Can you team network cards together in Win 7?

Tanyac

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If the cards are the same brand you might have a chance. You will need teaming drivers (Such as the Intel Proset drivers), which works on the Intel cards. You might have your work cut out for you though.

There are very few drivers that support 4 NICs.

Trying to force dis-similar brands and even some models of the same brands, to work together can be a nightmare. I had this issue with the ASRock Extreme6 motherboard and even though the NICs were both Intel, the Proset drivers didn't support the I218V, only the 211 chipset, so the inf files had to be hacked to force it to work.

Natively, Windows 7 does not support NIC teaming.

However, NIC teaming offers very little without a smart or manageable switch that supports link aggregation.

I'm assuming these are used for a single subnet. Not multiple networks.. that's a whole other can of worms.

You are not going to increase your bandwidth by teaming your NICS. The bottleneck is going to be your router and internet connection.

On a LAN you are not going to get over the speed of your LAN cable. If you run 4 x 1GB LAN cables to your smart switch then 1 x 1GB LAN cable to your router (or to where ever), you're still only going to max out that 1GB bandwidth.

What you will get is load balancing and fail over. (LBFO) - If you connect them to a smart switch. This means the traffic will be spread across the 4 LAN cables to the switch, and if one NIC fails it will use the others.

However, 4 NICs is an overkill IMHO.

Bottom line, if you are expecting massive speed improvements across your network or Internet you will be disappointed.

 

moulderhere

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Trying to build a file server to handle multiple connections. So I was thinking of just having 4 connections to my router tied together to handle how ever many connections to file server as possible.

I used to have a quad 10/100 intel pci-x network card back in the day that worked great. But now things have changed and I don't know if you can get a quad nic card for decent price to handle many connections into a pc.
 

Tanyac

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I've seen some quad cards - There are some cheap ones (Eg $75), but I would not expect great performance from those. You get what you pay for. These will typically provide their own drivers and teaming software.

I have a Win 2008 server with dual NICs. I had to hack the INF files because Intel decided to remove support for the I218v for non-enterprise products (This is just revenue raising trying to force people to buy expensive solutions they don't really need).

Most routers do NOT include smart switching capability. So teaming at the server, with no back end switch management doesn't really offer much advantage.

The NIC card used is set by a "priority". Typically the highest priority NIC will get all the traffic (more or less).

In my scenario I have a Netgear GS108T-200 that supports link aggregation. This has connections to each of the servers NIC ports. I installed the Intel Proset Drivers to enable the creation of a team, and configured the switch to use the two ports in Static Link Aggregation with LBFO.

I used to have streaming problems when multiple clients wanted to open a 1080p media file at the same time. I would get video stuttering... This solved that problem. It also improved transfer speeds copying files to and from the server, but only by about 20%.

But it boils down to what your usage need is. If you have a lot of bandwidth consuming applications or streaming needs it might be worthwhile.

However, Internet performance is not improved. Of course; most internet connections do not exceed 100mbps. Most routers are not even capable of more (though technology is advancing in this area and faster routers are appearing on the market).

TL;dr - Windows 7 doesn't support teaming natively so you will need teaming software/drivers. This will be problematic if the NICs are different brands. And; Teaming on the server is only half the solution - you should also be setting up link aggregation on a smart switch.

Good luck to you. I hope you find a suitable solution. Would be interested to know how you go if you pursue this.

hth
Tanya
 

moulderhere

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Its all about the money :) I used to have an old intel pci-x network card with quad 10-100 and the intel drivers did the teaming. I had Win 7 running it, which worked out great.

Now it seems the same thing but more modern Quad gigabit lan card pci-e are damn expensive. bla.
 

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