NOTE: Teaming for NIC's, a hardware solution not to be confused with
Microsoft's "Network Bridge"
NIC's come in
different forms, one port, dual port, quad port. You can take two similar NIC's
and team them.
One card that is easy to take two of and team very easily is the 3Com 3c905
Note: Teaming NIC's is not the same as Microsoft Windows Network
Bridge feature in the network properties. Teaming takes in to consideration the
physical characteristics of the NIC's being teamed and has manufacture
specific software to do the teaming. You can change the MAC
address of the Teamed NIC's where as using the Bridge method (dissimilar NIC's)
you can not change the MAC nor will you have any type of redundancy.
Before we get to the teaming of the nic's there are a few things you should
know about network cards and hub/switches.
Teaming NIC Information:
To get the fullest potential from your network you should set these
Flow Control -
Duplex - Full (this means that the network device (NIC
and HUB/Switch) will
transmit and receive at the same time).
Speed - 100 or 1000, your network will only be as fast as the slowest card
regardless of the hub/switch brand.
IP Range -
IP - Always set your HUB/Switch IP range first! Normally people select the
generic 192.168.1.0 subnet, this is cool, all the hackers like to know what
your IP range is makes it easier for them. Pick an IP range anywhere but
192.168.1.0, Your network will be behind a router/firewall so the actual IP
range is your choice, the harder you make it for the hackers/crackers/thieves
the better it is for you!
Teaming NIC Instructions:
Now for the teaming -
Depending on your network cards you will either get a utility or will have to
use Windows Network Bridging (Note: MS Bridging does not change the MAC of each
individual NIC, it adds another MAC to the Bridge software, this adds overhead
to the network parameters of you network).. If you buy a dual or quad NIC you should get a utility with the
NIC. The one that I always use is from HP/Compaq.
When you start the utility you have a choice of the NIC's in the computer,
select the NIC's you want to team, then team them.
You will want to team the
NIC's by IP or MAC code, I use IP but that is
a personal choice - some routers/switches have a "fall over on fail" that
utilizes the MAC code vs. the IP check with the Network Engineer or the
router/switch documentation for this option. Normally you will want to use Load Balancing, you could use Fault
tolerant. For speed use Load Balancing and Balance with IP Address.
have a high end switch such as the Cisco 4800 or higher series don't use
Switch-assisted Load balancing.
Once you have the team setup a new ICON will appear in the Network Properties
box, this will be the IP of the server, set your network properties. Once you
have the properties setup (some utilities require a restart) and the icon in the
tray you should see the dual nic at 200 or 2000 (if you have a gigabit NIC) if
you only see 100 MBPS for the icon check your settings. Insure both cards flow
control is set to 100/Full or 1000/Full.
Teaming NIC this page was
extracted from Build a Server Guide.
Teaming NIC's Notes -
Teaming will only be available to your local network, it will not make any
difference to a connection to your ISP.
Your HUB/Switch at a minimum MUST support 100/Full
or 1000/Full flow
you connect your Cat5/Cat6 cables to the HUB Switch use ports side by side.
If you are using Fault tolerant you need to have two HUB/Switches you would put one
cable in one HUB/Switch and one in the other HUB/Switch, this allows for fall
over if a NIC, port, cable, or HUB/Switch fails.
Servers -Teaming for NIC's
A word of caution about failed dual Teamed
If your network is a secured network and you do not have
access to the local administrator's id and password and / or do not have a local
user id for administrators do not break the team on the Teamed NIC until you
have a secondary connection to your domain.
To break a Team you have to use the software from the NIC manufacture, do not
remove a malfunctioning NIC from a server with out first breaking the Team.
To break a team you have to have Administrative rights and the NIC manufacture's
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES REMOVE THE FAILED CARD BEFORE BREAKING THE
Doing so will cause an interruption to your network or worse crash the network.
(This comes from experience...)
In some extreme cases you will have to install the Operating System once again,
especially if the server is in a Domain where there is NO local Administrator
which is a "Best Practice" in some companies.
If your security is domain security and you do not have
access to the administrators account or secondary administrator account
when you break the teaming the system will restart, once
you restart you will not be able to log on to the system to set the IP.
If your dual nic fails then install a secondary nic card and configure it
with a static IP before breaking the team or uninstalling the bad card.
By the way ...
Your server is down and you need to get it back up ASAP, why use
an older ERD and prolong the pain? You need to make a custom Emergency Repair Disk (ERD)
and get it operational! Check this out.