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Internet connectivity problem when two connections are set up

Posted on 2013-06-06
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Last Modified: 2013-06-06
Background: The customer has a four-station file sharing network using Win7 PCs.  He is in a very rural area, with no DSL or cable access.  For years he has been using a terribly slow satellite connection for internet, plugged into a router along with all his PCs.  With the exception of the extremely slow internet, this setup has worked fine in terms of file sharing across the network, and internet access.

Now he wants to get his internet access from a faster Verizon hotspot.  I am testing with my Verizon JetPack, which is a standalone wireless device that will support up to five PCs at once.  I have also added a USB wireless adapter to each PC, for the sole purpose of giving each PC internet connectivity from the Verizon JetPack.  Meanwhile, the Cat5E network cables are still connected from each PC to the router, so that they can share files.

The problem is that things won't work right if both are connected.  In other words:

If I disconnect the USB wireless adapter and leave the Cat5E network cable plugged in to each PC, I can share files across the network, but of course I cannot get internet access.

If I disconnect the Cat5E cable and reconnect the USB wireless adapter, I can get internet access, but of course I cannot share files across the network.

If I connect both cable and wireless to a PC, then I can no longer get to the internet.  It's as if each PC thinks it's supposed to be getting it's internet connectivity via the LAN, like it used to do--or something like that.

I'm hoping someone has an idea of what is going wrong here, and how to fix it.  TIA
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Question by:sasllc
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9 Comments
 
LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Raymond Peng
Raymond Peng earned 170 total points
ID: 39227349
Set your wireless network (Verizon) as a home or work network.  Is this a domain or workgroup setup?

Once you set that network up as a home / work network, computers will be able to share files and such.  The computer gets confused on which network to use wired or wireless.

you can read this http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/choosing-a-network-location
for an intro.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:sasllc
ID: 39227465
It is a simple workgroup, i.e. no domain.

Any time today that Windows asked me for the type of network, I always clicked on 'Work".

At this link, I see where they explain the different networks, and how to answer the questions.  But I still don't know what to do to make this work in my situation.  If I go to the network sharing center, it shows two different networks, where the LAN is able to share files, and the wireless has internet access--although not at the same time, which is the whole problem.  I even tried to 'merge' the two, not knowing what I was doing, and it didn't help.

Any specific steps on what to do solve this problem?
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 39227471
Do you have a wireless router separate from the Hotspot?  

If so, you need to set up the wireless be part of the overall network.

.... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:sasllc
ID: 39227504
Yes, the router that the PCs are connected to is a Netgear WNR2000, which is wireless, for the purpose of letting their handheld scanners connect to the LAN for filesharing purposes.  The wireless aspect of the router is NOT for the purpose of internet connectivity, because we're trying to use the Verizon hotspot for that.

With that in mind, when you say "set up the wireless to be a part of the overall network", specifically what do you mean?  What steps to take, where, in the Windows setup?
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LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Experienced Member
Experienced Member earned 160 total points
ID: 39227524
Here is how I hook up a wireless router:

1. Determine the DHCP range of the main network device. Typically the range is .100 - .150 or .100 - .200.

2. Hook up a LAN port on the wireless router to a LAN port on the main network device.

3. Log into the wireless router.

4. On the wireless router, turn DCHP OFF.

5. On the wireless router, give it a static IP address on the main network, e.g. .011 or something like that.

Now devices on the wireless router should be able to get Internet and still be able to share files.

.... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Raymond Peng
ID: 39227535
can you open up command prompt (cmd) and do a ipconfig /all and post your results here?
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LVL 31

Accepted Solution

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Frosty555 earned 170 total points
ID: 39227617
You probably lose internet access because the LAN connection has the default gateway specified.

The computer can only connect to the Internet via ONE gateway - the default gateway. Whichever network adapter has a default gateway configured is the one that the computer uses - even if that default gateway doesn't actually connect to the Internet successfully. If you have more than one network adapter with the default gateway specified, the results are unpredictable at best.

Just as a test - can you go into the LAN network connection, configure it with a static IP and blank out the default gateway field?
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Frosty555
ID: 39227623
I should rephrase what I said:

"If you have more than one network adapter with the default gateway specified, the results are unpredictable at best."

Really, Windows configures each network adapter with a priority, and whichever one has the highest priority is the one that is used as the default gateway. The priority is arbitrary, and configurable, but in your case I'd bet the original onboard LAN connection has higher priority than the USB wireless network adapter, so that's probably why you don't get any Internet. Take away the default gateway on the LAN and the wireless' default gateway should now be used for Internet.

But for what it's worth, that's a bandaid solution.

Really, it would be nice if you could use the Verizon service as the WAN internet connection for your existing router / network, that way your router handles the local network traffic just as it always has, and your computers only have ONE network connection - the LAN.

Does the verizon hotspot device have any LAN ports on it which you can connect to the router's WAN port to replace the DSL? If not, is there some alternative 4G router device you can get from Verizon that does?
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:sasllc
ID: 39227653
I have dropped the router from the configuration, connecting all the PCs to a switch, and giving each of them a static IP...and now I'm working as planned.  Thanks to all for the guidance.
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