My office environment has both wired as well as 802.11 (wireless) LAN. I am connected to both. Does it make any difference in my data transfer rate?

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When your station is connected to more than one interface, the interface actually used to transmit data is determined by your routing table. Each network route has a metric associated with it that helps the TCP/IP stack decide which route is best. For example:
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32>route print
------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Active Routes: Network Destination Netmask Gateway Interface Metric 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 10.0.0.1 10.0.0.242 30 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 10.0.0.1 10.0.0.241 10 ...etc... Default Gateway: 10.0.0.1 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In this case, 10.0.0.241 is assigned to my Ethernet NIC, while 10.0.0.242 is assigned to my wireless NIC. Interface .241 has a smaller metric (10) than .242 (30), meaning that this default route is better. As a result, non-local traffic will always be sent over my 10/100 Ethernet connection instead of my 802.11b wireless connection. If my Ethernet connection goes down (e.g., cable unplugged), the .241 route will disappear, and the .242 route will automatically be used instead. Having two default routes does not affect the link speed of either interface, but route metrics can reflect link speed (i.e., the fast link can have a smaller metric.)

This was first published in November 2003

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