Acer Aspire 5720 wireless network dropout

Posted by jimi on December 29th, 2008 filed in Tech Support Snippit

Christmas is a special time of year.  It’s a time to see the family, catch up with friends, and fix their computers.  My parent’s computers were in a state of disarray when I arrived a week or so ago, and I’ve been trying to fix various things while also attempting to catch up with friends.

This post is about the worst problem that has taken me several days to track down.  Mum bought a new laptop, an Acer Aspire 5720.  It came installed with Vista Home Basic and Acer’s “empowering” technology.  I’ve gotta say, this is the most frustrating software I’ve dealt with to date.  The only thing it empowered me to do was disable it.  I’ll go into why in a second.  

So the laptop booted fine and Mum had been mucking around on it a little, but the problem was her ability to connect to the home’s wireless network was intermittent.  It would work for a while, then on reboot it wouldn’t, then the settings and password would mess up, basically nothing really consistent.

So my first idea was make sure the “eNet Management” software was working properly.  This bit of software is supposed to make it easier to get online.  Wrong.  It’s default settings are to try and log onto any unsecured network in range.  Brilliant.  So I turned this off and put in all the password settings.  I could not find anywhere to make the home wireless network the default network to connect to, and I need this to be the case.  Mum isn’t the kind of user that will understand why settings are not working the way they should, so I can’t really give her a list of things to do every time she wants to connect to the net.  Also after rebooting a couple of times, eNet had decided to change the setting for security type and truncate the saved password.  Empowering stuff indeed.

Going directly into the windows connection settings and setting up in there seemed to work but started conflicting with the eNet software.  So eventually I just disabled eNet and tried through windows.  This worked a little better, but still wasn’t being very consistent.

Having only started working with laptops in the last 6 months or so, I was unaware of the amount of power regulation that goes on inside them.  I won’t write too much about the research on this, but the Acer ePower Management software seemed to keep switching power usage modes.  This was the root of the network problem, and basically the wireless card in this particular laptop doesn’t work too well under low power.  So I disabled the Acer ePower Management, went into Vista’s power management section, and under all power profiles, set the wireless network card to performance mode.  Now the laptop will connect to the home network under any power profile, and (hopefully) Mum won’t need to worry about it again.

So recapping:

If your laptop doesn’t always want to connect to wireless networks, check it’s power settings.  Chances are, it isn’t receiving enough power to transmit properly, so by changing it’s power usage to performance mode in all power profiles, it shouldn’t have any issues connecting to networks.  

NOTE: This will use more power, that much should be obvious, so don’t do this if you don’t have the problem.

Jimi says Bye

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2 Responses to “Acer Aspire 5720 wireless network dropout”

  1. Penny Says:

    I have the same model of laptop and the same problem. Thanks for the solution!
    *bows in admiration*

  2. jimi Says:

    No worries, glad my rant helped someone.

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