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Dell XPS 14 WiFi Issue vs Me

A few days ago, a good friend of mine decided that I needed a challenge. That was: Fix my ****ing WiFi issue with brand new Dell XPS 14!

Obviously, I did all the basic things.

  1. Restart the network card
  2. Reconfigure network type (Public, Work, Home)
  3. Flush DNS resolve cache 
  4. Disable/Enable WiFi card
  5. Disable Firewall
  6. Uninstall AntiVirus program
  7. Reboot the machine
Suffice to say, none of these worked! I was stumped! How can a brand new system from Dell cause this much problems, headaches, tears and grief? So, I went online and looked at forums regarding this issue (in retrospect, should have done that in the first place). Let me tell you was I surprised when I found that not only has this issue been around for some time, but it remained unresolved even on Dell's community forums

Now, most people would just throw their hands up in the air and say; "I give up!"

I am not one of those people. And I hate giving up.

In the end, I gave up. Yes, I admit it, but it seemed the easier thing to do.

What I found out was that the problem revolved around the different type of wireless connectivity types. The Ultrabook loves N and above, but hates anything below (G and B). So I just bought a cheap router and hooked it up to the modem and... BAM! All's well that ends well.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well, read on, if you want.

First of all, the boring stuff. 

Had to establish is the computer was indeed connecting to the WiFi. I mean, the computer says that it is, but is it really? So, to do this, I created a public website on my local machine and tried to look at it via the Ultrabook's Internet Explorer (there was no other browser available).

I couldn't understand what was going on. Then I took a look at the Wireless adapters thinking that there might be a hardware conflict (such as driver update errors, etc) and found that there was three Wireless ports. There were:
  1. Intel Centrino Advanced 
  2. Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter 
  3. Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter
Suffice to say; where are these two virtual miniport adapters coming from? What are they doing there? What are they used for? Why did my friend (who isn't that computer savvy to begin with) install them? It confused me. So, I went online and looked it up.

Whoah! So much information. Essentially what I got was:

The wireless Hosted Network is a new WLAN feature supported on Windows 7 and on Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Wireless LAN Service installed. This feature implements two major functions:
  • The virtualization of a physical wireless adapter into more than one virtual wireless adapter sometimes referred to as Virtual Wi-Fi.
  • A software-based wireless access point (AP) sometimes referred to as a SoftAP that uses a designated virtual wireless adapter.
These two functions coexist in a Windows system together. Enabling or disabling the wireless Hosted Network enables or disables both virtual Wi-Fi and SoftAP. It is not possible to enable or disable these two functions separately in Windows.

Okay, I think I got that... so, why is a developer software installed on a regular Windows system without it being optional? Is it then a coincidence that prior to a Windows update that my friend's machine was working fine? Well, I tested it out be reverting my friend's laptop to Factory Defaults (if you want to do this, be sure to backup everything first obviously).

'Lo and behold! Worked fine. Connected like a charm. No issues, no problems. Even closing the laptop and opening it didn't stop the Ultrabook from connecting to the network. Perfect. So? Now to update everything. And so I did. And it worked for about 4 hours before... BAM! Network connection lost, and the whole problem started all over again.

Using my superb observational skills, and by using my amazing powers of deduction, I surmised that the problem had to do with the updates. And I also noticed that before the update there were no Microsoft Virtual Miniport Adapters. Even with half the developers across Microsoft saying (on forums) that there should be no conflict and no interference, the evidence just didn't support their claims!

Comments

  1. Great post! Been reading a lot about this wireless problem. Thanks for the info here!

    ReplyDelete
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