Question from Bill: I have Internet through Verizon (20Mbps DSL) and it seems to be getting slower every day.
I just bought a new desktop computer that has both a wired Ethernet port and a wireless WiFi card in it. That got me to thinking.
Is there any way to use both of those network adapters at once to double the effective Internet speed coming from my router?
Rick’s answer: Bill, there are indeed ways to use multiple network connections to connect your computer to multiple networks and do other useful things.
However, using two network adapters to connect your computer to your router at the same time can not and will not double your effective Internet speed if you’re only connected to the Internet itself via one Internet Service Provider (ISP).
The speed at which your computer will be able to send and receive data over the Internet is limited by the maximum upload and download speeds supported by the modem and router as well as the maximum speeds available with the service plan that you are subscribed to via your ISP.
Simply adding additional connections between your PC and your router can’t change the maximum speeds that your Internet connection, modem and router can provide.
Your modem, router and Internet connection together make up the “pipe” that carries data between your computer and the Internet at large.
The “size” of that “pipe” (i.e. your maximum Internet download and upload speeds) is determined by the slowest component operating within it, and adding new connections between your computer and router can’t make the “pipe” any larger.
While it’s possible to add an additional “pipe” by subscribing to a second Internet connection and then connecting to each Internet connection with a different adapter, doing so would be both costly and impractical for most home users.
Bottom line: I wish I had better news, but I’m afraid you’re pretty well stuck with the maximum data transfer speeds that are supported by your modem, router and Internet connection because you can’t increase those maximum speeds simply by connecting additional network adapters between your computer and router.
I hope this helps, Bill. Good luck!
Bonus tip: This post explains how to use a fantastic (and free) online tool to check your true Internet download and upload speeds. That way you can find out for sure if your Internet connection really is slowing down over time.