As I mentioned earlier, I have had an ongoing issue with connectivity that has put me behind schedule last night and this morning. The issue involves my new Gateway laptop, the one I purchased six weeks ago as a business-contingency plan after I started considering working from home on a full-time basis.
The Gateway MT3705 has developed a nasty habit of dropping my wireless connection to the D-Link DIR-625 router, forcing me to reboot it, sometimes several times a day. Three weeks ago, I spent an hour with Gateway’s tech-support chat service, which recommended that I reload the drivers for the Realtek wireless adapter to resolve the issue. That worked — for a while, perhaps a day or two. Despite reloading it several times over the last couple of weeks, it continues to drop the network and stop recognizing it, even though I have two other computers connected to the wireless network that have no issues whatsoever.
Today, after losing two posts, I finally dug out an external USB wireless adapter and reconnected with Gateway’s chat support to get them to fix the problem. What I was told was that Vista somehow interferes with the 802.11 wireless standard, and that I needed to replace my router. Somehow, Gateway wants me to verify that I’m connecting to a Vista-compatible router everywhere I travel with this laptop, rather than provide me with an adapter that connects to any 802.11-b or -g router. Seriously — here’s the transcript:
Brady_GWER9395 says: If this do not work, you should contact the router manufacturer for any update so that it will be compatible with Windows Vista,.
Edward Morrissey says: the router isn’t connected to the computer — why would there be a compatibility problem?
Brady_GWER9395 says: Yes, for some router is not compatible with Windows Vista.
Brady_GWER9395 says: And this cause the connection issue,
Edward Morrissey says: why?? they use a standard 802 communication program. why is vista having a problem with that?
Brady_GWER9395 says: Because there are firmware that is not compatible with Windows Vista.
Now, the router in question isn’t attached to the laptop. It’s wireless. The communication protocol is standard on routers and adapters — the 802.11-b or -g standard. As a standard, it means it should be platform independent — which I tried to explain to the tech:
Edward Morrissey says: look, the router shouldn’t make any difference at all — it’s not being exposed to Vista, and that’s my point. Either the Gateway uses the 802 standard or it doesn’t. If it does, it should connect to routers that support it. If not, it’s not because of Vista, it’s because of the hardware being flaky. that’s what “standard” is supposed to mean.
Brady_GWER9395 says: Windows Vista is the new operating system launched with Microsoft, And it’s file format is different from XP.
After this, I asked to speak to a supervisor. Same story:
May_GWER2387 says: Edward, Brady already provided you steps on how to correct the issue. …
Edward Morrissey says: are you telling me that when i travel with this laptop, i won’t be able to connect to 802.11 wireless routers unless EVERYONE upgrades to Vista-compatible routers?
May_GWER2387 says: Yes, Edward
So Gateway wants me to verify everywhere I go with my new MT laptop that wireless providers have upgraded their routers to be Vista compatible. Is this correct? Does the 802.11 standard change for Vista? Perhaps I’m not clear on this, but when I’m told that the system supports the 802.11 standard, I figure that it wouldn’t make any difference whether the routers likes Vista, XP, OS-X, or anything else. Otherwise, as I told Gateway, this laptop just ceased being useful at all to me. If I can’t rely on it to maintain a connection to other 802.11 routers, it’s useless on the road.
Besides, I’ve got an external on it that seems to be working just fine. How does that compute with their explanation?
They have forwarded the issue to their Advanced Technical Group — which won’t get back to me until Tuesday of next week. In the meantime, I guess I have to use my external adapter and write off the hour it took for them to escalate it to a technical expert. It’s been a complete waste of time dealing with their first and second tier support, and I am either going to have to install XP or try to get my money back on the laptop. You can be sure that I will not be buying another Gateway.
UPDATE: CQ reader James sent me a link to the updated Realtek driver, which I have loaded. I’ve also rebooted the computer, and we’ll see if the connection stays up. I’ve also confirmed that the D-Link router is on the latest firmware. We’ll see if that solves the problem.
UPDATE II, 5:09 PM CT: Well, it failed again, and in the exact same manner. The driver does not appear to be the problem; it looks like a flaky adapter. I want to see what Gateway does about this.