Almost any network interface card (NIC) supported by the Linux kernel should also be supported by the installation system; modular drivers should normally be loaded automatically.
This includes a lot of generic PCI cards (for systems that have PCI) and the following NICs from Sun:
Sun Happy Meal
MyriCOM Gigabit Ethernet
The installation system currently does not support retrieving firmware. This means that any network cards that use a driver that requires firmware to be loaded, is not supported by default.
If there is no other NIC you can use during the installation, it is still possible to install Debian GNU/Linux using a full CD-ROM or DVD image. Select the option to not configure a network and install using only the packages available from the CD/DVD. You can then install the driver and firmware you need after the installation is completed (after the reboot) and configure your network manually. Note that the firmware may be packaged separately from the driver and may not be available in the “main” section of the Debian GNU/Linux archive.
If the driver itself is supported, you may also be
able to use the NIC during installation by copying the firmware from some
/usr/lib/hotplug/firmware. Don't forget to
also copy the firmware to that location for the installed system before
the reboot at the end of the installation.
There are a couple of issues with specific network cards that are worth mentioning here.
There are various PCI network cards that have the same PCI identification,
but are supported by related, but different drivers. Some cards work with
tulip driver, others with the
driver. Because they have the same identification, the kernel cannot
distinguish between them and it is not certain which driver will be loaded.
If this happens to be the wrong one, the NIC may not work, or work badly.
This is a common problem on Netra systems with a Davicom (DEC-Tulip
compatible) NIC. In that case the
tulip driver is
probably the correct one.
During the installation the solution is to switch to a shell and unload the
wrong driver module using
modprobe -r (or
both, if they are both loaded). After that you can load the correct module