Combine 2 Internet Connections with Windows 7 Network Load Balancing (NLB)

Recently, Installed a Smart Bro Share-it connection here at home. I originally planned it to be a replacement for my Smart Bro Plan 999 (the one with the canopy / antenna) but due to connection problems I’ve been having recently with Smart Bro Share-it, I decided to keep my Smart Bro Plan 999 at least until next month so that I can have a back-up connection. Now I have two internet connections, my Smart Bro Plan 999 (up to 1mbps) and Smart Bro Share-it (up to 2mbps). Naturally, I did some speed tests to measure how my “combined” bandwidth would add up. First I did a speed test of both connections separately:

Smart Bro Plan 999 Speed Test

Smart Bro Share-it Speed Test

Configuring Network Load Balancing on Windwos 7

I was so excited when I found about Windows 7’s built-in feature which allows you to use multiple internet connections in just one pc. This feature is called “Network Load Balancing” or NLB. No need to pay for additional software or buy a Dual Wan Router. You just buy a separate LAN Card for each connection, make sure that both connections can access the internet, and that’s it! Windows 7 automatically does the rest for you.

How does it Network Load Balancing work?

Theoretically, if I combined my two internet connections I would get a total bandwidth of 2.71Mbps. Unfortunately, load balancing does not work that way. I still have two external IP addresses connected and most programs would only choose to use either one of them since they were designed that way. What it does is it allows me to use multiple programs optimally like downloading or watching youtube videos and still be able to play games or surf with no delay or lag since both connections have their own separate line.

Think of it as water pipes. Rather than widening the size of one pipe or increasing the flow of water, Network Load Balancing optimizes my speeds by adding another separate pipe. Now, I have a more stable connection since if either one of them bugs down or is being used extensively, I still have the other to compensate.

Increased Torrent Download Speeds!

Torrent downloads work very well with load balancing since they rely on multiple connections. I tried testing on a heavily seeded torrent and I was surprised to find out that the bandwidth of both of my connections added up! One of my torrents was downloading at 323.2KB/s … 1GB in just one hour … I love my dual connection!

Things I’d like to know about optimizing Network Load Balancing

If only there’s a way to do this in all my downloads or when watching online streams and stuff. I’m still new at this so I don’t know how to do it.

Also, I want to know how to set rules so that specific programs would only use a specific connection. Currently, I don’t know how the programs decide to use which connection. What I do is that before I launch program I have the other connection disabled and I open it later once the program is connected.

I use the Smart Bro Plan 999 when playing Garena (DoTA) since it has better ping and the Share it when I’m downloading single large files since it has higher bandwidth.