Application load sharing using two NICs

  fieldyweb 05:01 01 Apr 2005

My Laptop has two Ethernet Network Interface cards, one 100Mb ethernet, and the other is a Wifi card 11g. I am in the lucky situation of being able to use both of these network cards on the network i use. It struck me that it would be nice to point applications to a specific network card and thus load share the network card responsability, for example, i use firefox, and i could tell firefox to use the 100Mb link for its downloads, however tell Outlook to poll using the Wifi card as its less bandwidth intensive.If Thunderbird wants to check fo emails that also should use the Wifi card however if the Server intensive app is being used with lots of network connectivity required, this should always go to the 100Mb line...

Both NIC's are on the same physical network, however they are on different logical IP networks. Is the distrubution of network bandwidth something which can be done on a per application basis in Windows XP? If so how?

  moore_mat 15:09 06 Apr 2005


As far as I know - as long as the target addresses are available via both cards then it should share the work - however in my experience Windows XP doesn't take much advantage of this - there certainly isn't any tick box to select which card is used by which program...

I believe the "Server" versions of Windows are better at handling more than one network card, but this is more to do with the programs run on it (e.g. Mail servers, or FTP servers) than the operating system alone.

You can test the "throughput" of the two cards by opening "Task manager" and switching to the "networking" tab... All your network cards will be listed. So if you go and do something on the network; you can monitor how windows is coping. I think you'll find it'll bias the wired connection as this has the greater throughput.

Bear in mind that 100Mb should be more than enough for most day to day apps (You shouldn't really see it peak to 100% useage); so don't feel hard done by it. :-)

All the best

[email protected]

  fieldyweb 16:08 06 Apr 2005

I appreciate your answer, and that the 100Mb thruput offered by the Nic on a switched hub should be sufficuent, it was more a case of the bandwisth sharing rather than the speed. By that i mean, if i'm chatting on Skype using my 100Mb connection, and getting 40% if my mail app checks its mailserver and someone wants to speak to me using MSN, it would be nice for this to happen over another link. so that the audio stream doesn't become fragmented, as ethernet packets will do by thier nature.

One way it might be possible is by the use of Static IP so i acutally point all MSN or Mail packets through my WiFi and i point the skype to use the IP via the 100Bt NIC.

A bit of research shows that even on microsofts server platforms, as you mention, this is app dependent.

Maybe with more and more Pc's especially laptops, its something microsoft should look at? Where would i post such a suggestion to microsoft?

thanks for your help though, and i will try the static IP route, and post how it goes...

  fieldyweb 09:39 23 May 2005

Static Routes... thats the answer, point the necessary service to the right nic using static routes, and its possible to have toyur MSN use the Wifi and your browser use the 100Mb link for a hefty download, and not be bothered while it is doing it, because your email and msn are checking via the wifi port

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