Death to Intel PROset!! (and my apologies to Netgear)

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Death to Intel PROset!! (and my apologies to Netgear)

Postby Nick » Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:02 am

(reposted from my blog, but as embarrassed as I am about this, maybe some techs out there need a reminder in the lesson I learned, so I'm posting here as well...)

Just a friendly reminder to my tech friends out there, NEVER install Intel PROset for a wireless NIC or any NIC for that matter. Here’s the story:

I built a new main rig recently for my home office, which is too far from the router to run a cable, and powerline adapters don’t jive well from here to there… So in my new rig I got a sweet new Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260. I’ll be honest, it’s a really decent NIC (driver only…) What I didn’t do was check the internet for potential issues with it, but more on that in a bit.

So I hook it up to my wireless (ASUS Dark Knight RT-N66U) and experience NO issues. To be specific, when I loaded drivers on this rig, I decided for once in my life that I would install the Intel PROset software with the driver. Big mistake.

Ever since SP2 for Windows XP came out with built-in wireless connection capabilities, I’ve NEVER installed 3rd party wireless managers. NEVER. They were always junk, performed poorly, worked intermittently, and were usually difficult to use. One would think that this might change over the years, especially with Intel… So when I ordered this new card, I figured hey, it’s new tech, dual band, AC, has built-in Bluetooth, etc… I might want to try PROset and see what that does for me perhaps it enables extra features on the card or provides better performance or management, I have no clue — I haven’t kept up with tech much and haven’t built any new rigs or troubleshooted many wireless issues in a while having made the transition from bench tech to programmer…

So again, I’m experiencing no issues. Until I purchase a Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000) router to go along with my new AC card. Speed is horrible when connected (56Mbps on 2.4GHz and lower on the 5GHz like 24Mbps avg.) and disconnects occur frequently and randomly. They would only last about 20 seconds until reconnect…

I couldn’t believe this is happening with a top of the line Netgear router. Netgear used to make a solid product, in my opinion they went through some bad years there recently, but a number of trusted people swear by their newer equipment just like the days of old.

So I tried everything from changing channels and restricting speeds and staying on 20MHz and adjusting all sorts of crazy CTS settings and the like. I honestly don’t even understand some of those settings I haven’t the time to research that tech, but was given several suggestions on them by the Netgear support team. Nothing helped. I insisted it was a dud, demanded satisfaction (I wanted them to admit it was a crap router or firmware) and was ready for a refund, planning on getting the new ASUS AC router since my experience with the Dark Knight was so favorable..

The crazy thing is, even when the disconnects occurred and the SSIDs would no longer be visible, I COULD STILL SEE OTHER SSIDs from my neighbors routers. So I was POSITIVE it was the router…

After a little research there are a crap ton of threads out there on the internets with this particular Intel NIC and these exact same issues. None of them resolved. Intel has a support document on this exact issue with this exact NIC on Windows 8.x (which is what I’m running, yes a topic for another time,) but the doc claims this was fixed several driver releases ago in the 16.x.x.x series sometime (now on 17.0.0.34). Too bad they (Intel) haven’t figured this one out, it is an incompatibility with PROset and somehow, only CERTAIN wireless routers… Needless to say, removing the PROset software and installing the latest intel DRIVER ONLY manually from the PROset/driver package download, I have no disconnects, stronger signal believe it or not, and EXCELLENT speed on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

Yes, I would recommend both products to a friend…

Now I have two reviews to correct on Amazon and Newegg, speaking of egg I think some is on my face.
Author of d7x and other PC technician's tools. http://www.d7xTech.com

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