Configuring NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2016

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amit Agrawal

Amit has a master's degree in computer applications and over 11 years of industry experience in the IT software domain.

In this lesson, you will learn how to configure NIC Teaming, a feature included in the Windows Server 2016 operating system. This lesson will also explain the features and modes of operation of NIC Teaming, specifically switch independent mode and switch dependent mode. Updated: 09/20/2022

NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2016

In this lesson, you will learn what Network Interface Card (NIC) Teaming is, and the features and options it offers for Windows Server operating systems, as well as how to configure it.

NIC Teaming is a technology that allows you to group multiple physical network adapters into a single interface (aka interface bonding) using the combined throughput of all NICs in the team for increased performance and reliability. It provides these benefits through link aggregation (sending traffic over multiple network adapters) and fault tolerance (dynamic network reconfiguration of functional NICs if one or more links fail).

Let's first explain the available configuration and modes of operation for NIC Teams.

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  • 0:04 NIC Teaming in Window…
  • 0:50 Configuration & Modes…
  • 2:15 Switch Independent Mode
  • 2:59 Switch Dependent Mode
  • 3:38 Limitations
  • 4:06 Lesson Summary
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Configuration & Modes of Operation

NIC Teaming is configured through the Server Manager tool, included with Windows Server on Desktop Experience (GUI) installations, and is located under the Local Server section in the application.

After you select the NIC Teaming option under the Local Server tab, you will next be presented a screen showing all available network adapters on the right and any configured Teams on the left. To begin configuring a new Team, select the left-side ''Tasks'' button and then select ''New Team.'' You will be asked to name the new Team and set which NICs are part of the Team.

Windows Server 2016 supports two modes for configuring NIC Teaming: Switch Independent Mode and Switch Dependent Mode. The Team configuration utility provides the ability to configure both types of teams. You may additionally configure load-balancing mode and standby adapters here. Any Virtual LANs (VLANs) you have configured can also be used, though the default is to enable all traffic to use the Team. Virtual machines must use Switch Independent mode and Address Hash load-balancing mode to operate a NIC Team, as any other configuration will cause an error and refuse to work properly.

Let's next examine the differences between the two modes of option, Switch Independent and Switch Dependent, for NIC Teams.

Switch Independent Mode

In Switch Independent Mode, all the network adapters are connected to different switches in the network. This provides alternative routes through the network. You can choose between two configurations in this mode.

Active/Active Configuration

All network adapters are functional which provides increased throughput. If an adapter fails, the traffic is routed through the other adapters. This results in a reduction in overall performance. When configuring a new Team, this is the default configuration.

Active/Standby Configuration

One of the adapters is kept offline for failover and it is brought back online when any of the active adapters fail. This does not result in a reduction in overall performance.

Switch Dependent Mode

In Switch Dependent Mode, all the network adapters are connected to the same switch in the network. This results in a single interface and combines all their bandwidth. You can choose between two configurations in the mode.

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