Windows 8.1 client intermittent connection drops

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I'm having a problem with a Windows 8.1 Pro client intermittently losing connection. I don't recall it ever doing this before I upgraded to Windows 8.1. I also recently updated to HiveOS 6.1r2a on HMOL and HiveOS, which could be playing into it.

Specifically, I'll be sending traffic quite happily and then all of a sudden I'll drop for no apparent reason. Most of the time it doesn't even appear that the network is disconnected, you just don't pass any traffic. Then, eventually it usually comes back, but you definitely notice that it has been down.

I've done a client monitor from HMOL. I'm attaching the full version here, http://sdrv.ms/1foSS6W, but here are the parts that raise my suspicions:
(10)Sta(at if=wifi0.3) is de-authenticated because of notification of driver
(11)Rx auth (frame 1, rssi 0dB)
(12)Tx auth (frame 2, status 0, pwr 13dBm)
(13)Rx assoc req (rssi 39dB)
(14)(Re)assocation rejected by high density, reason: band-steering: prefer 5G
(15)Tx assoc resp (status 5, pwr 13dBm)
(16)Rx auth (frame 1, rssi 0dB)
(17)Tx auth (frame 2, status 0, pwr 13dBm)

Does this mean that the AP is trying to push the client into the 5GHz band and this is causing this problem? If so, any recommendation for tweaking my settings to prevent this?

Thanks,

Shawn
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Shawn Rasmussen

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Posted 5 years ago

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Shawn Rasmussen

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I opened a support case with this. The tech thinks it is caused by the bandwidth steering trying to push clients to 5GHz too aggressively. We turned that off and we'll see what happens.

Shawn
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Brian Powers, Champ

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It was my understanding that the band steering only was calculated during the initial association/re-association process. Unless you were roaming to a new AP, I'd think that there is another reason that you were initially booted (at ID 10 there). Then when your device was in the process of re-associating, it was denied access to the 2.4 band via the band steering profile settings.

Based on your full client monitor file, you had the "Urge 5Ghz band use" with the default of 5 ignored re-association request. Or at least it looks that way as it seems as if the AP is ignoring 5 probe request from the client.

Maybe I'm wrong, and someone can clarify that for me as well on the band steering part.

Either way, I'm curious as to the resolution here.
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Nick Lowe, Official Rep

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It could be band steering related but have you also looked in to if and how you are set up to support fast roaming and if 802.1X re-authentication is taking place correctly, if you're doing it?

Perhaps take a look at Andrew von Naggy's excellent blog posts on fast roaming:

http://www.revolutionwifi.net/2011/12...
http://www.revolutionwifi.net/2012/02...

You would need to make sure both the clients and APs are configured correctly and validate things with captures.
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Shawn Rasmussen

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Brian, when I've been testing these they were just sitting on my desk at the time. So they shouldn't be roaming to a different AP. I am not super close to the AP and there are some walls between us, so it makes sense to me that they could be having problems with 5G. And if the AP did want to let it roll over to 2.4... I could see my issue.

Nick, I read through those blog posts. I am allowing preauthentication, but not PMK caching. We do have a few Macbooks, and Aerohive recommends turning PMK caching off for them (apparently). I can't tell you if it is working or not from captures, but clients do seem to be able to roam across the building without much problem.

After turning the steering off, the problem has seemed to disappear so far. I spent some time with a continuous ping and some surfing (it was research!) for over 30mins and it never happened again. So I'm tentatively declaring victory.
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Brian Powers, Champ

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Did support have you turn band steering off completely or just modify its settings? With the client on your desk, do you recollect the RSSI you had to the AP (accessible under clients -> all clients) on each band? I can see where if you were on the 5 Ghz band and are on the cusp of coverage and lost connection and had to re-associate and then band steering was denying you access to the 2.4 band but your 5 ghz signal wasnt good enough to connect. And turning off band steering would resolve this. But I feel you'd notice if you were on the edge of your cell coverage on the 5 ghz band.

I'm still curious as to if band steering mechanics come into play after the client is associated for a time or if its only during the initial association/re-association.

What would be nice is some way to bypass the band steering. Say if the AP sees your client frames at ll typically be worse of a signal than the 2.4.
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Shawn Rasmussen

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We turned off the steering completely. I don't recall looking at the RSSI on 5GHz. Right now I'm getting -58 on 2.4.
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Nick Lowe, Official Rep

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I have never looked in to it in depth and it would be great to have some clarity as to how band steering is actually implemented.

I would have thought, prima facie, that it would only make sense on the initial association and not subsequently unless other factors change that would warrant an invalidation of that assumption.
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Shane Williams

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I see this is kinda of old but i wanted to chime in anyways with something current. I run band steering in balance mode and have never had an issue till now. Recently my personal phone, Nexus 4, just upgraded to 4.4 Kitkat (then 4.4.2 update) and neither ver will connect to a certain 802.1x ssid while complaining about band steering error as shown above. never had a problem. in fact a older android phone sitting right next to it works flawlessly.
i run a few 802.1x ssids and an open ssid w/heavy user policy fw'ing.

Now about 1 out of 50 tries it does connect. and sometimes just leaving it bouncing the connection attempt it might eventually work. (no not signal, theres a 330 2 feet away, and 2 others 1-2 walls away)

now the fun part.
Turn band steering off, all is well.
even more fun part.
Connect to the open ssid it works everytime and connects on the 5ghz channel.

I have not been able to recreate this issue on anything else i have at my disposal.

I have never had a problem with my Nexus 4 or 7 till this android ver.

btw it shows up as unknown OS.

I'll probably get with support on this when it becomes more of an issue.
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Fred Fish

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I have this same issue with my newer Windows 8 clients. But, I have gone through my configuration and do not have Band Steering turned on for any of my Radio Profiles. I'd love to just disable this feature and get my clients to stay connected but with the fact I can't find it enabled I must have a different issue.
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Nick Lowe, Official Rep

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Is this with one particular wireless chipset or a range of them? What is it / are they?
Are the drivers up-to-date on the affected clients?
Have you ruled out other factors such as interference issues? How confident are you that the issue is isolated to Windows 8 clients?
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Fred Fish

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Nick,

Thanks for the reply.

We are probably dealing with the same Chipset having the issue since it is the new Surface Pro 2 machines. My particular card is "Marvell AVASTAR 350N" I did a firmware upgrade today to the latest available and will update the other device ASAP. I will monitor connectivity to see if that does anything for our drops. My Surface is already setup for monitoring so if it does drop I can capture the data.
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Has

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Hi I know this post is quite old, but does anyone have a fix for this issue, as i am not only having intermittent issues with Windows OS but on Apple devices aswell.

any help would be much appreciated.
(Edited)
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Fred Fish

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My fixed turnout out to be purchasing an actual SSL Cert rather than using the self signed cert.  I don't think that will solve your iOS device problem though.  Mine was really an issue with the Radius server authentication and the fact that Windows 8.1 would not allow the use of the self signed cert.