Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems

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Hi all-

Hopefully someone can shed some light on a problem that I have been
having with a NetGear Wireless PCI adapter WG311v2 running on XP SP2.
This has happened since the day I installed it.

The connection periodically cuts out with no causality that I can
find, and when the connection is enabled the CPU spikes to 100% for
2-3 seconds once every 5 minutes or so. When I am shutting the
computer down, it goes all the way to the end then gives me a BSOD
that says "Memory Parity Error". Without the card, PC shuts down fine.
Have latest drivers...this card in another machine works fine, another
card in this machine works fine. Ran QA+Win32 as well as Memtest86+ to
check the memory, both returned no errors. Netgear support is useless.

Anyone have ANY ideas as to what is causing the problem?

Thanks,
Travis


Re: Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems


jtravisc@gmail.com hath wroth:

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I presume that means that it wasn't happening before you installed the
WG311v2.

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No interference from other 2.4Ghz sources?  Try this list:
<http://wireless.wikia.com/wiki/Wi-Fi#Interference
and see if anything sounds familiar.  

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Ok, that's a clue.  Download and run MS Process Explorer from:
<http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/ProcessExplorer.mspx
See if you can determine what process is hogging all the CPU cycles.
If you click on the CPU column, the tables will sort in order of
increasing CPU clock cycle consumption.  You may want to set the
"update speed" to something faster than the default 2 seconds.
Incidentally, this is one program that's well worth reading the docs
as there are lots of buried features and goodies.

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First, verify that it's really a BSOD and not some fake screen
produced by a virus or worm.  

This would have been easier if you would have specified the maker and
model number of your computah.  There are several motherboards that
default to checking PCI parity by default.  If you're lucky, your
motherboard BIOS will have an obscure setting called "PCI Parity
on/off".  Turn it off and the errors parity errors will stop.

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Yeah, that's the symptoms.  Look for "PCI Parity on/off".

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Memtest86 v3.3 is very good at diagnosting memory problems.  However,
it has fooled me more than once.  It says everything is fine, but
replacing the RAM fixes the problem.  I guess it can't test for
everything.  I usually leave it running continuously overnight.

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--
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems


Thanks for the reply.

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That is correct.
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Possibly, but not likely. I have my laptop sitting right next to it,
and it has never had a problem.
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I downloaded and ran, but couldn't for sure isolated anything that was
causing the problem. It seems like whenever it spikes, the processes
don't update during the spike, so it's difficult to tell if its a
process that's freezing it or not. I have noticed that the freezing
occurs when it loses connection to the internet however. The strange
thing is that it still shows as connected to the internet, and is
still sending packets, just not receiving any. I have to repair
connection or manually disconnect and reconnect for it to work again.
This happens every 5 minutes or so.

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I am running a Compaq Evo W6000 with an Intel Xeon 1.7 processor,
which I suspect might be the cause of some of my issues as its not a
typical desktop. Netgear support suggested this as well. I was able to
disable the PCI Bus Mastering Option and the PCI Serial Generation
Option, so now the computer at least shuts down okay. Some progress.

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The Evo uses Rambus, so replacing RAM on a hunch is a little cost
prohibitive. One theory I had was that the wireless card was accessing
certain bad RAM addresses that hadn't been used before and that's what
was causing the problem, but I don't think this is the problem
anymore.

If I can just fix having to reconnect every five minutes now, I'll be
golden. Thanks for the reply.
Travis


Re: Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems


jtravisc@gmail.com hath wroth:

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That's unusual.  Even a virus that busys out the CPU will show up on
the process table.  Try speeding up the sample rate and see if it
helps.

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Ok, but probably backwards.  I suspect the disconnects are caused by
the freezing.

Can I assume that you've installed the latest greatest WG311v2
drivers?

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Is is a consistent interval, or duz it vary somewhat?

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I don't think so.  I have a customer with an office full of those.
However, there's no wireless in sight so it's not a good comparison.

One problem I've noticed on some machines is the effects of
overtemperature.  Most motherboard BIOS's belch a message on the
screen followed by an immediate shutdown.  However, I've seen a few
that just stop the CPU, let it cool down slightly, and then continue
where it left off.  That might be what's happening here except that
the off time is something like 30 seconds, which is not what you're
seeing.

I've also seen some weirdness when the machine has multiple wireless
client managers installed.  Most of them run all the time in the
background and are not terribly smart about relinquishing control. For
example, I installed Wi-Fi Hopper on several machines that has other
client managers running.  The result was that the CPU became very busy
for about 1 second every 10 seconds.  Disable either client manager
and things would work.  If you have some of these surplus management
programs installed, either uninstall them or disable the background
programs.

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That was too easy.  However, you had two problems, and the wireless
problem is still there.  Keep going.

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Well, the obvious tests would be to:
1.  Remove the WG311v2 card, but leave the driver.  See if the machine
goes busy as before.
2.  Remove the WG311v2 card and remove the driver.  See if the machine
goes busy as before.
3.  Replace the WG311v2 with something else.

I'm not sure it's the card or driver, unless either is ancient.  I
have several XP SP2 machines running this card at various customers
and have not seen any similar problems.  Perhaps it's the combination
of wireless card and machine (motherboard or bios).  Check the Compaq
web pile for a BIOS update.

--
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems


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Could give it another try...had it up to 1 second updates, just made
it that much tougher to catch the culprit, as it was going to fast.

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Not sure if one causes the other, but they are definitely associated
somehow. After the internet stops working, the PC intermittently
freezes still.

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Yup. Even tried non-Netgear drivers.

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It varies. I can be anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

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I considered this, but it does it even after it has just been booted
up and its still very cool.

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I have minimal TSR's running, and have tried using both the Netgear
manager and Windows Zero manager in XP. Doesn't seem to matter. Just
as soon as the device is enabled, I have problems.


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Already eliminated the driver as a problem.

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Nope, something with the card that causes a problem.

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I assume you mean the card? See, that's the crazy thing. I ran this
card in a much crappier computer to test it, worked like a charm. I
stole a friend's Linksys card to test in mine, and it worked fine
also. Had very low signal, but I think that could be tweaked in router
settings. As soon as I switched back, problems.
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I've always been frightened of updating BIOS, so I have never done it.
I'm not sure how to go about it, or what the implications even are.
The PC was built in 2002 or 2003 I think, perhaps it's time for an
update? Any good guides on how to do that?



Re: Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems


One more thing I just noticed: if I leave the card enabled, but don't
connect it to any network so it just sits idle, I don't run into any
freezing problems. It only happens when it's connected to a network.
Strange?


Re: Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems


jtravisc@gmail.com hath wroth:

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Not really strange.  If you're not connected, there's no traffic
moving.  However, once connected, you're going to be moving some data,
which results in the IRQ line being cycled.  PCI bus activity is quite
different when connected than when idle.

Hmmm.... Check the BIOS and see if the WG311v2 card is sharing an
interrupt with another motherboard device.  Try juggling the IRQ's
around and see if it helps.  Whatever you do, try to avoid sharing the
networks card with the same IRQ as the video.


--
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems


jtravisc@gmail.com hath wroth:

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You should find something on the Compaq web pile.  Most BIOS updates
are to add support for bigger hard disks, but there are bug fixes.  IF
the specific WG311v2 worked on another machine, it's highly likely
that there's something wrong with the Compaq Evo W6000.  
<http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareIndex.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodNameId=100853&prodTypeId=12454&prodSeriesId=322276&swLang=13&taskId=135&swEnvOID=1093#120
Check the version numbers first.

I've had fairly good luck with BIOS updates.  Most of them are smart
enough to verify that it's the correct version, for the correct
machine.  I used to do it with a UPS, just in case the power would die
in the middle, but that proved un-necessary.  I follow all the
instructions exactly and usually ignore phone calls and interruptions.

However, about a 2 weeks ago, one of my more knowledgeable customers
updated the BIOS on a very new HP something desktop.  It failed.  The
ASUS motherboard offered no recovery proceedure.  We had to ship the
unit to the authorized service center, which somehow recovered the
BIOS, and didn't bother telling me what they did.  So much for
foolproof.

One other suggestion, but it's a real time burner.  Remove the hard
disk, and install some other hard disk temporarily.  Run the HP
recovery or install CD to install XP SP2.  Don't bother with updates
beyond SP2.  Install the Netgear WG311v2 and drivers.  If that works,
then there's something screwed up with the Windoze install.  If it
fails the same way, it's probably the EVO W6000.

--
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Netgear Wireless PCI card connection problems


I don't think the risk is worth it, I would rather send the card back
and get something else. I love Newegg.

I think I found my process...looks like SVCHOST.exe, which isn't a
total shocker since we are dealing with the network. Spikes and
freezes every time I disable the adapter. I have no idea what to do
from there, scvhost could mean so many things to me. If this doesn't
give you any genius ideas, I think at this point I'll just ship it
back and spend $20 more on something a little nicer...


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