Observer nTAPs : Observer nTAPs : FAQ : Can I “team” or bond NICs in my analyzer?
Can I “team” or bond NICs in my analyzer?
Yes, it is possible with some limitations. Sometimes it is desirable to use two standard full-duplex capture cards to capture full-duplex TAP output for analysis. Because a standard capture card port has only one receive channel you must aggregate the receive channels from two ports to see both sides of the two-way connection being monitored. Intel’s Advanced Network Services allows you to team multiple connections at the driver level, presenting your analyzer with an aggregated view of send and receive channels.
Because of the processing overhead and its effect on capture card performance, this method is not recommended for monitoring moderate to highly saturated links, such as those between switches. However, it can be an economical alternative when monitoring more lightly used connections, such as between a server and switch.
In addition to the bandwidth limitations, connection teaming is also less accurate when timestamping packets, which can cause unexpected results when your analyzer attempts to display certain charts and statistics such as Connection Dynamics or VoIP jitter. You also will not be able to tell which side is DCE vs. DTE. In short, if you do not have a dual-receive analysis capture card, it is always better to analyze the SPAN or port mirror session through a standard capture card rather than using the connection teaming method described here.
Note: You need at least one capture card that supports Advanced Network Services. If the card has two ports, they can be teamed, otherwise another capture card with an unused port must be present.
 
Figure 7: Capture card teaming
This figure is for illustrative purposes and may not match your product.
NI nTAPs 'NIC teaming' PNG [hdot24]NI nTAPs 'NIC teaming' PNG [hdot24]
 
1. Configure the IntelPro/1000 Driver Software to Define Teamed Connections. For Ubuntu Linux instructions for port bonding, see the Ubuntu documentation.
2. Connect the TAP to the analyzer using the appropriate cables.
The TAP is cabled between the devices being monitored normally (i.e., it provides a pass-through circuit for the link under test). Instead of connecting to a single dual-receive port (as is the preferred deployment), connect the send lines to the transmit (TX) sides of the two ports you intend to aggregate. You can team ports on separate cards as long as one of them is an IntelPro card.
3. Open Network Connections by right clicking My Network Places on the Windows Start menu and choosing Properties.
4. Right-click a Monitor Port from an IntelPro/1000 card (which one does not matter) and choose Properties. Click the Teaming tab.
5. Choose the “Team with other adapters” option and then click New Team... to start the New Team Wizard. The first dialog lets you name the Team (you may want to call it something like “Virtual Dual-receive”).
6. Click Next and add another adapter/port that supports teaming (for example the second port on a dual-port IntelPro card).
7. Click Next and choose Static Link Aggregation. This option works best for aggregating both sides of a full duplex link for analysis. Click Next, and then Finish.
 
The My Network Places display should now list the new virtual adapter.