I use my laptop to run virtual instruments that I control with a MIDI keyboard. For this reason I need very low latency audio. I use a Roland EDIROL UA-1EX, a pretty basic USB 2.0 audio device which gets me down to about 11ms of latency. Here's the thing though - with my wireless turned on, every 30 seconds or so the audio will go choppy for about five seconds, which is terrible especially for live performance. I've gotten quite used to turning off the wireless whenever I practice or perform live, but it would be so much nicer to be able to use wireless networking while making music, for a variety of reasons.
Some extra clues: if I crank up the buffer size in my sound card's configuration, the problem goes away but the latency becomes far too great to be usable. If I use ASIO4ALL and run the audio through my onboard (sigmatel) sound instead, the problem disappears entirely. Too bad my onboard sound is so noisy and crappy - i don't need the audience hearing my mouse movements and hard drive activity over a PA system! I experience the same problem with another USB 2.0 audio device, my friend's Line 6 Pod UX2. I've tried disabling all sorts of devices and services on the machine but nothing has done the trick.
Computer specs: Dell inspiron 1525 with internal wireless N, 4GB RAM, Core Duo T8300. Windows XP Pro with all the usual tweaks and optimizations that people recommend for achieving low latency audio.
Any idea what causes this sort of problem? If it's a hardware-based reality, like wireless and USB crowding each other out on the same bus or something like that, that would inform my next laptop purchase decision. Or if there's some way to actually work around this that would be just fantastic.
Thanks for your help superusers!