Windows 10: Noise and Sound Distortion with Wifi Traffic

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  1.    27 Mar 2016 #1

    Noise and Sound Distortion with Wifi Traffic

    Hello everyone,

    I noticed that there are scratchy noises and very noticeable sound distortion with Wifi traffic on my laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 3rd Gen) starting about 3 days ago. With the noises, the mouse becomes sluggish and video playback experiences small pauses, too. I have never had this problem before.

    The only thing I remember I changed recently is to hit the "Update Driver" button on the Wifi device in "Device Manager". I have already uninstalled the that device driver and downloaded the 18.40 (most recent) one from Lenovo. It was good for about a day after installing the version 18.40 wifi driver, but the noises came back. I also noticed that any wifi traffic seems to trigger high CPU usage. I suspect this is the culprit, but couldn't find anything online. I suspect it has something to do with Windows 10 regular updates or the 18.40 wifi driver. I've also tried the driver version before the issue occurred, 18.33. The issue remains.

    What I also noticed is that the problem seems to only happen after the system has been up and running for a while.

    Does anyone have any suggestions about how to fix this problem?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    Last edited by jackzh; 27 Mar 2016 at 23:22.
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  2. bro67's Avatar
    Posts : 4,917
    Mac OS High Sierra 10.13.5
       28 Mar 2016 #2

    What do you mean by Wifi traffic?

    Noise and sound distortions have nothing to do with wifi.

    You have to be more specific if this is on public or your own wifi network.

    inSSIDer will show you channel congestion.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    28 Mar 2016 #3

    By Wifi traffic, I mean there's any network activity on Wifi. Any wifi network.

    I would agree that noise and sound distortion isn't typically a wifi thing, however, I think the problem lies in the Wifi driver that it exhausts the CPU cycles and cause sound driver and other things on the computer to be unresponsive (hence glitches in mouse movement, video playback, sound distortion, etc., like playing a 4K movie on a really old laptop). This didn't start happening until Lenovo asked me to update the Wifi driver to version 18.40. Wifi works just fine, though. Downloading and uploading both strong.

    Hopefully that clarifies it a little bit?

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  4. bro67's Avatar
    Posts : 4,917
    Mac OS High Sierra 10.13.5
       28 Mar 2016 #4

    All the Network activity shows is that the computer is communicating with the network. It would not have anything to do with the sound distortion.

    The driver that you installed, can be a problem, so why haven't you uninstalled it and see what happens? Also if you are on a Public connection, you will be throttled. 4k/UHD movies will not play properly, unless you are using Wireless-AC and on at least a minimum of 150 mb/s, because of how much information is transmitted. No laptop out there can playback a 4k/UHD movie, unless you have a actual desktop with a graphics card that is at least $200.

    Laptops at the most can play 720p videos just fine. No need to be watching anything over 720p, because the screen would not show any improvement.
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  5.    29 Mar 2016 #5

    I have exactly the same problem. I realize that it should not have anything to do with each other, but it does. I can reliably reproduce the problem. I am downloading over WiFi, receiving speed is about 32Mbps. If I now start up a locally stored video, this will stagger, sound gets distorted, and the mouse hangs now and then. As soon as I stop the download, everything turns to normal and returns when resuming the download.

    Normal internet traffic does not appear to do this, except for spikes above about 5Mbps.
    Last edited by JD13th; 29 Mar 2016 at 07:28. Reason: spelling...
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  6.    29 Mar 2016 #6

    What happens if you go into Device Manager and roll the driver back one version? Open properties, click Driver tab, click Roll Back Driver button. If it is the new driver, perhaps reverting to the previous one will address the issue. As long as the new driver doesn't include stuff you can't function without, this could be a relatively quick and painless fix. Try it, please, and let us know what happens.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  7.    29 Mar 2016 #7

    Hello Ed and JD13th,
    @JD13th, thank you for confirming the problem! Do you happen to know the Wifi chip model you're using? What about the driver version?
    @Ed: Thank you very much for the suggestion! :) I tried that, and it didn't work. I even uninstalled the updated driver (ver. 18.40) from that window you mentioned then reinstalled the older version that had no issue (ver. 18.33, downloaded from Intel site). However, the problem remains... I'm not so sure anymore if it's just the Intel Wifi driver or MS updated something in the kernel and they don't play well with each other anymore...

    Also, as I mentioned before, the problem isn't constant. It seems to only happen after the laptop has been up and running for while. Sometime turning Wifi on and off or putting the system in standby (closing the laptop) see to temporarily fix the problem as well, but only very briefly...

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks a lot,
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    30 Mar 2016 #8

    Symptoms sound like something is hogging the CPU, have a look in Task Manager.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    30 Mar 2016 #9

    nigelmercier said: View Post
    Symptoms sound like something is hogging the CPU, have a look in Task Manager.
    Indeed! What I can see going up is "System and compressed memory". Any idea about how to break it down to exactly what process is causing the problem?

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    03 Apr 2016 #10

    Something else I noticed today is that when the system becomes very slow, the process System Interrupts jumps from about 2% CPU use to 11 - 12% (overall CPU use would be ~ 74% with just about 1.5 MB/s downloading). I really think it's a Windows kernel or driver issue. Restarting the computer temporarily fixes the problem.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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