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View Full Version : For Computer Gurus, Parallel Ethernet Connections?



The Doctor
11-07-2004, 12:42 AM
OK, I suspect Evan would be the one to answer this, but I'll take any suggestions that come my way.

I've got a notebook that I use in my kitchen that has a built in 802.11b wireless ethernet card, which provides a very strong connection to my wireless router, but is not very fast and loses connection when the microwave oven is turned on. I have a few 802.11a PCMCIA cards that I have used with other computers to connect to a separate access point. These are quite fast and are not affected all by the microwave, but sometimes have a hard time maintaining a steady connection over this 25 foot distance.

What I would like to do is get the computer to use whichever connection is functioning to transfer data, and maybe even share both of them when they are both working fine. I have tried doing this between a wired and a wireless network in the past, but it seems the computer only connect through one or the other, and will not share them. I want to use both for everything from file transfer to Internet access. Is there anyway to do this, or am I just chasing the holy Grail?

Oops, almost forgot a few important details. The subject computer, and all other computers on the network, are running Windows 2000 at service pack four. Cable modem attached to a Netgear mr 814 v2 router-four port switch-802.11b access point. The 802.11a access point is hooked up to this router through one of the ethernet ports, and is located about 5 feet away from it. As it is currently set, all computers on the network automatically obtain or IP addresses from the DHCP server in the router, with some machines having their addresses reserved. If I need to manually configure TCP/IP on any of the computers to make this work, that is not a problem.

Thank you
Ed

Evan
11-07-2004, 01:50 AM
There is an undocumented feature of Windows XP that I discovered myself. It does not seem to be known by anyone else on the net. If you have two different nics on two different subnets (I do) then you can bridge them. That much is standard. Bridging is a built in feature of XP. When you bridge them it will also bridge any dial in adapter (note: not dial out) that is configured. Normally, you cannot bridge a dialup adapter, period. The option does not exist, but it happens anyway. This is what I discovered. Setup is tricky but it works. That is how I am working right now. I use this to access my work computer on dialup to access my adsl connection at my office with no time limit.

Now, as to Windows 2000, you can bridge networks. But, you must be running Windows 2000 Server Edition and there are some hoops to jump through. If you don't have Server Edition then it isn't possible.

The Doctor
11-07-2004, 03:47 AM
Evan, I was looking quite a bit on Google before asked the question here, and I found the information about bridging on Windows XP. As I understand it, if I have an Internet connection and some computers on network A hand some other computers on network B, the bridging it would be used to let the computers on network B connect to the computers and Internet connection on network A. In my case, both connections are an end up at the same point in the router. Will bridging work to this end? What about the router, will it understand how to use two different connections to the same computer at once?

The computer I am getting is a used ThinkPad T30 which comes with Windows XP on it, so I could try this technique. Although my experience has been that Windows XP is a pain in the ass to deal with overall, plus I like the business look of Windows 2000 better than the Fisher-Price look of XP :-)

About Windows 2000 server, what are the disadvantages of running this compared to 2000 Pro? Are there more resources used?

Thank you
Ed

jburstein
11-07-2004, 01:27 PM
With network bridging, in places other than on your home network you should be careful about turning this on. On larger networks (like my University), when you turn it on you create a new path from one network to another, and oftentimes this can bring your computer, and the rest of the network down. It can also create security issues--if your wireless network isn't secured then bridging the connection makes your wired network less secure as well.

About the appearance of XP, you can switch it back to be the same as 2000. That's what I've done.

-Justin

Evan
11-07-2004, 02:21 PM
Justin is correct. Network bridging only exacerbates security issues where they exist. It can provide a gateway to an entire lan. It can be an IT persons worst nightmare.

As for the appearnce aspect of XP just right click on the desktop and select Propeties>Themes. Then select Windows Classic. Then right click on the Task Bar and select Properties>Start Menu.

Select "Classic Start Menu" and, Voila, Win 2000.

Win 2000 is internally known as Windows NT 5.0. Window XP is Windows NT 5.1. No real difference but for a few network issues (and a couple of other items) between Home and Pro.

Ryobiguy
11-07-2004, 03:29 PM
I havn't tried this, so I don't know if this theory would work. Perhaps you could plug both wired and wireless in, and use the "route" command to add a secondary default gateway route (with a higher metric,) that points to the wired interface. In theory, if the wireless loses link, then the wireless's default route should hopefully go down or become invalid. When your PC routes the packets it sends, it will decide that it needs to send data on the wired link.