If you happen to play games like quakelive or WOW and need your connection to be smooth and without lag, then Windows Vista is going to disappoint you. A lot…
The problem: every 60 seconds or so, Windows Vista does a wireless sweep that looks for any available wi-fi networks in your vicinity. Which is great but in doing so, Vista also causes your game to experience a huge lag spike for about 5 seconds, a gap through which you appear to be ‘warping’ to the other players. Oh, and more often than not, you also get fragged.
Over the course of a 20 minute game, that’s 18 guaranteed spikes of 5 seconds each, totalling over 90 seconds… In other words, a whopping 7.5% of your playing time is spent being lagged out… Go, Microsoft and SP1…
Looking around on Google for a fix has not been very fruitful. Turns out, way too many people get this problem and the solutions are nothing but very inconsistent–what works for one nic / router fails for others. Here is a quick summary of things you can try that I had to go through:
- a resident tool called Vista Anti Lag which is said to disable the WLAN discovery. It failed to do so on my Intel chipset card, but many people swear by it. Downsides to using VAL (aside from tested support for D-Link only): it does not understand firewalls and crashes if your firewall binds to a dummy adaptor.
- WLAN optimizer, yet another resident utility, reported to work by some people. Once again, did not work on my Intel 4965 card.
- running as admin from shell: netsh wlan set autoconfig enabled=no interface=”Wireless Network Connection”, alleged to disable the autoconfig and to replicate the Windows XP Wireless Zero suppression… Downsides: you need to run this each time you have established connection and you need to run the opposite, netsh wlan set autoconfig enabled=yes interface=”Wireless Network Connection” to allow yourself to reconnect. Note: “Wireless Network Connection” should be whatever your have called your connection, this is just the default name. And, yes. It did not work for me.
- disabling the WLAN Auto Config service. Does not work for me, drops connection and makes reconnecting impossible.
- using your network card’s manufacturer bridge/connection management software instead of the windows one (in conjunction with previous idea). Intel do not provide anything with their drivers other than a diagnostics toolkit
- disabling DHCP on your client. Did not work for me.
- changing your wireless router’s protocol from 802.11 b/g to 802.11 g or b(legacy). Did not work for me.
- installing the XP version of your nic drivers (network interface card). And yes, that also did not work for me.
So, what did work?
Great thanks need to be extended to SC2008, a user on a German forum who posted his solution called Vista Background Scan (written in Delphi) in this thread. It’s very basic and lacks a proper / intuitive interface but it does what it says on the tin… For the first time ever since I got my new Toshiba laptop, I can enjoy lag-free gaming. Thank you ever so much…
Just so that the program does not get lost, I am going to host a local mirror (v0.9) for it (277k). *update* new more stable release is out, get v1.0 here (232k winrar archive). It has now split the wireless devices into a separate tab and is far more stable (i.e. once enabled, you don’t need to freshen it every day).
Note: at times, VBGScan can stop working even though it’s still running and the optiosn are ticked. If this were to happen, simply click the button / tickboxes a few times and it will kick off again. There’s also a handy utility called Intel WIFI Advanced Statistics which can give you accurate real time data of any Acccess Point (AP) association and confirm with certainty if VBG Scan (or any of the other methods) is doing the business.
If you get any weird errors, start again and just click the big red button, don’t play with the tickboxes.