Oops! Surface Pro 3 firmware and driver update causing sluggish Wi-Fi

If you have a new Microsoft Surface Pro 3, hold off on applying the June 19 system firmware update

Microsoft released an extensive Surface Pro 3 firmware patch on June 19 -- the same day that the Intel Core i5-based units hit retail shelves -- and now many early patchers are reporting Wi-Fi woes with their new tablets.

Apparently the System Firmware Update 6/19/2014 includes buggy drivers that cripple the speed of 802.11ac and 802.11n Wi-Fi connections. The problem raises its ugly head after the Surface 3 resumes from Connected Standby -- er, Instant Go mode while running on battery.

ZDnet's Ed Bott reported on the problem over the weekend, after his Microsoft-supplied Surface Pro 3 showed these symptoms. Bott's correspondents have confirmed that the slowdown occurs while connected to a wide variety of routers, including Netgear, Asus, Belkin, Linksy, and D-Link.

There's a minor mutiny under way on the Microsoft Answers forum. The longest Answers forum thread on this specific problem kicks off with Mark Lenox saying:

I just bought my Surface Pro 3 yesterday and have installed all updates. After connecting to my home Wi-Fi network, each time I press the power button putting it to sleep, then reawaken it, the Wi-Fi goes to "Limited," and I have no Internet connection. I must then go to the Wi-Fi connections settings, disconnect and reconnect to the network, and it works. This is a MAJOR and UNACCEPTABLE pain in the neck for a machine I paid $1,400 for!

There are additional threads about lost connectivity after sleep, problems after installing VS 2013 and Hyper-V, and problems connecting to an Apple Airport Extreme on 802.11ac, where godson594 said:

Please fix this. I'm shaking my head that first update screwed something up. ... I already went through nightmares with my [Surface Pro] 2, so this isn't a good start :(

One customer reported repeated BSODs. I also see a host of related problems described on the Surface Pro forum.

There seems to be a manual workaround that involves replacing the Marvell Avastar Wireless-AC Network Controller driver, as well as lengthy discussions of how it may or may not be working on individual tablets. Answers forum denizen Aegeas has aggregated the recommended driver re-installation procedure and posted it. Basically, he recommends that you download and manually install the Wi-Fi driver from the original firmware and driver update pack.

As usual, there's no official word from Microsoft.

With the Surface Pro 3 floodgates about to open -- i3 and i7 models are due out on Aug. 1 -- you have to wonder if the firmware will be ready in time. Releasing a firmware update on general availability day is not an auspicious sign.

This story, "Oops! Surface Pro 3 firmware and driver update causing sluggish Wi-Fi," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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