Two NIC ports - any benefit to having two?

Robert
Robert used Ask the Experts™
on
Hi -

I am running XPP SP3 on an ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe motherboard.  It has 2 integrated NIC ports, gigabit.  For what can I use the 2nd one?

Could I be connected to two different LANs, not that I have two....

Could I connect to two different wired ports on the same router?

Not sure this is necessary -
3 GB RAM
AMD 64 X2 3800+
ASUS-M2N-SLI-Deluxe-Ports.JPG
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Senior Infrastructure Engineer
Commented:
From a server point of view, 2 or more network cards can be used for load balancing network traffic, or providing redundancy in case one fails.

I'm not sure why you would need two NIC's if you only running Windows XP!

Lee
You could use it as a dedicated LAN firewall such a smoothwall.
Commented:
You asked two great questions and I will attempt to answer each accordingly.
1. Yes, you can connect to two different LANs, if you had two. The computer will do what's called, "internal routing". This is generally used by Proxy File Server to manage internet connection. This is a totally differet topic, as like LeeOsbrneUK told you, if your running Win XP, you won't be utilizing this function.

2. Two NICs can be very useful if you care for load balancing or failover. Never just plug two NICs into the same network (router or switch) without the proper configuration. It could potentially bring down your entire network.

In Summary, for standard day-to-day operations ussing Windows XP, one NIC is enough.
Hope this answers your question.
Commented:
You could be connected to 2 networks, you could use the machine as a firewall PC as DanoliSolutions Mentions, or you could bridge the two adapters for increased bandwidth/throughput.
I like the way you recap the last 3 answers... :)
Have a read-through of this document as well. This individual has a VERY similar motherboard to yours, and discusses the "link aggregation" of the two nics.

Since they're both onboard, there's a high probability that they're the same NIC, in which case, look for something by the manufacturer of that NIC to help you enable these features, if you're interested.

http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=225441

Author

Commented:
OK, thanks for the responses.  It will be a feature that will largely go unused on this PC (not a server).  The bridging sounds intriguing.

Thanks again - will split the pts.

Author

Commented:
The responses are informative but by no means complete.  Anyone looking for a solution will not be satisfied with the expert content here, but at least is a good starting point for searching for a more complete answer.
Lee OsborneSenior Infrastructure Engineer

Commented:
I think the experts have answered your questions though -

For what can I use the 2nd one?
LeeOsborneUK: 2 or more network cards can be used for load balancing network traffic, or providing redundancy in case one fails.

Could I be connected to two different LANs?
mtydhd: Yes, you can connect to two different LANs, if you had two. The computer will do what's called, "internal routing".

Could I connect to two different wired ports on the same router?
mtydhd: Never just plug two NICs into the same network (router or switch) without the proper configuration. It could potentially bring down your entire network.

I would have said they were complete responses to what you requested :-)

Lee

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial