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Users Report Microsoft Surface Wi-Fi Glitch

November 18, 2012

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT

Microsoft's new Surface tablet running Windows RT is experiencing frequent connection issues with Wi-Fi networks, according to a number of users posting on the Microsoft Community's Surface support forum.

A comment thread discussing the issue spotted by ComputerWorld kicks off with a question about Wi-Fi connectivity from user Nate B on Oct. 28. Microsoft began shipping the Surface RT to consumers on Oct. 26.

As ComputerWorld notes, the thread is now more than a dozen pages long and it isn't clear if Microsoft has resolved a problem where, as one poster put it, the tablet's "connection to the Wi-Fi network frequently and repeatedly goes 'limited'."

The result of the glitch—which several posters claimed was only occurring on their Surface RTs and not other devices on their wireless networks—is the interruption of file downloads, media streams, and Web applications.

Resetting a network connection by toggling airplane mode on and off can work, but "only for a short amount of time," one user said.

Later posters on the thread offered different workarounds for the problem, which included switching wireless networking devices from the 802.11b-802.11g-802.11g "mixed" setting to 11g-only, where possible, and disabling the wireless card's power management feature, but other users reported mixed results with such fixes.

Another workaround suggested by a Community poster for a related Surface RT hang issue involved reinstalling the tablet's wireless card.

A week ago, a Community moderator said Microsoft was aware of and working on the connectivity issue, while in the meantime recommending that affected users set their wireless routers to 802.11g-only as the most reliable, albeit temporary fix.

Microsoft's Patch Tuesday release this week appears to have included a firmware update for the Surface RT intended to address the wireless connectivity issue. Following the release of that fix, some users on the Surface support forum reported the patch was working for them, while others said they continued to experience regular decay to "limited" Wi-Fi coverage, and still others appeared to be having a tough time installing the firmware patch at all.




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