Microsoft schedules Surface Pro 3 update to fix Wi-Fi issues

Microsoft schedules Surface Pro 3 update to fix Wi-Fi issues

Summary: Updated: In the second of two July updates, Microsoft says it has resolved some of the reported networking issues with its new flagship device but is still working on others. Surprisingly, this isn't uncommon for new hardware platforms. Just ask Apple.


Update 16-July-2014: The firmware update is now being delivered via Windows Update. The update is listed as “System Firmware Update – 7/16/2014” or “System Hardware Update – 7/16/2014” in the update history. The package contains the following two updates, according to the Surface Pro 3 update page:

  • Surface Integration (v.2.0.1038.0) further enhances system stability.
  • Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth (v. 15.68.3044.85) further improving WiFi connection and throughput scenarios.

Early adopters of the Surface Pro 3 who’ve been struggling with some hardware- and driver-related bugs can expect more relief soon.

A firmware-and-driver update delivered on July 8 was intended to clear up some known issues with sleep and Wi-Fi connectivity issues, among others.

A separate driver update, due to be delivered on Wednesday, July 16, will address some of the remaining issues.

In a post on Microsoft’s Surface support forums, a spokesperson said the “second July update for Surface Pro 3 Wi-Fi” should address most (but not all) remaining issues. Collectively, he said, this month’s updates should address the three biggest “limited connectivity” complaints, in which network performance degrades after exiting Connected Standby, after resuming from hibernation, or during active use.

If you are experiencing Wi-Fi connection inconsistency, we strongly recommend that you download and install this update; we have been using this update and have seen an improved experience. But we are not done. We are still very focused on two remaining areas:

The note also describes two groups of issues that are still actively being worked on:

Wi-Fi isn’t available in the Settings charm or under the Connections setting. We are seeing a few reports of Wi-Fi being unavailable, which requires a reboot to resolve.  We don’t have an immediate fix, but we continue to work on this and will have an update as soon as possible.

Dropped connections or reduced throughput to certain access points. As mentioned above, the July 16 firmware update will address the majority of Limited Connectivity scenarios. However, there are still fringe scenarios where Limited Connectivity errors are present or network throughput is lower than expected, depending on the network configuration. We anticipate multiple improvements over time.

After applying last week’s firmware update to a review unit here, using two different Netgear routers (including an 802.11ac device), I have seen none of the networking issues noted in this and other support threads.

Wi-Fi issues are relatively common with new devices, and it sometimes take months of real-world testing and multiple updates before a platform reaches a stable level of reliability and performance.

The first round of touch-enabled Windows 8 Ultrabooks, which shipped nearly two years ago, were notorious for Wi-Fi glitches that affected devices from multiple manufacturers (these threads about the Sony Vaio Pro are a good example, but there were many others).

Wi-Fi issues even plague Apple, which controls the entire hardware and software platform for its mobile devices and doesn’t have to deal with the sprawling diversity of Windows OEM PCs. MacBook Air models that shipped in mid-2013 with support for 802.11ac networking were plagued with Wi-Fi issues, some severe enough that Apple replaced the affected devices to “capture” the problem units for testing. Roughly a month after those first reports, Apple released a software update with an accompanying support note that acknowledged “an issue that, in rare instances, may cause an intermittent loss in wireless connectivity.”

And the recent fourth major update to OS X Mavericks, released on June 30, 2014, more than eight months after the operating system publicly debuted, contained fixes for “an issue that prevented some Macs from automatically connecting to known Wi-Fi networks,” as well as improvements in “the reliability of wake from sleep.”

If you're a Surface Pro 3 owner, I am interested in hearing about your experience after this update arrives. If you see any improvements or unresolved bugs, let me know using the contact form below or this email alias,, which goes directly to me.

Topic: Microsoft Surface

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  • I have still had trouble after this first update last week.

    A reboot fixes it for me, so that is only a few seconds. Looking forward to next update.
  • knock on wood... havent had any issues

    I suppose my particular configuration of WiFi routers which is one of the standard Verizon supplied models and a second Cisco model work fine. Although neither of these does 802.11ac.

    Used the SP3 to download at least a dozen multi GB ISOs from MSDN Downloads to USB3 drive at max bandwidth+ (50 mbps on FIOS. WiFi connection speed exceeds my subscribed bandwidth and I was getting 56 mbps consistently)
  • Reset May be Necessary

    I would recommend everyone wait until tomorrow's release, but last week the update did nothing for my continuing battery drain (25-30% points in an 8 hour sleep cycle) with still intermittent WiFi disconnect, until I did a full system reset this weekend, with reinstallation of all drivers (including the 7/8 updates). Now battery drain is typical of last night - 3% points in 8 hours, and only rare (once in 5-10 sleep cycles) disconnects from WiFi. Hopefully tomorrow's drivers will relieve this completely. I still have no idea what cruft the reset cleared, but it has been nearly flawless since.
  • MS Is Such A Generous Company...

    You pay up to 2-grand for a crippled laptop without a native keyboard and a supposed tablet without a mobile OS but with a cooling fan, and they will finally decide to do what should've been done before you purchased it... they will get your WIFI to work (but the hot-pink cover that also outs you as a "sensitive" MS fanboy is extra).

    We love you too MS.

    :0 )
    • ZD|Net isn't your personal diary.

      Besides that, "surprisingly, this isn't uncommon for new hardware platforms. Just ask Apple."
      • Re: ZD|Net isn't your personal diary....

        I think what he was attempting to outline is that for the high cost involved it falls short of expectation in particular areas.
        No product is perfect whatever manufacturer is perfect. The Surface Pro 3 is suffering a similar Wi-Fi issue to that on the first batch of the 2013 13" MacBook Airs.

        With that being the case it does not make Microsoft any worse or better than Apple.
  • Surface Pro 3 buyers to get firmware update on Day 1

    Surface Pro 3 buyers to get firmware update on Day 1
    Wow...that was quick!

    Its interesting to see MS becoming a truly agile company. No one can beat MS on software update rollout mechanism.

    19 June, 2014 22:17
    Reply 10 Votes 1 Flag
    that was quick!

    but also made you wandering the quality.

    20 June, 2014 01:50
    Reply 3 Votes Flag

    Subject (Max length: 75 characters)

  • "Apple, which controls the entire

    hardware and software platform for its mobile devices and doesn’t have to deal with the sprawling diversity of Windows OEM PCs."

    Except here, we are talking specifically about issues with the "surface pro 3", for which MS controls both hardware and software.
    • yeah, i'm sure marketing is the source of the issues

      they want stuff out the door before it's ready. Seems everything has its 'final pre-release' testing done post-release.

      today my iMac stopped responding to all keyboard, trackpad, & mouse input. I had to power-cycle it. That's happened at least 3 times since I bought it in November. It was released last fall & I bought it a month in. Still not fixed.
    • You seem to have missed the context

      If you read the paragraph RIGHT BEFORE the sentence you quoted, you'll see that I mentioned multiple Ultrabook manufacturers, giving Sony as just one example.

      So both Apple and Microsoft share control over the hardware and the operating system and yet neither one is able to release a device with reliable Wi-Fi performance out of the box.
      Ed Bott
      • Re: reliable Wi-Fi performance out of the box....

        "So both Apple and Microsoft share control over the hardware and the operating system and yet neither one is able to release a device with reliable Wi-Fi performance out of the box."

        Nicely balanced Ed.

        It appears to blight Higher end Hardware like the first batch of 2013 13" MacBook Airs.
  • radio waves vs metal

    Apple and Micro Soft share a problem. Their metal enclosures are opaque to RF. The only way for Wi-Fi to get in is through the screen. Remember Samsung's top of the line android tablet a couple of years ago. They also had a Wi-Fi problem and were forced to do a quick refresh. It angered all of the early adopters. Their problem was an aluminum chassis.
  • The Surface Pro 3 Wi-Fi is still HORRIBLE!

    I have installed the “System Hardware Update – 7/16/2014” and my Wi-Fi is still HORRIBLE!
    Please friends! Do not buy a Surface Pro 3 until the Wi-Fi issues are resolved (whenever that might be?)!
    I guess I have a (Microsoft) learning disability after all!
  • Surface Pro 3 Received This Week Problelm free.

    My Surface Pro 3 came from Direct Tiger so it's likely not from a newly produced batch and it is problem free after running all updates except for the July 16 update. Everything works extremely well. There is a 7 second lag to connect to WiFi coming out of sleep mode, but than WiFi works perfectly well. My Surface Pro 3 is the best tablet on the market and is an excellent tablet/laptop.