Network BasicsTrouble ShootingIndexPage Overview
Windows95Windows98NT4 WorkstationNT4 ServerWindows 2000

Multiple Network Adapters

This page covers both Windows95 and Windows NT4.

Networking with Windows95 and WindowsNT4 is usually an easy job:
Install the "Network Adapter", add "Protocol" and "Client" and you are "talking" over the network.
The possibility to define MULTIPLE protocols for a Network adapter (which is so easy to setup due to Microsoft's
NDIS support) is highly appreciated by everyone, who tried to setup/configure multiple protocols on a DOS based systems or Windows 3.x-system: It was often impossible !

The same is true for installing MULTIPLE Network Adapters: A very difficult (often impossible) task under DOS and Windows 3.x, also a simple job under Windows 95 and Windows NT4.

The biggest challenge: IRQ-Resources
Since the days of the IBM AT systems, the design of the systems has changed dramatically:

  IMB AT Modern Pentium II
Screen resolution:
Floppy disk:
available IRQ's:
6 Mhz
typical 1 MByte
20 MByte
1.44 MByte
300 Mhz
UVGA (1280x1024 / 1600x1200)
typical 16/32/64 MByte
4 GByte
1.44 MByte (plus CD-ROM)
16 !

In today's high-performance systems, we are still stuck with the limit of maximum 16 IRQ-lines ("What is an Interrupt ?"), which is turning into a serious problem on today's Multi-Media Systems with Sound-Boards and SCSI-controllers, in some cases no IRQ is anymore available forcing to switch OFF something else (usually the second Serial-Port COM2, which is not used so often).

Check in the Control-Panel
"System", tab: "Device Manager"
the "Computer"-properties to
locate an unused IRQ.
In my example, I did already install
the second Network adapter.

But if this system had a Sound-board
(which usually takes 2 IRQ's) and
a SCSI-adapter, no more IRQ
would be available.

Windows NT4:
On Windows NT, check the
"NT Diagnostics", Tab:"Resources".

When installing a new network-board under Windows95, it will automatically create a binding of ALL currently installed protocols to the new board:

This screen dump is a "fake",
because I had to make 2 screen
shots to get the full info
All protocols have a Binding
to all Network cards.

We should clean this up, keeping
only the required bindings.

When going to Multi-Network-Adapter/Multi-Protocol setups, it is best to draw it up to get an overview on the goal to be achieved:

In this example, I like to connect on different network cables:
- connect to a Novell-Netware server via IPX protocol
- connect to a Windows NT system via NetBEUI-protocol
- connect to the Internet using the Modem/Dialup-Adapter via TCP/IP.

(In my example, I use 2 different network-boards, but it is also possible to install 2 identical network-boards, as long as they are configured for different IRQ and Port-address.
To avoid another mis-understanding: if both the Novell-server AND the NT-system are on the SAME network cable, you can connect to them using ONLY ONE Network-adapter and BINDING multiple protocols to this one Network adapter. Please look to this as an exercise)

(see below for Windows NT4)

to delete a Binding, select
the combination of
Protocol->Network board
and "Remove" it.
The "cleaned-out" version
on the "Network", containing
now only the required

We can now also verify
the Bindings by checking
the properties of the
IPX has a Binding to
the 3COM for the connection
to the Netware Server.
NetBEUI has a Binding to the
NE2000 for the connection
to the NT system.
The IPX-protocol has a
Binding to the Client
for Netware Networks.
(I manually un-checked
the binding to the Client
for Microsoft Network)
The NetBEUI-protocol has a
Binding to the Client for
Microsoft Networks.

Lets now connect to these systems:

The Netware server does show up in the "Network Neighborhood", but (it is part of the Microsoft mystery of the "
Browse-Master") the NT system did NOT show up in the "Network-Neighborhood", but I am able to connect to it by running the "Run"-command: \\<server-name>, in my example: \\piijh.


Lets check the "Network" applet
in the Control-Panel.
Since we like to connect to a
Novell-netware server, we
need in addition to the
"Server" and "Workstation"
(required to connect to the
NT-system) the
"Client Services for Netware".
We have the protocols:
- NetBEUI to communicate
with the NT-system
- IPX to communicate to the
Novell Netware server
the 2 Network Adapters
The Bindings:
Here we need to do the job.
First, open (=expand the display)
by clicking on the "+" signs.
Then, select and "Disable" all
not required Bindings.
In this example:
no need for the IPX-protocol
to have a Binding to the
Server and Workstation, which is
used for connection to the NT-system.

Then, we are ready to connect and browse the network:

Don't ask me why: But under Windows NT4, both the Novell-server(s) AND the NT-system (PIIJH) are showing up in the "Network-Neighborhood"
(each time, when NT is able to do a job not possible/available on Windows95, I say to myself:" Do NOT forget, that Windows95 is only the little brother of the big-boy NT ! ").