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I have a home-grade router (Asus WL-500gp) and with MAC address "access control" being enabled (and adding to the overall delay) I haven't ever seen full timeouts. Maybe just the first request, but as long as it shoots out several, I've never seen it failing completely unless the network is disconnected.
What I can suggest you is to adjust all/one of the retries/timeout/tryagain settings for the udhcpd: Man online - udhcpc (8)
I don't have the image or Galileo in front of me to check where they set that, but it should be either in one of the init scripts under /etc/init.d or in the network config scripts under... can't recall, IIRC /etc/sysconfig/network or something.
I flashed your SPI image for 1.0.0 and I'm seeing the same thing.
I also loaded your SD image for 1.0.0 and the issue is no longer present here.
So in short, I think the SPI image is little more than a novelty to get the SD up and running;
there's simply not enough space in the SPI to get anything useful crammed in there.
In any case, I'm happily poking away at the board now that ethernet and sshd is running reliable.
Thank you for all your work here; it's appreciated.
You're welcome, I'm glad to help. :-)
Though the results you've got are interesting. As far as I understand the udhcpd part as well as naturally drivers are absolutely the same in SPI and full images, so such a difference in behavior is probably a result of something else. Maybe as simple as other services (like sshd and others), which present in full image and absent in SPI, when loading on bootup simply slow things down a little bit and that creates conditions for successful dhcp request. Just guessing :-)
In my setup with the abovementioned router it was getting the address fine with both images.