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Windows Vista Multiple Networks: Wireless To Public WIFI and Wired To Private LAN

Today, I found an insecure public WIFI in office that allows me to surf Internet directly (without going through the corporate proxy server).

As Dell Latitude D410 built with both Ethernet and wireless network connection, so I would like the wireless network adapter connecting to Internet via that insecure public WIFI and use the wired Ethernet network to access corporate network.
However, soon after I plug in CAT-5 cable to Ethernet port, the Windows Vista Multiple Networks failed to access Internet via public WIFI connection.

How to configure Windows Vista SP1 Multiple Networks so that only the wireless is used to connect to Internet and use the Ethernet LAN connection to access corporate / internal network?

How to configure Windows Vista Multiple Networks - use wireless to connect Internet and wired Ethernet to access internal LAN network?
How to configure Windows Vista Multiple Networks - use wireless to connect Internet and wired Ethernet to access internal LAN network?

In my case, both the Ethernet LAN connection and Wireless network connection has a default route 0.0.0.0. However, the Ethernet LAN connection always given a lower route metric than the wireless network connection. (Is it the faster network interface prioritized for lower metric?)

Thus, all network packets addressed to Internet IP forwarded to Ethernet network interface rather than to the wireless network connection, which has a higher route metric.

Solution: There might be a better solution, but I choose to delete the default route of Ethernet network interface from route table.

Configure Windows Vista Multiple Networks – Delete Unwanted Default Route 0.0.0.0

While ONLY the wireless network interface is connecting to that insecure public WIFI, execute route print in an elevated Command Prompt window shows there is only one active network interface (i.e. 192.168.0.103) and its default route (0.0.0.0.):

Windows Vista route print command display the route table information - the Interface List and Route Table.
Windows Vista route print command display the route table information - the Interface List and Route Table.

Now, after connecting the Ethernet port to corporate network via CAT-5 cable, the route table has two active networks interface and their respective default route (but different metric, i.e. 20 and 25):

Windows Vista route table with multiple default routes.
Windows Vista route table with multiple default routes.

So, I have to delete / remove the default route of Ethernet network interface:
route delete 0.0.0.0 IF 11

where the IF 11 refers to Inteface List # 11 (which is displayed by route print command output, in the Interface List section).
In my example (2nd screenshot), the IF 11 refers to Broadcom Nextreme 57xx Gigabit Controller (as highlighted with blue color) while IF 12 is the wireless network interface that appears as Intel (R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection.

At this point, I’m happily browsing any web sites without restriction (oppose to web browsing through corporate proxy server with WebMarshal filtering feature) via wireless network interface that connecting to public WIFI.

At same time, I am able to access MS Exchange Server and all other corporate network resources using the faster Ethernet LAN connection. (Although, I’ve to add some routes with different gateways to access the 192.x.x.x segments, which is part of the corporate networks).

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  2. Muzi 11-11-08@20:05

    Thanks for this i was ale to fix my problem.

    or though its not related to using WI-fi. The problem that i had was, my normally Corporate Network connection was displaying multiple connections a public and private network. The other network was caused due to the fact that i had connected my Xbox 360 to my laptop so i could go onto LIVE. Therefore when i connected my Laptop into the corporate network it picked multiple networks, therefore i could not connect to the internet. but after using this example everything worked fine.

    thanks again.

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  4. Nate 03-02-09@02:33

    Is there a way to accomplish this in XP? I was able to follow the steps that you outlined, but then I couldn’t access resources on the LAN.

  5. Walker 03-02-09@03:01

    Hi Nate, this trick is not special for Vista only. Indeed, this TCP/IP network configuration works for all TCP/IP enabled system.

    Can you ping to internal servers / computers or only have problem to access the shared resource?

    You might need to add route for internal network if you’ve done something wrong to the route table.

  6. Noodle 14-03-09@00:54

    Here’s a quick question.
    I followed your instructions, and now I have a question.
    Would it be possible to switch between the two IP addresses I have? For instance if I ran out of rapidshare free download credits on one IP can I somehow utilize the other?

    Thanks

    P.S. Is there any way to allow 2 wireless networks to run simultaneously on Vista?
    I know in XP this can be achieved by Microsoft Lab’s VirtualWifi -

  7. Walker 15-03-09@21:49

    Good Noodle.

    1) So long as both interfaces are able to access internet with unique WAN IP (either through Proxy or direct access), you can switch between them with this gateway trick.

    2) I never try with dual WIFI connections so far. If you do, please don’t mind to share.

  8. Ian 06-04-09@02:04

    I can connect to my LAN at the same time as connecting to the public wireless router for internet access.
    My problem is, in order to enable file sharing over my LAN I have to turn on network discovery and make my LAN connection Private.
    Vista wont let me do this without making my wireless intenet net connection private too, is they a way around this ?
    Obviously I dont want to enable file sharing and network discovery over the public wireless connection. I want my LAN to have network discovery and file sharing while my Wirelss connection remains private with no file sharing

  9. Walker 06-04-09@23:03

    Hi Ian, are you sure you can’t configure LAN to be private and wireless LAN to be public?

    I recall there is “Customize” link with LAN and Wireless LAN that allow me to configure the Private/Public setting. (I couldn’t verify it now as only office Laptop has dual network card (cable and Wireless).

  10. Jordan 19-06-09@05:10

    Thanks for posting this, I stumbled unto this page and it was exactly what i was looking for, pure genius. I have a question though. After I delete the route everything works fine for a few hrs, then all of the sudden it reverts back and i have to do the route delete again. Have you experienced this? Do you have any suggestions on how I can make it stick? I’m running XP x64. Thanks again,

  11. Michael 29-06-09@22:06

    Please be aware that what you have done is basically breach the whole security of your organization by adding an unmonitored access point to the private network.

  12. Jr Zezinho 26-07-12@22:43

    Man… you safe my life!
    Thanks from Brazil!

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