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Network Connections Best Practices

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Best practices

The following list provides best practices for implementing Network Connections:

  • When using multiple network adapters, rename each local area connection.

    Your operating system detects network adapters and automatically creates a local area connection in the Network Connections folder for each network adapter. If more than one network adapter is installed, you can eliminate possible confusion by immediately renaming each local area connection to reflect the network that it connects to.

    You need to add or enable the network clients, services, and protocols that are required for each connection. When you do so, the client, service, or protocol is added or enabled in all other network and dial-up connections.

  • Verify required connection settings for your network adapter.

    If your network administrator or Internet service provider (ISP) requires static settings, you may need one or more of the following:

    • A specific IP address.

    • DNS addresses.

    • DNS domain name.

    • Default gateway address.

    • WINS addresses.

    DHCP is enabled by default. This gets your IP address and other configuration information automatically. Automated IP settings are used for all connections, and they eliminate the need to configure settings such as DNS, WINS, and so on.

    For more information about enabling DHCP, see Configure TCP/IP settings.

  • Create dial-up, VPN, or direct connections by using the New Connection wizard.

    After you create a connection, you can copy the connections, rename them and modify the connection settings. By doing so, you can easily create different connections to accommodate multiple modems, ISPs, dialing profiles, and so on.

    For more information, see Copy a network or dial-up connection.

  • Specify the order in which network providers and protocols are accessed.

    By changing the order of protocols bound to those providers, you can improve performance. For example, if your LAN connection is enabled to access NetWare and Microsoft Windows networks, which use IPX and TCP/IP, but your primary connection is to a Microsoft Windows network that uses TCP/IP, you can move Microsoft Windows Network to the top of the Network providers list on the Provider Order tab, and move Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to the top of the File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks binding on the Adapters and Bindings tab.

    The IPX/SPX protocol is not available on Windows XP 64-bit Edition (Itanium) and the 64-bit versions of the Windows Server 2003 family.

    For more information about modifying the order of network providers, see Modify the network provider order. For more information about modifying the order of protocol bindings, see Modify the protocol bindings order.

  • Only install and enable the network protocols that you need.

    Limiting the number of protocols on your computer enhances its performance and reduces network traffic.

    If your computer encounters a problem with a network or dial-up connection, it attempts to establish connectivity by using every network protocol that is installed and enabled. By only installing and enabling the protocols that your system can use, the operating system does not attempt to connect with protocols it cannot use, and returns status information to you more efficiently.

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