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    Using HomePNA with Debian
    Submitted by brainsik on Friday, June 21, 2002 – 18:20
    DebianHomePNA is a technology that uses the unused pairs on a plain old analogue line (or in fact a cat 5 cable), as a relatively slow networking system. This article details using it with Debian GNU/Linux.

    The best reference I could find for setting up a HomePNA device under Linux was at
    . The following is a tweaked and Debian-centric version of those instructions.


    Given to my friend was a PCI card with two RJ-11 ports on the back; just like a modem. It was purchased as a Diamond HomeFree 10 Mbit phoneline network device. It has a Broadcom 4210 chip (specifically, BCM4210KTF) on it.

    I needed the 2.4 kernel source tree (package: kernel-source-2.4.18) and the LinkSys Linux HomePNA driver from

    You might be wondering why the linux driver has a .exe at the end of it. Well, believe it or not, the code you need is wrapped inside that self-executing compressed file. The only rationale for this I can think of is that Linksys wants to make sure you accept their terms of agreement. *sigh*

    WARNING: The driver files are mostly object files precompiled for a non-SMP x86. There is enough code so that the module can be built against your source tree and be compatible with your running kernel. You are trusting LinkSys’ unseen code.

    Getting the files decompressed on a windows machine and moved to your Debian box will probably be the longest part of the installation. /usr/src/ is a good location for the directory.


    1. Make sure the card is installed and recognized. Running lspci showed the card as:

    00:09.0 Ethernet controller: Epigram Inc: Unknown device a0fa (rev 01)

    2. Make sure that your source tree headers are in your include path. I solve this by replacing the /usr/include/linux directory with a symlink:

    /usr/include/linux -> /usr/src/linux/include/linux

    Where /usr/src/linux is always my current source tree.

    If you know a different or better way to do this, please email me.

    3. In the linux HomePNA driver directory, run make or make LINUXVER=`uname -r`. I didn’t find any difference between the two.

    4. If successful, the file il.o should have been created. Copy this into /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net and then insert it by insmod /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net/il.o .

    Check the tail of your syslog for something like:

    Jun 20 21:33:13 tardigrade kernel: eth1: Broadcom InsideLine10(tm) PCI Network Adapter

    This indicates success.

    5. I then appended to /etc/network/interfaces the lines:

    auto iface eth1
    iface eth1 inet dhcp

    and appended to /etc/modules the line:


    Thus, on boot, the “InsideLinex” driver should be loaded and a DHCP request should go out on the HomePNA interface.

    Though true success is still unknown (I will be delivering the machine in a few days), that the driver loaded and recognized the hardware is a very good sign.

    Category: HOWTOs

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    Subject: got it to work!
    Author: hnmedcom
    Date: Tuesday, 2003/03/04 – 04:55
    I got it to work !! Thanks for the exellent Linux FAQ at http://homepna.org/support/faqs.asp#FAQ6 and the mod by Jeff Huter
    . Through the installation, I noticed a few things that may help other Linux HomePNA users:

    1. The driver by LinkSys requires mods to work with HomePNA cards from other manufacturers. One example of these mods is: http://members.cox.net/jeff.huter/
    2. I did the following to set up routing table and the nameserver. The setup is typical for home users with PPP/DSL/cable:
    – route add default gw #IP1
    – echo nameserver #IP2 > /etc/resolv.conf

    Note: #IP1 is the IP of the gateway(IP of the Windows host in my case) and #IP2 is the IP of the DNS server(router/ISP DNS server…).

    I found the Linux networking tutorial at http://www.redhat.com/mirrors/LDP/LDP/nag/node58.html
    particularily useful.

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