Author Topic: USB WiFi adapters - a tale of Woe...  (Read 574 times)

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Offline stevenrw

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USB WiFi adapters - a tale of Woe...
« on: Nov 08, 2016, 12:13:20 »
My (excellent) Billion router started to give me problems so I took the plunge and bought a new Netgear Nighthawk R7000, which I'm very happy with. Easy to set up, and seems reliable (thusfar).
However, as this router offers the new 802.11ac wireless on 2.4 & 5Ghz bands I needed to get new wireless adapters.
There are two desktops at home, one is a dual boot Windows 7 (64bit) and W10 (64 bit) the other machine is just Windows 10 64bit.
Both of the W10 machines have been updated with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and work fine.
So... call me old-fashioned but I would've thought the first port of call for a trouble-free adapter would be Netgear, as I have a nice new Netgear router.
So I bought an A6210 which is their fastest offering.
...and it does not work.
After what seemed like countless attempts at installation where the adapter was not recognised, and a couple of online chats to Netgear support it transpires that there are issues with this unit and the Anniversary Update. They said there was a fix currently being worked on, but they couldn't give me a date.
On the W7 machine there was no issue, easy straightforward installation (like they normally are..)
So, I thought "bite the bullet and buy another adapter, this must just be an aberration from Netgear."
So, looking for another fast adapter I chose the TP-Link Archer T4UH.
...and it does not work.
Again, a nightmare installation, which eventually required uninstallation of my AV software before it would install.
But it refuses to work. It does not recognise any networks and will not connect.
Back to TP-Link tech support who asked me to try a couple of things, neither of which had any effect.
Again, installing on the Windows 7 machine went as per normal.
Meantime Netgear came up with a debugged driver version which enables the adapter to work but does not provide the Netgear "Genie" software which is a quick easy way to see/connect/manage your network connections.
So please be aware that there seems to be serious driver issues with at least two of the major network players with Windows 10 post Anniversary Update.
I find it incomprehensible that they have not yet come up with proper drivers for the latest version of W10.
I never got to the bottom of the problem, whether it was a USB3.0 controller issue or just the 802.11ac drivers.
But be warned.
I had to buy yet another Netgear adapter the 6100 model which is slightly slower but installs without any issue on the W10 machines. So the addition of a couple of adapters has cost me almost £75 and I only have a mish-mash solution.
Not a happy bunny.

Offline goldberg

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Re: USB WiFi adapters - a tale of Woe...
« Reply #1 on: Nov 08, 2016, 13:28:54 »
I have Windows 10 anniversary edition patched up-to-date running on an old HP DC7900 PC.

Drivers for the Edimax EW-7811UTC AC600 Wireless Dual-Band Mini USB adapter appear to be embedded in Windows 10, and I've had trouble-free use of this device for several months both before and after upgrading to the anniversary edition.

This adaptor also works well with Linux Mint on the same computer, but requires a little driver tweaking to make it work.

Online Simon

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Re: USB WiFi adapters - a tale of Woe...
« Reply #2 on: Nov 08, 2016, 13:52:03 »
I've been using a BT Dual Band Wireless Extender for a while now, and it's coped with Windows 10 and all of its numerous and often painful updates.  I've never even had to disconnect it or reset it.  The router is a Billion 7800DXL.
This post reflects my own views, opinions and experience, not those of IDNet.

Offline stevenrw

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Re: USB WiFi adapters - a tale of Woe...
« Reply #3 on: Nov 08, 2016, 14:37:15 »
I was using the Edimax 7811UN N150 version before, - and funnily enough with a 7800DXL router so I know exactly where you are both coming from.
I can atetst that the Edimax and the Billion units are highly recommended and problem free, and I would recommend either without reservation.
Thats why I was so surprised and disappointed to hit problems with what should've been "improvements" to my infrastructure. I wanted the max speed across my network as I have also bought a WD MyCloud NAS and syncing across a 150gbit network was really painfully slow.
Sync speed is now greatly increased to the Network Storage unit but it has cost me more than a few grey hairs, a lot of time & frustration and a lot more money than I was expecting.
Should've listened to the old saying "If it ain't broke..."

Offline Technical Ben

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Re: USB WiFi adapters - a tale of Woe...
« Reply #4 on: Nov 09, 2016, 17:59:50 »
I've found usb wifi (and PCIe etc) adapters and video capture cards to be the worse for driver support. As these "bugs" never get fixed I assume it's short cuts or loop holes used in the hardware that just is not fixable in a software update when something get's changes (like driver/hardware checking between Windows 7 and 10).

Sad thing is, the shops still sell them.
I use to have a signature, then it all changed to chip and pin.

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