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Old 21st May 2008
siffland siffland is offline
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Default interrupt storm and irq madness

Hey all,

i am running FreeBSD 7 stable i386 on my Toshiba Portege 3110ct. When I plug in my pcmcia Atheros wireless card I get this message a few times:

interrupt storm detected on "irq11:"; throttling interrupt source

This message was really bad when I had APIC compiled in the kernel, I do not know why but since I have taken that out it has mostly gone away. A vmstat -i without the Atheros card shows cbb0 (my cardbus) and uhci0 both using irq11. When I plug in the Atheros card the vmstat -i only shows cbb0 and ath0 on irq11 and does not show the uhci0. Now the cardbus is hard coded in the bios for irq11 and even editing the pccard.conf the Atheros card grabs irq11 also. I am only using 5 or 6 irq's (I am not at my laptop right now), is there anyway to force the uhci0 to another irq. The wireless works fine, i just do not like the interrupt storm errors. Does anyone have any other suggestions to fix this. I have read about the kernel parm to up the interrupt requests, but that just seems like I am supressing the messages of the real problem. Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 21st May 2008
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Oliver_H Oliver_H is offline
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First try to rise the treshold, sysctl hw.intr_storm_threshold=4000
use UNIX or die :-)
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Old 21st May 2008
kazcor kazcor is offline
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Had the same problem on a Thinkpad T41 with an Atheros 5212 and moved back to 6.3, as everything works fine there. However, maybe you want to have a look at polling(4) whether ath is supported in the meantime.
Even with USB and everything that might cause conflicts disabled, I got this error on 7.0 - even if vmstat -i shows no conflicts. Maybe try this one first - disable everything that is not required and afterwards look at vmstat ...
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Old 22nd May 2008
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anomie anomie is offline
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@siffland: keep us posted on how this is going. I also had a very similar problem with FBSD 7.0 on a Dell Latitude CPx w/ pcmcia D-Link (atheros chipset) wireless.
Kill your t.v.
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Old 2nd June 2009
shep shep is offline
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I am also getting an interrupt storm with FBSD 7.1 and tried Oliver-H suggestion to raise the interrupt threshold in /etc/sysctl.conf

My /etc/sysctl.conf:
# Uncomment this to prevent users from seeing information about processes that
# are being run under another UID.
My vmstat -i
$ vmstat -i
interrupt total rate
irq0: clk 541876 999
irq1: atkbd0 465 0
irq6: fdc0 10 0
irq8: rtc 69341 127
irq11: ath0 rl0++ 12067 22
irq12: psm0 10632 19
irq14: ata0 59 0
irq15: ata1 3547 6
Total 637997 1177
Edited dmesg:

ath0: <Atheros 5212> mem 0xe8000000-0xe800ffff irq 11 at device 9.0 on pci0
ath0: [ITHREAD]
ath0: WARNING: using obsoleted if_watchdog interface
ath0: Ethernet address: 00:30:4f:4a:bf:76
ath0: mac 7.9 phy 4.5 radio 5.6
rl0: <RealTek 8139 10/100BaseTX> port 0xe800-0xe8ff mem 0xe8010000-0xe80100ff irq 11 at device 13.0 on pci0
miibus0: <MII bus> on rl0
rlphy0: <RealTek internal media interface> PHY 0 on miibus0
rlphy0: 10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, auto
rl0: Ethernet address: 00:01:29:25:10:23
rl0: [ITHREAD]
.....interrupt storm detected on "irq11:"; throttling interrupt source
interrupt storm detected on "irq11:"; throttling interrupt source
interrupt storm detected on "irq11:"; throttling interrupt source
What I am wondering is if I can disable rl and rlphy as I'm not using the NIC card. Can this be done short of compiling a new kernel (/boot/device.hints vs /etc/sysctl.conf ?) or the old BSD way? >ukc
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Old 23rd October 2009
khentiamentiu khentiamentiu is offline
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Default Try pcBSD 7.1.1

I have been unable to get the irq 11 interrupt storm to go away on my laptop. I in general like the atheros chipset cards, use them all the time with my old Linux laptops, not problem, and they worked find with FreeBSD until I decided to upgrade past 7.0. Not the irq11 interrupts lock up my system every time. I have a compaq armada e500 for this configuration, but I doubt that the laptop has anything to do with it.

Anyway, I installed PC-BSD 7.1.1 (based on FreeBSD 7.2-Stable) without a hitch. I don't know what they did, didn't find anything obvious in config files like rc.conf, but it works great. If you have to have FreeBSD but are not a purist about where the directories are, try PC-BSD. Otherwise, I'd recommend netbsd or openbsd. I didn't have that problem there.
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