The Intel I226-V Ethernet controller is a network interface controller (NIC) that allows a computer to connect to a wired network via an Ethernet cable. In January 2023, it was reported that this controller was affected by a bug that caused it to drop the network connection randomly. Sometimes, the Ethernet port would not even function on certain PCs.
This issue was particularly prevalent on motherboards based on the Intel 700-series chipset, released with the 13th generation of Intel desktop CPUs. The chipset provides a platform for the CPU and other system components such as storage, USB, and networking.
The issue with the I226-V Ethernet controller is similar to one previously found in the older I225-V chip. The I225-V is a Gigabit Ethernet controller commonly used on Intel motherboards, and the bug caused the network connection to drop under heavy network load.
Intel has acknowledged the issue with the I226-V controller and has released a driver update to address the problem. Users of affected systems can download and install the updated driver to fix the issue. Some motherboard manufacturers may also release BIOS updates that address the issue.
Intel has discovered that the Ethernet connection dropouts on their 700-series motherboards are due to an energy-saving feature in the driver. As a temporary solution, Intel advises customers to disable Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) mode in the Advanced Windows/Linux driver settings. However, this fix has only been partially effective, prompting Intel to continue to develop a permanent solution.
MSI has become the first Intel partner to release an installer with the workaround. This solution has now been incorporated at the driver level in the latest driver package. MSI’s HQ Technical Marketing shared in a post on the MSI Gaming subreddit that this new driver package is accessible on the product pages of several motherboards, including the MSI MEG Z790 ACE.
Customers can download and install the latest driver package to resolve the Ethernet connectivity issue on their affected motherboards. However, it is uncertain whether this driver will work on motherboards from other brands. This issue is only relevant to users who rely on Ethernet for their internet and LAN connectivity.
If you have a modern Intel motherboard with the I226 or I225 Ethernet controller, this update may be of interest to you. Intel is continuously monitoring the situation and providing additional updates as needed.
Unfortunately, energy-saving implementations can often result in users having to spend considerable time resolving unexpected issues that impact their productivity.
According to Chi11eddog on Twitter, Intel’s update includes a mitigation to disable Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) at 1Gbps/2.5Gbps, which can be done manually in the Advanced Windows/Linux driver settings. However, the downloaded patch may have more finesse as it still applies EEE at 100Mbps speeds.
MSI has also released a driver update for its motherboards affected by Intel Ethernet Controller I226 and I225 issues, including the MPG Z790 Carbon WIFI motherboard. It is uncertain if the updated driver will work on other brands, and users should proceed with caution if installing the E2FN.INF file themselves.
Users need to ensure that they download the appropriate driver for their specific operating system, either Windows 10 or Windows 11.
Using the wrong driver could potentially cause further issues or even damage to the system. They should check their motherboard vendor’s update pages for specific product files.
The ideal scenario is that Intel’s ongoing investigations will unveil that the problem with their networking controllers can be remedied through software or firmware updates rather than resorting to energy-saving functionality deactivation or a hardware revision.