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I have a problem with one particular device, a nettop. It has a RTL8821AE adapter (1x1 2.4/5 GHz 802.11ac). Pinging the Wi-Fi router from this nettop often looks like this:

Pinging 192.168.31.1 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=77ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=95ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=209ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=31ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=50ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=122ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=46ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=160ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=178ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=197ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=79ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=192ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=15ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=34ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=53ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.31.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64

And sometimes I see occasional pings of 3000 ms interleaved with packet losses. While occasional, that's destructive enough to prevent me from streaming video from SMB share.

This problematic nettop is running a very fresh installation of Windows 10. I have installed the latest drivers for this Wi-Fi adapter. What can be done about this, other than replacing the Wi-Fi card?

Additional facts:

  • A laptop is sitting 20cm away from the nettop, and its 802.11n 2.4G adapter does not exhibit this problem.
  • The problem occurs both with a 2.4G and 5G connection.
  • I have replaced my previous Xiaomi Mi Mini router (802.11n, 2.4G) with Xiaomi 3G (802.11ac, 2.4G+5G) and there was no noticeable change in the severity of the problem.
  • At least three other devices in the home network do not suffer such an issue (all of them 2.4G 802.11n).
  • 1
    Make sure the wireless encryption settings, at the router, are set to WPA2-AES. Avoid WPA, WPA/WPA2 mixed modes and especially TKIP. – user772515 Jan 27 '18 at 11:58
  • @MichaelBay: Thanks! Didn't pay attention to that setting, it was set to hybrid WPA/WPA2. Switched to WPA2, going to monitor the connection to see if that helped in any way. The problem is that sometimes I see nice even 1-2 ms pings for half an hour... Until I start watching a video over SMB, and it starts stuttering some 30 minutes in. – Violet Giraffe Jan 27 '18 at 12:05
  • Those settings are particularly important for certain WiFi devices with Linux drivers, which tend to be very picky. – user772515 Jan 27 '18 at 12:27
  • @MichaelBay: thanks for the tip, but, unfortunately, that did not help in my case. – Violet Giraffe Jan 27 '18 at 21:31
  • BTW, looking at RTTs from once-per-second pings is pretty misleading for troubleshooting Wi-Fi performance problems, because that's not enough traffic to keep 802.11 Power Save (PS) mode from kicking in, and coming out of PS mode introduces some extra, variable, latency. Real traffic flows have more packets back-to-back so PS mode doesn't kick in. To be sure your issue isn't related to PS mode latency/jitter, consider turning it off in the advanced driver properties for your nettop's Wi-Fi driver. – Spiff Jan 29 '18 at 21:22

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