The Realtek RTL8168E-VB-CG Gigabit Ethernet controller combines a triple-speed IEEE 802.3 compatible Media Access Controller (MAC) with a triple-speed Ethernet transceiver, PCI Express bus controller, and embedded memory. With state-of-the-art DSP technology and mixed-mode signal technology, the RTL8168E offers high-speed transmission over CAT 5 UTP cable or CAT 3 UTP (10Mbps only) cable. Functions such as Crossover Detection and Auto-Correction, polarity correction, adaptive equalization, cross-talk cancellation, echo cancellation, timing recovery, and error correction are implemented to provide robust transmission and reception capability at high speeds.
The RTL8168E supports the PCI Express 1.1 bus interface for host communications with power management, and is compatible with the IEEE 802.3u specification for 10/100Mbps Ethernet and the IEEE 802.3ab specification for 1000Mbps Ethernet. It also supports an auxiliary power auto-detect function, and will auto-configure related bits of the PCI power management registers in PCI configuration space. The RTL8168E features embedded One-Time-Programmable (OTP) memory to replace the external EEPROM (93C46/93C56/93C66).
The RTL8168E supports the attachment of a 64Kbyte external Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) Flash. The AT25F512 interface permits the RTL8168E to read from, and write data to, an external SPI Flash device and provides 64Kbytes of serial reprogrammable Flash memory.
Advanced Configuration Power management Interface (ACPI)—power management for modern operating systems that are capable of Operating System-directed Power Management (OSPM)—is supported to achieve the most efficient power management possible. PCI MSI (Message Signaled Interrupt) and MSI-X are also supported.
In addition to the ACPI feature, remote wake-up (including AMD Magic Packet and Microsoft Wake-up frame) is supported in both ACPI and APM (Advanced Power Management) environments. To support WOL from a deep power down state (e.g., D3cold, i.e., main power is off and only auxiliary exists), the auxiliary power source must be able to provide the needed power for the RTL8168E.
The RTL8168E is fully compatible with Microsoft NDIS5, NDIS6 (IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP) Checksum and Segmentation Task-offload (Large send and Giant send) features, and supports IEEE 802 IP Layer 2 priority encoding and IEEE 802.1Q Virtual bridged Local Area Network (VLAN). The above features contribute to lowering CPU utilization, especially benefiting performance when in operation on a network server.
The RTL8168E supports Receive Side Scaling (RSS) to hash incoming TCP connections and load-balance received data processing across multiple CPUs. RSS improves the number of transactions per second and number of connections per second, for increased network throughput.
Alert Standard Format (ASF 2.0) is also supported to provide system manageability in OS-absent environments. The ASF defines remote control and alerting interfaces that serve managed PCs in OS-absent states. The ASF capability can minimize on-site IT maintenance, improve system availability, and allow remote control of power management.
The RTL8168E supports Protocol offload. It offloads some of the most common protocols to NIC hardware in order to prevent spurious wake up and further reduce power consumption. The RTL8168E can offload ARP (IPv4) and NS (IPv6) protocols while in the D3 power saving state.
The RTL8168E supports IEEE 802.3az Draft 3.2, also known as Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE). IEEE 802.3az operates with the IEEE 802.3 Media Access Control (MAC) Sublayer to support operation in Low Power Idle mode. When the Ethernet network is in low link utilization, EEE allows systems on both sides of the link to save power.
The device also features inter-connect PCI Express technology. PCI Express is a high-bandwidth, low-pin-count, serial, interconnect technology that offers significant improvements in performance over conventional PCI and also maintains software compatibility with existing PCI infrastructure.
The RTL8168E is suitable for multiple market segments and emerging applications, such as desktop, mobile, workstation, server, communications platforms, and embedded applications.