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I've just built my own PC (after using Macs exclusively since the 90s). Since i don't have a wireless router, I chose to purchase a PCIe network card to share internet throughout my apartment. However, my computer is a pretty decent gaming rig with 7 fans (3 on the GPU, 3 on the case, 1 on the CPU aftermarket heatsink and 1 on the PSU). It's not super loud but I'd like to be able to put the computer to sleep each night while being able to still allow the network card to emit internet to my other wireless devices. I'm using Windows 7. Is this possible?

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It's possible to keep a networking card or two powered up (at least partially, for the sake of Wake on LAN) while the host is asleep, but moving the traffic between a wired Ethernet card and a wireless card without using the host processor or OS is the tricky part. I don't know of anyone who makes a combo wired/wireless Ethernet card that can act as an 802.11 AP or wireless router while the host is asleep. It an interesting idea though. It would also be cool if you could run the host's main processor in a low-power mode with custom code that allows it to run separate Ethernet and Wi-Fi cards and bridge or NAT-gateway between them. Kind of like how Windows Vista's SideShow feature was supposed to let you do small tasks on a small display on the outside of a laptop's case without waking the whole system, or how technologies like Splashtop and Hyperspace allowed laptops to surf the web or play DVDs without booting the whole system.

Nope, you're probably going to have to get yourself a wireless router.

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thanks for the input :) –  TheDarkIn1978 Feb 23 '12 at 21:14

Unlikely, since the network card is powered off (or at least in a low-power mode) when the PC is asleep.

The best way would be to buy/build a low-end machine just to do that task, or just use a wireless router.

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There's no way you could buy/build a low-end machine for less than buying a low-end wireless router. –  Spiff Feb 23 '12 at 4:24
    
@Spiff Indeed, that too. Edited my answer to reflect that. –  Renan Feb 23 '12 at 4:25

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