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Background: I have a custom built gaming machine running Windows 7 RC for which I bought a fairly cheap wireless adapter because I thought my dorm would have firewire internet again this year. When I got there they were all wireless. I immediately ordered a new decent wireless-n adapter and just installed it today. As I was installing, i thought "why should I even bother removing my older adapter?"

So, my question is: should I?

What are the pros/cons of having two adapters instead of one?
Is there a speed increase if they're connected to different networks? The same network?
Is the opposite true, will it slow my download speed?

Speakeasy speed test was inconclusive on those last points.
So far the biggest benefit I've seen is that I can always get a good signal from at least one of my adapters, since they have different antenna setups.

What do you think? Any tips?

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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

For using multiple adapters, you will want to look at NIC Bonding.
Here is a linux reference on Serverfault: NIC bonding with two uplinks.

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Generally with wireless there's no particular advantage to multiple adapters on the same network since the total bandwidth (eg 54mbps for 802.11g) is shared amongst all the clients rather than like a network port where you have an amount per port. If you were to connect to different networks you would have a certain amount of bandwidth on each network but generally speaking each application would only be able to use one or the other.

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Would that mean though that if itunes uses one network for my downloads and firefox uses the other for browsing, they would not affect each other if they use different networks? Can I make them use one or the other, or how is that determined? –  CSharperWithJava Sep 21 '09 at 14:33
The only time I've ever done this is with a router that handled the aggregation for me, so I plugged both WAN connections into the router and it picked which connection to use for which applications. I'm not even sure what would happen if you used two networks from the same PC, the very least you would have to do is make sure they were in different subnets. –  Col Sep 21 '09 at 14:53
I think Nik's first reference is probably going to be helpful answering your questions. –  Col Sep 21 '09 at 14:54
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