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Erratic WLAN behaviour on ASUS Zenbook UX303

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by fertchen, Dec 13, 2015.

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  1. fertchen

    fertchen Thread Starter

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    The WiFi of my ASUS Zenbook UX303 works only erratically. Touching it or slight movements may improve signal strength.

    To explain, I need to tell the whole story.

    In September, just 9 months after purchase, the mainboard broke. I had to send in the notebook and the German technical support center replaced the mainboard. Fortunately they did not wipe the hard drive.

    When the notebook returned I noticed that the lid was not assembled 100% properly, it was off by just 1mm. A little ugly but I do need to get some work done and it did not appear to inhibit functionality. Two weeks later the right hinge started to break because of this error in assembly. I had to send in the notebook again. They fixed both hinges, replaced the screen bezel and wiped the hard disk.

    When the notebook returned this time I noticed that they had heavily scratched the hinge cover. And here is the core of this story:

    Also the WiFi did behave strangley, the connection was a lot worse than before and sometimes only worked when I lifted the notebook 2 inches up from my lap. The behaviour is erratical. Just touching the notebook might boost the signal strength from 1 to 4 bars.​

    My suspicion is/was that during the hinge assembly they had forgotten to reconnect the WLAN antenna which is mounted in the lid. Or maybe they failed to mount it properly.

    I reported those errors and, yes, had to send it in again.
    This time they replaced the lid cover but did not bother to fix the WLAN. They did not wipe the hard disk (which was a positive surprise).

    WLAN in my house works perfectly in every corner with a different notebook and with a couple of smartphones and tablets. Only this ASUS Zenbook has seriuos trouble maintining a connection. Signal strengths varies widely and is influenced by touching the device or lifting it from the lap.

    I can make this work but it is highly inconvenient (literally, not putting the notebook on my lap and working only in certain spots in the house). I don't always have as much control over the environment as in my house. Trying to use the notebook productively right now is comparable to Chinese water torture. It is driving me insane.

    Sure, the standard solution would be to send it in again. But as you can see from my story: The German technical support center is utterly incompetent. Customer support consists of a callcenter made up of unfriendly and incompetent individuals who barely speak German or English. They have one answer for everything "Your device might be broken. Please go to our website to request an RMA ticket." There is no other contact number for ASUS.

    That means: The likelihood of ASUS fixing the problem when I send in the notebook, in my experience, is lower than 30%. There is also a 66% chance of them breaking something else in the process. Sure they might get it right in the end but that might be after the warranty (24 months) has expired. And I need the notebook for this thing they call 'work' where you need to get things done to get your bills paid.

    I took the liberty of opening the device (applying more care than the technical support center, not voiding the warranty). The antenna seems to be connected. Well, no: Two wires are connected to the WLAN module (Intel 7260) and the wires lead into the hinge where I lose track of them. I will not disassemble the device further.

    So there are two likely explanations for why the WLAN works erratically:
    1. It always has, I am just imagining that it worked a lot better than before.
    2. There is something wrong with the antenna inside the display/bezel.

    There is no way to check #1 so all that is left is #2.

    What do you think about this and what would you suggest to try and solve this problem?

    Sending in the notebook takes time and I already lost too much of that. There is one window left in January where I am trying to go on vacation and I might send it in one last time then, dreading the wiped hard drive and the need to reinstall all that software again. If there was an extended guarantee program or something for 200 bucks that included fixing this I would happily get that.

    The ASUS Zenbook UX303 seems to be a fantastic device with nice performance and design and the only true alternative to a Macbook Air. Or is it? Please tell me if you know of any notebook with the same style of design (slim, smooth, solid, lightweight).

    I already tried installing the latest drivers updating everything, dancing naked under the full moon while drinking whiskey mixed with milk. The latter changed my perception of the problem, but only for a few hours.
     
  2. metallica5456

    metallica5456 Trusted Advisor

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    A simple fix may be to purchase an external USB Wi-Fi adapter
     
  3. fertchen

    fertchen Thread Starter

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    Thanks. I have considered that last night when I decided that I have to find a solution now. The USB Wi-Fi adapter would have to be one of those tiny ones, though, hardly protruding from the notebook. I don't know about the performance of those. I will probably try that as well.
     
  4. metallica5456

    metallica5456 Trusted Advisor

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    If you are familiar computers you might could remove the lcds bezel and trace the WiFi antenna wires to see if they are crimped or broken
     
  5. fertchen

    fertchen Thread Starter

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    I feel comfotable taking anything apart that has screws. The screen on this machine, however, appears to be glued together (there are video manuals about that). I don't like glue and I have no idea how to assemble with glue in a way that is not evident as voiding the warranty.
     
  6. metallica5456

    metallica5456 Trusted Advisor

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    I haven't looked tour SPECIFIC model up but, all laptops have a plastic trimlike bezel around the screen and its removable in most cases. If you still are thinking about using a warranty return I would advise you to NoT touch it in any case, and simply warranty it back
     
  7. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    If you need to use the laptop asap try one of those small Usb wireless dongles, they are very cheap (Ebay ?).

    I wouldn't let the warranty run out without sending it in again though, as Andrew said they probably damaged the wire from the wirelesss antenna in the lid to the motherboard and I would try to tell them how finicky the wireless is.
     
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