Q. How can I configure my computer to use my wireless connection over my wired connection when both are connected to networks with default gateways?

A. If you computer has wireless and wired connections, it's common to want to use the wired network if available, because it's generally faster than the wireless network. The network that's chosen for traffic when multiple networks exist with a default gateway is the network with the lowest metric. In Windows, this metric is set automatically by default, and a wire-connected network has a lower metric than a wireless network, so your wired network will be chosen over your wireless network. This can be seen in the results from my route print command, shown here. The interface is my wired connection and has a metric of 20, while the wireless network has a metric of 25.

IPv4 Route Table
Active Routes:
Network Destination        Netmask          Gateway       Interface  Metric
     25         On-link    306         On-link    306         On-link    306         On-link    281         On-link    281         On-link    281         On-link    306         On-link    281         On-link    306         On-link    281

The automatic choice of the network with the lowest metric can be changed by modifying the TCP/IP settings of your network connections through the Advanced properties, as shown here. If you want the wireless to be used over the wired, unselect the Automatic metric and set a lower value than the wired.

Click to expand.

Related Reading:
  • Q. I’m using MAC filtering on my wireless access point. Do I still need to use encryption?
  • Buyer's Guide: Enterprise Wireless Routers
  • Q. I've configured Routing and Remote Access to connect two subnets, but clients can't communicate to servers via the router. What's wrong?
  • Windows Vista’s Wireless Security

  • Check out hundreds more useful Q&As like this in John Savill's FAQ for Windows. Also, watch instructional videos made by John at ITTV.net.
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