Question My network adapter is destroying my PC and I'm helpless to fix it.

Jan 29, 2020
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So the context:

I have two Network Adapters installed in my PC. It was a dumb mistake when building the PC online and having it shipped built for me. So one is built directly into my STRIX X99 motherboard and can connect to 5ghz speeds. Kind of made me getting the other one redundant, but that's besides the point.

I've always had less than ideal connection quality with the adapters both. Sometimes they would reach 200megabits speed. Other times they would slow to a crawl and make me think my network was dying. To try and fix this problem I recently tried to update the driver of the built-in network adapter, a Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A Wireless Network Adapter. At the time I did not even know it was built in, mind.

So I pick a driver locally that I see on the list and try to install it. It fails after me waiting like 10 minutes, which was not good. Then came the problems right away. My wifi cut off, or rather my wifi list ceased to work. Clicking the internet access icon came up a blank screen. If you waited long enough all that would show was the airplane mode setting. Strangely enough hovering over the wifi icon still showed 'connections available'

My task manager stopped updating processes, such as GPU usage or CPU usage. I also noticed that the WIFI graph was gone, as though it never existed. I tried to uninstall the driver and failed both times. Tried to restart my PC after doing a full network reset in settings but it just hung. I ended up having to hold the power button and manually shutting my PC off two times to get the wifi to work again.

But I was not taking any chances so I did a full network wipe again and manually uninstalled my VPN driver until the adapters section of device manager was empty.

The problems did not go away then. They persisted. I often find something like connecting to a VPN, disconnecting and then re-connecting causes the problem to happen again. Trying to open network and internet settings in this state just loads infinitely. It also happens when my modem restarts and sometimes completely at random, also sometimes when I try to switch wifi band. I'm at a loss for how to fix this and I'd rather not go the nuclear way of reinstalling windows.

Does anyone have any advice? The adapters work fine-ish, until they aren't. And Uninstalling the drivers does not fix the issue.



Specs for easier consumption:

Motherboard: STRIX X99

Power Supply: EVGA 650 G3

Wifi Adapters: Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A (Built-In) Wireless Network Adapter. Asus PCE-AC88 802.11ac Network Adapter.

OS: Windows 10 home.

ISP: Virgin Media. 5GHz, 2.4Ghz.

The devices connected are about four at most but this is not really related to that.
 
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So the context:

I have two Network Adapters installed in my PC. It was a dumb mistake when building the PC online and having it shipped built for me. So one is built directly into my STRIX X99 motherboard and can connect to 5ghz speeds. Kind of made me getting the other one redundant, but that's besides the point.

I've always had less than ideal connection quality with the adapters both. Sometimes they would reach 200megabits speed. Other times they would slow to a crawl and make me think my network was dying. To try and fix this problem I recently tried to update the driver of the built-in network adapter, a Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A Wireless Network Adapter. At the time I did not even know it was built in, mind.

So I pick a driver locally that I see on the list and try to install it. It fails after me waiting like 10 minutes, which was not good. Then came the problems right away. My wifi cut off, or rather my wifi list ceased to work. Clicking the internet access icon came up a blank screen. If you waited long enough all that would show was the airplane mode setting. Strangely enough hovering over the wifi icon still showed 'connections available'

My task manager stopped updating processes, such as GPU usage or CPU usage. I also noticed that the WIFI graph was gone, as though it never existed. I tried to uninstall the driver and failed both times. Tried to restart my PC after doing a full network reset in settings but it just hung. I ended up having to hold the power button and manually shutting my PC off two times to get the wifi to work again.

But I was not taking any chances so I did a full network wipe again and manually uninstalled my VPN driver until the adapters section of device manager was empty.

The problems did not go away then. They persisted. I often find something like connecting to a VPN, disconnecting and then re-connecting causes the problem to happen again. Trying to open network and internet settings in this state just loads infinitely. It also happens when my modem restarts and sometimes completely at random, also sometimes when I try to switch wifi band. I'm at a loss for how to fix this and I'd rather not go the nuclear way of reinstalling windows.

Does anyone have any advice? The adapters work fine-ish, until they aren't. And Uninstalling the drivers does not fix the issue.



Specs for easier consumption:

Motherboard: STRIX X99

Power Supply: EVGA 650 G3

Wifi Adapters: Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A (Built-In) Wireless Network Adapter. Asus PCE-AC88 802.11ac Network Adapter.

OS: Windows 10 home.

ISP: Virgin Media. 5GHz, 2.4Ghz.

The devices connected are about four at most but this is not really related to that.
Which network adaptor are you actually using to connect? I would suggest disabling the other entirely (you can either remove the add on card, or disable the integrated in the bios). Trying to run two devices to do the same thing is going to cause your problems!

Also- is it not possible for you to connect to your router using an Ethernet cable? If the issue is length to run the cable, you can get 'powerline network adaptors' pretty cheaply that will allow you to run a wired network via the main electric cabling. I tend to find that type of connection is much faster and more stable than WiFi...
 
Jan 29, 2020
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Ethernet is not currently an option and it is not guaranteed to solve the issue. My network collapsing or the likes messes with my system itself. When this happens it won't turn off properly, it will just infinitely close windows and internet settings won't load. It'd just be at best putting a band aid over a gushing wound.

As for which I use, I mainly use the Asus network adapter as it has always had a better connection. Qualcom started out great 3 years ago when I got the PC, but quickly started having issues with connectivity and slow speeds. Asus suffers it sometimes, but not always which is why I mainly use it. 5ghz can be unreliable so I stick to 2.4 ghz. I might try to disable the Qualcom via bios but i'm worried if it might cause more issues. Disabling either driver via device manager does not stop the problem from happening. Which has me worried about touching the bios.

The last time I tried to mess with an integrated driver we know what happened. I should mention I have overclocking software installed. As well, the network adapters have always had a bit of an issue of 'unable to connect to network' when it comes to the 5ghz band. But the recent issues have been a stark escalation of problems.
 
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