One Laptop, two wireless adapters (Rookie wireless talk)

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There are three computers and one video game (Wii) in my house, they
all connect to the internet via the same Netgear router which is
connected to our cable modem (4mbps download).  Two of the computers
and the wii are wireless, while one computer is connected directly to
the router.

My computer is a three year-old Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop.  It has an
internal mini-PCMCIA wireless card that works okay, it's nearly as
fast as a direct connection as long as no one else is online.  When my
stepson uses his computer (a fairly new Dell Desktop system with an
external USB wireless adapter), my network response gets a little
sluggish.  If he is online and someone is using the Wii and/or the
computer connected directly to the router, my network response gets
even more sluggish.

I've adjusted my network settings with TCPOptimize, which helped some.

I get the feeling I'm not getting my fair share of the router
traffic.  The directly connected computer rarely has sluggish response
even when other computers in the house are being used.

I recently installed a D-Link router elsewhere and it came with a free
USB wireless network adapter similar to my stepson's.  I tried using
this adapter last night on my laptop computer.  I disabled my internal
adapter and the external USB adapter worked fine.  I went back and
forth between the internal adapter and the external adapter and tested
download speeds at  The external adapter appeared to
be slightly faster, though of course each time you test a speed it's
slightly different due to varying net traffic.

Then out of curiosity, I tried using both wireless adapters at the
same same time.  It worked.  Well, it seemed to work.  I did an
ipconfig command in a command window and it showed there were two
separate IP addresses, one for each adapter.  I went to
and the speed tests were much faster, up to about twice as fast on
some tests.  I wonder if the two adapters faked out the speed tests
somehow and the true speed was half the results I received.  Or maybe
the connection really is faster.

The best part is, my stepson went online last night at the same time I
was using both adapters and my response didn't get sluggish.  I'm not
sure is this was because I was using two adapters at once or if the
external adapter is a better unit than my internal adapter.

I don't really expect magic, when I'm online by myself my connection
speeds will only be so fast.  My goal is to not have sluggish response
when other people are online at the same time.

I guess my main question is, with two wireless adapters am I really
able to improve my network response by taking a larger "share" of the
router?  I don't want to hog the home network, but I'm tired of my
network response getting squashed.

Thanks for any help you can give!!

Re: One Laptop, two wireless adapters (Rookie wireless talk)

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In a nutshell, you're correct, you now have two simultaneous connections to
your network.  I did the same with my current notebook, by using it's own
wireless-g built in adapter and adding a D-Link wireless-n so it now zooms
along, almost on a par with the wired desktops.
Cari (MS-MVP)
Windows Technologies - Printing & Imaging

Re: One Laptop, two wireless adapters (Rookie wireless talk)

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Thanks Cari!  Hmm, there is still room for external PC Card wireless
adapter, if I had three wireless connectors...okay, okay, overkill...

Re: One Laptop, two wireless adapters (Rookie wireless talk)

The information you received it good but didn't address the other issue
you raised - why the connection slows down so much then the other
systems are connected. You are probably correct that you aren't getting
your "fair share" of the available bandwidth with the internal adapter
in your system.

This is caused by the other systems being faster than your older system.
They are able to respond quicker to the availability of the wireless
router for another system's transmission and therefore will get the
lion's share of the bandwidth.

I remember working on this problem with (hardwired) mainframes where a
faster, active, I/O device could monopolize the channel (wired
interface) and slower speed devices couldn't send data to the system.

There's very little new stuff under the sun.

Phil Sherman

swangdb wrote:
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