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SCHOOL-IT  November 2009

SCHOOL-IT November 2009

Subject:

Re: Linksys compatibility issues with Broadcom wireless on the 6735b

From:

"Craig Lyndes @ wcvt.com" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 10:21:59 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (353 lines)

Update -

We have a way of testing to see if your 6735b is one of the effected
notebooks.

1. Find the IP address of the Wireless Access Point to which you are
connected.

2. At the dos box enter the following command;
ping -n 600 192.168.0.24 <---Replace with the address of your WAP

3. Once completed (it will take 10 Minutes) note the number of packets
lost, % packets lost and Average Time.

My poster child notebook that was dependably failing had 13% packet loss.

Other things we know.

Replacing the Broadcom 4322AG radio in a failing 6735b notebook with an
older Broadcom that is only 802.11b and g (no N) solves the problem.

Replacing Windows XP with Windows 7 (keeping the 4322AG radio that doesn't
work with XP) solves the problem.

In conclusion, I think we've identified 2 problems.

A batch of 4322AG radios is at fault (we have some that work and some,
with close serial numbers, that don't).

The XP driver, when paired with this batch of 4322AG radios, doesn't work.

Finally, this combination of XP and certain 4322AG radios works with SOME
access points. Not all.

This is now in the hands of HP and Top Floor. Thanks to Alan, Gerald and
Timothy for working with us with this.

Craig Lyndes
FCSU

> All,
>
> HP and Topfloor sent people to Fairfield Center School yesterday to look
> at the 6735b notebooks that were having problems. There was Alan from
> Topfloor, Gerald from HP Burlington and Timothy from HP Boston.
>
> My greatest fear was that as soon as they entered the building the problem
> would go away, thankfully that wasn't completely true. They were very
> surprised at my Linksys WAP54G configuration, where I had all the access
> points on the same channel to support roaming. Although this is what
> Linksys says to do, they said it works better with the access points on
> different channels so no 2 access points that can see each other are
> sharing a channel. All the other wireless devices have worked with my
> current configuration, so we left that alone for now. Is anyone else who
> is having problems using roaming? If so are you using one channel or
> many?
>
> We replaced a radio in one of the 6735b that have been giving us trouble
> with an older version that just supports 802.11 a,b,g (no N). Immediately
> the laptop began working correctly.
>
> They are suspicious that there may be an issue with the motherboards in
> the effected laptops, so they took one of the bad machines back to the
> shop to replace the motherboard, while keeping the original radio. I
> should be getting that back today to bring to Fairfield and see what
> effect that has.
>
> They are doing a very thorough evaluation of the problem in an environment
> where it is repeatable. I'm confident that we will be able to determine
> what causes some of these notebooks to not work with Linksys access
> points. Timothy was very clear that once they know what the cause is HP
> will make it right with their customers.
>
> Thanks everyone that has worked on this. I'm feeling like we will have a
> solution soon.
>
> Craig Lyndes
> FCSU
>
>> Drew,
>>
>> Keep me posted on what you find in St Albans tomorrow with the HP rep.
>> Thanks
>> Robin
>>
>> On Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 4:59 PM, Drew Campbell <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Hi Vince,
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Thanks for the information! The feedback we had received so far was
>>> based
>>> on Linksys, so it’s very helpful to know that you’ve experienced this
>>> problem with Apple equipment.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Please do keep in mind that the specific Broadcom card facing these
>>> issues
>>> was a configure-to-order option, and HP offers a whole spectrum of
>>> wireless
>>> options identical to that of any other laptop manufacturer, so I hope
>>> you
>>> won’t think negatively of HP as a whole because of problems with this
>>> card.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> We continue to investigate this issue, and we’d certainly like to
>>> include
>>> you in the resolution. Technicians at The Top Floor are working on
>>> troubleshooting right now to identify the issue and possible solutions.
>>> The
>>> Top Floor is doing all of this information gathering and technical
>>> troubleshooting completely free of charge to ensure you’re satisfied
>>> with
>>> the HP products we sell.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> When our troubleshooting and information gathering is complete, we will
>>> be
>>> working with HP, Broadcom and others to ensure a timely resolution for
>>> everyone involved. Meanwhile, any specific case numbers you have with
>>> Technical Support would be helpful in our information gathering, so
>>> please
>>> pass those along.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Thank you!
>>>
>>> ~Drew
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> [image: The Top Floor - Business Computer
>>> Solutions]<http://www.thetopfloor.com/>
>>>
>>> *Drew Campbell* - [log in to unmask]
>>> The Top Floor - *Business Computer Solutions*
>>> ------------------------------
>>>
>>> PO Box 524, Middlebury, VT 05753
>>> Phone: 802.388.1600 x252
>>> Toll-Free: 800.290.4979 x252
>>> Fax: 800.290.4765
>>> ------------------------------
>>>
>>> *From:* Vincent Rossano [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>>> *Sent:* Thursday, October 29, 2009 4:57 PM
>>> *To:* Drew Campbell
>>> *Cc:* School Information Technology Discussion
>>> *Subject:* RE: Linksys compatibility issues with Broadcom wireless on
>>> the
>>> 6735b
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Drew,
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Here in Montpelier, we are using Apple Airports and are experiencing
>>> the
>>> problems described by others on our tech listserv. We have had no
>>> problems
>>> with other laptops, just the HPs. We have mostly Dell laptops on the
>>> PC
>>> side and, of course, MacBooks for our Apple users. We also allow
>>> teachers
>>> and students to connect to our network with their personal laptops. We
>>> have
>>> had no complaints of failure to connect with any of them - as long as
>>> they're in reasonable range of the access points.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> The Apple Airports we use are compliant with both b & g protocols. If
>>> the
>>> cards in our laptops are not connecting to complaint devices then THEY
>>> are
>>> not compliant. As far as I'm concerned, it is HP/Broadcom's problem to
>>> fix. Building a new wireless network with Procurve access points is
>>> totally out of the question; we don't have a budget that could handle
>>> that.
>>> Plus, our users expect their laptops to connect when they go off to
>>> conferences or meetings in other facilities. They can't ask the
>>> conference
>>> organizers to replace their access points to accommodate them. It's
>>> not
>>> that "users want compatibility with [so-called] lower class
>>> technology",
>>> they absolutely NEED compatibility with "lower class" technology.
>>> Putting
>>> non-compatible advanced technology in a $500 laptop is crazy. Maybe
>>> they
>>> should have limited sales of these machines to Fortune 500 companies
>>> that
>>> can afford "advanced technology".
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Many of the schools in Vermont have a long history with HP laptops; we
>>> do
>>> not. The 55 I bought this year were our first. Given this problem, if
>>> I
>>> had it to do over, I would not buy HP. And, if the problem isn't
>>> resolved,
>>> I will never buy another. I don't mean this as a threat (I hardly have
>>> the
>>> purchasing power to do so), but I'm just letting you know how
>>> disappointed I
>>> am.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Anything you can do to help (other than suggest we purchase expensive
>>> access points) would be appreciated.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> -Vince Rossano
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Vincent Rossano
>>> Information Technology Director
>>> Montpelier Public Schools
>>> 5 High School Drive, Unit #1
>>> Montpelier, VT 05602
>>> (802) 225-8690
>>>
>>>
>>> ------------------------------
>>>
>>> *From:* Drew Campbell [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>>> *Sent:* Thursday, October 29, 2009 3:49 PM
>>> *To:* Drew Campbell
>>> *Subject:* Linksys compatibility issues with Broadcom wireless on the
>>> 6735b
>>>
>>> Dear Tech Coordinators,
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> We have heard from some of our customers regarding the compatibility of
>>> Linksys access points with HP Compaq 6735b notebooks, or more
>>> specifically
>>> those with the Broadcom 4322AGN card. This Broadcom Wi-Fi card supports
>>> 802.11a, b, g, and draft-n 2.0 technologies for the widest range of
>>> compatibility, but some users have experienced trouble connecting it to
>>> certain Linksys access points.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> We've heard from some users that updating the firmware on their Linksys
>>> access points solved the problem, yet some Linksys models do not (yet?)
>>> have
>>> firmware that supports stable functionality of the Broadcom 4322AGN. In
>>> that
>>> case, some users have switched their Linksys access points to mixed
>>> modes
>>> (for example 801.11b/g rather than just g) which improved compatibility
>>> but
>>> not to the level desired.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> We suggest using business-class technology such as HP ProCurve or
>>> Cisco,
>>> and customers using these have not reported any problems with wireless
>>> functionality. Unfortunately as a cheaper consumer line of products,
>>> Linksys
>>> does not always keep up with updates to support the latest technology.
>>> However we also understand that it's important for Broadcom to support
>>> the
>>> wide range of access points that are out there. It's a balancing act -
>>> Broadcom wants to advance its technology, but users want compatibility
>>> with
>>> lower-class technology.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> The Top Floor has sold over 400 of the HP Compaq 6735b notebooks to
>>> more
>>> than 50 Vermont schools this year, and this continues to be a popular
>>> model.
>>> Most of our customers have been very pleased with the 6735b's
>>> business-class
>>> technology and the affordable price we offer for Vermont schools -
>>> starting
>>> below $500.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> We are dedicated to helping Vermont's educational community and we want
>>> to
>>> ensure those experiencing any problems with our products find a
>>> reasonable
>>> solution in a timely manner. Even though we don't recommend Linksys, we
>>> want
>>> to make sure you remain satisfied with HP notebooks. We're currently
>>> working
>>> with some larger deployments to troubleshoot and better understand the
>>> compatibility issues these customers are experiencing with Linksys. If
>>> you
>>> are having similar issues, please contact me.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> I welcome any comments or questions. Feel free to give me a call, or
>>> chat
>>> me up at Vermont Fest - we're a proud sponsor this year, and we will
>>> have
>>> great demonstrations of HP technology at the event. Also feel free to
>>> forward this message to any other Vermont contacts or listservs where
>>> you
>>> think it may be of interest.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Thank you!
>>>
>>> ~Drew
>>>
>>> [image: The Top Floor - Business Computer
>>> Solutions]<http://www.thetopfloor.com/>
>>>
>>> *Drew Campbell* - [log in to unmask]
>>> The Top Floor - *Business Computer Solutions*
>>> ------------------------------
>>>
>>> PO Box 524, Middlebury, VT 05753
>>> Phone: 802.388.1600 x252
>>> Toll-Free: 800.290.4979 x252
>>> Fax: 800.290.4765
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Robin
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> The best way to forget your troubles -wear tight shoes
>>
>
>

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