Network Adapter Properties – CompTIA A+ 220-1002 – 1.8

The network adapter settings in Windows are used for setting speed, duplex, and quality of service parameters. In this video, you’ll learn how to configure these settings and enable or disable your network adapter from your computer’s BIOS.

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There are many different settings you can configure in Windows for your network adapter. In this video, we’ll look at some of these properties. When you’re troubleshooting a network connection, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is what the link speed and the duplex is for this particular connection.

You may want to see how Windows is configured and make sure it matches the settings that are on the switch that you’re connecting to. You’ll find that in your connection properties for your network adapter card under link speed and duplex.

In the Control Panel under Network and Sharing Center, you can click on Change Adapter Settings. And you’ll see that the option for the adapter cards will be listed. You right mouse click on an adapter and choose Properties. You’ll have the option to choose the Configure link next to the network adapter card that’s listed at the top.

From here you can click the Advanced tab. And you have access to all of the different properties for this particular adapter. The one that we’re most interested in is the link speed and duplex option.

You’ll find that the default is to autonegotiate the link speed and the duplex. But occasionally there might be a network interface card and a switch that are not able to properly negotiate. In those scenarios, you can force a particular speed and duplex by choosing the option in the list under link speed and duplex.

There’s another useful option for the system administrator available under power management for the network interface card. This option says allow this device to wake the computer. And that option will be available if this particular interface card supports wake on LAN.

This allows the system administrator to send a special frame to this device that will wake this device from sleep if it happens to be in a sleep or hibernate mode. This allows the system administrator to perform maintenance and support on this device during the nighttime hours even when nobody happens to be in front of their computer at that time.

In most environments, there is a mix of different traffic types that are using the network. For example, you could have applications sending information to a file server. There could be a phone using voice over IP. And there could be streaming video and audio traffic on the network as well. Network administrators want to prioritize this traffic so they know that the voice over IP phone traffic will work even if there’s a large file transfer occurring with an application.

One of the ways they can accomplish this is by using quality of service or QoS. There is a feature in Windows that uses a type of QoS called differentiated services code points or DSCP. These DSCP fields are in the IP header and allows the network administrator to assign different priorities to different types of traffic.

In IP version 4, there is a field in the header called the type of service or the ToS field. In IPv6, this is called the traffic class octet. The system administrator can assign different applications to have different priorities. And you would assign this on a workstation by workstation basis from the local computer policy or the group policy if you’re in a domain environment. In your local computer policy or group policy settings, you’ll find this policy based QoS under Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, and Policy Based QoS.

Here’s the Local Group Policy Editor on my Windows 10 computer. Under the local computer policy, I’ll break out the Windows settings and then I’ll view the Policy Based QoS. There’s currently no items available in that view. If I right mouse click Policy Based QoS, I can create a new policy. This allows me to set a DSCP value.

I can specify throttle values, application names, and other details. Let’s provide a policy name here. I’ll call this web policy. We’ll specify a DSCP value of two, because the network administrator has told us that the two value is associated with web traffic. And we’ll click next.

From here we can associate this QoS policy with a particular application. For instance, if you wanted this to only be associated with notepad.exe, you could specify that in the policy. When we click next, we can then assign IP addresses for the source and destination of this policy. And lastly, we can assign port numbers that might be associated with this policy.

For example, we might say that if there is a destination port number of 80, that would be outbound web traffic. And we would like to have that traffic associated with this policy.

We can see that this policy states that if notepad.exe is sending any outbound traffic to port 80, it will be assigned a DSCP value of two. As this traffic is heading out over our network, the network administrator will have a QoS device that will then start prioritizing this traffic based on the DSCP values coming through the network.

There may be cases where certain network interface cards in your computer are administratively disabled and not available to any operating systems. You would make this change inside of the BIOS of the computer. The BIOS would provide you with access to all of the hardware of the computer. And from here you can enable or disable individual devices.

For example, on this computer, there is a section for integrated devices. And inside that list of integrated devices is a USB controller, HD audio, onboard LAN controller, and primary display. If you select the onboard LAN controller, the options you have are to enable or disable that controller. If you disable this controller and save this BIOS configuration and restart the computer, when Windows starts again, it won’t see any of the network hardware available on this particular PC.

If you are making these types of administrative changes in the BIOS, it’s also common to set administrator passwords for the BIOS. That would still allow your system to boot up and work normally. But it would prevent anyone from making changes to any of these BIOS settings.