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JB980
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Zbook 15 G3 with Thunderbolt 3 dock - dock net port totally unrecognized

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Zbook 15 G3 with Thunderbolt 3 dock
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Zbook 15 G3 with Thunderbolt 3 dock. We have 15 of these, all with the Thunderbolt 3 dock. On every last one of them the USB ports work like a charm but the net port is completely gone. No yellow bangs in device manager, nothing for the HP support assistant to find, nothing for the Softpaq manager to find.

 

The firmware, bios, drivers, everything is current by any checkable HP standard.

 

I only get a brief flash of the connection light on the dock when first connecting power to it. Otherwise no link light. Networking shows only the Intel ethernet and wireless. Broadcom drivers were loaded by a HP tech doing remote assistance, and the Broadcom utility only shows the Intel networking components.

 

The on-board ethernet port works like a charm.

 

The Thunderbolt icon in the system tray has interesting details:

Software package version: 17.4.75.250

Application version: 17.4.75.3

Service version: 17.4.75.4

Controller version: 17.4.75.8

Networking driver version: Unknown

 

Thunderbolt generation: Thunderbolt 3 (1577)

Number of ports: 2

Security level: Currently none. I have tried ALL of the bios options on this with no change

NVM firmware version: 27.00

External GPUs supported: No. Not using this so no big deal.

 

Any help GREATLY appreciated.

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JB980
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Another interesting thing:

When I right-click the Thunderbolt icon in the system tray, Thunderbolt Networking is greyed out.

tbolt.png

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David_J_W
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Thunderbolt networking has nothing to do with this; that's for computer to computer connections using a Thunderbolt cable (you get what is effectively a point to point 10GBase-T connection between the two computers). I'm not sure whether that is supported on your system.

 

I have the later Thunderbolt Dock G2, which I'm using to write this reply with a ZBook G5. I am fairly certain the networking is implemented in the same way on both devices; a PCI Express link over Thunderbolt to one or two USB 3.1 (or perhaps 3.0 on the older dock) host controllers in the dock, then a USB 3.0 Ethernet controller linked to the USB root hub on the dock's controller. Below is the section of Device Manager on my system relating to the Thunderbolt Dock G2 in "Devices by connection" view so you can see what is connected to what. The highlighted device is the dock's internal USB 3.0 hub.

 

Thunderbolt Dock G2 in Device ManagerThunderbolt Dock G2 in Device Manager

 

The collapsed USB hubs contain USB devices I have connected to my dock. The RME Fireface UCX is a high performance professional audio interface that is plugged directly into the dock's USB hub; it is standard practice to run these devices with minimal latency so it is important to connect them directly to the root hub whenever possible. The USB 2.0 hub immediately above the Fireface is a combo keyboard and trackball device.

 

I'm running the Thunderbolt setup in my computer in Native PCI mode - something that may not be available to you or relevant on your older system - which is why I have a lot of PCIe switches showing in my Thunderbolt setup. In Legacy PCI mode, which I think is the default BIOS setting, you will see a lot of PCI-PCI Bridge devices instead. The USB Billboard Device is because the Thunderbolt Dock G2 has some USB-C ports.

 

 

I found it was better for stability to disallow the computer from turning off the dock's USB controllers and root hubs to save power.

 

 

In your case, with the USB Ethernet devices having disappeared from the system, I would uninstall the USB Root Hub(s) in the dock in Device Manager, then let Windows redetect them and all the devices connected to them. I have found this sorts out USB device disappearing issues on other hardware.

 

If you get things working I would also turn off Windows' abiliity to turn off the dock's USB controllers and root hubs to save power.

 

 

There is nothing particularly special about the dock's USB Ethernet controller - it probably uses the same hardware as a HP USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter. Though I realise it's messy and you lose a USB port, it might be worth getting hold of one of those and connecting it to a USB port on one of the docks to see if that is any more stable than the dock's own Ethernet controller. If you are in discussion with HP, it might also be worth asking for a Thunderbolt Dock G2 (ideally in the 230W or Combo cable versions, so there's enough power for a ZBook) to see if that is any more reliable than the older dock you have.

JB980
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I tried uninstalling the root hubs. Windows found them again on reboot but still no network port on the dock. Thanks for your suggestion though.

 

I have a case in with HP support with no results as yet. With 15 of these things to deploy I really want to get this sorted out instead of having the users connect using the built-in port.

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JB980
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Still no movement on this, but at least HP has bumped it up to level 2 support. Level 1 tried all sorts of updates to no avail.

I will post the solution when HP finds one.  🙂

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