Windows 10 Connectivity issues with Hotspots and Wi-Fi adapters

In the internet generation, when almost everything is shifting online, it is necessary to stay connected when remote. Tablets and mobile phones help a lot, but laptops could not and cannot be replaced any soon. Laptops or Mobile PC’s are a necessary work requirement, which makes it important to find a way to keep them connected to the web, whenever mobile. However, unlike phones and tablets, very few mobile PC’s have inbuilt Wi-Fi adapters. Thus, most users depend on external Wi-Fi adapters for their needs.

Windows 10 Connectivity issues

However, many users face connectivity issues with Hotspots and Wi-Fi adapters – eg. Slow internet despite all parameters being up to the mark, poor performance of the Wi-Fi network, continual disconnection/dropping of the Wi-Fi network.

Cause behind connectivity issues while running a laptop that is connected to a wireless access point

One prominent cause behind the issue where a laptop shows connectivity problems while attempting to connect to hotspots is that the Wi-Fi adapters might not be following the 802.11 protocol.

To understand the cause better, the power saving feature because of the 802.11 protocol is already included in the operating system of the laptop. To save power the power plan of the mobile PC would be set to Balanced by default.

However, by default, when the laptop is connected to a power source, the wireless adapter uses the Maximum performance mode instead of the Balanced mode. This means that the 802.11 power save mode is switched OFF.

Now, if the wireless adapter using the 802.11 protocol is set to save power, is willing to enter the sleep mode, the adapter signals it to the wireless AP. To send the signals, the adapter sends it in form of 802.11 frames. While doing so, the following should happen:

  1. When the wireless access point receives the 802.11 frames, that signal that the adapter is set to the power saver mode, the wireless AP should recognize this and enter the power saving mode itself.
  2. The access point buffers the packets to the client network adapter.
  3. The client network adapter receives the packets when its radio turns ON.

Now if the wireless access point does not follow the 802.11 protocol, it will keep sending the packets to the client network adapter even though its radio is turned OFF.  In this case, these packets would get lost.

Solutions for connectivity issues while running a laptop that is connected to a wireless access point

While there is no known fix to this issue other than changing the hardware of the wireless access point, which might be impractical in most cases, here are two workarounds that might help:

1] Connect the laptop to a power source

Keep the laptop connected to the power source when using the wireless access point. This sets the laptop to the Maximum performance mode and switches OFF the 802.11 power save mode.

2] Change the power settings of the power plan

Windows 10 Connectivity issues

The power plan of the laptop could be changed from Balanced to High Performance, or the settings on the Balanced power plan could be changed such that the battery is set on High Performance. This post will show you how to configure Power Plans.

Does it help?

If not, there are more posts related to connectivity issues:

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Karan Khanna is a passionate Windows 10 user who loves troubleshooting Windows problems in specific and writing about Microsoft technologies in general.

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