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 192.168.1.17 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
          0.0.0.0          0.0.0.0      192.168.1.1     192.168.1.17     20
          0.0.0.0          0.0.0.0     172.19.131.2   172.19.131.161     25
        127.0.0.0        255.0.0.0         On-link         127.0.0.1    306
        127.0.0.1  255.255.255.255         On-link         127.0.0.1    306
  127.255.255.255  255.255.255.255         On-link         127.0.0.1    306
     172.19.131.0    255.255.255.0         On-link    172.19.131.161    281
   172.19.131.161  255.255.255.255         On-link    172.19.131.161    281
   172.19.131.255  255.255.255.255         On-link    172.19.131.161    281
        224.0.0.0        240.0.0.0         On-link         127.0.0.1    306
        224.0.0.0        240.0.0.0         On-link    172.19.131.161    281
  255.255.255.255  255.255.255.255         On-link         127.0.0.1    306
  255.255.255.255  255.255.255.255         On-link    172.19.131.161    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.