Microsoft acknowledges Surface Pro 3 disappearing Wi-Fi and slow connection complaints

The Surface Pro 3 is an impressive device. In my full review, I gave much personal praise for the all-in-one hybrid computer, though, like all things, there is room for improvement. One bug that I've seen a handful of times is being acknowledged by Microsoft now in their support forums.

The problem in question arises when the Surface Pro 3 wakes up from sleep. In rare circumstances, the Wi-Fi and network connections driver are missing after the low power state using InstantGo (previously known as Connected Standby). The problem is easily solved by restarting the Surface, which takes only around five seconds, but it can be irritating and inconvenient.

Some users have had mixed success with downgrading and manually reinstalling the Marvel Wi-Fi driver that refreshed in the June update. Another user suggests altering the power plan by changing the wireless adapter power settings to max performance.

Putting aside temporary fixes, Microsoft support staff Josh_F is taking note of all the complaints:

"Thanks for sharing your experiences. If I understand correctly, after your devices sleep for any amount of time the network and possibly the Bluetooth devices no longer appear in Device Manager and this results in no network connectivity, etc. Your feedback, including suggested workarounds (successful or otherwise) has been shared. We are working to address this and will have an update available soon."

The most difficult bugs are those that cannot be systemically reproduced, and that is the case here. Although I have seen this happen, even before the June update, it is a rare incident. That makes reporting and fixing such a problem a little trickier. However, it does look like the power saver settings for Wi-Fi may be too aggressive for the Surface Pro 3, resulting in the disappearing network.

A related connectivity problem arises when the Surface Pro 3 is on battery and the Wi-Fi gets throttled to just 6 Mbps, a far cry from the max speeds the hardware is capable of achieving. In that case too, Microsoft is recognizing the problem:

"Thank you for sharing your experiences while connecting to 802.11ac access points. We are working to resolve bandwidth limitations associated to certain access points."

There's no time frame for said fixes, although next week is 'Patch Tuesday' and the Surface Pro 3 is expected to get a new firmware or driver update at that time. It is not clear if Microsoft can attenuate the problem in time though they are apparently now working on finding a solution.

Over the weekend, Ed Bott from ZDNet brought up these issues in his influential column, perhaps catching Microsoft's attention.

Source: Microsoft Support Forums 1, 2

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.