Wi-Fi 6 conflict with Windows 8 (not 8.1) machines

LibrarySean
Conversationalist

Wi-Fi 6 conflict with Windows 8 (not 8.1) machines

Running a network for a public library and when we upgraded to Meraki Wi-Fi 6 APs everything went very smoothly with one exception: a few of our patrons with laptops running Windows 8 are unable to connect. I'm fairly confident that the issue is Wi-Fi 6 compatibility since we have an older external AP that broadcasts out the back of our building and they can still connect to that but they are unable to connect to the new external AP (running the SSIDs and RF profile) broadcasting out the front of the building (or any of the Wi-Fi 6 internal APs.)

 

Some googling indicated to me that the problem is most likely that the older computers are way past end of life so they've never got updates to make them compatible with Wi-Fi 6. What I was wondering is if there is any way to get an MR76 to also broadcast something older machines can pickup without affecting the performance for everyone else. Any information would be welcome.

13 Replies 13
alemabrahao
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

Are 802.11w and/or 802.11r enabled? If yes, is it possible to disable it to perform a test?

Is your SSID set to WPA2 or WPA3?

I am not a Cisco Meraki employee. My suggestions are based on documentation of Meraki best practices and day-to-day experience.

Please, if this post was useful, leave your kudos and mark it as solved.

The public SSID is set to open no encryption, so 802.11w and 802.11r are disabled. 

So it's hardly something related to incompatibility. An open SSID does not have any specific features.

 

What about the minimum bit rate, how is it configured?

I am not a Cisco Meraki employee. My suggestions are based on documentation of Meraki best practices and day-to-day experience.

Please, if this post was useful, leave your kudos and mark it as solved.

 
Channel assignmentAutoAuto
AutoPower max3030
AutoPower min58
Min. bitrate1112

Sounds good, my suggestion would be to update the machines wifi card driver. What I'm intrigued by is that you didn't say what exactly the error is?

 

I understood that the network is open, but do you use splash page?

I am not a Cisco Meraki employee. My suggestions are based on documentation of Meraki best practices and day-to-day experience.

Please, if this post was useful, leave your kudos and mark it as solved.

No splash page.

 

Unfortunately I believe the main issue is that there are no updates available for the WiFi card because MS stopped supporting this OS in Jan of 2016. Was hoping there was some kind of legacy option I could turn on that I'm not aware of.

GIdenJoe
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

If you have an AP for spare of another AP you can temporarily use as capture device use that one and put the AP in the same location where the test occurs and just wireless capture while you try connecting with that windows 8 machine.

 

You can then filter on only management frames without beacons to see what steps the laptop actually took.
This is the filter: (wlan.fc.type== 0) && !(wlan.fc.subtype == 😎

 

Then you could see the windows 8 machine doing following steps:
Probe request (general or for the specific SSID).
Authentication (towards the AP)
Authentication (from the AP)
Association request
Association response (should be OK with an association ID)

After that there is a 4 way handshake but you'll have to disable the current filter to see that.

Btw has the SSID been manually entered onto the device or are you relying on the method to select the SSID and then input the key?

Unfortunately I don't have any spare APs. Also, my testing capacity is limited since I'm dealing with patron devices that are having this issue, all of our equipment is working fine. 

 

I will recommend trying to enter the SSID manually and see if that helps at all, thanks for the suggestion.

cmr
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

You can disable the Wi-Fi 6 features, but it will be for the whole network.

LibrarySean
Conversationalist

that's unfortunate but more or less what I expected

PhilipDAth
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

My bet is buggy WiFi NIC drivers trying to work with something that never existed when they were created.

 

There is a pretty good chance if you look up the manufacturer of the WiFi NIC (such as Intel) and go to their website and grab the latest driver that it will work.  You are almost certainly going to have to go to the manufacturer of the WiFi chipset, rather than the manufacturer of the computer containing the WiFi NIC.

 

You can test this if you really want by disabling 802.11ax under radio profiles as a short-term test - but I would not take away features from 99% of the users to allow 1% of the users to work.

If you find it is 802.11ax, then the users could look at getting a modern USB WiFi dongle and using that, or of course, replacing their very old computers.

BlakeRichardson
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

Windows 8 is EOL you really should at leat be running Windows 10 preferably Windows 11. 

cmr
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

The network is a public library and it is some customers with the issue.

 

I've just remembered that this was an Intel 8260 9260 driver issue and I'm sure drivers from 2019 or so fixed it.  We had a few laptops with the problem.  I'd be 99% certain that the Windows 8 devices can be updated, but you have to go to the Intel website.

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