Networking Overview


Updated: December 16, 2014

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012

This collection contains detailed information about networking products and features for the IT professional to design, deploy, and maintain Windows Server.


Networking resources for operating systems earlier than Windows Server 2012 are available at the following locations.

Following are the networking technologies and documentation for Windows Server® 2016 Technical Preview.

Network Controller

Learn about managing virtual and physical network infrastructure with Network Controller.

Following are the networking technologies and documentation for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

What's New in Networking

Discover new networking technologies and new features for existing technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2.

What's New in Networking in Windows Server 2012 [redirected]

Discover new networking technologies and new features for existing technologies in Windows Server 2012.

Core Network Guide and Companion Guides Overview

Learn how to deploy a Windows Server network with the Core Network Guide and Companion Guides for Windows Server 2012.

802.1X Authenticated Wired Access Overview

Windows Server® 2012 and Windows® 8 provide features that you can use to deploy IEEE 802.1X authenticated wired service for Ethernet network clients. In combination with the 802.1X-capable Ethernet switches and other Windows Server® 2012 services that you deploy on your network, you can control who can access your network.

802.1X Authenticated Wireless Access Overview

Windows Server® 2012 and Windows® 8 provides features that you can use to deploy IEEE 802.1X authenticated wireless service for IEEE 802.11 wireless network clients. In combination with the 802.1X-capable wireless access points and other Windows Server® 2012 services that you deploy on your network, you can control who can access your wireless network.

BranchCache Overview

BranchCache is a wide area network (WAN) bandwidth optimization technology that is included in some editions of the Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 operating systems. To optimize WAN bandwidth when users access content on remote servers, BranchCache copies content from your main office or hosted cloud content servers and caches the content at branch office locations, allowing client computers at branch offices to access the content locally rather than over the WAN.

Data Center Bridging (DCB) Overview

Data Center Bridging is a suite of technologies that aim to enable converged network fabrics – where storage, data networking, cluster inter-process communication (IPC), and management traffic all share the same Ethernet network infrastructure. DCB can provide cost savings and simplified management for enterprise and hoster data centers.

DirectAccess in Windows Server

DirectAccess is now a role service of the Remote Access server role.

Domain Name System (DNS) Overview

DNS is a hierarchical, distributed database that contains mappings of domain names to various types of data, such as IP addresses. DNS enables you to use friendly names, such as, to easily locate computers and other resources on a TCP/IP-based network. The DNS service in Windows Server® 2012 adds enhanced support for DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC), including online signing and automated key management.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Overview

DHCP is a client-server technology that enables DHCP servers to assign, or lease, IP addresses to computers and other devices that are enabled as DHCP clients. When you deploy DHCP servers on your network, you can automatically provide client computers and other IPv4- and IPv6-based network devices with valid IP addresses and the additional configuration parameters these clients and devices need. The DHCP Server service in Windows Server® 2012 includes support for policy based assignment and DHCP failover.

Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) for Network Access Overview

Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) extends Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) by allowing arbitrary authentication methods that use credential and information exchanges of arbitrary lengths. EAP was developed in response to demand for authentication methods that use security devices, such as smart cards, token cards, and crypto calculators. EAP provides an industry-standard architecture for supporting additional authentication methods within PPP.

High-Speed Networking

High-speed networking features include TCP Chimney Offload, Virtual Machine Chimney, Virtual Machine Queue, receive-side scaling (RSS), and Network Direct Memory Access (NetDMA). These features can improve network and operating system performance.

Hyper-V Network Virtualization Overview

Hyper-V Network Virtualization provides the concept of a Virtual Network that is independent of the underlying physical network. With this concept of Virtual Networks, which are composed of one or more Virtual Subnets, the exact physical location of an IP subnet is decoupled from the virtual network topology. As a result, customers can easily move their subnets to the cloud while preserving their existing IP addresses and topology in the cloud so that existing services continue to work unaware of the physical location of the subnets. That is, Hyper-V Network Virtualization enables a seamless hybrid cloud.

Hyper-V Virtual Switch Overview

The Virtual Switch is part of the Hyper-V infrastructure in Windows Server® 2012 that enables virtual machines to connect to each other and to the host computer’s physical network. In Windows Server® 2012, the switch provides services that can be enhanced and extended by adding plug-ins that supply additional functionality.

IP Address Management (IPAM) Overview

IPAM is a built-in framework in Windows Server® 2012 for discovering, monitoring, auditing, and managing the IP address space used on a corporate network. IPAM enables easier administration and monitoring of DHCP and DNS.

Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) Overview

IPv6 is the replacement for IPv4, the Internet layer protocol of the TCP/IP protocol stack in prevalent use around the world today. IPv6 is fully supported in both Windows Server® 2012 and Windows® 8. IPv6 solves many of the problems and shortcomings of IPv4, providing an Internet layer protocol that can scale to the future needs of devices that will connect to the Internet. IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses to enable 3.4 × 1038 possible addresses, more than enough to handle today's needs and those of the foreseeable future.

Low Latency Workloads Technologies

Discover this group of technologies that are designed for or which were improved in Windows Server 2012 to address low latency computing scenarios.

Network Load Balancing Overview

Network Load Balancing in Windows Server 2012 distributes traffic across several servers by using the TCP/IP networking protocol. It enhances the availability and scalability of Internet server applications.

Network Policy and Access Services Overview

The Network Policy and Access Services server role in Windows Server 2012 provides the Network Policy Server (NPS), Health Registration Authority (HRA), and Host Credential Authorization Protocol (HCAP) role services. You can use this server role to deploy and configure Network Access Protection (NAP) and Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) servers and proxies. RADIUS servers perform network access authorization and authentication for network connections through the network access servers that you deploy, such as 802.1X-capable wireless access points, 802.1X-capable Ethernet switches, and virtual private network (VPN) servers.

Network Shell (Netsh) Overview

Netsh is a command-line scripting utility that allows you to display or modify the network configuration of a computer. You can use Netsh commands to configure the local computer and remote computers. Netsh also provides a scripting feature that allows you to run a group of commands in batch mode against a specified computer. With netsh, you can save a configuration script in a text file for archival purposes or to help you configure other computers.

Network Subsystem Performance Tuning

This topic provides information about choosing the right network adapter for your server workload, network related performance counters, and performance tuning network adapters and related networking technologies, such as Receive Side Scaling (RSS), Receive Side Coalescing (RSC), and others.

NIC Teaming Overview

Network Interface Card (NIC) Teaming, also called load balancing and failover (LBFO), allows multiple network adapters on a computer that is running Windows Server® 2012 to be placed into a team to help prevent connectivity loss in the event of a network component failure and to enable bandwidth aggregation to help improve network performance.

Quality of Service (QoS) Overview

Policy-based QoS in Windows Server® 2012 and Windows® 8 enables you to define the priority of traffic, negotiate finer service levels with bandwidth providers, and control bandwidth costs.

Remote Access Overview

Remote Access in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server® 2012 enables you to support remote network users by providing them with connectivity to your organization’s private network from anywhere. The role services for Remote Access are DirectAccess, Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS), and Web Application Proxy.

Software Defined Networking

Learn about Software Defined Networking Technologies for your cloud deployment using Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server® 2016 Technical Preview.

Telephony Server and the Telephony API Overview

TAPI integrates telecommunications with the computer. TAPI supports both traditional and IP telephony to provide voice, data, and video communication.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is an industry standard suite of protocols that is designed for large networks consisting of network segments that are connected by routers. TCP/IP is the core protocol suite that is used on the Internet. In Windows Server 2012, TCP/IP – including both Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and IPv6 – is unchanged from TCP/IP in Windows Server 2008 R2. For more information, see TCP/IP in the Windows Server 2008 R2 Technical Library.

Virtual Receive-side Scaling in Windows Server 2012 R2

New in Windows Server 2012 R2, virtual Receive-side Scaling (vRSS) enables network adapters to distribute network processing load across multiple virtual processors in multi-core virtual machines (VMs).

Windows Firewall with Advanced Security Overview

Windows Firewall with Advanced Security is an advanced interface for IT professionals to use to configure both Windows Firewall and Internet Protocol security (IPsec) settings for the computers that are running Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 on their networks. Windows Firewall with Advanced Security in Windows Server 2012 adds support for IKEv2, Windows Store apps, and Windows PowerShell.

Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) Overview

WINS provides a distributed database that maps network basic input/output system (NetBIOS) names to IP addresses and was designed to solve the problems arising from NetBIOS name resolution in routed environments.

Windows PowerShell Cmdlets for Networking

Use this list of links to connect to command references for Windows PowerShell cmdlets for networking technologies.

Windows PowerShell Networking Guide

The Windows PowerShell Networking Guide is available in Word format for download from the Microsoft Download Center. This guide explains how to use Windows PowerShell to manage some networking scenarios.

Use Windows PowerShell Commands in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2

This WSiX Network Connection blog post shows you how to use Windows PowerShell to configure networking and Active Directory to get your new network and domain up and running.

Windows Server Gateway

Windows Server Gateway is new in Windows Server 2012 R2 and is not included in Windows Server 2012. Windows Server Gateway is a virtual machine (VM)-based virtual software router that allows Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and Enterprises to enable datacenter and cloud network traffic routing between virtual and physical networks, including the Internet.