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USB WiFi dongle annoyance

Jebcovet
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My Lenovo laptop's (vintage 2012) wifi/BT card is 2.4G and capped at 72mbps. I obtained a USB dual band dongle to increase my connection speeds. It works great as long as I uninstall and reinstall it at every boot up or after sleeping. If I don't, my download speed is about 1.2mbps down and around 10mbps up. This is using the 5G band now available to me through my newer dual band router. With the reinstall, I get around 112mbps down and the same 10-12mbps up. On top of that, when it connects by itself on boot-up, Ookla speed test tries to use some server in China instead of my more local Tampa, FL PLUS, my laptop's time is reset to a time zone in China! I have taken my time adjustment off automatic to stop that nonsense. BTW, this is with Windows 10 Home, if that makes any difference. I am using the most recent Realtek drivers, which the dongle's chip is based on. Anyone run into this kind of scenario before and is there any real solution beyond have to keep reinstalling this device??? Thanks ahead of time!

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Without you giving further details about what dongle you got there isn't much we can do. 

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6 hours ago, Jebcovet said:

Sorry! Kinda forgot to include that, although I was asking a general question originally. Here is the link to what I'm trying to use: https://smile.amazon.com/Cudy-WU600-600Mbps-Adapter-Wireless/dp/B07FRXYXFJ?ref_=ast_sto_dp

Frankly, sort on negative reviews. You aren't the only one with a ton of issues it seems and frankly for the price that isn't unexpected.  

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10 hours ago, Jebcovet said:

Sorry! Kinda forgot to include that, although I was asking a general question originally. Here is the link to what I'm trying to use: https://smile.amazon.com/Cudy-WU600-600Mbps-Adapter-Wireless/dp/B07FRXYXFJ?ref_=ast_sto_dp

I am not trying to be negative, but that is trash-tier adaptor. Even the manufactory's webpage doesn't say what chipset it uses, and USB 2.0 is just not good enough for WiFi anymore.

 

I would see if your laptop's internal wifi card is a replaceable M.2 card. If so (and if you are comfortable taking it apart), you could probably replace it with an Intel AX200 and have a much better experience (also would get the latest Bluetooth).

 

If that isn't possible, then at least look for a USB adaptor with a Broadcom chipset and decent reviews (expect to pay $30+, don't go cheap)

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14 hours ago, sphbecker said:

I am not trying to be negative, but that is trash-tier adaptor. Even the manufactory's webpage doesn't say what chipset it uses, and USB 2.0 is just not good enough for WiFi anymore.

 

I would see if your laptop's internal wifi card is a replaceable M.2 card. If so (and if you are comfortable taking it apart), you could probably replace it with an Intel AX200 and have a much better experience (also would get the latest Bluetooth).

 

If that isn't possible, then at least look for a USB adaptor with a Broadcom chipset and decent reviews (expect to pay $30+, don't go cheap)

It is a Realtek based chipset in the dongle (Realtek 8811CU Wireless LAN 802.11ac USB NIC). I DO realize you get what you pay for, but was trying something cheap to see if it made a difference. My Lenovo's built in card is a Broadcom based card, but my problem for years has been Lenovo's damn BIOS-based "whitelist" whereby only certain WiFi cards (mini-PCIE, BTW) will be accepted, and it seems that the few accepted ones are all slow. If the card is not on the white list, it will not boot. It is impossible at this point to even find one of those listed cards, so I am investigating the alternatives. As I've stated in the OP, this USB 2.0 adapter runs pretty good, but has to be wiped and reinstalled every time I reboot or wake from sleep mode. I actually HAVE ordered a USB 3.0 version before I read this, so we will see. I just thought it was strange that ANY installed hardware, but in my case, especially this WiFi dongle, should have to be reinstalled to work right. When I have done that, it is quite peppy and works well. Guess I'll see what the USB 3.0 version does. Thank you for the comment!

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17 hours ago, creesch said:

Frankly, sort on negative reviews. You aren't the only one with a ton of issues it seems and frankly for the price that isn't unexpected.  

I figured 4.5 out of 5 stars ratings with 4600+ peeps rating it wasn't that bad for a starting place. I did see a few issues especially about them crapping out after a few months, but nothing about my particular issue. I have ordered a USB 3.0 version to test out. I will spend more if I need to, but I'm only 10 feet from my repeater so I figured let's not spend a lot until I know if I'm on the right track in getting away from this slow-ass 12 year old built-in one. Thanks for the comment though!

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35 minutes ago, Jebcovet said:

I figured 4.5 out of 5 stars ratings with 4600+ peeps rating it wasn't that bad for a starting place. I did see a few issues especially about them crapping out after a few months, but nothing about my particular issue. I have ordered a USB 3.0 version to test out. I will spend more if I need to, but I'm only 10 feet from my repeater so I figured let's not spend a lot until I know if I'm on the right track in getting away from this slow-ass 12 year old built-in one. Thanks for the comment though!

Yeah unfortunately the total rating doesn't mean that much on amazon. It is fine if the negative ratings (2 stars or less) are 1% or so of the total but here they amount to 10% of all ratings. That isn't a small number of people having issues. 

 

And frankly the behavior you are describing sounds rather shady (as if you are connected through a VPN every time) not sure what is going on there but I wouldn't buy from the same brand. 

Also you mention a repeater, know that these are also terrible for getting good speeds as they just a repeat an already degraded signal. Distance from access points isn't always the most important aspect, it is the quality of the individual components and other things nearby that might degrade the quality of a signal. To give a silly example, people often hide the wifi router/accespoint/repeater behind a big house plant so it isn't as visible. Ironically big plants mostly consist of water, water tends to be pretty good at blocking radio signals at the frequency wifi operates at. 

 

Anyway, I digress a bit there, it seems that when it was working you had reasonable speeds so if the new one you ordered is from a more reputable brand you likely will have a decent enough experience. 

 

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Just to clarify, it still works great ...... as long as I uninstall and reinstall it each time I reboot, cold start-up or wake it from sleep mode. It's like it forgets how to start up properly after these situations. I know the repeater use isn't the best way to go, but my signal strength is way better than trying to hook up directly to the router. This was also true with the laptop's built-in 2.4G PCIE WiFi card. I shouldn't have to do a total reconfiguration once the hardware is properly installed to begin with. I've had computers since 1997 and I've never run into a hardware "glitch" like this one before. I was wondering if anyone else has run into this type of thing before, ...... with ANY hardware!

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5 hours ago, Jebcovet said:

anyone else has run into this type of thing before, ...... with ANY hardware!

I had an issue with the integrated NIC on my old gaming machine. It would just not work, some times after start up and some time after it woke up from sleep. Some times disabling the adapter  and reenabling it would make it work. Some times Id have to restart the computer. I tired installing multiple drivers, none worked. I just took it as Windows 10 didn't like the hardware and I ended up upgrading to a new machine after. 

 

Best advice I can give is look for a new driver and maybe some older drivers. You might have to test a few and see if it could be a bug. 

 

Funny enough this also sounds like issues a buddy of mine back in the day had with his Windows ME machine. He said it would forget that it had certain hardware and eventually it remembered. Like it would forget it had a GPU, however after a while it would start working again. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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Yeah, that's a mystery too, Donut417, but then you DID say Win ME!!!!  LOL

 

Another twist just now this morning. Uninstalled the USB NIC as usual, but when I plugged it back in, it seemed to reinstall itself, but came up as not only the wrong item, but turned off with no way to turn it on. Essentially, it appears as though my built-in and the dongle switched designations as far as Win 10 was concerned. I have the built-in disabled and have had it that way since installing the USB one. I "renamed" them both and now after another reinstall of the USB NIC, I'm back up and running as though nothing happened. I swear, even after all these years of building, fixing and in general, messing with these computers, they are out to drive me nuts and be the death of me yet!

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2 hours ago, Jebcovet said:

Yeah, that's a mystery too, Donut417, but then you DID say Win ME!!!!  LOL

 

Another twist just now this morning. Uninstalled the USB NIC as usual, but when I plugged it back in, it seemed to reinstall itself, but came up as not only the wrong item, but turned off with no way to turn it on. Essentially, it appears as though my built-in and the dongle switched designations as far as Win 10 was concerned. I have the built-in disabled and have had it that way since installing the USB one. I "renamed" them both and now after another reinstall of the USB NIC, I'm back up and running as though nothing happened. I swear, even after all these years of building, fixing and in general, messing with these computers, they are out to drive me nuts and be the death of me yet!

Well it clearly is defective, not sure what other reason you want though you seem to be looking for one. 

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4 hours ago, creesch said:

Well it clearly is defective, not sure what other reason you want though you seem to be looking for one. 

You are most likely right on that, but for all I know it could also be a Win 10 quirk or my laptop's parts and configuration. Was just trying to research all the possibilities!

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On 1/5/2022 at 9:28 AM, creesch said:

Well it clearly is defective, not sure what other reason you want though you seem to be looking for one. 

Also. creesch, in my defense, I am a retired doctor (veterinarian) and I have a built-in NEED to get a full diagnosis on things, not only medical stuff, but even in almost every other aspect of my life. It's the "nature of the beast"! The more I understand a problem, the better chance I have of producing a good outcome ....... that sort of mentality. Sorry if you still don't understand!

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4 hours ago, Jebcovet said:

Also. creesch, in my defense, I am a retired doctor (veterinarian) and I have a built-in NEED to get a full diagnosis on things, not only medical stuff, but even in almost every other aspect of my life. It's the "nature of the beast"! The more I understand a problem, the better chance I have of producing a good outcome ....... that sort of mentality. Sorry if you still don't understand!

Oh I sort of understand but there is a sort of cost benefit I apply to these sort of things personally. As I mentioned in an earlier reply it already is a very cheap device where if you investigate the reviews on amazon a fairly large percentage reports defects. In combination with the symptoms you are describing I personally would have called it a day as the likelihood of it being defective is the most obvious one and the only way to actually further investigate would be to tear the thing open and investigate. Which requires knowledge most of us don't have making it not something worthwhile to pursue other than pure curiosity towards the insides. 

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5 hours ago, Jebcovet said:

Also. creesch, in my defense, I am a retired doctor (veterinarian) and I have a built-in NEED to get a full diagnosis on things, not only medical stuff, but even in almost every other aspect of my life. It's the "nature of the beast"! The more I understand a problem, the better chance I have of producing a good outcome ....... that sort of mentality. Sorry if you still don't understand!

As I was originally training to be an IT tech before my health took it away from me, I'm somewhat the same.

 

But also coming from an IT background, I long since realised that you have to give some leeway in that some problems you'll never figure out what it was and just have to cut your losses and try something else.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak) + Ubiquiti nanoHD (OpenWRT)
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + Lebara 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~700Mbit during quiet hours, ~500Mbit peak hours)

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18 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

As I was originally training to be an IT tech before my health took it away from me, I'm somewhat the same.

 

But also coming from an IT background, I long since realised that you have to give some leeway in that some problems you'll never figure out what it was and just have to cut your losses and try something else.

Which I have at this point done. Thing is, the better USB NICS all seem to have the large bulky antenna arrays which would be a total PITA in my case. Hard to explain my arrangement here. I really need to find a well-working small unit to make this work. I'm only about 10' from my repeater but am in the middle of the living room with my Lazy-Boy and the swivel tray I have my lappy on. I would use an ethernet cable if I practically could, but that's not feasible. I have ordered a different brand and style of compact dongle and will hope this one will do the job. So many of these things are based on the same Realtek chipsets, so I don't have a lot of choice, it seems. If any of you have an actual recommendation, I'd love to hear about it! BTW, I really appreciate all the input given to a newb in this forum! 

 

And Alex Atkin UK, I am sort of in the same boat. I was forced to retire early from practicing veterinary medicine due to medical problems and am now mostly disabled with severe spinal degeneration and neurologic problems similar to having MS. So my laptop is my link to the world and through it, I continue to learn and help people with their animal problems and questions. Keeps me in decent spirits and "off the streets"! ROFL

 

I really wish I could afford to upgrade from this old Lenovo IdeaPad Z585 to a more modern laptop, but being on fixed income now, I have to try and make do for as long as possible. This unit has been a real trooper over the years, I have to admit, even though I had a lot of trouble switching over from the original Win 7 it came with to Win 10. Lenovo has refused to issue Win 10 drivers for this as they call it "end of life" status. Win 11 is an absolute no-go because the hardware is lacking needed features in terms of the the processor (AMD A10-4600M). Oh well! All I can do is to keep trying for now. I will update if I find a solution. IF anyone is interested, I could post pics of the Ookla results before and after the re-installs. So bizarre!

 

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I realize no one may be following this thread at this point, but an UPDATE, for what it's worth.

A second, different brand of USB 3.0 adapter was obtained and tried with the same results. Actually, this was the third dongle I've tried now. Only the first USB 2.0 unit is usable, with the quirk as described in the OP. Here's the thing though. All 3 units obtained and tried are based on Realtek chipsets! I can't find anything else out there! Someone had suggested obtaining one based on a Broadcom chipset, but where? I really would love to find and test something compact that ISN'T Realtek based, but so far haven't found any. Again...... Suggestions???? Thanks, good people!

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6 minutes ago, Jebcovet said:

Suggestions????

If you use the laptop stationary then there are alternatives to WiFi you can consider. Such on Moca or Power line adapters if you cant run Ethernet. I know that there are wireless bridges/extenders that do have Ethernet where you can plug the laptop in and bypass the need for a USB dongle. 

 

Lenovo is notorious for white listing WiFi cards in their BIOS. What you could do is find the white list and see what cards are on there. Maybe they have something better that you could potentially buy. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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On 1/12/2022 at 7:46 AM, Donut417 said:

If you use the laptop stationary then there are alternatives to WiFi you can consider. Such on Moca or Power line adapters if you cant run Ethernet. I know that there are wireless bridges/extenders that do have Ethernet where you can plug the laptop in and bypass the need for a USB dongle. 

 

Lenovo is notorious for white listing WiFi cards in their BIOS. What you could do is find the white list and see what cards are on there. Maybe they have something better that you could potentially buy. 

The laptop is mostly stationary and my extender does have an ethernet port, BUT the cable would have to run across the middle of the room! NOT acceptable because we are elderly and I am partially disabled and that would cause too great of a "fall risk". I already stated that I have investigated all of the cards that are on the white list and besides being unavailable anywhere, they are all just as slow as the one I have and none are dual band! Guess I'm stuck! Sigh!

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7 hours ago, Jebcovet said:

The laptop is mostly stationary and my extender does have an ethernet port, BUT the cable would have to run across the middle of the room! NOT acceptable because we are elderly and I am partially disabled and that would cause too great of a "fall risk". I already stated that I have investigated all of the cards that are on the white list and besides being unavailable anywhere, they are all just as slow as the one I have and none are dual band! Guess I'm stuck! Sigh!

What specific model laptop is it?  I find it kinda bizarre it wouldn't have a single 5Ghz card whitelisted, though failing that I was wondering if there is a forum somewhere for people hacking the whitelist.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak) + Ubiquiti nanoHD (OpenWRT)
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + Lebara 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~700Mbit during quiet hours, ~500Mbit peak hours)

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On 1/14/2022 at 3:45 PM, Alex Atkin UK said:

What specific model laptop is it?  I find it kinda bizarre it wouldn't have a single 5Ghz card whitelisted, though failing that I was wondering if there is a forum somewhere for people hacking the whitelist.

I long ago looked into the white list hacking possibilities and even put in a request to the group to look into it. They told me at the time that there wasn't enough interest and that being an AMD APU that they really weren't interested. Seems like they mainly worked with Intel-based boards. Back in 2011-12, 5GHz wasn't really a thing, so I imagine that's why there were no white listed dual band or 5GHz cards used. The model of my laptop is a Lenovo Ideapad Z585 and the top version of it with an A10-4600M APU. There were some version that had A8 APU's, but mine had the A10.

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1 hour ago, Jebcovet said:

Back in 2011-12, 5GHz wasn't

It was used back then. Hell 802.11 A predates WiFi 4 and it was a 5Ghz standard. The issue with WiFi 4 is 5Ghz support was NOT required. So you had Single band, Selectable Dual band and Simultaneous Dual band products. WiFi 5 required 5Ghz to be included which is why all devices now support 5Ghz. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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On 1/16/2022 at 7:55 PM, Donut417 said:

It was used back then. Hell 802.11 A predates WiFi 4 and it was a 5Ghz standard. The issue with WiFi 4 is 5Ghz support was NOT required. So you had Single band, Selectable Dual band and Simultaneous Dual band products. WiFi 5 required 5Ghz to be included which is why all devices now support 5Ghz. 

I just assumed the AC protocol wasn't around since Lenovo offered no cards other than 2.4GHz on their white list, at least for my Z585. Guess I'm just stuck.

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2 hours ago, Jebcovet said:

I just assumed the AC protocol wasn't around since Lenovo offered no cards other than 2.4GHz on their white list, at least for my Z585. Guess I'm just stuck.

You dont need AC. Wireless N had dual band. You can see if any of those will work. While it wont be as fast as AC, it will work better than a 2.4 Ghz only device. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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