How to Set Up NIC Teaming

By Jeff Grundy

NIC teaming is the process of linking or teaming network cards in a group or team to provide bandwidth aggregation or fault tolerance. NIC teaming can improved bandwidth performance considerably and prevent connectivity loss. However, NIC teaming doesn’t necessarily require more than one network adapter. As long as at least one of the network adapters in your server supports virtual local area networks -- most modern Ethernet cards do -- setting up NIC teaming in Windows Server is relatively straightforward.

Step 1

Launch a Web browser and browse to the support page of the company that manufactured the Ethernet card(s) used in your server computer. Download the latest Windows drivers for the NIC card(s) and install them on your computer. If the manufacturer provides an advanced configuration utility for the network card(s), download and install it as well.

Step 2

Press "Windows-R" to open the Run window. Type "lbfoadmin" in the Run box, and then press "Enter."

Step 3

Click the network name of the server in the list of servers, even if there is only one. Click "Tasks" on the menu bar, select "Teams," and then click "New Team."

Step 4

Enter a name for the new NIC team in the Add Team dialog box. Select the adapters you want to add to the new NIC team from the list.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your network card manufacturer offers an advanced configuration utility, you can probably configure the VLAN ID for the NIC using that application. If the card does not ship with such a utility, you can configure the VLAN ID for the card in Device Manager. To do so, press "Windows-X," click "Device Manager," scroll down to open the "Network Adapters" section, and then right-click the device name of the NIC and select "Properties" on the pop-up menu. Click the "Advanced" tab, select the "VLAN ID" value in the Property list, enter the VLAN ID, and then click "OK."
  • If you don’t see a VLAN ID option for your NIC in the Device Manager Properties window, download and install the latest drivers for your network card.
  • Windows Server 2012 supports up to 32 NICs in a single team.
  • NIC teaming for VLANs requires only one network card, but it must support separation of of traffic with the protocol (most do.)
  • To use NIC teaming for fault protection through failover, your server must have at least two physical network cards.
  • If using VLANs, you must specify the VLAN ID in the Add Team dialog box. To do so, disable the "Default" option, select the "Specify VLAN" radio button, and then enter the ID number in the provided field.
  • NIC teaming also works on virtual Windows Server 2012 machines running in Hyper-V. The process of setting up NIC teaming on a virtual Server machine is the same as when performing the task on a physical computer. However, if you intend to use failover features with the virtual machine, you must enable the "Allow MAC spoofing" option in the Hyper-V configuration panel.
  • This procedure works with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2. Methods to accomplish the task may vary slightly or considerably in earlier versions.
  • If you cannot add a VLAN ID for the NIC after updating its drivers, the card doesn’t support the technology and cannot be used for NIC teaming.