TomDC
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XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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I recently discovered that my XPS 13 (purchased July, 2017) throttles down the wireless when on battery and there seems to be no option to change that. I'm in a home with Comcast wireless. If I connect while the laptop is on AC power, speed test shows 100+ Mbps download. If I unplug the AC cord, the download drops to less than 10 Mbps. I assume this is meant to extend battery life, but it makes the computer unusable for some types of work. And I've read recently that the power consumed by wifi in modern computers is no longer a significant drain (as compared to processors, graphics, etc.).

In a more standard Win 10 environment, the power profiles include the option to set the wifi performance, but that option is not available on this computer. I also looked at the adapter profile in the device manager and there is no performance parameter available. This uses the Killer Wireless 1535 adapter.

I've read some articles that supposedly show changes you can make to the registry to make the wifi performance parameter show up in the power profiles, but I'm hesitant to make those changes.

Suggestions?

Thanks

Tom

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RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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Hello TomDC,

We have also noticed that those options have been disabled on the XPS platform, even though they are not disabled in the 1535's driver. You can even install the driver from our website, and they are not disabled, so this is something in the registry. Some users have had some luck re-enabling them by using registry changes from here www.eightforums.com/.../54127-power-options-add-remove-wireless-adapter-settings.html and here www.tenforums.com/.../82794-change-power-saving-mode-wireless-adapters-windows-10-a.html, as you have mentioned.

I understand your reluctance to make these changes, but as Microsoft themselves have indicated that this is the only fix for the issues that you describe, it is the route that we usually suggest for users encountering this problem. support.microsoft.com/.../you-may-experience-connectivity-issues-or-performance-issues-when-you

If you have any other questions or issues with your Killer products, you can reach out to me directly here - www.killernetworking.com/.../contact.

Have a great weekend!

-- Anthony with Killer Networking

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RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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I apologize if this ends up being a double post. It appears my previous post may be lost in the nether.

This issue is somewhat common with Windows 10, and Microsoft has addressed it here - support.microsoft.com/.../you-may-experience-connectivity-issues-or-performance-issues-when-you - by suggesting those same power plan settings.

We have also noted that those options are not available on the XPS platform. This is not something that we exclude in the driver for the 1535 - it seems to be excluded in the registry from the manufacturer. Those registry changes (if they are the ones from tenforums) are the same that we suggest, as they have worked for quite a few users, and we have never received complaints of increased battery usage.

If you have any other issues or questions about your Killer adapters, please feel free to reach out to us directly at www.killernetworking.com/.../contact.

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RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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No problem! I'm the same way. 🙂

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10 Replies

RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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Hello TomDC,

We have also noticed that those options have been disabled on the XPS platform, even though they are not disabled in the 1535's driver. You can even install the driver from our website, and they are not disabled, so this is something in the registry. Some users have had some luck re-enabling them by using registry changes from here www.eightforums.com/.../54127-power-options-add-remove-wireless-adapter-settings.html and here www.tenforums.com/.../82794-change-power-saving-mode-wireless-adapters-windows-10-a.html, as you have mentioned.

I understand your reluctance to make these changes, but as Microsoft themselves have indicated that this is the only fix for the issues that you describe, it is the route that we usually suggest for users encountering this problem. support.microsoft.com/.../you-may-experience-connectivity-issues-or-performance-issues-when-you

If you have any other questions or issues with your Killer products, you can reach out to me directly here - www.killernetworking.com/.../contact.

Have a great weekend!

-- Anthony with Killer Networking

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RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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I apologize if this ends up being a double post. It appears my previous post may be lost in the nether.

This issue is somewhat common with Windows 10, and Microsoft has addressed it here - support.microsoft.com/.../you-may-experience-connectivity-issues-or-performance-issues-when-you - by suggesting those same power plan settings.

We have also noted that those options are not available on the XPS platform. This is not something that we exclude in the driver for the 1535 - it seems to be excluded in the registry from the manufacturer. Those registry changes (if they are the ones from tenforums) are the same that we suggest, as they have worked for quite a few users, and we have never received complaints of increased battery usage.

If you have any other issues or questions about your Killer adapters, please feel free to reach out to us directly at www.killernetworking.com/.../contact.

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TomDC
1 Copper

RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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Thanks for that useful input.

RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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Wow. I apologize for the multiple posts. I guess it required moderator approval but wasn't saying anything on my side, and then the moderator approved all of them.

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TomDC
1 Copper

RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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The multiple posts were not a problem for me. I appreciate the input. I've learned a bit during this exchange and deeper look at the whole wifi energy saver protocols. I also discovered that different speed test options react differently to this situation. I was originally using MegaPath (originally the speakeasy speed test) that I've been using for years as a speed test. lt shows the severely degraded speed on battery. However, the speed test from Ookla (I use their app on my phone to check speeds) shows comparable speeds on battery and AC. As I uderstand in, the energy saver approach calls for the router to accumulate data and then transmit that in bursts as the laptop powers the exchange on and off. If I do indeed understand this correctly (at least at a general level!), perhaps older speed tests see those suspended periods as just slow segments that then bring the average way down. Is that possible?

Thanks

Tom

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RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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As far as I am aware, there is no accumulating and transmitting in bursts from any power saving technology. That would be fairly disastrous for gaming, streaming, or any other real-time usage.

As far as the speed tests go, I couldn't tell you why one showed the speed difference while another did not. I usually point users to Ookla's speedtest.net and/or testmy.net. The difference may be in the size of the file used for testing, or possibly the number of samples. If you are getting incosistent results, try taking 5 tests from one and 5 tests from another, without changing  anything, and see if they even out. You should probably also clear your browser's cache, as that might be affecting the tests for those particular websites.

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TomDC
1 Copper

RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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I may be misunderstanding, but I was basing my comment on this passage in the MS link you provided:

"When the mobile PC is running on battery power, the wireless network adapter is configured to use Medium Power Saving mode. This uses the 802.11 power save mode.

When an 802.11 wireless network adapter that is set to use power save mode wants to enter a sleep state, the adapter indicates this intention to the wireless AP. The adapter does this by setting the power save option in its packets or in the 802.11 frames that it sends to the wireless AP. In this scenario, the following behavior should occur:

When the wireless AP receives the frames that have the power save option set, the wireless AP determines that the client network adapter that sent the frames wants to enter a power saving state.  

The wireless AP then buffers packets that are destined for the client network adapter.

When the radio of the client network adapter turns on, the client network adapter then communicates with the AP to retrieve the buffered packets.

This behavior enables the wireless network adapter to use less power and to wake up periodically at the correct time to receive network traffic from the AP."

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RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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Well, yes and no.

It won't buffer data from client to AP. It will only buffer frames that are coming from the AP to the client. Frames going from client to AP will always cause an instant "on" state, or should. So, as long as you are, for instance, browsing, or gaming, or streaming, you are going to be in an "on" state, or should be, as your client machine is going to be sending a "ping" type signal to keep that from happening.

The only buffering that will happen is when the client goes inactive. If everything is working properly, the client will notify the AP that it has gone inactive, and the AP will buffer anything from that point on, until the AP wakes again. Therefore, unless it's malfunctioning, the power saving mechanism shouldn't affect  your speed tests.

It's not a constant buffer, constant on-off thing, so much as an automatic mini-sleep state. The waking periodically is to address the fact that not all traffic that is routed to a machine will be requested by the machine, so it will need to wake periodically to check for frames coming from the router, as the router's buffer isn't very large. 

That's how everything is supposed to work. Microsoft doesn't seem to have much faith in the APs, though, or at least that's what they're telling us.

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TomDC
1 Copper

RE: XPS 13 Severely Reduced Wifi on Battery

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Thank you for taking the time for that substantive and clear explanation. I enjoy solving problems, but I really love learning new stuff along the way. 🙂

Tom

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