How To Set Up NIC Teaming (Link Aggregation)

2019/09 12
Z-CUG01 Dual-Port PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Network Card - IEEE 802.3ad (Link Aggregation) Supported

There are times when having a bit more performance is better. Actually, who are we kidding? Having more performance is always better. In the case of networking, this is especially true. You can never have enough bandwidth. There will be some, though, who argue that x number of megabits or gigabits per second is "more than enough." We refer to this as the "640KB mentality."

All of today's motherboards ship with at least one gigabit Ethernet port. Some premium boards come with two. Of course, you can always add more by installing add-in NICs, and there are motherboards with more than two, but for the sake of this article we're referring to consumer motherboards.

So, what exactly is link aggregation? In a nutshell, link aggregation (or trunking), is the fine, delicate art of combining two or more physical Ethernet links into a single logical link. So if two 1Gb/s ports were aggregated, you would get a total aggregated bandwidth of 2Gb/s. Note that we use the phrase "aggregated bandwidth."

Think of link aggregation in terms of network link resiliency rather than total available throughput. In that sense, if one physical part of the logical link fails, traffic will failover to the remaining active links. Where you will see increased bandwidth is when you have multiple origin-destination IOs. For example, if you're transferring a file from one PC to another over a 2Gb aggregated link, you'll find that the total maximum transfer rate will top out at 1Gb/s. Start two file transfers, however, and you'll see the benefits of aggregated bandwidth. In simple terms, link aggregation increases the number of lanes on a highway but it doesn't increase the speed limit.
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