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I have read similar questions in the past (i.e. How do I use my dual band Wi-Fi card to connect to 5GHz and 2.4GHz simultaneously on Windows? and Connect multiple WiFi networks simultaneously), however they don't address my question adequately.

I am attempting to understand if I can use 2 separate wireless cards on my Desktop PC to connect to the same wireless router at the same time, specifically as so:

  • WiFi Adapter 1 using 5Ghz 802.11ac to Router
  • WiFi Adapter 2 using 2.4Ghz 802.11n to Router (same router)

Currently I have them set to 2 different SSIDs, although that certainly can be changed if needed.

To be clear, I want to use both networks to boost speeds, that's the intent here.

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  • Might be able to find something from the NIC vendor but Windows 10 doesn't natively support Link Aggregation. You could switch to Server 2012 which does... – ssnobody Feb 5 '16 at 2:04
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+50

This is no different than connecting 2 wired Ethernet ports on the same computer to the same network... it requires what is called interface bonding, NIC teaming, or link aggregation, which is only officially supported by Windows Server OS for Microsoft products (it worked in Windows 10 up to build 10240, officially broken now), but this also requires a compatible switch or router that supports some kind of networking teaming or balancing protocol, which many enterprise grade switches and routers do, but virtually no consumer products do, and to my knowledge there is no wireless router or AP out there capable of this itself. Although using 2 switch ports that support link aggregation to two unique APs could potentially do this with a compatible OS, which Windows 10 is not (EDIT: Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 should have this capability, but it is broken in all builds of Win10 after 10240, with no ETA on fix at this time).

Honestly, your best bet is to just use the 5Ghz 802.11ac connection and not bother with the second wireless connection unless it is connecting to a different network, or switch to a hardwired connection.

I can give multiple links if you wish to confirm all this information, but nitty gritty of this is boils down to this from a Microsoft engineer (Jeffrey Tippet) when discussing this in a Microsoft's Social discussion channel, here is the summary: The NIC Teaming feature is technically implemented using the MAC layer (layer 2), and the MAC layer is different for each media type. You cannot team WLAN/WWAN NICs because we did not build the extra support for that; it wouldn't make sense to spend time building that support when NIC Teaming is squarely aimed as a server feature.

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    Also Link Aggregation does not increase speed. It increases capacity. You can have more connections (file transfers, etc) open simultaneously. Its kind of like widening the road, but not changing the speed limit. – c0deous Feb 9 '16 at 16:25
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Microsoft's solution in Windows 10, NIC Teaming (LBFO), is not useful, as the documentation says:

NICs representing technologies other than Ethernet are not supported in teams (e.g., WWAN, WLAN/WiFi, Bluetooth, Infiniband including IPoIB NICs).

For wireless, the Microsoft solution is therefore out. In any case, one other unfulfilled requirement is that all adapters have the same speed.

This leaves third-party solutions. The ones that I know of are listed below, but I cannot recommend any since I have no experience with them.

  • dispatch-proxy - free and open source.
  • NetFusion - starting at $26.99 for 1 year.
  • Speedify- free for 1GB per month, $9 for 50GB, $19 for unlimited, yearly offers also available. This is perhaps the best-known product in this category. I also believe that this is the only one that divides traffic between connections on a per-packet basis and that uses multiple world-wide servers, so seems the most serious of the bunch.

Otherwise, for doing without a third-party product, I reproduce below a testimony I have found on the Internet :

If your router has two WiFi radios, like mine which has a 5.0GHz radio and a 2.4GHz radio, there's no reason why you can't communicate to your router using both at the same time.

With Windows 7, I had both a 5.0GHz WiFi adapter and a 2.4GHz WiFi adapter and they'd both connect automatically on Start-Up, however, Windows 10 seems to select the 5GHz adapter and auto-connect to that one alone. I can manually connect the 2.4GHz adapter and both will work at the same time and there is traffic on both at certain occasions. Primarily, the most traffic is on the High-Speed 5.0GHz internal card WiFi adapter, but Win 10 will use the USB 2.4GHz adapter once in a while.

This is explained by @Tonny in a comment below that I prefer to include directly in the answer :

With both adapters connected to the same LAN (same ip-subnet) the IP-routing algorithms will use the faster NIC exclusively. The other one will only receive LAN traffic directed to all devices (broadcasts) and will sometimes (every 30 seconds or so) send out a little bit of broadcast traffic itself for network topology discovery purposes. This applies to all types of LAN, not just Wifi. So for all intends and purposes the second Wifi adapter is just there for redundancy in case the other one fails.

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    With both adapters connected to the same LAN (same ip-subnet) the IP-routing algorithms will use the faster NIC exclusively. The other one will only receive LAN traffic directed to all devices (broadcasts) and will sometimes (every 30 seconds or so) send out a little bit of broadcast traffic itself for network topology discovery purposes. This applies to all types of LAN, not just Wifi. So for all intends and purposes the second Wifi adapter is just there for redundancy in case the other one fails. – Tonny Feb 5 '16 at 20:22
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    @Tonny: This is such a good explanation that I included it in the answer rather than as a comment. Thanks. – harrymc Feb 5 '16 at 21:11
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    Well I'm using Win 10 Ver 1511, I have 2 Wifi card both connected to the same Wifi network and I'm measuring between 20 and 30 Mbps upload on both of them at the same time, while uploading with Filezilla which is set to use 8 simultaneous connections, so I guess they might have changed some things.... – Emil Borconi Jun 11 '16 at 16:18
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So I tried the dispatch-proxy solution and after about 9 hours of fiddling with it, I finally got it working the way I wanted. It's not a perfect solution, as it relies on a round robin approach to switching Nics, but it's better than nothing. I highly recommend that you use the installation instructions stored in his imgur album linked towards the top of the page. That will get everything you need in place. Configuring it correctly was another story.

The main example he provides sets up an HTTP proxy that you can use in your browser's settings to surf with, except that it can't handle https pages. What you really want to setup is the Socks proxy which will handle everything.

The HTTP proxy worked for browsers, but all of my background system apps that do things like check for program or weather updates were left out of the loop. Using the Socks proxy ties all traffic on your system into the sharing. The trick is that you have to change the system settings, and optionally the app settings, to get it to work.

You can't use the Network & Internet setting page that's found in Windows 8 through 10. Whatever you enter there will end up screwing up the configuration. You have to go to the Contol Panel and open Internet Options and go to the Connections tab. From there you want to go to the Proxy Server section and check Use a proxy server for your LAN and Bypass proxy server for local addresses. Then you want to click the Advanced button and on the page that opens you want to make sure every field is empty except the Socks: fields. There you want to enter socks for the Proxy address to use and 1080 for the Port. Also, make sure that the Use the same proxy server for all protocols box is unchecked. After using this method, every app on my system uses Disptach-Proxy.

So my console command looks like this dispatch start 192.168.0.103@6 192.168.19.2@4.

If you don't add the weight proportions after each address, it seems to behave just like it does without the proxy, sending most of the traffic through the interface that had the lowest system metric before the proxy was installed. So I highly recommend you include those.

One of those IP's is the onboard Nic in my desktop and the other is my tethered 4G phone. I disconnect the phone whenever I leave, but it looks like everything keeps working with the remaining Nic through the proxy until I plug my phone back in where it picks up using both.

The one issue that remains is what happens when you reboot your computer. The proxy doesn't run as a service so you have to run the script ever time you log on. I found a solution if your Nics are permanent and don't require a setup procedure after log on, like my phone does. This doesn't work for me, but it might work for you if you want to automate launching the script...

The best way to go about it is to add it as a startup task. Go to Control Panel and choose Administrative Tools, then run the Task Scheduler and follow these steps...

  1. Make sure that Task Scheduler (Local) is selected in the left pane and from the Action menu choose Create Basic Task
  2. On the first page enter a task name. I just entered Dispatch.
  3. On the next page select When I Log On. We do this instead of choosing When The Computer Starts so that we know the Nics are up and running before creating the proxy.
  4. On the next page choose Start a Program.
  5. On the next page enter Start in the Program/Script: field and then enter /b dispatch start and optionally the IP addresses with their weight proportions in the Add Arguments field. By using the Windows command Start /b we are telling the task to run without opening a new command window. If you prefer to have an open window, just enter Dispatch in the Program field and start, plus the IPs if you want them, in the Options field.
  6. On the last page check the Open The Properties Dialogue box and click Finish.
  7. On the General tab of the Properties page make sure that Run only when user is logged on is selected and then in the Configure For drop down at the bottom, select whatever version of Windows you are using.
  8. Go to the Conditions tab and uncheck everything.
  9. Go to the Settings tab and uncheck everything.
  10. Click OK and you're done.

    This has a few drawbacks. First, if you choose to launch the task without a command window, you won't know if Dispatch has stopped running due to errors. I spent many hours searching and still haven't been able to find a way to determine the running state of a script. Second, your Nics have to be up and running before the task is launched. If this doesn't happen in the right order on your system then you might have to play around with inserting some kind of delay for launching the task.

Armed with this augmented information, it shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to get it all working.

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The other answers above are basically correct, but take for granted that what you want to do is possible. It's not, I think you have misinterpreted the meaning of the marketing around your card. This is an older question I know, but with the aggressive attacks on duplicate questions (a practice I oppose as its counter productive and scares off new users, but that's another issue - I have posted on it before /soapbox) means that older questions become answers for any number of new questions that come through, even if they are slightly different.

Dual band means that your router is capable of connecting on either the 5 Ghz and 2.4 Ghz bands Not both, simultaneously. So, your dual band card will work with either 5 Ghz and 2.4 Ghz, but you are misunderstanding the meaning. The Dual Band means 5ghz and 2.4 Ghz are possible, but it still means a single antenna- like you car is dual band AM and FM, but you really don't want to use both simultaneously. B, A, G all operate exclusively on the 2.4 Ghz band. I think the N protocol will operate on either 2.4 or 5 Ghz, and finally AC works on the 5 Ghz band (I believe exclusively). As AC is newer, the 5 Ghz band is less crowded than the 2.4 Ghz band typically. The 2.4 Ghz band is broken into, I believe- don't quote me on this, 20 MHz "Channels". This allows bands to operate in parallel- like in an apartment building. The 5Ghz band can handle double wide channels- 20 Mhz and 40 Mhz. The 5 Ghz band thus is faster, and wider which allows it to carry more data, but it is less penetrating, so it has less range. To my knowledge, the B and G protocols have the longest range. Even on the new routers, like my ASUS router, has 3 simultaneous bands- 2.4, a 5 and a 5 (it can be configured differently) and all have the same SSID. When a computer connects to the router though, internally they are passed off to one of the sub SSIDs in a transparent manner.

To my knowledge 2x2 antennas (and 3x3 and the rare 4x4) don't allow different connections. I believe it uses the MIMO capabilities of 802.11ac to open a second connection with the same network and connect to a compatible MU-MIMO router to run 2 downstream links simultaneously. This is to increase the bandwidth of the resulting connection. If a AC link has a bandwidth of 300 Mbps you can open a second and run it at 600 Mbps, like a second ram channel. I have not seen any way to split those streams. It certainly doesn't show up as separate adapters in the OS. What you want is just an MU-MIMO compatible router- probably 802.11ac. The router will handle the rest. Think of this as similar to dual-channel RAM if that's easier. Or using 2 straws to drink a drink. You won't get 2x as much but you might get as much as 1.99x as much or as little as 1.01x as much. You are unlikely to use the 2 straws to drink from 2 separate drinks though. So, that's what 2x2 means. This user mentioned the former ("dual band"), but others who arrive here might be looking for 2x2.

So, anyway, to see how to do the above with 2 adapters, see the other responses. But in general, if you are exploring the idea because you have a dual band adapter or a 2x2 MIMO adapter, then do a quick sanity check, make sure you have the appropriate hardware.

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