How can I restore the recently broken Windows 10 functionality that tracks the known networks separately for individual WiFi adapters?

Judah Kocher 0 Reputation points
2023-11-28T20:27:58.44+00:00

For many years I have had Windows 10 setup so that the integrated WiFi adapter in my laptop is used to connect to various DHCP networks for internet access, while a 2nd USB WiFi dongle is used with a static IP address exclusively to connect to a wireless access point that I use to communicate with various air gapped networks for troubleshooting and maintenance.

This has always been quite easy to do. I only join my WAP SSID from WiFi 2, and so it has appeared as the only 'Known Network' under that adapter and is set to auto connect, and all other networks only connect from WiFi 1.

Example: I visit a site where there is a 'Guest' SSID network that has internet connectivity, and a rack full of equipment set up with an air gapped 10.23.56.0/24 network. This network has no DHCP server or gateway. All devices are setup with static IPs. I bring a wireless access point to site configured with an IP of 10.23.56.3/24 and an SSID called 'Tech WAP', connect it to the rack switch, and power it on.

My Laptop WiFi Interface 1 is configured for DHCP. I connect it to the 'Guest' SSID, it pulls an IP of 192.168.10.73/24, and I have functioning internet access.

Laptop Interface 2 is a USB WiFi dongle configured with a Static IP of 10.23.56.3/24, no gateway configured because no packets should traverse this interface other than those destined for 10.23.56.0/24. It automatically connects to the 'Tech WAP' SSID as soon as it sees it, with the password stored for hands off connection.

Interface 1 does not see 'Tech WAP' as a known network, and asks for the password if I try to connect to it.

The scenario described above has worked for me and my fellow technicians for many years. Historically I have been able to download software/firmware/documentation via interface 1 and simultaneously communicate with all the devices on the 10.23.45.0/24 network.

At some point in the last few months Windows stopped working this way and instead appears to have dumped all the known networks into one 'pool' and arbitrarily connects to any known networks in the area from either wireless card. Obviously this causes chaos since the DHCP and Static settings guarantee that nothing works approximately 50% of the time. If I 'Forget' the network under the settings for one wireless card, it is forgotten under the other one as well. Sometimes everything will be working and then abruptly stop, and I will find that both interfaces are now connected to 'Guest', both are connected to 'Tech WAP', or Interface 1 has changed to connect to 'Tech WAP' where it cannot communicate because there is no DHCP server, and Interface 2 has changed to connect to 'Guest' where it cannot communicate because the Static IP of 10.23.56.4 does not route on that network. Is there some new setting that has been introduced that I can use to return my system to rational behavior?

I discovered today that a fellow tech just went through a Windows update and now his laptop has the same issue, so it is not an issue that is just affecting my hardware. He uses both a different brand of wifi adapter and wireless access point, but has the same issue. I was attempting to remotely support him today and kept getting booted out of his laptop because Windows kept randomly breaking the network connections as described above. Any help with rectifying this new issue would be greatly appreciated.

Windows 10 Network
Windows 10 Network
Windows 10: A Microsoft operating system that runs on personal computers and tablets.Network: A group of devices that communicate either wirelessly or via a physical connection.
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  1. Anonymous
    2023-12-05T16:40:12.9933333+00:00

    Might try setting both adapters here to Disabled

    --please don't forget to close up the thread here by marking answer if the reply is helpful--

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  2. Anonymous
    2023-12-22T02:00:41.9333333+00:00

    Hello,

    Thank you for posting in Q&A forum.

    To further investigate this issue here we provide you some steps:

    1. This issue might be related to the known network priority change.

    Please check the network priority configuration in "Network & Internet" -> "Change connection properties" of the net connection -> "Make this PC discoverable."

    1. Open cmd window and run

    Netsh wlan show profiles/

    Netsh wlan export profile name folder=c:\temp

    In this way you will be able to check and export wlan profile of each wlan connection.

    Please make a comparison between the same profile from working machine and nonworking machine.

    1. And also you can delete the wlan profile or manually "forget this wifi" to delete unused WIFI connection. Then your windows client is more possible to connect to your preferred WIFI connection.

    command to delete wlan profile and reset TCP:

    netsh wlan delete profile name="ProfileName"

    netsh int ip reset.

    netsh winsock reset.

    1. It can also be caused by the adaptor driver update, please don't forget to consider checking for driver updates for your network adapters, as new driver versions might provide improvements or address compatibility issues with the recent Windows updates.

    Hope this answer can help well in your case.

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