Windows 10 Sudden WiFi Speed Problem – Unique to Dell
If you’re having issues with WiFi download speed suddenly dropping on your Dell, continue reading. If it’s not a Dell, head back to Google.
My brand new Dell laptop, which I got because I needed speed to be able to do my job efficiently, dropped the WiFi download speed from over 100mbps down to 1.5mbps – rendering my new laptop unusable after only a few days use. Spent hours resetting routers, modems, and computers. Googling. Uninstalling and reinstalling drivers. Shutting down. Waiting. Going to speedtest.net. Googling more. Every device in our home was still getting over 100mbps download speed, except my brand new, “lightening fast” computer.
Finally went to bed and called support in the morning. Dell support was amazing by the way. No wait time to get a rep on the line. Didn’t seem to have any language barrier at all. The tech hopped right in to remote controlling and running tests.
What could make my WiFi Network connection drop so bad?
Dell has it’s own app on Windows 10 called CinemaStream, which uses SmartByte to throttle WiFi for video steaming (I think? Though that doesn’t make much sense – to throttle everything BUT video?). Anyhow, it was CinemaStream, with SmartByte turned “ON”, that was throttling, or just absolutely destroying, my WiFi connection speed.
I couldn’t find any solution through Google, obviously, so I wanted to put this information out there in hopes that it might help someone somewhere someday. Here’s the full journey prior to calling Tech Support.
Assuming a Windows Update caused the WiFi throttling
I had assumed it was Windows 10-related and not Dell-related. In all my Googling, I read several Microsoft threads about the Windows “Creators Update” dropping people’s WiFi connections, so I feared that of all the Windows updates that ran after starting up my brand new computer had ruined something. Those threads were from 2 years ago though! My computer wasn’t even built yet!
Replace the WiFi Driver: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
I followed Microsoft’s instructions to uninstall the wifi driver, after checking all the WiFi driver settings in “Network adapters” in “Device Manager”, and tweaking the settings over and over and over. Mine uses the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201. Downloaded what should have been the wifi driver from the Dell website beforehand. Restarted. The installer said something else had to be repaired; clicked “Repair”, then said it was done. OK… where’s the driver? Run it again. Same result. Luckily still had my old laptop and went straight to Intel. Thumbdrive. Boop boop. Back online… still less than 7mbps… better than 1.5 I suppose. I had gotten 160 megabytes per second last time I checked (which was also the 1st and only time).
Needless to say, I was Googling the wrong thing. Instead of “Windows 10 Wifi speed crash”, I should have searched “Dell Wifi Speed Crash”. Or perhaps more specifically, “Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX201 download speed problems”.
Needless to say, I was relieved Dell Support was able to fix it so quickly, but goodness, what a stressful and inefficient evening and morning it caused! Hope if you’ve landed here that this solution worked for you!
About the Author
I'm Abby (Armstrong-Lehman) Buzon, Lead Designer & Owner of The Helpful Marketer, based in Medina County, Ohio. I got my start in marketing and website administration in 2010, became a mom in 2015, and left my day job in 2017 to begin The Helpful Marketer. I'm happier than I've ever been and I truly love what I do, so I'm here to share my story and give some marketing tips along the way!