In the Forums...
Posted: April 30, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
The NT code base will always be, first and foremost, a networking operating system. It was designed from the ground up for stability and security over a network connection. Sure, it offers local passwords and the like, but it really ‘shines’ (at least in comparison to other Windows-brand operating systems) in the area of network security. As such, it would be incredibly foolish for us, as the highest of all high holy tweakers on the net, to not approach this incredible daemon with the same zeal as we do every other tweaking topic under the sun. The product of this incredible lust for the best performance in a networking environment is here, on your computer screen, now. All hail the mighty Win2k LAN tweak guide – may ye reign long.
Before I go into this any farther – this guide is for small home networks. Large networks need not apply. I’m not going to talk about DHCP servers (well, not in this revision anyway) or anything like that – we’ll start ‘simple’ first.
Drivers are incredibly important, especially in a networking environment. If there are problems with your network card’s drivers, there is a good chance that you will either have lousy networking performance or may not even be able to connect to the network at all. As far as I know, a specific site hasn’t been set up yet for finding Windows 2000 drivers – but you should be able to get the most current drivers for your network card from the manufacturers website (Drivers Headquarters should still have a link to the manufacturers page if you are lacking…). The Win2k standard networking drivers that are included with the OS, while not perfect, are better than the drivers that come with Win9x – so if you really have to, defaulting to the included Windows drivers shouldn’t kill you. Don’t expect stellar performance though. Those drivers are designed solely for stability, and speed isn’t even considered in their implementation.
Setting up your Networking Card
After the actual manual installation of your card and its drivers, you really need to tweak a few of the driver's settings to get the optimum performance out of them. Each driver has different settings, however, so it is impossible to give recommendations for every one of them, but I will cover some of the most common ones and the ones that are applicable for my specific network card (Intel 10/100 Mbps).
To change the settings for your network card, you need to start up your system applet and go into the Device manager. In there, you need to find the listing for your card and go into its properties. The tab you are looking for is called “advanced.”
Packet Tagging – Disabled
Coalesce Buffers – 8 or 32
Link Speed and Duplex – As per your network (auto if you don’t know or have a mixed networking environment)
Locally Administered Address – not present
Receive Buffers – 32 or 48
Transmit Control Blocks – 32
You will notice that some of these properties have more than one setting – you will have to choose which one works the best for your particular networking environment. That, more than anything will dictate exactly which settings you should choose.