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Microsoft acknowledges Surface Pro 3 disappearing Wi-Fi and slow connection complaints

The Surface Pro 3 is an impressive device. In my full review, I gave much personal praise for the all-in-one hybrid computer, though, like all things, there is room for improvement. One bug that I've seen a handful of times is being acknowledged by Microsoft now in their support forums.

The problem in question arises when the Surface Pro 3 wakes up from sleep. In rare circumstances, the Wi-Fi and network connections driver are missing after the low power state using InstantGo (previously known as Connected Standby). The problem is easily solved by restarting the Surface, which takes only around five seconds, but it can be irritating and inconvenient.

Some users have had mixed success with downgrading and manually reinstalling the Marvel Wi-Fi driver that refreshed in the June update. Another user suggests altering the power plan by changing the wireless adapter power settings to max performance.

Putting aside temporary fixes, Microsoft support staff Josh_F is taking note of all the complaints:

"Thanks for sharing your experiences. If I understand correctly, after your devices sleep for any amount of time the network and possibly the Bluetooth devices no longer appear in Device Manager and this results in no network connectivity, etc. Your feedback, including suggested workarounds (successful or otherwise) has been shared. We are working to address this and will have an update available soon."

The most difficult bugs are those that cannot be systemically reproduced, and that is the case here. Although I have seen this happen, even before the June update, it is a rare incident. That makes reporting and fixing such a problem a little trickier. However, it does look like the power saver settings for Wi-Fi may be too aggressive for the Surface Pro 3, resulting in the disappearing network.

A related connectivity problem arises when the Surface Pro 3 is on battery and the Wi-Fi gets throttled to just 6 Mbps, a far cry from the max speeds the hardware is capable of achieving. In that case too, Microsoft is recognizing the problem:

"Thank you for sharing your experiences while connecting to 802.11ac access points. We are working to resolve bandwidth limitations associated to certain access points."

There's no time frame for said fixes, although next week is 'Patch Tuesday' and the Surface Pro 3 is expected to get a new firmware or driver update at that time. It is not clear if Microsoft can attenuate the problem in time though they are apparently now working on finding a solution.

Over the weekend, Ed Bott from ZDNet brought up these issues in his influential column, perhaps catching Microsoft's attention.

Source: Microsoft Support Forums 1, 2

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Reader comments

Microsoft acknowledges Surface Pro 3 disappearing Wi-Fi and slow connection complaints

112 Comments

Problem is, this isn't just the Surface. W8.1 in general has this issue.

It's gotten so bad I've actually written myself an app to monitor Wi-Fi on my laptop and reset the adapter.

Maybe it's an issue with the hardware used?
I don't know, I haven't ever experienced this.

Edit: (Whoops, read it as Windows Phone 8.1, my mistake.)

I have.

  I use W8.1 on a gaming desktop, and yes, it has the propensity to drop Wifi, particularly when coming out of Sleep mode.

On a tablet, this is pretty brutal.   I realize that Microsoft is positioning the SP3 as a 'Mac Air' replacement, but it's still also a tablet, and NOBODY wants to be fiddling with driver installations on a tablet.

I had a similar issue with this on my Surface Pro for a while and then my whole class (Windows Phone App Development) started experiencing the same issue.  We eventually found the culprit, which was Hyper-V as we used it for the Windows Phone emulator.  I asked each one to disable Hyper-V and use the Lumia 520 instead for testing their app and this issue went away.  Not saying that this is related, but something to consider if you have Hyper-V enabled.

Mine did too, but is generally a non-issue since I started forcing it to hibernate when I'm done using it. Intentional hibernation also takes care of the occasional issue where the thing wakes up on its own, getting quite warm and toasty inside my carrying case and needlessly draining battery.

I have a surface pro 2 and surface 2, I will never buy another surface again as I'm getting problems with the WiFi. Since buying both tablets I've always had issues with the screens flickering and the touch being unresponsive.

Screens flickering and unresponsive touch? You have a pair of lemons and should have had Microsoft replace them. I've never had any similar issues with my SP.

It's still an issue - a frustrating issue. Received no indication that it's a priority for MS. It's why I won't go near a Surface 3. 

Interesting that you would construe the public acknowledgment from MS as no indiciation that it is a priority. Of course it is. They just launched their flagship device. 

 

 

You misread my comment. I said no public acknowledgement of Surface2 issues with wifi. (My comment was a response to Rubino.)

I have this problem on my Dell Venue 8 Pro, and also on my Wife's Asus T-100.  For some reason, it doesnt happen all the time, and I cannot seem to figure out why or when it happens.  There really isnt one thing that sets if off.  Sometimes it wakes from standby, and connects, sometimes, i get the little red x, and have to restart.  Its a minor inconvenience, but still an annoyance, especially since im considering dropping 2k on the Pro3 with the i7 processor.  Hopefully they can resolve this issue, but I am not optimistic, considering i had this same issue on my OG Surface RT 2 years ago, and it seems it has not gone away.

Don't drop the $$ on the i7. Not worth the money unless you require the space. These processors get throttled significantly for sustained loads. Absolutely makes no sense to spend extra money for very similiar performance to the i5.

I agree. It's not surface issue because after installing Win 8.1 on my PC and laptop, it had the same issue when I hibernate the PC. Everytime I've to reinstall LAN driver or had to restart the PC. After Win 8.1 updates the issue seems to be fixed on my PC.

Don't restart the PC, if you have Airplane mode turn it off and turn it back on. thats the easy fix..

MS for some reason doesn't have a fix for it since the First Windows 8. its not hardware issue have same issue on my Dell and Toshiba systems.

 

Er, these can be using the same Wi-Fi adapter. I had the same Wi-Fi adapter in a Dell and HP, and there was a 190 page thread on the Intel site about how this adapter just did not work.

@Dean Thanks for your inputs.

Got them years apart, one upgraded from windows 7 to windows 8 and other got windows 8. the old one didn't have WIFI issues with Windows 7 started having it since upgrading to Win 8.

 

I have another issue on w8.1, which started to show up after update 1. After 4-5 hibernations, the mouse gestures bringing up the charms wont work, so does the close button for the metro apps and the left top corner app switcher. To solve, i have to sign out and sign in again. I havent had any WiFi issues as mentioned cause i use it on a Desktop. I do have a wifi adapter, but the PC is always in high performance mode.

Impressive skills at spewing BS - NO, IT IS NOT A W8.1 PANDEMIC PROBLEM. It is a driver problem with this device.  

Then it is very similar to the issue that I have occasionally with my Surface Pro 1. Wi-Fi disappears upon wake-up, comes back after a restart.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

What are you talking about? Never had any problem in my Surface RT, Dell Desktop, MacBook Bootcamp, MacBook Vmware. Never heard anyone in my lab (around 20 people who uses Win8.1) complaining about it.

You need to stop your propaganda against Win8.1 now.

I think 8.0 was even worse.  With 8.1 it happens every ONCE in a while.  With 8.0 it happened EVERY time I woke up the pc.

 

My surface pro 3 (bought day after release) has done this probably twice.  It is very easy to go through the "fix problems" step on the control panel via desktop and it's back up and running, but this is something they need to fix before the masses will be comfortable with the platform.

Glad that MS is acknowledging and fixing issues with its product, unlike some other companies *cough* Apple *cough *.

They don't fix issues with their products though. Cos their products don't have issues. They are innovative and magical.

Like iOS 8 makes your phone complete shit & unusable? I can see how innovative they are.
Before you say that iOS 8 is BETA, lemme tell you that Windows Phone 8.1 is also BETA & is much, much, much better & usable than iOS 8 BETA. At least on Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview you don't have to Hard Reset your phone every 2 days to make it work :)
Mac sucks as well, I once had a problem with my MacBook & Apple customer support didn't even bothered to reply. So yeah!

You must be kidding Apple fixes the issues every year.. just that you have to be able to afford it.. and people don't complain

they just release a newer version of the phone :)

I haven't had to resort to reinstalling drivers yet, but every single time I wake it from sleep I get a limited connection until I turn Wi-Fi off and back on.

Yup, I haven't seen that but that too is related to these issues. Some are saying it's the 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands that are the most troublesome.

We encountered this issue on launch day when my husband received his SP3 and completed the updates.  We are using an AC router (NetGear 6300v2).  On battery and connected to 5g band connectivity drops to 6mbs and is very unstable.  Plug it in and it is (somewhat) fine.  Rather than downgrade the drivers, which is what a lot have done, we switched it to connect to the 2.4g band instead.  There are still some issues there with mainting connectivity though, especially in Connected Standby/Instant Go.  There are numerous threads over on surfaceforums.net on this issue.  It's disappointing that this was not caught before.  It's not like AC routers are an oddity in the high tech world, especially in the homes of the people who were likely testing the device.

Yeah, I don't know. Routers are one thing that I don't update often. Mine are probably about four years old. I'm running two Buffalo high-powered routers. One in the basement and one in the attic, because the signals don't go through the tile floor in the kitchen well at all. They're running DD-WRT so I can piggy-back them, and being high-powered, I get coverage while I mow my more than half-acre lawn. Oh, and I get the neighbors wondering with the SSID: National Security Agency

MS's hardware is ready but their softwared is not ready yet and which is shameful for MS which was called the biggest software company.

No it really is mavells fault just like it was in December with intels centrino adapters on w8 which is surprising considering their reputation guess ms rushed w8.1 without thinking about their essential hardware manufactures

I get the same issue! Always after Miracasting. I have to go into device manager and disable then enable the wifi driver in order to get it back. Restarting doesn't help.

Battled with this very bug on a Sony Tap 20, Sony Tab 11, Sony i7 laptop as well... somewhat fixed it by turning off sleep modes and kept everything running.

The Surface line of device's are beautiful, but there are issues that they don't seem to be working on ... A few months back i had an issue with the Surface 2, it keeps restarting explorer .... And now after the last update it is doing this same thing again .... There are always annoying bugs with 'final' Microsoft software ... I'm tired of this, Xbox Music still sucks, i had to restart my device 5 times today only just to play 1 song correctly .... And Microsoft wants me to buy the Surface Pro 3? No way i'm spending at least 1000+ Euro's for something that is full of bugs :)

Every single software has bugs no matter what you do you can't remove all the bugs from a software. Also I don't see how SP3 is full of bugs? It only have a few issues which MS will address soon.

fwiw, my surface pro 3 has done fine playing music.  it's picked up everything that's loaded on my 8.1 desktop and made it available to my collection via the cloud, whether or not I bought the song via xbox.

my surface RT can't detect my 5ghz wifi, connects to 2.4n at 64mbps at most.

refreshed and manage to connect at 2.4n but the next day it went back to 64. this is a windows bug

Guys, I am have nothing against Surface Pro 3. I think its a great piece of HW, personally planning to get one. But please is it necessary writing every day at least 2x about the Surface Pro 3 tab?
 
Did your Surface Pro 3 sleep well last night ?

Well frankly, I'm browsing WP Central like 2-3 times max a day, and I never feel overflooded by the news even though there is a lot of them I don't read because it doesn't interest me... Still, why would you read an article that doesn't interest you that much, and then take the time to comment saying that there should be less of those articles ? Why not just skip it ? I mean, don't take it wrong, I'm just trying to understand. Surface Pro 3 is a new product becoming very popular among the Microsoft community, doesn't it feel natural that the news concerning it are frequent ?

This. I can't play streaming music through my Bluetooth soundbar, since Bluetooth and wifi interfere with each other on my Surface Pro. Instead, I have to use my phone, which means no Amazon Cloud player. Grumble grumble.

Hope they fix soon. Getting slightly annoying. Fixed on SP1 pretty quickly, hoping the same for 3.

I never had this issue on the Surface BUT I did have it on WP8. The connection would be lost when the phone was in rest and when I turned it back on the connection would be gone along with the WiFi. I had to turn the WiFi off, turn the screen off and turn everything on once again. It has been corrected on WP8.1 though, thank God.

Have the same issue on original Surface Pro 128Gb, it only happens approximately once every 20 restarts however still annoying, hope they can address this for Surface Pro 1 also.

I haven't noticed these issues, though wifi on my 1520 has been slow and unstable. But hopefully Cyan will fix that. With my SP3, though, I have had problems with the trackpad on the keyboard staying active while I'm typing. Makes it a bit difficult to type up documents.

Disappointing that the Surface Pro 3 has this issue as it was already apparant on my Surface Pro 2 which is absolutely fantastic apart from it occassionly loses internet connection on wifi when Bluetooth is enabled. Easily solved by using a USB adapter and my old wireless keyboard and mouse, but makes my expensive new Bluetooth mouse and keyboard redundant, which is annoying as I only bought them to use with my Surface Pro 2.

I think it is a problem with their hasswell chipset and mobo design. SP3 is the SP2 internals with some changes to make it thinner, but otherwise the same POS components apparently.

sadly maybe wait for SP4 and for MSFT to finally ditch their hardware vendor responsible for this.

here's an upside.. You'll never have to worry about battery drainage. I had this problem on surfaces2, but it went away after an update.

Yeah. My Surface Pro 3's network adapters have randomly dissapeared after I wake it up from connected standby. It's happened 3 or 4 times. At home, it's not a big deal because I can take the 3 seconds it takes to reboot but if I'm at work, shutting down all my Office programs and saving my work is a bit more cumbersome. Even this relatively large issue has not dampered my overwhemingly positive view of the SP3. It's the best computing experience I've ever had.

I hope this coming patch Tuesday fixes the issue.

This is not just a problem with the Surface Pro 3. I've heard that there are people that have gone so far as returning their unit. I have a XPS 13 with all maxed specs, including that low power state function, and it too has the problem. Bugs are a part of every new device. When I installed Maverick on my MacPro, it was a disaster, which have problems that have still not been addressed. My Surface Pro 3 and XPS are twice the speed of the MacPro with Maverick now.

Oh, ok. I was wondering about the behavior and assumed an update had been installed because it seems more frequent. It is a mild annoyance so a fix will be appreciated. The Bluetooth power issue is also a problem for me. Devices seem to disappear and reappear connectivity and function going with them. Stellar device, but I may be disabling some of the power saving features until this is addressed.

Here is a temporary fix that works:

Turn off auto updates.
In device manager, manually change the WiFi driver to the previous version.
Restart.
Check for updates. The June firmware will show again. Hide it!
Turn updates back on.
Restart.
WiFi will work fine.

When they fix it for real, you can obviously unhide June update.

I did this a couple days ago and haven't had the issues since. Not optimal, but a band aid.

I don't know which is more embarassing, the flagship device having this problem or you saying "The problem is easily solved by restarting the Surface, which takes only around five seconds...." Do you even recognize the extent to which you sound like an absolute Microsoft (paid) shill? You essentially have said that this feature, which you touted as amazing, etc., etc., stops working but you can just reboot.  I am pretty sure that means that is no longer connected standby if you need to reboot. This is in contrast to any previous Surface device with updated drivers that will reconnect to WIFI (yes, there were driver errors previously but they were resolved ages ago). This isn't about losing connected standby, it is about losing WIFI entirely. Essentially, Microsoft has acknowledged a problem that makes the feature less useful than the basic feature of predecessor devices but you can always reboot?

The lack of logic and the absolute requirement to suspend disbelief when reading this drivel is astounding.  Oh, BTW, if Microsoft has already acknowledged a problem,  it is affecting a lot more than a few people on a forum. Show some integrity, or failing that, some intelligence (or vice verse if either are even remotely possible)....

I don't understand why they would use the Marvell kit still, it really has been a disaster on the previous devices. Just use Intel kit you fools! I have similar issues on my pro 2, where sleep results in a max throughput on the WiFi of about 2mbps upon resume. A reboot fixes the issue. Sigh.

EVERY TIME!

why can't MSFT get networking right? is it the mag vapor case? or the bad driver team they have? or their wireless card vendor? 3 devices, 3 times wifi is crap.

GET IT TOGETHER REDMOND!!!!

I want to know something about surface pro, can we boot to bios like we do on our desktops and laptops? And can we boot through a pen drive or other hard drive?

Happened a few times on my SP3 but doesn't happen often. Maybe this is what they talked about that was going to upset the world :p Jokes aside I love my SP3

I'm having this issue in SP3, usually happens when waking from standy mode. It shows connected to wifi, but it isn't. I have to toggle wifi to get it to work.

I almost have the same problem with my new HP Spectre Ultrabook, the problem is most severe whenever I leave the Visual Studio emulator running. I wonder if hyper V isn't causing the problem.

Funny, I was just searching the innerwebs for posts on this yesterday as my SP3 (surface pro not service pack) forgets it has a radio in it every once in a while. Shut down and restart to resolve

ever since a small update follwed by a restart about 21 days ago, any kind of internet just stopped working on my 8.1 :( i love windows 8 but it isnt getting connected to any internet( wifi, usb modem) same routers and access points work on my ubuntu! even before that lot of times the connection was limited on wifi!is there a major networking problem?

How much of this is due to Microsoft using a Marvell WiFi controller instead of the Intel Centrino WiFi?

In this day and age, the one thing that absolutely must work flawlessly on any device is WiFi.  Microsoft has been failing to deliver flawless WiFi from the very beginning of Surface, and, amazingly, it is still going on.  Why do the people responsible for WiFi in Microsoft devices still have jobs?  It is Microsoft's clear failure to either realize the importance of this or execute on it that is why Microsoft is failing in the consumer space. 

This actually happens on my surface pro 2 EVERY TIME I REBOOT IT. For example, reboot for updates and when it comes back to login there is no wifi/ethernet driver. I have to reboot it a seocnd time. It is very reproducable.