Photo by Nathan Cima on Unsplash

Photo by Nathan Cima on Unsplash

Network load balancing on Windows Server

Load Carrier

Article from ADMIN 81/2024
Setting up and making the most of network load balancing on Windows Server 2019 and 2022.

Network Load Balancing (NLB) is an integrated feature of Windows Server 2019 and 2022. The feature makes it possible to distribute network traffic across several servers without having to purchase additional hardware. The result is improved performance, scalability, and availability of applications. The management side is not particularly complicated, and NLB clusters are flexible when it comes to setup.

The first and perhaps most obvious benefit of network load balancing is the improvement in performance and the ability to handle heavy peak loads by distributing them across a number of servers to avoid any individual server being overtaxed. This aspect is particularly important for high-traffic websites and applications, where peaks in network traffic can lead to noticeable performance losses or even downtime.

Another advantage of NLB is an improvement in scalability that lets organizations expand their server infrastructures as required by simply adding additional servers to the cluster, which is particularly practical for growing organizations in constant need of adapting their IT infrastructure. Moreover, NLB enhances the availability of applications and services. If a server fails, the service itself remains available, which is of crucial importance for critical applications and services.


In total, you can connect up to 32 servers to an NLB cluster, which allows various services that rely on TCP to scale. NLB clusters can also distribute several requests from the same client to different or identical nodes. For scaling purposes, you can add further hosts to the cluster at any time or remove servers that are no longer required. One advantage of NLB with Windows Server is the ease of creating and managing clusters in the graphical user interface (GUI) or with PowerShell.

To integrate a host into an NLB cluster, it may make sense to enable IP forwarding for the

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