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Strange problem. I have this MEDION Akoya PC that has a dedicated bay to slide an external HDD sold separately.

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It's very handy indeed cause the slot is providing a fast USB 3 connection and power to the HDD unit, without extra cables. All works fine except this show-stopper behavior to disconnect me from the router once I slide in the unit and it powers up.

The moment I connect the unit the (normally) three-four WiFi connections I see in my neighborhood disappear and my own to the router loses its signal strength (no Internet traffic is possible). After a while it throws me off that one as well, never to connect me again as long as the unit is powered. Once I disconnect the HDD the various signals come back and it automatically reconnects to my own. What takes?

Are we in front of a serious design fault by MEDION here? Does the spinning of the HDD on top of the PC cause electromagnetic interference strong enough to throw off my WiFi connectivity? Is it a simple USB problem? Some kind of strange hardware conflict? Where should I look?

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What OS? Have you tried updating the device drivers for both the wireless NIC and the add-on unit? –  P.Brian.Mackey Oct 11 '11 at 17:43
    
Well, Windows should advise me if new drivers exist for my NIC (it did so a couple of weeks ago). Updating the drivers of the HDD (add-on unit)? Are there drivers for an external USB driver? –  Kensai Oct 11 '11 at 17:46
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You should not depend on windows to auto-update drivers. Instead, check the manufacturer's website. As far as the external device requiring drivers, once again I recommend you check the manufacturer's website for driver downloads or call support and ask. Avoid assumptions. –  P.Brian.Mackey Oct 11 '11 at 17:56
    
As @P.Brian.Mackey mentions, don't use windows updates for drivers. Thet are often not the "corect" one. Resulst are sometimes not good. Use manufacturers site. –  Dave M Oct 11 '11 at 18:15
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@Kensai: "How is this even possible?" If both are using the same power supply, very easily. Test with a separate wireless device (a battery-powered one like a laptop or smartphone) to see if it is wireless interference or some problem (power supply or some conflict) within the computer. –  CesarB May 13 '12 at 1:14
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2 Answers

I have a Medion Akoya P5330D and the specification is much the same as the Medion shown here. I too have problems with the WiFi dropping out, but I don't believe it is due to magnetic radiation from the external USB hard drive, and I would agree with P.Brian Mackey that USB overload is a more likely cause. The fact that the WiFi card is also USB driven from an internal connection would seem to confirm this. I have 3 external USB 2 Hard disks connected to my Medion and I'm seriously thinking of connecting them through a good quality USB Hub to assist power output to the external drives and lessen the load on the internal USB bus.

Both my Apple laptop and IPad connect faultlessly during every dropout eliminates any thought that the WiFi Router is to blame

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USB 3.0 allows draining more current (900mA) and also occupies more bitrate on the system HUB. Thus, it could be an undetected bug on the hardware:

  • HDD drain too much energy from the USB rail and put the NIC on 'low voltage' state
  • HDD+Windows driver are eating too much of the main USB hub leaving no operational room for the NIC

I suggest using an Ubuntu Live CD / PenDrive just to check if it's a physical issue.

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