Win 7 - Which Connection Is Being Used - Wired or Wireless?

May 9, 2013 at 18:25:32
Specs: Windows 7, AMD QL-65/3 Gb
Hi!

I just bought a Dell 2320 with Win 7 Home premium. I'm fairly new to the Win 7 environment and I'd appreciate any assistance you folks can offer.

The Dell has wireless capabilities. I've been using that way for a few days, but today I plugged in an Ethernet cable to see if it made any performance difference. The thing I'm not sure about is which connection it uses if it is both wired and wireless at the same time.

If I go to the Network Control Panel it shows both connections. If I click on the "wireless bars" in the Task Bar it shows the the name of my router and says I'm connected.

Which connection is it using if they both show connected?

Any info (and explanation) would be appreciated. I'm sure I'll have more Win 7 questions as I use the system more and more.

Thanks!

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#1
May 9, 2013 at 18:39:43
Usually the Ethernet connection will override the wireless connection when the cable is plugged in. There should also be a couple of lights (green & yellow or orange) right by the network jack on your laptop that will light up when you have a working connection.

If your not sure, there is always a button or function key that will turn off the wireless connection. Check your manual for this button.
From what I've seen online it's most likely Fn+F2 on Dells


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#2
May 9, 2013 at 20:51:26
Thanks for the response.

The 2320 is not a laptop, it's an All-In-One. Yes, the light does come on when the cable is plugged in, but all that tells me is that there is good connection, the same thing that the control panel tells me. It doesn't indicate that it is using that connection instead of the wireless.

These systems don't come with manuals. The on-line user manual is generic for many Dell systems. It mentions some Fn key combinations, but the keyboard that came with my 2320 doesn't even have an Fn key. I'll do some more research and see if I can find a key that turns off the wireless.

Thanks again.

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#3
May 9, 2013 at 23:05:41
You can also turn off the wireless Network Interface Card via the Control Panel > Network & Internet: View network status and tasks > Change adapter settings (from the left pane), then right-click the wireless NIC and hit Disable.

Apologies if I don't respond to your reply immediately. I don't check this site daily, but you're welcome to PM me as a reminder.


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Related Solutions

#4
May 10, 2013 at 01:10:27
In system tray, there is an icon for the connection. If this icon has a triangular shape, the connection is wireless. If the icon has a rectangular shape, the connection is wired.

You can also open network and sharing center in Control Panel. There you may see the connection type. The connection on top tells you the default connection.

You can change the default connection if you wish, though.

I suggest you use the wireless connection provided that you have good security on wireless. WPA2 and a complex and long passkey.

My connection was wired in the past and a lightning bolt damaged my motherboard and the modem-router. Motherboard repaired and Windows required re-activation. A wireless connection might have saved the motherboard.

CoolGuy


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#5
May 10, 2013 at 05:52:18
@suatcini:

re: In system tray, there is an icon for the connection. If this icon has a triangular shape, the connection is wireless. If the icon has a rectangular shape, the connection is wired.

In my case, it appears that when the wireless is being used, I get the "5 bar icon" like you get on a cell phone. If that is what you mean by a "a triangular shape" then that matches. If I disable the wireless adapter via the Control Panel, the icon changes to a picture of a monitor with a RJ45 connector next to it. Your rectangular shape, perhaps?

re: You can also open network and sharing center in Control Panel. There you may see the connection type. The connection on top tells you the default connection.

If I power the system up on wireless, it is obviously using wireless. If I then plug in the cable, the Local Area Connection shows up on top in the control panel, but the system tray icon doesn't change meaning the wireless connection is still being used.

If I power up with the wireless disabled, and then enable the wireless adapter via the control panel, the icon switches to the wireless icon, but the LAN connection is still showing on top in the Control Panel.

Conclusion: If wireless is available, the system will use it/switch to it. The order of the list in the control panel doesn't matter. Perhaps it's just alphabetical.

Thanks for the help. Focusing on the icon and watching how it reacts when connections are made/unmade has lead to the answer: Wireless is what the system wants to use.

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#6
May 10, 2013 at 06:09:31
I think your notebook came with wireless as default connection. In my desktop, wired connection is defaulted if it is available.

If you want wired connection to be the default, let me know.

CoolGuy


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#7
May 10, 2013 at 07:10:42
The 2320 is not a notebook. It's an All-In-One.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-o...

I would be interested is knowing how to make the wired connection the default. Now that I know how to force it one way or the other, I want to do some more testing to see which one performs better.

My daughters will be home from college next week and will be using the wireless with their Macs and iPhones. My wife uses the wireless for her iPad, and there are a couple of Droids in use also.

If the additional load impacts the wireless performance on the Dell, I'll probably want to force it to wired side.

How do I set the wired to be the default? Thanks!

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#8
May 10, 2013 at 07:42:15
We've run into issues here at work with Dell laptops stopping communicating on the network properly if both the wired and wireless interfaces are enabled and connected at the same time.

So, if you're going to use wired, just disable the wireless interface. If you don't, I suspect you'll find one fine day that you have no connectivity at all and won't until you disable one or the other.

I'm running Windows 7 on my work laptop and desktop. My desktop has 3 network interfaces and I regularly swap between them. I also swap between wired/wireless on my laptop all the time so I put a shortcut to the Network and Sharing Center on my desktops.

If you do that with your laptop, then you can easily enable/disable as required by right clicking on the shortcut and choosing "Properties". Then click "change adapter setting" and right click on the one in use, select "Disable" and the do the same on the one you wish to use and choose "enable"

This simplifies enabling/disabling interfaces.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#9
May 10, 2013 at 08:28:29
Maybe I'm missing something. So far I've only been able to enable the wireless adaptor via the Device Manager.

Right clicking the wireless adapter device name in the Network and Sharing Center doesn't seem to offer an option to enable it. I'm not at the machine right now so I can't try it, but as I said, the ony way I was able to enable it was through the Device Manager.

It's no big deal since once it's set up in it's permanent location, I don't imagine I'll be swapping the connection very often. I'm still playing with it to decide if I want to keep it and the network performance is something I want to look at.

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#10
May 10, 2013 at 10:24:44
Odd, right clicking should bring up a menu. I opened mine and tried to get a screenshot of the open menu but no luck.

http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums...

You'll notice there's a menu across the top that allows one to enable/disable as well. Once you have your interface highlighted like "LAN1" in my image is, you right click and a menu should come up and the first choice should be "dis/enable" depending on whether the interface is active or not.

If your window doesn't look the same (ie: has the menu across the top) then you might not be in the correct window.

NOTE: Default Windows shows "Local Area Network". Because I have 3 interfaces and frequently use a batchfile to change the IP address on an active interface I shortened them to "LAN1", "LAN2" etc

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#11
May 10, 2013 at 10:26:59
Oye!

You'll have to excuse me DerbyDad, I forgot to mention, when you get into the "Network and Sharing Center" you have to click on "Change adapter settings" on the left side menu. In the window that opens you'll see all network interfaces and it's there you right click.

Sorry about that.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#12
May 10, 2013 at 11:23:41
No problem! Like I said, I'm not at home now, so you've provided the instructions in time for me to try them when I get home. Thanks!

BTW...if you get a chance, please check out this thread and let me know if you have any thoughts. It about this same system and whether I should keep it or not.

http://www.computing.net/answers/wi...

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#13
May 11, 2013 at 03:31:17
You can follow this link to change your network connection priority from wireless to wired or from one adapter to another.

Hope this helps.

Sorry for the confusion about all-in-one and notebook. I stand corrected.

CoolGuy


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#14
May 18, 2013 at 06:15:32
I wish to correct my answers regarding default internet connection type when both wired and wireless are present concurrently.

I stated that Windows defaults to wired connection when both wired and wireless connections are available concurrently and that one can change priority of connection type if one wishes.

This is not true in Windows 7.

My Windows 7 Home Premium x64 defaults to wireless connection independent of the priority of the wired connection.

My Windows 8 Pro x64 defaults to wired connection.

I am mainly on Windows 8 and I assumed the same behavior of default connection was true in Windows 7 without actually booting into Windows 7 and seeing with my own eyes.

By the way, my Windows 7 and 8 run in the same machine but on different hard drives.

I am sorry for providing the community with an incorrect answer.

CoolGuy


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