Friday, December 30, 2011

Troubleshooting wi-fi connectivity with Intel Centrino Wireless N-1030

There is a problem which has cropped up recently on my Dell Vostro 131. It refuses to connect to my Linksys WAG54G2 router, and when it does, the connection breaks almost immediately. I established that it could not be a router issue (I sit and work on the sofa next to the damned router) and besides, other devices including my iPad and my old Dell XPS laptop are connecting perfectly well. So I figured that it's a problem with the network adaptor/ drivers.

Here is a summary of the steps that I took to address the problem. They seem to have worked, but I will be calling Dell customer support if the problem persists. Do note that I use Windows 7, and the screenshots I have posted may not be applicable for XP/Vista machines.

Intel acknowledges that there is a problem with several products - see the list in the article for details. The feature called 'Power Saving Polling' which is intended to save battery life but can cause problems if the router or access point cannot implement it correctly.

Intel and other support forums for Dell and MS offer three simple workarounds for the adapter issue;
1. Go to the start menu and type 'device manager'. You will see this screen:




2. Right click on the network adapter (Intel Centrino N-1300 in my case) and select 'properties' from the menu



3. The  Intel Centrino N-1300 Wireless Properties Box will open. Select the Advanced tab ; the first option you will see is 802.11n mode - check 'disable' in options.



4. Next go to the Power Management tab and uncheck the box which says "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power and click 'OK'.



These steps will disable PSP, but you need to take one more step to correct the issue-
1) Go to Control Panel/ Hardware and sound/Power Options. Choose your current power plan and click on 'Change plan settings'


2) Click on 'Change advanced plan settings'


3) The power options box will open, under that select 'Wireless adaptor settings/ power saving mode. From the drop down menu, enable the option 'maximum power' for both 'battery' and 'plugged in'.



I would say that this has fixed 80% of my problems. I still experience a problem re-establishing the wi-fi connection when the laptop goes into sleep mode. Microsoft help forums suggest another fix, which is editing the registry. I wanted to avoid doing this but maybe I will try it now.

Disable the DHCP Broadcast Flag in Windows 7