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INTEL 5100/5300 Network Dropouts/Disconnects

2009-02-15, 18:04 PM

There have been a number of threads on here about those of us who have had serious problems keeping wireless connections up. People have had this with both W500s and W700s, so I decided to comment in one thread for both.


In my own case my brand new factory fresh W500 (XP Pro) was dropping every 5 minutes requring a reset. I called Lenovo Support and they walked me through mutiple driver updates/reinstalls until we reached the point where the wireless quit working and in typical help desk fashion they threw up their hands and said "OS Wipe".


So, back to factory fresh I went, and I started researching on my own. Several people on here had some luck turning off bits of the wireless functionality (such as disabling "N", Power Management, Packet Burst and other advanced features). That did help slightly, and the disconnects went from once every 5 minutes to once every 15 minutes or so, but still enough to make it unusable as a Work Machine which is supposed to be putting bread on the table not locking up in the middle of the most crucial operation.


I really didn't want to go back to Lenovo Tech Support and start again going through the scripts for network repair because it's clear there's something fundamental going on here, and not something that can be solved by a help desk flow chart, and we all know that the help desk will read from the script until your ears bleed.


I started casting my net wider, (Try google and Intel 5100 and 5300 wireless disconnects dropouts and lockups).  I found that it was apparently a common complaint for a significant subset of users with ALL notebook manufacturers, including other Thinkpad variants, and the common element was the Intel Cards. People tried to tie it to certain routers, settings etc all without success.


I found the most convoluted attempts to fix it by uninstalling the Thinkvantage Access Connections, using other (including Intel) connection management software, and installing different drivers of course.  I tried some things but did draw the line at the Virgin Sacrifice method.


For me, the thing that has helped most so far is the updated Intel Driver version which I got here:




I downloaded the "Drivers Only" version, not the one with the Intel Connection Management.


I started with a fresh OS load and just installed that driver straight over the lenovo provided one. I did not disable any functionality including the power management.


I can now usually go all day with at most one or two lockups. Not perfect, but far better than I was before.


Bottom line is, I think it's really an Intel Driver issue, and I'm going to keep a close eye on the Intel Updates to see if something better comes out. I was very disappointed that the Release Notes for the driver didn't give any problem resolution information, but it definitely helped me.


I'm curious to see if this helps anyone else.


For those still having problems, I think it would help to have one thread instead of the balkanized 500/700 discussions because I think it's a common problem not specific to either.

Message Edited by Tempus on 02-15-2009 01:06 PM
Message Edited by Tempus on 02-16-2009 11:00 AM

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Re: INTEL 5100/5300 Network Dropouts/Disconnects

2009-03-17, 21:01 PM

Installing the latest Intel drivers as well as downloading new power management drivers on the IBM website http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=MIGR-4GXPEG&velxr-layout=printLenovo eliminated virtually all of the "local only" connect and random drop out issues.  Power settings on the card were also changed to performance - highest, and roaming agressivness - lowest.  The only remaining issues as far as wireless goes are that 1) occasionally coming out of sleep mode the wireless card does not wake up.  Access Manager says it is on but there is no indicator light and it is not connecting to anything.  The second problem would appear to relate to the first as by turning the card off and on in Access Manager powers up the modem, it only connects locally and appears to not look for the WEP key in order to connect globally.  You need to disconnect, look for, and attach to your preferred network in order to see the world.  As an FYI, my W500 uses the Intel 5350 wireless card.  So, this is almost the way it is supposed to work but would like to hear any solution to problem #2.

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