One NIC for two networks on a notebook

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If you use a notebook computer, or have users that do, and switch between different networks, you might find yourself having to reconfigure the network adapter settings each time you switch networks.

For example, the home office at my company is 10baseT and some of our satellite offices are 100baseT. When users travel between offices, they need to change the media type settings to connect to that network.

To reduce the hassle, we take advantage of a little-known behavior in Windows 2000 that will help circumvent the trouble. Windows 2000 maintains network configuration settings for network adapters on a notebook based on the adapter's slot. This also means that we can maintain two different sets of network configuration settings by moving a single adapter between the slots.

We assign one media type, 10baseT, to the adapter when it's in slot 0 and a different media type, 100baseT, when it's in slot 1. Then, when the users need a particular configuration, they simply reboot the computer with the adapter in the appropriate slot.

To set up your computer this way, boot the system with the card in slot 0 and configure the network settings as needed for the first network. Verify that the network is working, then shut down the computer. Move the adapter to slot 1 and boot the computer. Configure the new settings

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and test on the second network.

This was first published in June 2002

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