I guess this is quite probably off-topic, feel free to contact me by pm
if you want to chat on this.
My bet is that you have a hw/driver issue, I initially thought of an
auto-negotiation issue but since "sometimes" or "under certain
conditions" it works, I think you forgot to setup some bit in a register
or need to add/tweak a delay to wait for the link to come up.
Who's the driver's father ?
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