Is Link Aggregation still difficult?

I have a motherboard with 4x1Gbit ports on it (plain old ethernet, not SFP)
I’m curious if I were to connect all 4 network ports to a switch if I could get 4Gbit from the NAS.

I would assume I would need a very particular switch to do this, if at all?

Finally if all of it can be done, will SMB work at 4Gbit over 4 network ports or does it dislike being split?

To your title question, no, Link aggregation isn’t difficult and never has been. But it often doesn’t work as you’d expect. So,

Not really. It could, in the best case, give you 1 Gbit/sec simultaneously to four different clients.

You’d need a managed switch.

Again, it would be four separate streams to four separate clients.

See also:


In the past, I have had very bad experiences with failovers and like games with LACP. Given how reliable my motherboard SFP+ connection has been over the years, I see zero benefit of failover in my use case.

@Dan is absolutely right, at best you might be able to get four 1Gb streams out of the NAS, but wouldn’t every Ethernet port would have to be on a separate VLAN / subnet, whatever unless you have a fancy managed switch that is fully compatible with LACP, as implemented by iXsystems?

It’s a lot of work for very little gain in my book when genuine but usable intel SFP+ cards are available on eBay for around $10. Add a DAC, a switch with SFP+, and you get all the benefit of up to 1GB/s without the fiddling needed to get all four Gigabit ports to play nicely with a switch.

I don’t think this is that high of a bar, really. For it to make any sense, it’d have to be a fairly large switch–I’d say probably no less than 16 ports–but other than that, “compatible with LACP” isn’t much of an issue for a managed switch. But that said,

this is probably a better way to go. And of course Chelsio and Solarflare are also valid choices for the NICs.

I do use LAGG on my NAS–I have a two-port 10G NIC in there, I have the ports available on my switch, so I didn’t see any reason not to use it. But I doubt it’s really doing anything for me.

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Thank you all for those replies, they’re pretty clear, sounds remotely usable for perhaps a mid business with many users, but unnecessarily complicated vs just having 1 fast port.

It’s a bit of a shame but hey that’s my issue for using a board from 2017 still!
(I don’t have any more PCI slots free so I can live with 125MB/s maximum I guess!)

I could consider a decent quality USB3 NIC but of course that would be ridiculous! :slight_smile:

Next system to have SFP+ ports I suspect in 3 or 4 years.

I don’t know about “unnecessarily complicated,” but definitely more complicated.

The OP decided to ascribe it that word. It’s subjective. It can be simple for you and difficult for someone else at the same time.

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