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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to upgrade my windows home server box, a lot of the motherboards I'm looking at have dual gigabit ethernet ports, what is the purpose of this, if I connect 2 cat6 cables to the same hub is that going to create a faster connection 2x to the rest of the network?


Is the server going to utilize both gigaibt ports at the same time when streaming files to other computers on the network, or is the dual ports for something else?
 

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Typically its for redundancy - in a server environment you'd run 1 nic to switch A and the other to switch B. Then if either a switch or network card failed, you'd still have connectivity.


Most server class network drivers allow you to team the nics together, creating a single virtual nic with twice the bandwidth capability. However your router or switch will need to support LACP (Link Aggregation protocol), otherwise it may see the same mac address on each port and cause problems. I don't believe any home class switches / routers have LACP support but I could be mistaken. If not, you can still team the nics in fault tolerant mode, but whether this would be useful for you, I don't know.


Kapone will probably chime in here - he's running link aggregation in some form at home and can provide a lot more detail.
 

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In today's world with virtualization getting ever more important and widely used, 2 NICs are often not enough since one most of the time is left for admin purposes to configure VMWare (or equivalent).


Diogen.
 

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The guys above me covered everything pretty well


reasons

1)speeds if you plum the 2 interfaces together

2)redundancy

3)assigning interfaces to virtual hosts
 

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Connecting the server to two different networks is another reason. Not something a typical home user needs to do.
 

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As everybody has mentioned, there are lots of reasons to run dual (or even more) NICs, especially for your server. Right now I run a D-link DGS-3324TGR 24 port smart switch that supports Link Aggregation, dual NICS on the server (bonded into a single 2gbps interface), dual NICs on my workstation (bonded into a single 2gbps interface), and single NICs on my HTPCs/Media Players.


The benefit is that I can rip multiple discs from my workstation while doing lots of other activity with the server, and not see any performance decrease because of the network. I could be moving files at 100MBps to/from the server and workstation, but the HTPCs keep running and accessing the server without a single hiccup, since there's enough bandwidth. At one point I even had an Intel quad port NIC in the server bonded into a single 4gbps interface, but that was just too much, didn't need it.


Mind you, Link aggregation increases your "bandwidth", not your "speed", so a single transfer is still limited to 1gbps, but if you have multiple transfers going, they can each potentially hit 1gbps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Everyone, thanks for the input, this has opened up my eyes to a lot of cool stuff I dint even think of, In the future I plan and hope to put a lot more of a load on my server as the brains of our house, and the dual NIC's seem like a good step of staying a little ahead of the curve, now you have me looking for a switch that handles link aggregation.


*EDIT*

It seems that link aggregation switches/routers are pretty expensive, dose anyone know of a budget switch that can handle it
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
using one port to go to the switch and used a patch cable straight from the server to the HTPC for the other port, would that work? would my streams be any faster since they dont have to go through the switch?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/15566741


As everybody has mentioned, there are lots of reasons to run dual (or even more) NICs, especially for your server. Right now I run a D-link DGS-3324TGR 24 port smart switch that supports Link Aggregation, dual NICS on the server (bonded into a single 2gbps interface), dual NICs on my workstation (bonded into a single 2gbps interface), and single NICs on my HTPCs/Media Players.


The benefit is that I can rip multiple discs from my workstation while doing lots of other activity with the server, and not see any performance decrease because of the network. I could be moving files at 100MBps to/from the server and workstation, but the HTPCs keep running and accessing the server without a single hiccup, since there's enough bandwidth. At one point I even had an Intel quad port NIC in the server bonded into a single 4gbps interface, but that was just too much, didn't need it.


Mind you, Link aggregation increases your "bandwidth", not your "speed", so a single transfer is still limited to 1gbps, but if you have multiple transfers going, they can each potentially hit 1gbps.

Is this 'dual link (bonded)' just a capability of the switch, or do the NICs have to support it too?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tparikh4 /forum/post/15569605


using one port to go to the switch and used a patch cable straight from the server to the HTPC for the other port, would that work? would my streams be any faster since they dont have to go through the switch?

Would it work? Yes. For example you could have nic 1 attached to the switch using a typical 192.168.x.x address range, and nic 2 direct connected via a crossover cable to the HTPC using a different subnet - say 10.0.0.1 and 10.0.0.2. Then just add a entry in the hosts file on both machines pointing to the other with that address an all traffic between them would flow over that direct connect. Of course you wouldn't be able to browse the web or anything from the HTPC in this config unless you added routing capabilities on the server.


Would it be faster? It should be as you're removing the switch from the equation. But unless its a crappy switch, we're only talking about x seconds difference in transfer times. Not sure it would even be noticed in the general day to day operation.
 
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