For months now I’ve been getting annoyed by occasional drops of my network connection on my Windows 7 64-bit laptop. I couldn’t really attach the problem to a specific action and the event logs were of not much use either, which is why it took me so long to get it fixed. But now I finally seem to have found a solution.
The Issue Description
Let me first describe the issue a bit. While working on my PC I noticed that I lost internet connectivity. The Internet Access icon would show a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark inside it – the Warning sign. Right-clicking that icon (indicated with the red circle in the screenshot below) shows Troubleshoot problems as one of the options. I tried that option several times in a hope to get the issue fixed. Unfortunately this did not result in a working connection, and neither did it give me an explanation of what was going on.
The only working solution was a full reboot. In the cases where I first tried to solve the problem through the Troubleshoot problems option I would find the network adapter to be disabled after the reboot, needing a manual activation.
Obviously this was a situation which I wasn’t planning to keep. Especially as the connection also drops while I’m downloading software through my Technet subscription (thank you PASS Conference!!). So a couple of days ago I decided to search the internet for a solution. And I seem to have found one!
I have changed two different settings on my network adapter. Since doing that I haven’t lost my connection anymore. Now the problem is that I don’t know if both these settings need to be modified in order to get the issue solved. I will explain both of them but I think just one of them is really needed. As I don’t want to take a chance to mess up my connectivity again, I’ll leave it up to you to try it out (post a comment with the result!).
Internet Protocol version 6
The first setting that was modified is the IPv6 support on my network adapter. It was enabled and I disabled it.
To get to that setting, use the following click sequence: Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings > right-click your network adapter and choose Properties.
In the Networking tab you’ll find an option called Internet Protocol version 6 (TCP/IPv6). Uncheck the checkbox to disable it.
I don’t really think that this was the setting that I needed to fix the problem. I think the following did the trick.
Don’t close the Properties window just yet.
Allow computer to disable network device – or not
On the Local Area Connection Properties screen you’ll notice a button called Configure….
Click that one to open up more properties of your network adapter. One of the tabs is called Power Management, open that one.
One of the options on that window is called Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power. This was enabled by default. I disabled it.
And I think that’s what solved my issue. At least, it seems more logical. During longer downloads I can imagine that the driver thinks that there’s not activity (although that would be a bug to me then), so it goes on and disables the device – while it is actually still in use.
Anyway, time to leave on holiday! I’ve got a couple of articles coming up soon, but first time to have some fun with the family. See you soon!