Administrators sometimes set up their Windows 2000 Professional workstations and servers with dual NICs—a NIC for the internal LAN and a NIC for external ISP access. Many administrators don't realize they can prioritize, bind, or load a NIC and its settings before loading another NIC's settings.

The benefit to this action is that Win2K checks the settings of the NIC you specify first when performing a network query or request, before checking the settings of the other NICs. For example, if you install your external NIC first, it loads first and Win2K checks that NIC's settings first during a network request.

Internet browsing is fast with this configuration, but if you're using a high-speed connection (e.g., DSL, T1, ISDN), you probably won't notice a performance improvement. In addition, if you have this configuration and you open My Network Places to browse your network or LAN, Win2K will query your external NIC first for the requested data, then query the other NICs in order.

If you change your binding order to register the internal NIC first (i.e., the LAN NIC), Win2K will check your internal NIC first—thus speeding up your LAN searches and network performance. To change the binding order, select Settings, Network and Dial-up Connections from the Start menu. Select Advanced Settings from the Advanced menu. You can change the NIC order in the Adapters and Binding tab. Win2K will check, load, bind, or register the top NIC first. Finally, to optimize your network protocol queries, you can select for each NIC which protocols you want to load first (e.g., if you want to check TCP/IP before IPX and SPX).