Configuring Network Adapter Properties – CompTIA A+ 220-902 – 1.6

The network adapter on your computer makes the important link between your computer and the rest of the world. In this video, you’ll learn how to configure network adapter properties, how to manage applications with quality of service, and how to configure network adapter settings in the BIOS.

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The Ethernet adapter card that’s inside of your computer has a number of important properties. And two of the most important are the link speed and the duplex. You need to make sure that on both sides of the communication that the link speed and duplex are matching each other.

This is usually done automatically. It’s called auto negotiation. When your computer starts up, it communicates to the switch it’s connected to, and both of those decide what the link speed and duplex will be for that session. If both sides do not match with the proper link speed or the proper duplex, you may get no connectivity or you may get very degraded connectivity.

Another important adapter configuration is the wake on LAN connection. This means that the computer will be able to turn off the network adapter until it’s needed. We would normally have this configured, because we often will have our computer in sleep mode or hibernate mode.

But in the middle of the night, you may want to have a software update pushed from your corporate environment. In that particular case, we may want to enable Allow this device to wake the computer. That way, your computer would automatically wake up and be available for that software update.

You would find these adapter settings in your Control Panel under Network and Sharing Center. From here, you would choose Change adapter settings. And from the Change adapter settings– in my case, I only have a single adapter– I’m going to select that adapter and choose Change the settings of this connection.

From the dialog box that pops up at the very top, it shows you the adapter card that you’re using. This is an Intel 82574L gigabit network connection. And if I mouse over it, it even tells you the location slot and the MAC address.

But we would like to make changes, so I’m going to choose Configure. And what we’ll get is a configuration dialog for just this adapter. You can see the tabs across the top for General, Advanced, Driver Details, Events, and Power Management.

Under the Advanced tab, I can scroll down and choose the option for Speed and Duplex. And from there, I can change it from auto negotiation to any of these other options as well.

If I want to change from to Power Management features, I can click over to the Power Management. And if your network adapter card supports the ability to wake on LAN, then you’ll have this option available to allow the device to wake the computer.

On our networks, we’re communicating using many different applications. We may be watching a streaming video session. We may be communicating over voice over IP. We might be doing normal web browsing. And all three of these applications have different levels of priority. You may want your voice over IP traffic, for instance, to have a higher priority than something like casual web browsing.

To be able to prioritize this traffic, we can enable Quality of Service or QoS on our network. This allows us to prioritize traffic so that our voice communication will get through, even if we’re performing a large file transfer in the background.

Quality of Service isn’t something that you can simply click a checkbox and have it work across your infrastructure. All of the different devices you’re using in your environment must be able to support Quality of Service. In Windows, the way that it’s supported is through something called DSCP, or Differentiated Services Code Points. This allows Windows to change parts of the IP packet itself.

In IPv4, it’s setting a Type of Service or a ToS field. If you’re running IPv6, this allows Windows to change the traffic class octet. You’ll be able to set how Windows uses these Quality of Service settings through either a group policy, if you’re on a Windows domain, or the local computer policy on an individual computer.

I’m on my local computer that’s not connected to a domain. So I’m going to go to the Search bar inside of Windows 8 and look at my local group policy. And it gives me an option to Edit group policy. And if I choose that, I’ll get the Local Group Policy Editor.

To get to the QoS settings, I’ll choose Computer configuration. I’ll choose Window settings. And you can see at the bottom I see Policy-based QoS. I can create a new QoS policy by right-clicking Policy-based QoS and choosing Create new policy.

And from here, I can set a policy name for this. I can specify the specific DSCP value that I’d like assigned to this app. And I can specify a throttle rate. Let’s call this policy web traffic. Maybe this is my browsing information. And I’m going to use a DSCP value of 1.

And then, I can say that this policy applies to All applications, Only applications with a particular executable name, or Only HTTP server applications responding to requests for a particular URL.

Now, we’re getting a lot more detail about what specifically we would like to have assigned to this particular DSCP value. So now, we can set up all kinds of different priorities for different applications, all from this single policy-based QoS.

The ultimate control of your network adapter card is made from your BIOS. From here, you can enable or disable an ethernet card. There’s not a lot of other configuration options inside of your BIOS for your network settings. It’s usually a simple enable or disable option.

For example, inside of my BIOS, I can choose an option that’s in my Advanced settings. And I can move down to the Integrated Devices option. And from here, I can choose to enable or disable the LAN controller that’s configured on my motherboard.