It's hard to call Surface Pro 3 anything other than a success: once seen as a side-story to the Surface mini, Surface Pro 3 has exceeded all of Microsoft's internal expectations and has singlehandedly turned around the business. But there's one big problem with Surface Pro 3 and it's been lingering, malignantly, since the product launched this past summer. The device has had rampant Wi-Fi issues, and despite several updates aimed at fixing them, nothing has worked. So this month, Microsoft is going to try again.
Will Microsoft ever fix the Surface Pro 3 Wi-Fi issues?
The worry is that they cannot, that the problem is endemic and related to a hardware flaw that would require a new device version if not a recall of the original. Obviously, Microsoft would like to avoid that. But the firm is also stretching the bounds of credibility when it comes to getting this issue fixed. It would be funny if it weren't so frustrating for the people impacted by the problem.
Just documenting Microsoft's failed attempts at fixing the Wi-Fi problems is daunting. Here's a short and possibly incomplete version:
With its July 2014 firmware update, Microsoft "improved some Wi-Fi connection scenarios" in Surface Pro 3 and promised further fixes. It then released a second out-of-band fix in July which "further improved Wi-Fi connection and throughput scenarios." Then in September it issued a fix for "Wi-Fi stability," which was supposed to correct what I called "a lingering Wi-Fi problem." And in October it delivered a fix that "improved Wi-Fi throughput, especially after rebooting with Bluetooth devices that are paired, enhances power consumption situations, and addresses instances of system instability."
Problem solved, right?
In a blog post—which, oddly, is on TechNet and not the Surface Blog—Microsoft explains that it will try again to fix the rampant Wi-Fi issues that are dogging Surface Pro 3 users. A new Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update will "enable better throughput after waking from sleep and connecting to an 802.11AC network, ensure Infra scan list is not empty while connected to a wireless display adapter, resolve an issue connecting to Cisco 1242 access points, ensure the device reconnects properly to a hidden SSID using a 5GHz DFS channel after waking from sleep, and add customer-requested functionality to prefer 5GHz connections when both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz connection are present with the same SSID."
So will Microsoft ever fix the Surface Pro 3 Wi-Fi issues?