What are the pros and cons of using two NICs?

Many computers today have the ability to support dual network cards. There are several pros and cons to using this type of technology. The main advantage of two NICs is the ability to simultaneously connect to two completely independent networks. This can increase productivity because one machine can work in two separate environments. The downside is potential security vulnerabilities that occur through sharing networks on a computer.

Most large companies use training software to help employees learn the computer applications used by the company.

A computer with two network cards can connect to multiple computers. Most software developers require access to a separate development environment and test environment. Having two network connections allows the developer to access both networks through one computer. Without this feature, the developer is forced to use separate computers for each task.

Most large companies use training software to help employees learn the computer applications used by the company. These applications are typically maintained on a separate training network. A computer with two network cards can access the training and production networks. This setup saves organizations money because the employee can use a computer for training and production.

One of the main issues with having dual NICs is security. A computer with two network cards can be used as a virus propagation device. If a hacker breaks into a computer with two cards, he can send malicious software to multiple networks.

If a computer is connected to both a production network and a test network, production data can be easily compromised. This is because the production data will reside on a computer connected to a test network. If the user accidentally sends this data over the testnet, it can be seen by users who shouldn’t have access to it.

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A company that requires secret network environments does not allow two NICs on a single computer. This is considered a security breach due to the vulnerability of data exposure and cyberspace infiltration concerns. Companies with secret proprietary data should avoid using dual NICs.

Some companies use dual NICs as a method of managing overall network performance. With this configuration, one network will be connected to a slower capacity server and the other network will be connected to a high bandwidth capacity infrastructure. Computer applications can be configured to run on the appropriate network infrastructure.

Using dual network cards can be problematic for most novice computer users. These network devices may experience configuration issues when the computer is restarted. As the dual networking approach is typically an advanced configuration, it is not a default configuration for most operating systems.

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