We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Wireless and Wired network connection active at same time, which one is used?

Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-24
Hi All,

I have a laptop that has integrated wireless and a ethernet port.  Typically when user comes into office, the connect to the wired network and work.  There is also wireless available in office.  When the laptop boots up, the wireless is automatically enabled and connects.  They are also connected to the wired network.  This causes a problem when running logon scripts as some network resources are not seen or correctly mapped.  When I boot-up with the wireless disabled, no issues.  So the questions are:

1. Short of manually disabling the wireless (enabling it when needed), how do I make sure that the wired network connection is used when it is connected?
2. Is there a way to have the wireless disable itself when a wired connection is active?

Watch Question


I take it that there isnt a manual switch to turn on and off the wireless network.

Are you using the same subnet for the wire and wiesless networks?

Do you have just one machine with problems and do any work?


If your laptop does not have switch On/Off, then check the manual see if any function key (normally Fn+F5) to trun on and off wireless device.
Yes there is an on/off switch. Yes, the wired and wireless are on the same subnet. Yes, more than one laptop has this problem.

I don't want the user to have to remember to manually shut off the wireless card prior to logging on to the network.  

Any other thoughts?

As now, there is no automatic shut off a network device when other plug in. User must use on & off switch or key command (Fn +F5), or have to manual disable deivce thru its property. Other experts might have better idea or soft tool can help.

Good luck.

All I can think of is making sure that when you connect via the wireless that yur connection is good and that all mapped drives work properly, easier done than said.

Most Valuable Expert 2015

Usually the connection that get's a valid connection first will then also be used. That will usually be the wired connection as it connects faster (no need for for wpa etc which would be used in wireless). Also a lot of wireless devices connect only after login, particularly if you use the manufacturer's utility and not the zero config one. So if your users first connect the PC to the LAN, then bootup, they should 1st connect to the wired LAN and that should then also be used for further communications.
Short of using a sniffer to look into the packets, is there a way to determine which NIC a packet decides to take?  I agree that the wired connection will setup first but the wireless connection is also setting up before the logon occurs.  Then when the startup script runs and tries to map the drives it does not do it correctly.  There might not be a solution for this other than disabling the wireless NIC when not in use.

On my D810 it uses the wired connection when one or both the wireless connections are connected to my knowledge xp defaults to the wired connection ( i havent read this any where but both my laptop, desktop and friends system behave the same way). To verify what nic its using simply open up task manager with ctrl+atl+del (assuming here your using xp) then click the networking tab, now down load a file or transfer something over the network and see which nic has the higher network utilization.

Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts
Jamie - thanks for the reminder about viewing the nic through tskmgr.  While that doesn't completely answer my question, it will give me a good idea what what is going on with the NICs.

Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.