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Data loss with Windows Intel drivers for ax201 and ax210

DDiepenbrock
Beginner
2,819 Views

I have two Dell laptops, one with the ax201 and one with ax210, both running Windows 10.  For both, when connected using 802.11ac or 802.11ax I experience ~6% packet loss using a simple iperf3 UDP 25mbps test.  Faster speeds, more loss.  When I configure the driver to use 802.11n on 5ghz the loss drops to ~0% for this test. 

Iperf reports the loss per second.  For the 802.11ac and 802.11ax cases and some seconds I see substantially more loss, but nearly always some loss.

On one laptop I booted to Ubuntu 22.04 via USB and ran the same tests, with the laptop in the same physical location.  I saw no notable loss when repeating this test.  I was able to increase the speeds substantially (250mbps) and still no data loss, other than some initial loss when the test would first begin.

This has manifest itself into all sorts of issues during normal use, including dropped zoom calls, complete loss of network connectivity for a few moments (usually its able to reconnect and recover).

I have experienced this problem both with Ubiquiti U6-Pro 802.11ax compatible APs and TP-Link Archer c7 802.11ac compatible routers.

I have contacted Dell, and they were (shockingly) unaware of this issue.  They first suggested all sorts of driver re-installations, windows resets, etc.  I have tried multiple releases of the drivers which all seem to experience this issue.

Test setup is simple:  A wired ubuntu system running iperf3 server: iperf3 -s -p <port>.  On the laptop with the ax* chip, run "iperf3 -c <ip of server> -p <port> -u -b 25M"

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14 Replies
DeividA_Intel
Moderator
2,785 Views

Hello DDiepenbrock,  


  

Thank you for posting on the Intel® communities. I am sorry to know that you are having issues with your Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (Gig+) and Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AX210 (Gig+).   


  

In order to better assist you, please provide the following:  


1. Is this issue present out of the box or is recent?

2. What are the exact models of the Dell laptops?

3. Just to confirm, is this issue present with both Intel and Dell drivers?

4. Is this issue present with both 2.4GHZ and 5GHz bands?

5. Did Dell provide more information when you contacted them?



Best regards, 

Deivid A.  

Intel Customer Support Technician 


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DDiepenbrock
Beginner
2,710 Views

Deivid,  thank you for your reply.  Here are my responses to your specific questions:

1. As far as I know the issue has always been present since we obtained the laptop, but I cannot 100% confirm that it was a problem initially.  It's possible the initial drivers did not have problems and the issue was introduced as part of routine updates.  Regardless, I have ruled out hardware failure by demonstrating that data loss is not present in Linux.

2. Latitude 7420 -- ax201 chip (this is the system I performed the Linux test on as well), and Precision 7560 -- ax210 chip

3. I first identified the data loss using Dell drivers.  Per direction from Dell's support, I installed the Intel drivers on the Latitude 7420.  I have tried all currently available driver versions.

4. As I clearly described, the data loss is only on 802.11ac and 802.11ax.  As far as I know AX is operating on 5ghz.  The problem is not present when configure for 802.11n, which also appears to be using 5ghz.

5. Dell has essentially told me "we supply hardware, you confirmed the hardware is working, tough cookies".

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DDiepenbrock
Beginner
2,707 Views

I just tried the "Update Driver" option to switch to old previously installed drivers on the system Latitude.  Every driver there has the same problem, including the oldest Microsoft option from 5/13/2019 version 21.10.2.2

The Precision system I've only had a few months, and I primarily use this system wired via a dock.  

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SalvageDatacom
Beginner
2,752 Views

Hi,

If you're using a Windows computer with an Intel ax201 or ax210 wireless adapter, you may have encountered data loss issues. This is due to a bug in the drivers for these adapters, and unfortunately, there is no easy fix. The only way to resolve the issue is to completely uninstall the drivers and then reinstall them. This process can be fairly difficult and time-consuming, so we recommend that you follow the steps below carefully.1) Uninstall the drivers for your Intel ax201 or ax210 wireless adapter. To do this, go to Control Panel > Programs and Features. Find the entry for your driver, right-click it, and select Uninstall.2) Download the latest drivers from Intel's website. Make sure to select the drivers for your specific adapter and operating system.3) Install the downloaded drivers. Once the installation is complete, restart your computer.4) Check to see if the data loss issue has been resolved. If it has not, you may need to repeat steps 1-3.

 

Best regards.

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DDiepenbrock
Beginner
2,709 Views

I appreciate your suggestion.  However, this typical answer has several issues:

1) There is no uninstall for the driver.  "Programs and Features" does not list drivers for the ax201.  I can uninstall the entire device. from Device Manager. This I have already tried.

2) Your order for your steps should include downloading the driver first, since after removing the device there's no network access.

3) Removing the device does not delete the drivers from the system.

 

I did try:

1) Remove the device
2) Install Intel's latest driver (again)
3) Reboot
4) Reconnect to the wireless network
5) Repeat the iperf3 test.

Data loss persists when connected using 802.11ac/ax.

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Jean_Intel
Moderator
2,664 Views

Hello DDiepenbrock,


Thanks for your reply.


Since you mentioned that the issue does not persist when using the 802.11n. I would like you to test using the Recommended Settings for 802.11ac Connectivity, and confirm if the issue is still present.


Also, I would like to confirm the following information:

  • Is this issue happening in the home, office environment, or both?
  • Have you checked if this issue happens on different networks?
  • Are you able to reproduce the same issue while on a hardwired connection?


Best regards, 

Jean O.  

Intel Customer Support Technician


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DeividA_Intel
Moderator
2,647 Views

Hello DDiepenbrock,  


 

I reviewed your post, please let me know if the issue was resolved, if not, do not hesitate, just reply back.


  

Regards,  

Deivid A.  

Intel Customer Support Technician  


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DeividA_Intel
Moderator
2,619 Views

Hello DDiepenbrock,  


 

I was checking your thread and see that we have not heard back from you.  


I’m going to close your post, but if you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to create a new thread. 


Remember that you can check this behavior with Dell since they may need to run some tests on their laptops.


 

Regards,  

Deivid A.  

Intel Customer Support Technician 


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DDiepenbrock
Beginner
2,604 Views

Apologies, I was on travel.

 

To answer some of your questions:

1) Yes it happens on multiple devices on multiple networks, I've tested with 4 different access points of 2 different brands, AND I've confirmed the same exact hardware DOES NOT have a problem using Linux when running the same exact test.

2) I have attempted the recommended settings and I still see the behavior.

3) Of course I can't reproduce the behavior on a wired connection. 

Can you test and verify, I've provided the exact iperf commands above.

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DDiepenbrock
Beginner
2,364 Views

Intel customer support opened a ticket for me, but so far they've done nothing of value.  This is not an environmental issue, or attributable to expected data loss over wireless.  I've explained how I've determined that, and won't repeat myself again.

Unfortunately the customer support agents Intel has assigned to communicate with me don't have a depth of knowledge about networking.  They keep asking completely irrelevant questions, and asking questions I've already answered.

I have, however, determined that some older access points do not cause this problem (at least for 802.11ac).  There is some possible access point configuration which prevents the data loss behavior.  This in no way means the Intel driver is not at fault.

I really hope Intel can put a software engineer in touch with me to whom I can explain and/or demonstrate the issue to, so they can actually fix their driver to prevent these issues.

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DDiepenbrock
Beginner
2,262 Views

Intel's latest response:

 

Based on the investigation performed, this is unlikely to be related to drivers. Bear in mind that there are differences between protocol N vs AC, as N might be less congested compared to AC which is important to consider.

If the symptom continues I would recommend checking the antenna connectors with the computer manufacturer also reseating the card would be advised.

 

And then:


In this case, the only option is to check this issue with the computer manufacturer. Bear in mind that their drivers are customized to work and be compatible with the BIOS and system and our drivers are just generic.

Also, the manufacturer may check for any possible hardware issues to roll out that option like checking the antenna connectors or reseating the card would be advised.

 

Never mind the fact I clearly demonstrated that this is a windows specific issue, performing the same test in Linux doesn't reproduce the issue.  Somehow Intel still think this is an antenna problem.  Never mind data loss doesn't occur on 802.11N (5ghz), only AC or AX.  Intel thinks its a connectivity with the adapater issue.  Never mind the adapter is soldered to the motherboard, and again, only demonstrates the problem in windows using their (or Dell's re-wrapped) driver.

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DeividA_Intel
Moderator
2,182 Views

Hello DDiepenbrock, 



I am sorry for the inconvenience. In order to continue with the investigation, please confirm the following:


1. Is this issue related to a personal or a company environment? 

2. What is the company name (if applicable)? 

3. How many systems are impacted by this issue?

4. Is the wireless security WPA2-Personal (AES) or WPA2-Enterprise (AES)?

5. Can you provide Windows SysEvent and WLAN-AutoConfig logs while video calls drop out? 

6. Were the systems plugged in or on battery mode while the issue occurred?



Best regards, 

Deivid A.  

Intel Customer Support Technician 


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DDiepenbrock
Beginner
2,060 Views

It's most unfortunate that Intel has chosen to bury their head in the sand with regard to the driver issues for these adapters.  Dell is no better.  I've offered on multiple occasions to work with engineers to help with the problem, but the customer support person has completely ignored my offer.  I've documented an easily reproducible issue, but apparently acquiring a common Ubiquiti access point is too much for Intel.  I've explained other difficult-to-reproduce issues, and all I get from Intel is "give us more logs from those intermittent events."  Completely garbage, I've worked around these by forcing to 2.4ghz only because of the driver bugs.

It'd be great for Intel to invest in quality customer support agents, and to increase their communication between their support & engineering teams.

I suspect the bugs are probably some power-saving setting, and when using particular access points it gets negotiated differently.  However, as a software engineer and not a network engineer I don't have the background to quickly diagnose such issues.  I've already wasted way too much time on this defective product trying to help the manufacturer and supplier fix issues for everyone to benefit from.  But all I end up with is incompetent support agents who just want me to go away.

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