Surface Pro 2 Wireless Adapter Fixed

Friday, December 27, 2013

I recently purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro 2, a touch-screen tablet running Windows 8.1. Overall, I like the power of a full operating system in the relatively small form factor of the tablet but it is not without its problems. The most annoying, so far, was the propensity for the wireless adapter to sporadically stop working. I finally figured out how to "fix" it.

Click image to uncrop and embiggen.

A proper fix would, of course, require Microsoft to care enough to dedicate the necessary development resources. Absent that, I found a workaround (based on a blog post I read while originally trying to diagnosis this problem).

The procedure is simple:

  1. Open "Device Manager".
  2. Expand "Network adapters", right-click on the Marvell AVASTAR controller and choose "Properties".
  3. Select the "Advanced" tab.
  4. Select the "Selective Suspend" option and change its value to "Disable".

When Selective Suspend is enabled, Windows will decrease the power to the wireless adapter when the operating system goes to "sleep" (ie, when you close the cover). Apparently, the problem is that when the OS wakes up it fails to properly reinitialize the wireless adapter.

This workaround prevents Windows from decreases power to the adapter thus obviating the "wake up" problem. One consequence of this (which is why I term it a "workaround" and not a "solution") is that without selective suspend your tablet's battery will drain more quickly in sleep mode than it otherwise would. I will take decreased battery performance over having to reboot my tablet every time I want to use it.

Your mileage may vary.

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