UP again. Also saw a lot of pfSense kernel: arpresolve: can't allocate llinfo for <IP> on <iface> messages.

I saw messages floating around about FreeBSD and Realtek, but I didn't have a solution to it, until this guide. Thanks!

I've made a few additions to the guide as I discovered some issues:

  • I downloaded the qcow2 version from here:
  • Extracting the src.txz filled the volume and I couldn't continue and had to resize the volume first:
    • $ qemu-img resize FreeBSD-11.3-RELEASE-amd64.qcow2 +3G
    • Boot up the image. (eg. $ qemu-system-x86_64 -m 4096 -enable-kvm -drive file=FreeBSD-11.3-RELEASE-amd64.qcow2,format=qcow2 -cpu host -smp cores=4 -usb -device usb-tablet)
    • # gpart show ada0 will say that the volume is [CORRUPT] but a simple # gpart recover ada0 will solve that.
    • Check what partition "freebsd-ufs" is on and if you're lucky, it's the last partition and you won't have to remove swap first.
    • # gpart resize -i <partition id> -s 6G -a 4k ada0
    • # growfs /dev/ada0p<partition id> will probably fail on you "Operation not permitted" but I found that I could use # service growfs onestart successfully instead.

Hope this helps the next guy :-)

PS! I'm on ~30 minutes stable connection now, where it would die on me every 5 minutes before this. Fingers crossed!

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This guide still works for pfsense 2.5.x. Note that I used Freebsd 12 to build the latest driver available from Realtek.

I didn't try dropping in the previous version built with Freebsd 11. No idea if that would work (when e.g. upgrading from pfsense 2.4.x to 2.5.x).

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Thanks for the guide.
I did it on pfsense 2.5.1-RELEASE (amd64)built on Mon Apr 12 07:50:14 EDT 2021FreeBSD 12.2-STABLE
Of course, I used a freebsd 12.2 VM and 12.2 source files.
I edited the /boot/loader.conf instead of /boot/loader.conf.local which doesn't exist.
Everything is up and running with the new driver!

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Just as a FYI, the driver is available as a pfsense package. Look for realtek-re-kmod. Might be behind Realtek source or freebsd-freshports though. Current pfsense package version is realtek-re-kmod-v196.04_2, freshports version is _3.

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jovimon commented Sep 6, 2021

Hello @jddonovan, thank you very much for your find!
I have not tested it, but for everyone else, you have to enter the shell (through SSH or Diagnostics > Command Prompt) and issue this command: pgk search realtek-re-kmod.
Then, issue this command pkg install realtek-re-kmod-<version> with the version number returned in the previous command.

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getting a error that I have no clue about

chris@freebsd:~/scrap/rtl_bsd_drv_v198.00 $ make
make: "/usr/share/mk/" line 17: Unable to locate the kernel source tree. Set SYSDIR to override.

make: stopped in /home/chris/scrap/rtl_bsd_drv_v198.00

any thoughts?

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ygaeon commented Jun 3, 2023

@chris-topher .. the /usr/src existed on my image so can't help you there.
Perhaps try a search? :-)

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For future users:
You can just search package using this command: pkg search realtek-re-kmod, and this output will like to this:

realtek-re-kmod-198.00_3       Kernel driver for Realtek PCIe Ethernet Controllers

Then you can install using following command: pkg install realtek-re-kmod-198.00_3

And follow package's message.

In my case, Realtek provided source is broken to build in FreeBSD 14.

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