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Wireless Networking, Can a laptop have a LAN connection and a Wireless connection on the same Network

Posted on 2006-05-10
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Hi,

I have a LAN with around 30 Desktops on and 10 laptops. The laptops all have wireless cards in and i was wondering if it was possible to buy a Wireless Access Point and have it so when the laptops are moved into a meeting room (where there is no lan connection) it can pick up the Wireless connection, but when they're back at the desk it then uses the faster LAN connection.

So i'd like to have it:

When the laptop is connected to LAN - All files are served through the lan
When the laptop is disconnected from the LAN - Laptop uses Wireless to access files
When the laptop is reconnected to the LAN - All files go through the quicker LAN connection

If i can also do this without having 2 IP addresses as well, that'd be brilliant, although i am aware it might not be possible to do any of this!

Thanks

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Question by:Encams
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12 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
pseudocyber earned 500 total points
ID: 16649761
You might be able to do this with specialized wireless software - which comes with the NIC or the manufacturer of the laptops.

Natively, Windows can use metrics and then make a decision on which connection to use based on the least cost metric.  These are visible in the "route print" screen from the command line.

In my experience, the metrics are unreliable and traffic doesn't always follow them.
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by:mikefalcone
mikefalcone earned 500 total points
ID: 16649839
I find it works best if you manually select which connection you wish to use
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Expert Comment

by:pseudocyber
ID: 16649892
I agree with Mike.  I have it set up on my laptop - but they're not both the same IP net.  I run a batch file to manipulate the route table when I want to re-route traffic.
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LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:Newsboy
Newsboy earned 500 total points
ID: 16650449
Most laptops anymore come with a button to enable/disable wireless, have you checked to see if this is an option on your laptops. If so all they have to do is hit that button.
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by:redgun
redgun earned 500 total points
ID: 16653452
In order to automatically switch between your wired lan port and your wireless card and keep your same ip address you will have to create a bridge. (I am assuming you have windows XP)
here is a extract from windows help


To bridge connections
You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings might also prevent you from completing this procedure.

Open Network Connections.
Under LAN or High-Speed Internet, hold down the CTRL key and select each of the private network connections that you want to be part of the bridge.
Right-click one of the highlighted private network connections, and then click Bridge Connections.
 Notes

To open Network Connections, click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Network Connections.
You must select at least two eligible network connections to create a bridge.
Only Ethernet, IEEE-1394 adapters, or Ethernet compatible adapters such as Wireless and home phoneline adapters (HPNA), can be part of the network bridge.
Adapters that have Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) enabled cannot be part of the network bridge and will not appear on the Network Bridge checklist. Similarly, the Add to Bridge option is available only for adapters that you can add as connections to Network Bridge.
Do not create a bridge between a public Internet connection and a private network connection, or add the public Internet connection to an existing network bridge. To do so will create an unprotected link between your network and the Internet, and your network could be vulnerable to intrusions.
You can create only one network bridge on a computer, but the bridge can accommodate any number of network connections.
You cannot create a bridge connection on a computer running Windows 2000 or earlier versions of Windows.
Network adapters that previously appeared under LAN or High-Speed Internet, appear under Network Bridge when they are added as connections. Network adapters that provide Internet connectivity, such as DSL and cable modems, cannot be bridged and will always appear under LAN or High-Speed Internet.
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Expert Comment

by:knightrider2k2
ID: 16653913
I haven't tried this but may be it works
On windows xp computer go to "Network connections". Click "Advanced settings" from "Advanced" menu. Bring the local area connection on the top.  
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Expert Comment

by:mikefalcone
ID: 16657921
in response to redgun's post. If you do this make sure you have spanning tree turned on on your switches, otherwise you will bring down your network.
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Author Comment

by:Encams
ID: 16707099
Spanning tree? I've never heard of that? We're just using normal gigabit Netgear switches.
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Expert Comment

by:pseudocyber
ID: 16707877
Spanning Tree Protocol was designed to prevent layer 2 switching/bridging loops.  If you introduce a loop into a switched lan, without spanning tree - the nature of switching and broadcasts will quickly crash your network or portions of it.

Quote, "Where two bridges are used to interconnect the same two computer network segments, spanning tree is a protocol that allows the bridges to exchange information so that only one of them will handle a given message that is being sent between two computers within the network. The spanning tree protocol prevents the condition known as a bridge loop."

http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,290660,sid7_gci214602,00.html
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Author Comment

by:Encams
ID: 16750944
Bridging connections sounds like it'll kill my network, so can anyone recommend a program that would be able to detect if it's connected to a LAN or Wireless and pick the best. Preferebly free too :)
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Expert Comment

by:pseudocyber
ID: 16751068
>>pick the best

What's the criteria for "best"?  Wired is ALWAYS better than wirelesss - except for mobility.

The best, free utility for picking the connection is the user.
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Author Comment

by:Encams
ID: 16751514
I'm looking for the fastest connection speed, sorry for not being cleared.

The idea is people in the office would be able to unplug laptops and carry them into meetings without having to select a different connection. I was hoping to get something to do this automatically as the technical user base here isn't the greatest.

Thanks :)
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