A network adapter is a piece of hardware that connects a device to a network. A laptop or PC may have numerous network adapters, such as network cards, an ethernet port, or a Wi-Fi module, and all of these cards may be active simultaneously. While Windows will automatically select the best card for your requirements, you may want to prefer one network adapter over another. If you have many network adapters connected to the same network, or if you have a slower or unreliable network adapter that you only wish to use as a spare, you may need to assign network adapter priorities manually. In this post, let’s look at how to change network adapter priority in Windows 11/10.
How Does Windows Assign Network Interface Metric Priority?
By default, Windows chooses the best network adapter for a network connection. When numerous network interfaces are at the same speed, Windows’ Automatic Metric feature can force the network to switch the default gateways depending on Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) retransmissions. Various criteria, including the speed of the link, the number of hops to a certain destination, and the delay time, influence a network interface’s priority.
The interface with the highest metric value is prioritized, whereas the interface with the greatest metric value is least prioritized. This means network traffic will be routed through the interface with the lowest metric value unless that interface is unavailable. In this case, it will be routed through the interface with the next-lowest metric value.
How to Change Network Adapter Priority in Windows
There are many ways you can go around changing network adapter priorities in Windows. For instance, you may assign your Wi-Fi adapter always to be active when there’s an available and connected Wi-Fi network over an ethernet connection. You can accomplish the task using the Control Panel and Windows Powershell.
- Control Panel
The methods apply to all types of adaptors, including Ethernet and WiFi. You will need an administrator account to execute these commands.
How to Change Network Adapter Priorities Using Control Panel
To change the network adapter priorities using Control Panel, follow these steps:
- Start with pulling up the Settings panel; right-click on the Windows icon in the Taskbar, and select Settings from the drop-down menu.
- Now, navigate to Network and Internet > Advanced Network Settings, scroll down and select More Network Adapter Options.
- You will now be brought to the Network Connection page; here, select the Network adapter whose priority you want to change, right-click, and select Properties.
- Here, scroll down, find the option for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6), based on your preference, and select Properties.
- Select Advanced under the General tab in the next window that pops up.
- Now disable the Automatic Metric check box under the IP Settings tab, manually assign an Interface Metric, and tap OK.
- It is important to note that the Interface Metric is inversely related to the preference; for example, if you have four network adapters, assigning the Interface Metric to 4 gives it the most preference, while assigning it to 0 gives it the lowest.
How to Change Network Adapter Priorities Using Powershell
You can also adjust the priority metrics using the command line, but attempt if you know what you’re doing. To change the network adapter priorities using Powershell, follow these steps:
- Start with launching an Elevated Powershell or Windows Terminal window. You can do this by searching for the same in the Start Search Box, right-clicking, and selecting Run as Administrator.
- First, you must determine the Interface Index of the Network Adapter for which you wish to define the priority. Execute the following command to view information about all network adapters:
- Take a screenshot of the same, or note the network interface index of the network adapters you want to prioritize.
- Then, use the following command to establish the priority. Replace IFIndex with Interface Index and IFMetric with priority.
Set-NetIPInterface -InterfaceIndex [IFIndex] -InterfaceMetric [IFMetric]
- Repeat this process for all the Network Adapters you want to set the priority for, and restart your computer.
One scenario is when you wish to prioritize an ethernet connection for quicker speeds and better stability over a Wi-Fi network; assign the ethernet adapter a lower metric than the Wi-Fi adapter (since Metric is inversely related to priority), and you should be good to go. I hope the post was easy to follow and you now know how to change network adapter priority in Windows.