What Is Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol And Should It Be Enabled?

Stumbled upon Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol but not sure what it is? Here's the ultimate guide which explains what it is and if you need it.

Your internet connection not performing as it should often leads to a sudden urge to tweak and modify settings within your operating system.

However, without knowing what each specific setting does, “fiddling” around can most of the time cause more harm than good.

With that said, we often see users ask questions about their network settings, mentioning the Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor protocol, wondering if it’s supposed to be active on their computers or not.

The guide below answers this question in detail, so without further ado, let’s get started.

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What Is The Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol?

To understand whether you need this setting or not, you have to know exactly what it is and what’s its purpose.

Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol

This is a kernel-level device driver used for NIC bonding, or commonly known as Network Interface Card bonding. NIC bonding is used for the purpose of linking two or more network cards with the goal of achieving broader network bandwidth or fault tolerance.

The image below features a screenshot taken from a forum thread where a Microsoft technical specialist explained this feature (setting) to one of the users.

Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol explained

Kernel-mode drivers (also referred to as ring-0 drivers) scare users at first sight due to the infinite permissions and control they have over a computer, which is probably one of the main reasons why users are worried about this setting, especially when it’s switched on.

You can read more about Kernel in this informative Wikipedia guide.  

The Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol is usually disabled by default on the majority of computers. Chances are it is disabled for you as well, as windows automatically switches the setting off if your computer uses only one adapter.

If you do however use more than one adapter, then this setting could be on, and you should keep it like that for the added benefits, such as increased bandwidth.

When attempting to enable this setting while using only one adapter, you’ll encounter a message saying: “Your current selection will also disable the following features: Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol. Are you sure you want to disable these feature(s)?”

selection will disable Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol

If you proceed by clicking “Yes,” you’ll just get returned to the previous window, and the setting will still be disabled. Remember, this only happens when your PC uses only one adapter.

Also, despite this function operating on ring-0, it’s a built-in Windows feature by Microsoft, so it’s completely safe to use and cannot be exploited or abused in any way unless your computer is already vulnerable security-wise.

Should I Enable This Setting Or Keep It Disabled?

Shortly put, if this setting is already enabled on your PC, there’s a good reason for it. Leave it on as there are a few benefits of doing so.

If it’s disabled, and you cannot enable it, then it means your PC uses only one adapter and there isn’t a need for this setting to be toggled on in the first place.  

Conclusion

Now you know more about the Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol feature inside your Adapter Settings Windows 10 panel. Use this information to decide whether you need to switch it on or off on your system.

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Bojan Veselinovikj
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Bojan Veselinovikj

Bojan is a video-game developer and a tech enthusiast. Combining these two passions allow him to keep you informed on everything that's new in this fast-paced digital world.