Is Your WiFi Access Point Vista-Compliant?

from the sdrawkcab dept

There’s a slightly odd article doing the rounds that says laptops running Windows Vista could burn through their batteries more quickly than users expect because “some wireless access points aren’t configured to take advantage of the new operating system’s Wi-Fi power-saving mode”. The story’s based on a blog post from a Microsoft employee, who says that the company had to change a default setting in Vista because certain power-saving modes created problems for Vista users on WiFi networks, since the access point they’re using has to also support the features for it to work. It sounds like what’s happened is that Vista supports a newer technology than many access points — which is to be expected in the world of computers, since every product isn’t on the same release cycle. But what makes this story so strange is that it’s written almost as if the problem is with WiFi, not with Vista. It seems rather ridiculous to imply that WiFi access points should be more accommodating to Vista, rather than the other way around, or to suggest that access points are broken because they don’t support this feature Vista does. After all, WiFi is arguably one of the most successful computer standards of recent times, spanning all types of devices and operating systems, so forgive us for thinking Vista should be the one doing the accommodating here.

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Comments on “Is Your WiFi Access Point Vista-Compliant?”

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Ju1c3 says:


just another example of how microsoft expects everyone to bend to their whim. and i am use there will be an update just like everything else microsoft to fix the problem. bottom line, never buy something when its brand new whether it be a OS or new gaming system. there are bound to be problems at the launch that were unforseen and you will have a subpar product for 6 months to a year. u wait the year, then get your product for less and have a better one on top of that.

Optip says:

Re: Does anyone think this is worth it?

Everything you said is untrue. 1GB and 128Mb and single core is absolutely fine. And your WiFi will work fine too, if you read the article.

In any case, I’ve had 2GB, 2x256Mb in SLI and a dual core processor for over a year already on XP, never mind Vista, why don’t you upgrade your poor old computer 😉

Optip says:

How is Vista to blame?

I have to disagree… from what I can tell, the power saving protocol is contained within the 802.11 standard. If routers have not implemented in a way which conforms to the standard.

What this really sounds like to me is that Vista has a feature making use of a part of the standard, which is now exposing many routers as having not implemented the standard properly.

How exactly is Vista to blame? Are you saying it should not develop useful features for users because the hardware vendors have left out part of the standard? Vista could only be faulted if the power saving protocol is not part of the 802.11 standard.

I don’t have deep knowledge on the subject, but a search for “802.11 power save protocol” produces many technical papers at the IEEE, MIT and other sources.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How is Vista to blame?

I have to disagree… from what I can tell, the power saving protocol is contained within the 802.11 standard. If routers have not implemented in a way which conforms to the standard.

Can you point that out to me? I’ve looked through the standard and I can’t find it.

Optip says:

Re: Re: How is Vista to blame?

802.11E-2005 IEEE Standard for Information technology—Telecommunications and information exchange between systems—Local and metropolitan area networks—Specific requirements Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications: Amendment 8: Medium Access Control (MAC) Quality of Service Enhancements

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:

The important thing here..

…is consumer perception.

If a consumer has a WAP in their house, and is able to plant themselves in an easy chair for 8 hours without having to plug in their laptop, then goes to starbucks to discover they can only power up for 40 minutes, are they going to blame Vista, or the Starbucks’ Wifi?

The basic problem here, as is usually the problem in cases of mistaken perception, is that the consumer doesn’t understand the technical nuances of the world in which they live.

Nor should they have to. (Nor do I want them to, I got kids to feed 🙂 )

Basically, if the conumer is confused by their battery draining too fast on them, then the OS is at fault for the confusion for not telling them why their computer is doing something unexpected.

Thankfully for me, the OS is NOT going to tell the end user every little thing, and the confusion will get lumped in with everything else thats considered “magic” to the non-technical folks.

Now, if *most* waps don’t support this feature, then consumer expectations on battery life come from the advertising of features, and the “fault” of that confusion will lie with whoever made the ad. (which will probably be the laptop vendor)

At the same time, if an advertised feature is not working (increased battery life though smarter wifi), I would like to have a way to find out so I can get the latest firmware image or whatnot. That of course, could be as simple as changing the icon from green (for power saving) to blue (for non-power saving) or whatever… Just dont make it annoying.

In other words, it might not be the wap’s real fault, but I’d still like it if inidcations pointed to that fact, so I could remedy the situation by the eradication of non-problem-causer.

ok, I cant tell, am I backwards? maybe I spun 360… maybe that was a product tie-in?

Ron says:


Those folks that only comment in order to bash Microsoft do not add any substance to the question. If you wish to wait a year for Vista to have all fixes, why not wait 2 or 3 years for it to be even better? In the meantime I will be learning new things and enjoying my experience with Vista. Even the RC1 release of Vista received rave reviews from many of my friends that have been using it. It seems to me that changing a default setting in Vista is just a part of learning a new operating system. I plan to be the first on the block with Vista. I ordered it 45 days ago from Amazon. Please all bashers; wait a couple of years to purchase your copy.

Rico J. Halo (user link) says:

Re: Vista

Im in the IT industry myself and as far as my users go I generally wait till at least SP1 before I roll out a new OS.

But I am running Vista RC1 on this very box and have been since I got the Vista DVD with my MSDN kit some time ago.

I like Vista and built this new system specifically for it. Its a 3 GHZ dual core P4, 1 gig ram and 256 meg vid. Its a nice fast system and even with it being RC1 has worked fantastically well. The only issue I have is the XP drivers for the video lock up a lot. But the Vista video drivers for it also lock up and lower the windows experience score to the point it wont run the Aero desktop.

This is something some people might complain about but I think its a software driver/hardware issue outside of Vista’s purview.

Besides with the hardware req’s as steep as they are the chances my work will upgrade to Vista on existing systems are very slim. Most likely it will be a “creeping upgrade” with it just coming in on new boxes.

past_a says:

Mindless FUD

This post is pathetic, mindless FUD. Why not do some research? Did you even check on whether or not a power save mode is part of the wi fi standard? I would think given your pontificating about the standard’s success you would know something about it. But you don’t and you couldn’t take 2 minutes to check…so lame.

The power saving feature referred to is in fact part of the standard.

I love that this is supposed to be an example of MS “forcing everyone to bend to their will” when actually it is just an example of mindless, knee jerk fanbois.

But what's really bizzare... says:

Re: Mindless FUD

But whats really bizzare is 2 things.

One, if it is mindless FUD, why the bloody hell does a troll like you care?

two, Regardless if it is or it is not part of the standard, you have to look at the CONSUMER’s point of view. Never took 2 minutes to think of that, didja? that’s because you’re a troll. Anyway, the consumer will not look at the wi-fi being the problem, instead, they will look at the laptop/OS as being the problem.

Also, keep in mind, this is actually NOT a post on the OS itself but rather on how Microsoft released something to the public. They always look at them being the almighty and everyone else being their slaves being forced to obey their every whem. “People_Ready Business”? My ass. They just want you to buy stuff, regardless on if it works or not.

Ron says:

Re: Mindless FUD

WMM Power Save was implemented about a year ago, and most WAPs are older than that, so no one should expect it to work yet.

I haven’t been able to find any details yet, but it should include a handshake before a client would just assume that it is working, so either it needs to be rewritten to include a handshake, or M$ needs to check for the handshake before ‘sleeping’ the adapter.

Can someone find the implementation details so we know for sure who is to blame. Most of us like to blame M$, but they may not be at fault here. Although to set a new protocol as default knowing that most connecting devices will not support it at this time makes it at least partly M$s fault.

Italian guy says:

Re: No. 10 is GAY

OMG, did you take me seriously!?!?!?! Did you honestly think Italian people type like that? “Catfeesh” Come on!

Or did you turn the funny around to make me look like I’m over-reacting.

And I’m not gay…not that there’s anything wrong with being gay, but I doubt gay people hang around calling people they don’t like “straight”

Reed says:

Re: Mindless FUD

“Sigh. Because Vista is actually using the standard that everyone seems to be ignoring, that’s why Vista seems to be the only OS to have problems with it.”

So Vista is using a standard that has not been implemented!?? I mean blaming the hardware manufactures for not including features no-one uses makes perfect sense doesn’t it?

And I am suuure this isn’t leading to the new line of “Vista” compatible routers. MS software constantly driving hardware is such a joke. Soon we will all have 16 core computers using 100 gigs of ram and that still won’t be enough power for the next Windows

A.G.Gavalas says:


Anyone who wishes to blame the APs because they didn’t apply that portion of the written standard for wireless is ignorant of what a written standard is. A written standard is a lot like a proforma. It is a group of ideas that are agreed upon that CAN be part of a particular technology. What needs to be considered here is the accepted portions of that standard, or as it is commonly referred to the “Applied Standard”.

Definition of the word Standard for those who don’t know:
1)Serving as a basis of weight, measure, value, comparison, or judgment.
2)Customary or Commonly Accepted.

MS may be holding to the written standard, BUT they are far from the applied standard, which isn’t moving any portion of technology forward except their profit. How you ask: through support and the sale of “MS Certified” APs. It isn’t bad business, but it isn’t by the applied standard. The fact that these Access Points don’t work properly with Vista simply proves that Vista has not held to the applied standard for 802.11a+b+g. Anyone who has a wireless G card can still connect to an 802.11b Access point and their card still performs as it should on an 802.11b network. That is an example of holding to the applied standard. MS has made several changes…not just the power saving that have been more of a hindrance for most consumers than a help. Another example would be making ipv6 a default setting instead of ipv4 when the majority of networks out there are not equipped to handle it yet. Up until Vista was released, Power Saving for the Wireless Clients was done solely on the Client side…with no AP interaction, and it was done through third party software that came with the card.
To say having ill effects occur if the AP isn’t capable of those features is not MS’s fault would be to say that every wireless hardware manufacturer up to this point has been wrong in how they applied the standard to their hardware. If you believe something and a room full of people disagree with you, then….well you know the rest.

Bruce Morris says:

Vista & WiFi Access Problem - Microsoft to Fix it?

My daughter has been through an excruciating experience with her new Toshiba laptop, with Vista (no Win XP alternative) in not being able to access WiFi services. She requires Internet access daily to particpate in her Masters’ degree courses exclusively on-line. Having to relocate from Kingston, ON, where she could use my WiFi connection, to Tofino, BC, where no tech support is available, has caused her extreme difficulties in completing her last two courses for her hard-earned degree. Given the obvious Vista-based problem, when is Microsoft going to provide a solution? Reverting to Win XP may be her only interim solution, but this involves having to purchase a Win XP licence – hopefully for only the short term, since surely, Microsoft will fix the problem?
Any help would be appreciated. Bruce, still on Win XP.

John Tyson says:


Yes, not only does Microsoft expect everybody to bend to their whim, but they’re in the position to enforce it. The predominant PC-based operating system out there is Microsoft Windows Vista, and the “somple” solution would be to go over to Lynux or buy a Mac (uggh).

It’s Microsoft’s operating system and they can do as they choose with it. They make the rules.

frustrated dislexic vista user says:

Vista & WiFi Access Problem - Microsoft

I have had problems of maintaining connection with my wifi since I bought a new computer that came with Vista.

First BT software would not work then it kept breaking connection. I ran both my Vista and XP computer tonight side by side and the XP kept working when the Vista one kept disconnecting.

I do not know what causes it but the Vista does not work reliably on wifi.

Having said that even the XP can disconnect occasionally.

And do not even get me started on the variences of speed of connection during the day…

Has any one found a reliable fast connection yet in the UK? If so please let me in on it…

Microsoft have us all by the short and curlies and a virtual manopoly. Untill all software has to work on both Windows and Mac before it can be relaeased it will not end.

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