Prioritize multiple network cards in Win2k for maximum network performance

Many administrators have their Windows 2000 Professional and some servers setup with dual NICs -- one set for their internal LAN and the other for the external ISP access. Most do not realize that they can prioritize, bind or load a specific card and its settings before loading another card settings. The benefit to doing this is that you are telling Windows 2000 to check a specific NIC first when performing a network query or request, before checking the others NICs.

For example: If you have installed your external NIC first, then it is loaded first and set to be the first NIC checked during a network request. With this configuration, your Internet browsing will be faster, but if you are already on a high speed connection (aka DSL-T1-ISDN etc.), then you probably wouldn't notice any real performance increase.

With this configuration, if are going to browse your network or LAN by opening My Network Places, and you attempt to search your LAN, Windows will first query your external NIC for the requested data and then query the other NICs second and third and so on, depending on how many NICs are installed and their order.

If you change you binding order to register the internal card first (the LAN NIC), then your internal card will be checked first, thus speeding up your LAN searches and overall network performance. I have noticed a considerable performance jump after configuring the cards this way, and you probably will also.

  • Just go to START-->Settings-->Open Network And Dialup Connections.

  • In this folder or window, at the top in the menu bar, select the Advanced menu and choose Advanced Settings from the menu options.

  • It will open the Binding and Adapters form. Here you can change the order of the cards, with the top card being checked, loaded, bound or registered first. And also, on a per selected card basis, you can set which protocols are are loaded first to optimize your network protocol queries (say if you wanted TCP/IP checked first on your network card before IPX/SPX).

    This was first published in September 2001

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