Dual NIC Ports on Mobo's

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Dual NIC Ports on Mobo's

Postby JDH » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:47 pm

Hello-

I'd like to implement a small home gigabit network (only interconnecting two PC's and of course supplying the internet to both), so I had expected to have to buy a gigabit switch (a 4 port one, etc.). However, if my next system uses a modern mobo with two NIC connections on board, would it be possible to simply hook the internet connection to one of the NIC ports on the mobo and then use the remaining NIC port to tie to the second PC? IOW, can the dual NIC port setup on the mobo function effectively as a switch, therefore making an external switch unnecessary? Alternatively, can the two ports on the mobo act as a dumb hub?

I'm aware of port "teaming" and also ICS (Internet Connection Sharing), but if the two NIC ports can act as a switch it would make life a little simpler here. Can someone shed some light on this? Thanks!

John
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Postby evasive » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:33 pm

No switch, ICS only or 3rd party routing software. You never know if more stuff will be netowrked later on (laptop, printer, storage) so a simple switch might be a good investment after all. They come pretty cheap these days anyway...
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Postby JDH » Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:51 pm

Hi-

Of the two purposes you mentioned, I suppose ICS is the more common. Still, it's surprising to hear that mobo makers would include two ports for that. On switches, yes, I know they are relatively low in cost. Nevertheless it would have been nice to find that function built in (for my tiny LAN, no extra box and no extra power brick). Oh well.

Thanks for the information!

John
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Postby evasive » Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:44 am

There are other purposes for 2 LAN ports, a seperate backup LAN or a networked device just for that system alone et al. You could even seperate your internet connection to the router and a more secure LAN.
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Postby JDH » Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:58 pm

Good ideas, all. Well maybe except the last one since I'm not sure how that would work <g>. If you have time, care to describe what you meant by "....seperate your internet connection to the router and a more secure LAN."? Sounds intriguing....

John
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Postby asassin' » Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:00 am

With just a switch, you'd still need 1 PC on with ICS to access the web with the other.
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Postby JDH » Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:16 am

Hi asassin'-

My network requirements are simple; just two machines need to be interconnected. So I have a combined modem and switch in one box supplied by my ISP, both PCs plug into that box, and all is well (and obviously no ICS is needed).

John
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Postby Karlsweldt » Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:33 pm

Best and simplest solution would be a 4-port minimal hub or router, to which you connect all computers.. and the ISP interface or modem. If your systems have the 100/1000 LAN ports, then consider such a hub or router with the same rating. You would connect the ISP interface with what is known as a 'crossover' LAN cable, unless one port of the hub is switchable. A 'crossover' cable means that the data wires do a flip, so as to reverse the terminations at the ends of the cable.
Having dual LAN ports on most newer mobos is beneficial. One port is for general use, the other can be restricted to very secure networks or NAS devices. Using one computer as a pass-through for Internet to another can gobble resources.
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Postby JDH » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:15 am

My existing LAN setup here is really trivial.....

My ISP supplies a single box combination DSL modem, router, and 4-port 10/100baseT switch, so I am currently using that hardware. To this I have connected just 2 PCs, and in this case, obviously no ICS is needed. And as such, neither PC acts as an internet pass through for the other, so there is no "resource gobbling", one PC being taxed by the other to provide internet to both. IOW, the setup is totally parallel via the 4-port switch.

So I understood that all I needed to do to convert the LAN connection from 10/100 to gigabit speed was to add three items: a gigabit switch (4-5 port), and then replace the existing NIC cards in each PC with gigabit NIC cards.

All I was trying to ask was whether a new PC I am planning might not need the external gigabit switch since its mobo will have two gigabit ports and those ports ~might~ be actually part of what amounts to a 2-port gigabit switch. But the universal answer here has been that this is ~not~ the case, so I am back to doing what I had planned all along (external gigabit switch and 2 new NICs). No big deal, no ICS, no crossover cables, etc. As far as I can tell anyway, end of story. But maybe I am missing something fundamental here, overlooking some other better options to do what I wish to do -- if so, sorry, I guess I don't see where I am going wrong......

John
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Postby Karlsweldt » Sun Dec 28, 2008 2:13 pm

Data limits are set by the slowest device in the chain or path. If the computers and Intranet routers/hubs have the Gigabyte speed capability, but the ISP router has a maximum 100 MB/s capability, that would be the ultimate data speed from the Internet. The ISP will list what download and upload speeds are available under your connection status. Typically, they will be adaptable so there is little conflict with older systems, but newer, faster systems may have to endure a bit longer wait for files. You could always upgrade the ISP service, but unless you have need for extreme data speeds, it is a waste of money.
Almost all routers/hubs/switches with the 10/100/1000 data speeds will auto-detect and set themselves to the highest port speed of a chain or path. And you can have different speed data paths within the same router.
With ISP connections, one user can enjoy the maximum data speed. But add a second user and data needs at the same time, and both users will note a slowing of data.

USB connections to an ISP hub may sound good, but the data speed for USB 2.0 is only about 1/5th that of a 100 MB/s LAN connection!
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