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When I have Wireless enabled and plug in my Ethernet cable, the wireless connection stays active, even when the wireless and wired connections are through the same network.

I'm aware of this question that tells how to disable it, but I want to know why this isn't Ubuntu's default behavior or why Ubuntu does not have an option in its settings to allow for this.

The only reason I can imagine to keep the wireless connection active is to be able to reach other LAN devices on that network, but that argument doesn't hold when the wireless and wired connections are with the same network. Another reason may be so that you don't lose precious seconds when unplugging your Ethernet, but I doubt this is a valid argument because removing Ethernet mostly means you are moving to another place and most people don't use their PC when moving.

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i'm using Ubuntu 12.10 and there, wireless is disabled, as soon as an wired connection is detected. I now have to use both at the same time, but don't see any way to do this. Does anyone know, how i can enable wifi, when the network cable is connected? Network Manager does an rfkill, so an ifconfig wlan0 up doesn't work, also an nmcli nm wifi on and rfkill unblock all doesn't work. Any suggestions? –  Thomas Mar 25 '13 at 12:56
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1 Answer 1

To put it simply, your wired network card and your wireless card are two different cards. Therefore, you have two different possible connections. Since it can connect to both of them, it doesn't assume that you want it any other way.

As for why one would use both network connections, there are a number of reasons:

  1. Network stability - no loss of connection when one or the other goes out, as long as both don't go out at the same time. This also allows you to keep things that require internet access for one reason or another from being disconnected (just because you're not actively typing or surfing the Internet, doesn't mean you have zero use for the Internet while in transit).
  2. Load balancing - advanced usage may be able to allow for things like gaming over the wired connection, and downloads over the wireless, keeping both from slowing to a crawl unless they tax the common connection point (the router, incoming connection, etc).
  3. Maintain Internet access when using a VPN connection - VPN connections often cut off your access to the Internet. One way around this is to simply use one connection for the VPN, and the other for Internet.
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Ubuntu doesn't do load balancing itself and I think very little applications do it themselves either; VPN usage is not the default use case. So at least the Ubuntu settings should allow for this as a setting, and in my opinion disabling wireless when wired should be default. What's the reason they don't have this as an option? I'll change my question to this. –  Steven Roose Mar 11 '13 at 20:53
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