Microsoft KB Archive/171415

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Network Adapter Fault Tolerance for Windows NT 4.0

Article ID: 171415

Article Last Modified on 10/31/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q171415


Network adapter fault tolerance provides improved reliability to a network server by using a second identical network adapter that can continue network operations in the event of a failure of the primary network adapter. Microsoft Windows NT does not directly provide this feature, but it is provided by some manufacturers of network interface cards.


On a server that requires high availability, a single network card can be a critical point of failure. Network adapter fault tolerance provides an extra level of reliability by using an adapter and driver combination that senses a failure on one adapter, then migrates its function (including its IP address in a TCP/IP environment) in a manner transparent to the operation of both the host server and clients.

Windows NT does not directly provide this function, but it has been implemented by third-party manufacturers of network adapters for use with Windows NT.

Currently, these manufacturers are shipping adapter and driver sets that support network adapter fault tolerance:

Compaq Computer Corporation, using Compaq Advanced Network Control Utility:

  • NetFlex-3/E Controller

  • NetFlex-3/P Controller

  • Netelligent 10/100TX PCI UTP Controller

  • Netelligent 10T PCI UTP Controller

  • Netelligent Integrated 10/100 TX UTP Controller

  • Netelligent Dual 10/100 TX PCI UTP Controller
  • Intel Pro 100 Intelligent Server Adapter

Intel Corporation, Adapter Fault Detection using Softset:

  • EtherExpress(TM) PRO/100 Server adapters

The third-party products discussed here are manufactured by vendors independent of Microsoft; we make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding these products' performance or reliability.


Compaq white paper: Compaq Advanced Network Error Correction Support in a Microsoft Windows NT Server Environment. Available from the following location on the Internet:

Intel Technical Document: Adapter Fault Tolerance (AFT) Installation Notes for the EtherExpress(TM) PRO/100 Server Adapter Under Windows NT 4.0. Available from the following location on the Internet:

Additional query words: ethernet team teaming aft

Keywords: kb3rdparty kbinfo kbnetwork KB171415