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I'm planning a home NAS/Plex server using Ubuntu/Debian and I've seen this board (Supermicro X11SSH-LN4F-O) with 4 NICs.

My home network is a mix of Wifi and LAN. Lan is 1GbE, Wifi is a Linksys 1900ACS. Server would be in a 1GbE 8-port switch.

Would bridging those NICs allow a 4GbE connection to the server? Either if I had a 10GbE connection to the LAN (theoretical) or if multiple users were connecting at once (actual)?

If not, is there any point me getting such a board? What would I do with alternative boards which have 2 NICs minimum?

EDIT:

Flagged as off-topic but these are enterprise boards and this question could easily be asked in an enterprise environment.

closed as off-topic by Gerald Schneider, mdpc, Jenny D, ThoriumBR, colealtdelete Dec 4 '17 at 16:42

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on Server Fault must be about managing information technology systems in a business environment. Home and end-user computing questions may be asked on Super User, and questions about development, testing and development tools may be asked on Stack Overflow." – Gerald Schneider, mdpc, Jenny D, ThoriumBR, colealtdelete
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  • No, you can't... Why would you need 4Gbps throughput? – ewwhite Nov 26 '17 at 1:09
  • Please share more details about the home network? What devices do you use for LAN and WiFi connections. – Mr. Raspberry Nov 28 '17 at 9:29
  • Here are some links IMO useful for you in this case. serverfault.com/questions/329094/… community.spiceworks.com/topic/… – Mr. Raspberry Nov 28 '17 at 16:03
  • My network layout isn't all that important. I know I'm not going to be getting 4Gbps bandwidth from any one machine in the house currently. The question is more about utilising those 4 NICs the best and futureproofing. However, my PC and a PS4 are the only wired devices on my network. Everything else is on a Linksys 1900ACS. The 1GbE Switch is a TP-Link SG108. Thanks for the reading material, though. – MattBoothDev Nov 29 '17 at 18:43
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As Appleoddity has pointed out, bridging isn't the right approach. Link aggregation might be. It requires compatible hardware on both ends.

Link aggregation (LAG) is the bonding of two physical links to a single logical link. You should note that any frame passing the logical link has to use one of the physical links.

Usually, switches always use the same pair of physical links between two given nodes. This way, they make sure that the frames stay in order - reordering of frames is prone to severe performance penalties in many network applications.

The switches use either the nodes' MAC addresses or their IP addresses to determine the physical port to use. The exact method should be found in the manual.

This way, traffic distributes statistically - a large number of flows will distributed evenly, but a small number of flows will likely clutter up some ports while others stay unused (this may be fine-tuned).

An alternative to LAG is to configure server NICs separately and distribute traffic over the different IP addresses (e.g. round-robin DNS, load-based DNS) or to use separate networks (VLANs), each with the dedicated bandwidth of one port. Of course, you can also combine LAG, IP, and subnet-based balancing.

  • Thanks. I'm, torn between your answer and @Appleoddity's. I think I'm over complicating this and it's not going to be as easy, or more importantly, cheap, to implement something like this. I'll get a cheaper board with only two NICs and IMPI – MattBoothDev Nov 29 '17 at 18:51
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Bridging the cards will not give you 4Gbps.

But, if you use the SuperMicro board AND a more advanced smart switch, you can use what’s commonly called “Link Aggregation (LAG).”

It allows you to “bond” 4 channels together in to one high speed connection.

With such, you can achieve up to 4Gbps throughput. Keep in mind this will not give you 4Gbps to any one computer because each computer will likely have only 1Gbps network adapters. But, it can theoretically give you 1Gbps throughout simultaneously to up to 4 devices at the same time.

However, this is theoretical. There are many other factors to consider such as drive access times and transfer speeds, network cabling, noise, etc.

  • Thank you! Yes that's the intended usage. 4 simultaneous 1Gbps connections. My PC is the only other computer on the network to be wired. The rest are on the Wifi, which is 1300Mbps 5GHz and 450Mbps 2.4GHz, so not going to achieve anything near 1Gbps over Wifi. However, I'm planning on using this NAS for years to come and I'll likely upgrade my home Wifi solution long before the NAS. – MattBoothDev Nov 29 '17 at 18:39

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