Big Sur 11.6.3: 10G NIC Drivers Unload After Rebooting

New Contributor

Hi folks,


I've been bashing my head into this issue for a couple weeks now and I'm trying to get a sense for what I might be missing.


Our machines are Mac Pro 6.1's ("Trashcans") and recently, we've upgraded most of our fleet from High Sierra 10.13.6 to Big Sur 11.6.3. Most of these operate on a Thunderbolt 2-based SANLink2 10G NICs and SANLink2 8G FC NICs to connect to our data center storage and to get higher-speed internet since we have 10G speeds out of the building. These worked fine most of the time on High Sierra.


On Big Sur, however, the drivers seem to unload themselves after rebooting on some machines. These machines fall back to a Wi-Fi connection and thus get extremely poor performance to our data center storage, if any connectivity at all. The SANLink2 NICs seem to be no longer recognized or listed in the OS. One way I've been able to "resolve" it has been by just re-installing the driver package. The kernel extensions related with these NICs are approved via a configuration profile in Jamf. I've also created a band-aid "fix" of having a policy run on every machine boot that will download and install the driver package, but that just feels sloppy.


On my test machines, this issue did not initially pop up. However, it seems to impact about a third of our machines. I have not been able to identify a common theme here aside from them all being on Big Sur 11.6.3. Having done some research, it seems like other people have had similar issues with other devices, but I haven't been able to identify any solutions yet. Has anyone else run into this issue? If so, would you be able to detail your solution(s) for it? If I were to guess, is it something to do with Big Sur's handling of kernel extensions?


One thing that occurred to me while writing this post: Has anyone utilized an on-startup script tied with the kextload command? Probably something for me to tinker with tomorrow...


Anyway, thanks for reading this far, and thanks in advance for your help!


Valued Contributor

Have you confirmed with the vendor that the drivers are compatible with Big Sur?

Hey! Yes, I have. They're certified to be compatible with Big Sur but not higher. The devices work fine, too, until the machine gets rebooted.

Valued Contributor

Oh so the drivers/kernal extensions are not loading. Do you see the kernal extensions are loaded/launched?