Need assistance troubleshooting a strange WiFi problem


Dec 9, 2006
Picture two adjacent rooms. Room A has a wireless router (TP-Link TL 3600) and then on the other side of the wall between the rooms is a TV. The rest of room B has laptops and people using their phones on the wireless and everything works splendidly.

I installed a mini PC stick from Quantum Suppliers in an HDMI port on the back of the PC. It really struggled to use the network well and I had been troubleshooting it as though that device had a hard time with the wireless. After a while, I noticed the phones and laptops also struggling, so I figured my wireless was just messed up and rebooted the router to no effect. After more tinkering and speed tests, I found that all the other devices work perfectly when the mini PC is not using the network. Once it tries doing something on the network, everything in room B (where the TV and phones etc are) stops working immediately. I can take the phones into room A and they work fine.

It's as if the mini PC has created a dead zone within 10 feet of itself somehow. It is itself included in the dead zone, meaning it doesn't ever get good wireless connectivity. I toggled wifi on phones and whatnot to make sure there was no interference between devices or IP conflicts, but to no avail. I also plugged in a USB wireless dongle with a powered USB hub and tried moving it to different locations in the room with a USB extension cable. I disabled the bluetooth in the mini PC in case it was broadcasting too much. Nothing has helped.

This is the first time I've ever seen something like this. I apologize that I rarely visit hardforum unless I have some sort of problem, but this is beyond my expertise.
Are you running the latest firmware on your TP-Link? Does your Laptops have update WIFI drivers including your Mini PC Stick? Does it matter if you put the Mini PC on its own radio?
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Sounds like a wireless issue with the Mini PC. Try updating the drivers/BIOS on it using the USB slot. Update your router and reset it to defaults to see if that makes a difference. If all that fails, try a different router to see if it behaves better, then update it to see if you can knock the badness out of it.
Do you have a link to which mini PC this is? It would be helpful to know which one not to buy... I mean to help you figure out why it's behaving so badly.

I wonder if it's somehow forcing everything to use 802.11b, but that would be a really weird thing for a modern device to do.
@ ocellaris
That's pretty much what I just suggested (BIOS wont help in the case)

@ evilsofa
I'd guess that it sends weird packets which upsets the rest of the devices, hence getting a new driver (which most likely will include firmware too).
Do you have a link to which mini PC this is? It would be helpful to know which one not to buy... I mean to help you figure out why it's behaving so badly.

I wonder if it's somehow forcing everything to use 802.11b, but that would be a really weird thing for a modern device to do.

I usually open up the connection status window to see what it's doing and thought it generally bombs down to 1-6.5Mb/s when it's sucking, during the times it works fine it connects at 72-150Mb/s. I think that's evidence enough that it isn't on 802.11b.

The actual item is this
I'm not going to say "don't buy it" but I will point out there are zero drivers on their site so I'm going to have to dig in and find out what chip each device is built on and driver-up the hard way. Hopefully will have them all updated by end of day and will keep you posted.
ive found the wireless performance on these sticks have been terrible

never heard of one creating a dead zone though

the one i have i got running with a USB wired NIC, muuuuch better
Yep, Control Panel --> Device Manager --> Device ID is hard...

No, that isn't hard but finding a driver for generic network devices has always been a witch hunt for me before and it's proving to be the same again. It's RTL8723BS and Realtek lists absolutely nothing for it. I've found one from Dell I will attempt to use. Weirdo probably-a-virus driver database sites only list very old ones.

Edit: as with every time in history, the installer fails stating the required hardware is not present. I will attempt to find out from the manufacturer if it is indeed that chip or if maybe Windows installed the wrong driver and I've no way (that I know of) to find the correct chip ID.
Does it matter if you put the Mini PC on its own radio?

Also, both the USB NIC and the internal produce the same result... Logically it shouldn't be a driver issue unless generic Windows drivers are the actual problem.
So a long, long time ago, my brother and I built this completely awesome 486. It came with a note on the case that contained the motherboard that it was a FCC class A device. And every time we turned this system on, about half of the radio stations on the stereo on the wall on the other side of the room would go out...

I think there's something similar going on here.
I was able to get a driver+software package from the manufacturer. It is 3007.3.0715.2014_ISS_1.01.0243.Win8x.X86.L if anyone Googling the problem happens to come across this page. Since then (though it hasn't been much time) it has worked as well as one could expect from a PC smaller than a wallet and under $150. These drivers seem to actually be older than the ones it was using but I suspect, again, the ones it was using were Windows generics and just didn't cut it.

That brings up a side note: I've searched little bit but not exhaustively... does anyone know how to force Windows to update a driver when it gives the message "The newest driver is currently installed" and won't let you manually put in the driver that you want? If you delete the driver it is using, it just reinstalls it within 3-5 seconds.
Glad you were able to find a solution via drivers. :cool: If it was a frequency emission issue it would have been a lot harder to fix.
I re-wired everything up the way I like it (no extension cords, smaller USB hub, etc) and it stopped working. This time, I had a brain flash (not quite as good as a spark of brilliance) and remembered that the USB cordless keyboard I'm using is actually *wireless* not cordless. As in, it isn't RF or bluetooth, it's 2.4GHz wireless. As soon as I unplugged its dongle, the WiFi data streamed in uninhibited.

So, I am now 98% confident that I can suggest a solution for anyone else in this pickle; put some distance between the two wireless transmitters -- the one on the mini PC and the one for the mini keyboard. The mini keyboard came with about 18" of cable with a charging cable split off of it, so it will serve as both a charging cable and a distance buffer. Working quite splendidly now.

The wireless keyboard in question is this one:
Even better! It seemed like it was literally some sort of signal interference. Glad you found it!