Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7 suffering slow Wi-Fi after waking from sleep

Surface Laptop 3 13.5
Surface Laptop 3 13.5 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Many Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro 7 owners have reported issues with slow Wi-Fi after waking the devices from sleep.
  • The issue appears to be related to an Intel Wi-Fi driver.
  • Microsoft hasn't acknowledged the issue yet, but there is a potential workaround.

Over the past week, several Reddit users have reported issues with their Surface Pro 7 and Intel-based Surface Laptop 3 devices have suffered from an issue that causes Wi-Fi speeds to tank after waking them from sleep. Microsoft has yet to acknowledge the issue, but there is currently an open thread on the Microsoft Answers forum as well.

According to another Reddit post, the issue appears to be related to how the Intel AX201 Wi-Fi adapter handles connectivity when entering and waking from sleep. When the Surface Pro 7 or Surface Laptop 3 is put to sleep, it disables one antenna while putting the other into a low-power state, which is meant to save battery life. The problem is that the disabled antenna doesn't appear to be activated and the other remains in low power mode when waking the device from sleep, cutting Wi-Fi connection speeds.

In the same post, the poster, Wiidesire, has posted a potential workaround:

  • Go to the hardware manager -> network adapter -> Intel AX201 -> Advanced -> MIMO power save mode -> Change "Auto SMPS" to "No SMPS". While this resulted in the bug occurring less frequently, only changing the setting to "Static SMPS" (-> disabling MIMO) eliminated the problem entirely for me.
  • (Optional) Go to the Windows Settings App -> System -> Power & Sleep -> When my PC is asleep and on battery power, disconnect from network -> Change "Never" to "Always"

The issue appears to be related to driver version for the Intel AX201 adapter.

Presumably, we'll see Microsoft push out a fix in the coming days or weeks. However, if you've encountered this bug, you can attempt to temporarily work around it by trying the steps above. Importantly, you should avoid installing Intel's generic AX201 drivers, as they are likely to introduce further issues.

We'll update this post if and when Microsoft acknowledges the problem and provides a timetable for an update.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl