According to Intel, here are 6 ways to combine the network cards in a machine. This was originally posted on Intel’s site, but they have taken it down or moved it. I am trying to find a more detailed reference on how each of these modes work and which is best in which scenarios.
1. Adapter Fault Tolerance (AFT) – provides automatic redundancy for your
server’s network connection. If the primary adapter fails, the secondary
adapter takes over. Adapter Fault Tolerance supports two to eight adapters
per team. This teaming mode works with any hub or switch, and all team
members must be connected to the same device.
2. Switch Fault Tolerance (SFT) – provides a failover relationship
between two adapters when each adapter is connected to a separate switch.
Switch Fault Tolerance supports two adapters per team. Spanning Tree
Protocol (STP) must be enabled when you create a team in SFT mode. SFT is
only available on computers running Windows NT* 4.0, Windows* XP, and
Windows 2000. This teaming mode works with any switch.
3. Adaptive load balancing (ALB) – provides load balancing of transmit
traffic and adapter fault tolerance. In Windows operating systems, you can
also enable or disable receive load balancing (RLB) in ALB teams. This
teaming mode works with any switch. This also work in Linux.
4. FEC/Link Aggregation/802.3ad: static mode – provides increased
transmission and reception throughput in a team of two to eight adapters
operating at 100 Mbps. This mode also includes adapter fault tolerance and
load balancing (only routed protocols). This teaming mode requires a switch
with Intel’s Link Aggregation or Cisco’s FEC capability.
5. GEC/Link Aggregation/802.3ad: static mode – is the gigabit extension
of the FEC/Link Aggregation/802.3ad: static mode. All team members must
operate at gigabit speeds. FEC/GEC is used by the Mac pro in OSX.
6. IEEE 802.3ad: dynamic mode – creates one or more teams using dynamic
Link Aggregation with mixed-speed adapters. Like the static Link Aggregation
modes, Dynamic 802.3ad teams increase transmission and reception throughput
and provide fault tolerance. This teaming mode requires a switch that fully
supports the IEEE 802.3ad standard.