Connect Computer to both internet network and private WLAN

Hi all,

I’m wondering what the process would be to connect my windows 11 computer to both an internet-connected network and a private WLAN. I’m looking to stream a video to Facebook and for that, I need an internet connection but I’m also using cell phones set up as IP Cameras and was hoping to put them on their own dedicated network to reduce latency and dropped frames.

I was hoping that I could use the built-in network adapter to connect to the internet and then an external wifi adapter to connect to a router connecting all my cell phone cameras. Is this a thing that will work or am I banging my head against the wall with an easier obvious answer that I just cant see?

I think I found an ok solution, where I use my laptops mobile hotspot to connect to my cell phone cameras but I’m still open to more robust solutions

Yes, this is a very common to have a streaming PC connected to two networks. One interface connected to the internet and the other do a dedicated camera network. However they are almost always two separate networks connected to dedicated network switches.

You don’t want to use WiFi if your end goal is to reduce latency and dropped frames. Consider two wired connections. Or honestly you’re probably better off to run both the cameras and streaming over the same wired connection vs. using WiFi.

… perhaps better, use an Ethernet cable (usb ethernet adapter) to connect to an accesspoint and halve the airtime required to stream everything.

(e.g. unifi u6-lite is about $100, TP-Link ue300 is $15, gigabit power injector for the accesspoint and some cat6 are another ~ $20).

To use a UniFi AP you’d be asking him to setup a UniFi Controller and deploy a DHCP server on what’s likely a Windows 10 Home installation. It’s doable but would be a steep learning curve…

“Internet Connection Sharing” is the windows feature that basically does the manual IP configuration+DHCP+DNS+NAT .

Unifi controller install for a basic use case like this one should be easy too, … it’s been a while but I recall some kind of setup wizard thing…

… there’s also configuration via Bluetooth recent APs.

So his computer is now going to act as a router, dns server, and forward all internet traffic from the cell phones through the streaming PCs internet connected LAN? I’m not sure that’s going to make forward progress in improving his stream quality.

I’m a bit of a network noob, so if I’ve completely misunderstood the problem…. 🤷

It sounds like you’re trying to use your PC to manage your network traffic, when you should be letting your network devices (router & switches) manage your network traffic.

Use VLANS to separate out the camera traffic and keep it secure. You connect the cameras on their own VLAN to whatever wifi your network has. Their traffic stays isolated from the Internet. You plug your computer’s Ethernet into a switch, or router if it has a built in switch, and it has access to the Internet. Add appropriate rules to let camera traffic reach your computer from their VLAN but nowhere else.

If traffic is sufficient, you may want/need to put the cameras on their own switch. That switch could/would carry just the VLAN for the cameras.

For something like this, the more you can keep wired (vs wifi) the better.

OK, OK fair lets re-contextualize.

What I’m trying to do is set up a niche one time streaming setup.
Instead of having my single router and AP handle all the data I want to separate the the job of output to the internet to one router and the job of input to my computer to a different router. That part is easy, just plug in a router and define an unused IP range for the DHCP to allocate to my laptop and phone.

Hot-spotting the phones to my laptop kind of does this in that it automatically defines a new network range and does well remove dropped frames.

I could have it all done on a single network but it drops frames from the IP Camera Input, so the idea is splitting the load between devices.

My issue is having my laptop connect to both networks. It has a single network adapter so wired or wireless I’m currently restricted. I’ve attempted to try a USB Network card and it shows potential showing up as Wifi2 in my network settings but fails to connect to any networks. If I could just plug in multiple UBS to Ethernet cables that would work for me but I don’t know if these are stand alone network adapters or if they are translated from USB to the onboard network adapter. If they are unique adapters then the problem is solved I can just plug my laptop into both networks

This is roughly what I’m trying to do. But with a router/AP combo unit handling the camera network data and our router + AP array handling the stream data

I’m just stuck with getting both networks to communicate to my laptop at the same time

It is a Windows 10 Home Installation but the issue isn’t necessarily setting up UniFi it’s more that I’d have to purchase hardware that generally expensive and isn’t readily available at short notice. A generic AP + Ethernet to USB Adapter is on the right track but doesn’t really necessarily work to reduce network load or increase network bandwidth or resolve the need for multiple Ethernet IO…
edit: I misunderstood. This is going to effectively be the same solution as my current hotspot solution but with additional hardware to potentially make it more robust…I don’t hate it.

If you really want to pursue the idea of deploying a dedicated WiFi network for your streaming devices you should probably start with checking for RF interference. Pick the least congested channel for the camera network and set that channel to your Camera WiFi Network. Then manually assign a non-overlapping channel to your Streaming WiFi network. This is will improve dropped frames on the WiFi side itself.

Then install a wireless router that will be dedicated just for your Camera Phones. You’ll really want to use a USB to ethernet adapter and hardwire your streaming PC to the router. This will keep your latency and dropped frames as low as possible. Also the router you choose matters greatly. I have very little experience with either consumer or gaming routers, so maybe someone else could chime in with a recommendation (needs WiFi, WAN, LAN, DNS, DHCP, basic stateful firewall, and NAT). A Google Nest AC would definitely work but there are probably better value options.

But to answer your question regarding connecting to two networks at the same time. You’re likely running into an issue with receiving a DHCP address and internet gateway from two interfaces at the same time. For PC networking to function properly you can only have one internet gateway at a time. To resolve this just leave the internet LAN’s settings exactly as they are (likely set to DHCP) and manually configure the settings on your camera’s interface. On the camera side manually set the IP address and subnet mask (you can use the current values), but leave the gateway and DNS servers blank. Be sure only your internet interface has a gateway and DNS servers defined.

Here’s a 3rd grade drawing of how you want to layout the network for your 2nd WiFi Router
(P.S. - I’m wore out. Had to just screenshot my ascii “art”… absolutely wouldn’t format right when pasted)

Edit: Typos and Typos :roll_eyes:

With MikroTik, the AP can provide all that by itself (or just act as a dumb AP).
cAP AC has worked nicely for a home network install I did at my parents.

@RainColt - I’m still not sure what you’re after, … somehow I got it into my head that you need this to be portable / powerable from a car and batteries? Did I get this right?

For some reason I thought you wanted to stream a rocket launch from a car? and this whole thing had to be portable.

(xy problem) … you haven’t really stated it … I just don’t understand what you need.

Are you time/budget limited?

Can you draw your current setup?

e.g. here’s some options (3 pages/variants)

Diagrams.Net diagram
… you can make a copy/edit/reshare…

At the end of the day Windows and Mac laptops aren’t ideal routers, but they can still do basic stuff out of the box.

  • You can have as many accesspoints on a single network / subnet as you want – more accesspoints == more radios == more frequencies you can use in parallel == more wifi throughput.

  • Your laptop can be connected to as many networks/subnets as you want at the same time (at least one per network adapter).

  • Each network can have it’s own subnet (range of IP addresses) - ideally they shouldn’t overlap (confusion of both humans and networking gear ensues when they do).

  • Each device gets 1 gateway IP … (optional if internet connected). Not every network interface has to have a gateway IP or a DNS address configured. For ethernet and wireless lan and local access only, all they need is a subnet.

  • Not all devices have to have internet access, however, phones and laptops and stuff will annoyingly refuse to work with networks without internet access out of the box (before toggling settings) … this makes network tinkering hard … (major PITA for me personally).

  • From an OS/networking point of view (e.g. windows running on a laptop) a USB ethernet network adapter is the same as a PCIe ethernet network adapter, or one built directly into the SOC. You can have as many awesome adapters or as many crappy adapters connected as you want. OS uses drivers to abstract most of the packet pushing, and it’s up to the networking stack from there onwards.

  • WiFi networks are not the same as ethernet networks. This makes wireless bridging hard, don’t attempt it unless you know what you’re doing. (WiFi Frames have 3 addresses for each frame surrounding each IP packet. client (aka. station) MAC address (e.g. a phone), AP mac address that they’re connected to, destination mac address that’s either a wired or wireless recipient address. … a station can’t bridge ethernet behind it … without tricks and smarts and workarounds, an AP can.

@MazeFrame are you running routeros or openwrt on cAP ac?
U6-Lite/U6-LR can do openwrt these days as well and I’m thinking unifi stuff being 802.11ax capable might be more future proof.

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Router OS, but the thing is hooked into CapsMan just in case my parents decide they want another AP in the back yard.