Internet connection via thunderbolt to ethernet adapter

I have a laptop (Dell XPS 13) which doesn’t have any ethernet port, but it has a Thunderbolt port.
I would like to be able to connect to Internet via a Thunderbolt to ethernet adapter.

I’m on Fedora 38 Silverblue.
bolt is installed and the service is running. However no thunderbolt device is detected when I plug the ethernet cable. boltctl returns nothing.

Any suggestion to debug this problem?

$ systemctl status bolt.service 
● bolt.service - Thunderbolt system service
     Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/bolt.service; static)
    Drop-In: /usr/lib/systemd/system/service.d
             └─10-timeout-abort.conf
     Active: active (running) since Tue 2023-04-25 19:53:01 CEST; 6min ago
       Docs: man:boltd(8)
   Main PID: 3251 (boltd)
     Status: "authmode: enabled, force-power: unset"
      Tasks: 4 (limit: 9242)
     Memory: 1.4M
        CPU: 75ms
     CGroup: /system.slice/bolt.service
             └─3251 /usr/libexec/boltd

apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: config: loading user config
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: bouncer: initializing polkit
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: watchdog: enabled [pulse: 90s]
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: udev: initializing udev
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: store: loading domains
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: store: loading devices
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: power: state located at: /run/boltd/power
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: power: force power support: no
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora boltd[3251]: udev: enumerating devices
apr 25 19:53:01 fedora systemd[1]: Started bolt.service - Thunderbolt system service.

To my understanding:

  • the system will detect new device when the adaptor is inserted to the computer
  • unless your adaptor is thunderbolt only (not supporting USB), it will fallback to use USB if thunderbolt is not working

In your situation, I will try:

  • reboot machine with adaptor connected
  • if still not working, double check UEFI firmware that USB/thunderbolt ports are enabled, protocols are allowed, etc.
1 Like

I tried rebooting, but it didn’t help.

Now I’m trying to enter the BIOS but it seems that the F2 key is not working anymore.
EDIT: The F2 key works fine, but I must press it quickly. I was not fast enough.

And I cannot do it with systemctl:

$ systemctl reboot --firmware-setup
Cannot indicate to EFI to boot into setup mode: Firmware does not support boot into firmware.

You may be able to access the bios using the delete key (depends on the bios itself).
You also should be able to display the grub menu and select the bios setup from there.
If the grub menu does not normally display then usually pressing and holding the shift key as soon as the boot starts will cause it to display.

Finally I used the F12 key to get the menu and then enter the BIOS setup.
But I cannot see any setting about Thunderbolt. Maybe I didn’t check carefully. Or maybe my BIOS is too old and should be updated? This laptop has 12 years.

I forgot to give you another information.
When I search thunderbolt in GNOME Settings, I find this:

which says:

Thunderbolt not supported
Thunderbolt security level could not be determined

I cannot see the Thunderbolt port:

$ lspci | grep -i thunder
$ 

Try lspci without the grep and look through the listing. It may not have the word ‘thunder’ in what is shown. It seems odd that the physical port is there but lspci would not show it.

which one?

$ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor DRAM Controller (rev 09)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller (rev 09)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family USB xHCI Host Controller (rev 04)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1a.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #2 (rev 04)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 04)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 1 (rev c4)
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation QS77 Express Chipset LPC Controller (rev 04)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series Chipset Family 6-port SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 04)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family SMBus Controller (rev 04)
01:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6235 (rev 24)

First of all, my laptop has a mini Display Port so Thunderbolt is 1 or 2, not 3.

I’ll try to update the firmware using GNOME Firmware. I see some available updates…

No way. I’m blocked by this:

I’m giving another try.

I happen to have the same laptop with Windows only preinstalled (bought together, so same year, same spec). The laptop code name is Dell XPS L322X. The latest BIOS driver is here:
https://www.dell.com/support/home/it-it/drivers/driversdetails?driverid=cjnjx

and it’s version A10. I have version A10 on the Windows laptop and version A07 on the Linux laptop.

That said, I’m trying to see if this works on Windows first before considering the BIOS upgrade in the Linux laptop.

As far as I can see, the connection in the Windows laptop doesn’t work. Even after rebooting, I don’t see anything appear in the network devices list of Windows (as I see for example in my fiancé Windows laptop, which works).

I’ve checked the BIOS settings but I could not find anything specific of Thunderbolt or DisplayPort.
I guess it’s not supported.

For the records, I bought a USB 3.0 > Ethernet adapter and it works smoothly.