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Windows 10 NIC teaming


Ikon-TNG
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I was reading a thread about 10Gb Ethernet and someone mentioned NIC teaming. A little online searching piqued my interest. You can group network cards together to act as if they are one card? Wow, now that sounds cool. I would love to get faster networking. By the way, are "NIC teaming" and "link aggregation" the same thing? I ran into both terms while searching and they seemed pretty similar.

 

Now I have to find out if Windows 10 Pro can do NIC teaming. So far, no luck. If that won't work, I guess I'm out of luck. If it will, then I have to check if my Cisco SG200-18 can do it, I think.

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I have no idea on Windows 10 being able to do it, but NIC Teaming and Link Aggregation are kind of the same thing. Although technically not correct I consider NIC Teaming to be switch independent (Windows can do teaming where it does not matter to the server if the switch supports aggregation or not), whereas Aggregation I consider it to be where both parties (switch and server) support the correct LACP protocols and can do a "better" job of link aggregation. 

 

One thing I will say is that do not think that you will get more bandwidth, overall yes you will get more but a single stream will be limited to whatever the bandwidth of the connected link is (i.e. a team of 2x 1GBE cards will give you aggregate bandwidth of 2GB, however the maximum of a single stream will still be 1GBE as it is only on one card) some tasks and operating systems can utilise both links by utilising multiple streams for the transfer, but some cannot, think of it as multiple cores/processors some software can handle multiple cores/processors and scale their ability to utilise this extra resources, some cannot

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Thanks @ShadowPeo. I think I understand what you're saying.

 

I found a confusing statement in the manual for my Cisco SG200-18 switch: if I aggregate 2 ports (something called LAG?) and enable LACP, the switch will use 1 of the ports for communication and hold the other as a backup in case something happens to the first port. If I disable LACP, the switch will use both ports for communication. It sounded kinda of weird to me, but then this is right at the edge of my knowledge (maybe a little beyond even), so I'm not sure what to make of it.

 

After posting yesterday I also found something about Intel NICs being able to do aggregation without OS support. The only thing required, apparently, is that the OS support the Intel driver that does the aggregation. There is a driver for Windows 10, but I found 1 post that said it doesn't work very well. In any case, from what you said, it doesn't sound like it would help me much.

Edited by Ikon-TNG
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I used to do this with my servers but I found it actually slowed down the bare metal restore to intolerable levels. I'm not sure I got much out of it anyway.

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LACP is a protocol that controls the LAG's. How it/the LAG handle the bandwidth allocation depends on how you set it up. The way I have set up the groups I use is all the links as active and no-backups. A backup link is not needed as multiple links will simply fail over anyway and keep the uplink running. I do not know the specifics of your switch but I use the same setup on both Cisco and Dell devices

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It seems as though I won't gain much from aggregation. Now I'm wondering about some of the 'new' intermediate devices coming out. I read about some of them in another post thread. I talking about some of the 2.5Gb and 5Gb hardware offerings. Perhaps these will offer a true speed increase. I'm going back to read about them again.

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MS had Nic Teaming enabled for a time in windows (can't remember if it was in W8 or W10) but it is now disabled.  It works in Windows Server and is enabled easily via Powershell. Intel drivers are available as long as you have 2 Intel adapters. "The Doc" played with it on server 2012 and wrote an article in his blog.

 

http://thedocsworld.net/nic-teaming-server-2012-essentials-r2/

 

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