WiFi Connection Fails Intermittently
I just upgraded to Windows 10 on the Asus G46VW this past week. Overall Windows 10 works wonderfully. But I did notice something interesting with the WiFi. I normally go to Starbucks during the afternoon to get some work done. Before Windows 10, it was all good. But the past few times I had trouble staying connected on the WiFi, which I had no problem with on Windows 8.1.
The laptop would connect to the WiFi fine. But after a few minutes, it would still be connected, but get no Internet access. I noticed that if I'm on AC adapter, then everything is OK. The WiFi works fine at home and at the local library. I have confirmed that this problem occurs at two different Starbucks locations.
So I dug into the Windows power saving plan, because the only difference is the AC adapter. In the plan, the "Wireless Adapter Settings Power Saving Mode" defaults to "Medium Power Saving" on battery. It defaults to "Maximum Performance" when plugged in. I changed the "On battery" setting to "Maximum Performance" (see screen shot below) and now it's working at both Starbucks locations.
It's looking like their router has some incompatibilities with Windows 10 power saving modes. I tried "Low Power Saving" and it had the same problem symptom as "Medium Power Saving". With "Maximum Power Saving" the laptop computer can't even connect. In fact, I had to reboot the computer after changing the setting to "Maximum Performance" to get the WiFi adapter to work again.
Maybe Windows 10 WiFi driver has problems turning it on and off, etc. Perhaps a new driver will fix the problem. I'll have to look for a driver update. The WiFi adapter in the G46VW is the Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230.
I checked for new driver for it just now. Surprisingly, there was a newer driver as Windows automatically found it, download it, and installed it. The screen shot below shows the driver that was installed. I didn't get a chance to take a screen shot of the older driver. This driver is dated in April. Surprised that it wasn't automatically installed after upgrading to Windows 10.
But I tried the default "Medium Power Saving" mode and it didn't solve the problem. I guess I'm stuck with "Maximum Performance" for now.
Although setting the "Wireless Adapter Settings Power Saving Mode" to "Maximum Performance" on battery worked for some Starbucks. It is still unreliable on some Starbucks and simply do not work on some other Starbucks. I decided to buy a USB wireless network adapter to use at Starbucks. I spend $10 on a TP-LINK TL-WN725N Wireless N Nano USB Adapter 150Mbps from Amazon. It arrived today.
I will try it at a local Starbucks tomorrow and report back on how well it worked.
The TP-Link TL-WN725N Wireless N adapter actually has a Realtek RTL8188EU network chip in side. The network card that came with my Asus G46VW is an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 card.
I have not had a chance to try my new solution at Starbucks, yet. But I am at Del Taco now and experienced the same problem. So I plugged in the TP-Link TL-WN725N Wireless N adapter and disabled the internal wireless network adapter. It works. I'm typing this post using the external USB adapter now.
At this time, I'm debating whether to leave the internal wireless network adapter disabled and just used the external wireless network adapter all the time. Not sure if that would use up more battery power with two wireless network adapter plugged in.
I'm now at McDonald. At various McDonalds, the internal Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 card will connect to the Internet, I can use it for about half and hour to an hour. Then I will have trouble staying connected to the Internet. After about 10 minutes, it would be OK again. I've always thought it is the McDonald that is limiting access.
Today, after the internal Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 card flaked out, I disable it and plugged in the TP-Link TL-WN725N Wireless N adapter. I have been using it at McDonald for several hours without a hick up.
In hindsight, the Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 card that came within the Asus G46VW is either defective, incompatible with a lot of wireless access points, or the driver for it is flaky.
Knowing this, I think it's time I replace the internet wireless WiFi network card with a more reliable one.
I ordered a new mini-PCIe network card for my Asus G46VW. The original Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 card has built-in Bluetooth 4.0 functionality. I didn't want to lose the Bluetooth function, because it's convenient to carry a small Bluetooth mouse with my laptop.
The Qualcomm Atheros AR9462 card has the same form-factor as the Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 card, so it is a direct replacement. It also has built in Bluetooth 4.0 capability, so I haven't lose anything in the process. It also has great customer reviews. After installing it in my laptop, I find that the customer reviews are correct. Use the following G46VW disassembly video:
The only issue is that after installing the card, Windows 10 installed a Generic Bluetooth Driver for it. It doesn't work and could not pair with my Bluetooth mouse. But after updating the driver through Device Manager, it has found the correct AR9462 Bluetooth driver. Bluetooth functionality worked after installing the driver.
So far, this network card work just as reliable at home as the original card. I'm at Starbucks right now and the card has worked flawlessly for the last few hours.
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