Network Priorities

Friday, August 24th, 2012 | Technical | Mike Smith

Most attorneys at law firms use laptops as they are working from various locations.  They typically will be connected via wifi when working out of hotels, airports, or client offices as it is the most convenient.  The potential problem with this is when they are back in the office, typically on a docking station, working locally.  When a computer has both a lan (wired) and a wifi (wireless) connection, it must choose which one to use.  This especially becomes an issue when both are the same network (meaning both are the office network and the office wifi).  The computer has two potential paths to a server and it has to have a way to decide which ones to use.  By default it will always choose the wifi.

Potential errors could include random disconnects, database programs such as ProLaw randomly closing, or slow synchronization if you have been out of the office for while.

If you are connected to a docking station at the office, and do not turn your wifi off, you will have two connections to the same network.  Since the computer will use the wireless first, you will be “sharing” that connection with everyone else in the office who is also on the wifi.  This could mean slow performance, random errors messages, or dropped connections.

Your computer has a list that you can adjust to tell it which network to use first. The best case is to tell your computer to use the wired network (LAN) as the primary connection as you will not have to worry about signal strength or shared bandwith, and it will be the fastest connection available.   To tell your Windows 7 computer how to “prioritize” your networks, follow these simple steps:

1 – Go to Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center

2 – Click “change adapters settings” on the left list of options.

3 -Push the “Alt” key to show the menus and choose Advanced -> Advanced Settings

4 – Under “Connections” you may now adjust the list as needed.  I would suggest putting all Local Area Connections first as they will be the fastest and most reliable connections.

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