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Is there any benefit to multiple ethernet cards when they are all connected to the same network?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I live at a college. The internet here varies in speed and reliability. I have two ethernet ports in the wall right next to my computer, but like most pcs I only have the ethernet adaptor on my mobo. I was wondering if there would be any increase in speed by purchasing a second adaptor, and if there was an easy way to force applications to use one. For example, I often play games and host a 5 or more person Skype call, but it seems that the network prioritizes the call over the game, throwing in a noticeable delay in Heroes of Newerth if I'm hosting more than 3 or so people. I would like to be able to offload my browsing and Skype and maybe even torrenting over to one card, and have gaming traffic exclusively over the other card to try to drop my ping.

I will monitor the thread and supply any additional information required, but I'm still wondering if it's possible in general, so please try to make your answers as implementation-independant as possible.
post #2 of 4
So I was pretty skeptical at first if this would work, but after I played around with it for a bit I think that in the right setup it might work. Maybe….

Dual Adapters – One Internet Connection:
On my computer with dual Ethernet adapters I connected two Ethernet cables to my single router. When I did this the connection took quite a while before I received an IP address and was able to connect to the internet. When this happened Windows grouped both connections together as being part of the same network.
At this point I manually changed the IP address of one of the connections. Windows then created two networks with each connection in one of them.
At this point you can easily (relative to some of the other methods I tried) divide up programs between the two connections. To divide up programs between the connections you need to set one connection to be a “home network” and the other to “public network”. After doing this you can use the windows firewall to block programs from using certain connections (at least that is the theory). When I tried this I had trouble getting windows to do this properly (I probably was doing it wrong). I found that setting the firewall to block all traffic then manually adding programs to allow through a certain connections (either public or private network) seemed to work best. It is a pain though because you need to manually add new programs to your firewall.
I don’t think there are many cases this would be useful with a single internet connection, but depending on how the college setup their network it might help.
If your connection is artificially limited (something like the college only gives each connection 100kb/s download 80kb/s upload) then having two IP addresses could possibly give you double the bandwidth.
If the connection tries to divide up bandwidth evenly between each connection, then having two IP addresses could give you ‘priority’ over other people. Basically you get double your share of the connection.

Dual Adapters – Two Internet Connections:
This is probably a best case scenario; I don’t have two connections so I couldn’t try this. If each of the Ethernet ports links to a different network with a separate network connection you could just plug in and likely avoid all the messing with IP addresses to make 2 network connections.
At this point you could either use the windows firewall to divide up traffic or try to bridge your connections. I haven’t done this, but I think the theory is you basically just combine the connections into one better connection.
I think to test and see if there are two connections in place you might be able to connect your computer into one outlet then open up the “network” on windows and see who all is connected. After doing this you could connect to the other port and repeat. If the same computers show up then it is probably just a single internet connection.

I would bet that you most likely have a single internet connection. The two ports are likely just so you can plug two computers without needing a router or switch in your room.

Sorry about the long post. Hopefully I was able to hide something useful in all that text.
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post #3 of 4
If I were the network admin and found out that you caused extra broadcast on my network by using two NICs I would totally issue a shutdown command on all ports in your room until you studied how basic networking works. I mean basic all the way down to this is a cord in in this cord is metal called copper.

You will get ZERO speed benefit having two NICs in your computer to the internet. Not to mention that the switch that is setup hosting your connection will not have the necessary protocols turned on to support .3ad.

Additionally your voice calls take priority over your games because most switch and router companies place voice in an elevated QOS priority over everything else. That is because voice does not have any form of of error detection or correction. It requires absolute priority over everything else or you will encounter dropped calls, or static, or missed words, etc....

So to answer your question. No there is no benefit and if there was you have zero control over it.
Edited by Tangoseal - 4/26/12 at 11:51pm
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post #4 of 4
Might be useful on LAN Parties, but in your case, I think not.
 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Software, Programming and Coding › Networking & Security › Is there any benefit to multiple ethernet cards when they are all connected to the same network?