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Wireless and Power settings

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by , 8th May 2014 at 03:07 PM (5919 Views)
Background info

Wireless has, for the most part, been the bane of my existence as a Network Manager. It's flaky, it's unreliable and it can ruin your otherwise lovely day. Combined with some odd behaviour with Windows 7 and domains, student logins tend to be a bit of a lottery, with around a 1% chance of getting an error "there are no logon servers available..." and another 1% chance of logging in fine, but having no My Documents or Start Menu as they haven't mapped properly on login.

This 2% error rate has fluxuated depending on model of WAP, it was a lot higher with the Netgear and stand alone Cisco WAPS, but since the introduction of Aerohive, I can be relatively assured that the issue is going to be with the laptop/Windows, rather than the wireless itself. Not that Aerohive is 100% faultless, it has a tendency to put APs that are next to each other on the same channel, and the odd WAP occasionally needs to be prodded with a paperclip, but it's generally a good, reliable system.

The interesting bit

But to the more helpful aspect of this blog. After receiving a complaint from a teacher that everytime she closed the lid of her laptop to move lesson, she would lose network connectivity and thus any files she had open would be made read only, causing her some grief. It wasn't insurmountable, but if we could look into it, that would be appreciated. My first thought is power settings, change it so that when the Lid is closed, nothing happens and problem is solved. Whilst digging around in the power settings, I can across a setting I hadn't seen before, and is definitely not in the GPP for power settings: Wireless Adapter settings. On the default power settings for Windows 7, on battery, Windows will reduce the performance of your wireless adapter.

After a bit of research to find out if I can change this setting via Group Policy, I found out that this has caused other people grief with poor wireless performance, and that is isn't possible to change via GPO or GPP. Indeed, our very own EduGeek has a thread on the subject:

wireless power gpo settings

I wanted a simpler solution to the one offered by @VeryPC_Tom_M and wondered whether the 'high performance' plan built into Windows 7 had enable 'Maximum performance' on Wireless adapters, which it has. This being the case, I've set a script to run on start up for laptops for the following:

Powercfg -setactive 8c5e7fda-e8bf-4a96-9a85-a6e23a8c635c
This should ensure that all laptops are set to High Perfomance, and hopefully reduce that 2% down to 0.2% or lower.

Now, if I could only get laptops to receive Group Policy updates over wireless I'd be onto a real winner...


  1. simpsonj's Avatar
    I'll just add, that after implementing the above script, my laptops now DO receive Group Policy Updates whilst on batteries and connected via Wireless. This is going to be a massive time saver looking forward.
  2. zag's Avatar
    Nice idea!

    Can't say we've ever had a problem with laptops logging on though. We use Aruba 802.11ac AP's here and its been rock solid.
  3. simpsonj's Avatar
    Added from a recent forum post:

    But I'll also add that ensuring you have a fast wireless connection is vital. I've recently bought 5Ghz cards for some dell laptops and the speed and reliablilty increase is phenomenal. I'll also add that make sure your offline files are set correctly in GPO. I used to have them really locked down, but this caused a lot more grief as Windows really likes to be able to use Sync centre (assuming your on Win7).

    I now have the following two GPOs set for students and my performance is far more reliable, with less issues of folders not redirecting, drives not mapping etc:

    Admin Templates - Network - Offline Files - Remove 'Make Available Offline' - Enabled
    Admin Templates - System - Folder Redirection - Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline - Enabled


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