Fixing Lenovo T460S Wifi connectivity issues (removing the evil versions of Intel Dual Bank Wireless-AC 8260 driver)

I recently received a new work laptop – Lenovo T460S. A cute little thing with impressive performance and reasonably good battery life. However, what people frequently complaing about online in regards of this laptop, is its absolutely, horribly awful wifi. This, in turn, is probably caused by it’s bad wifi chip, Intel Dual Bank Wireless-AC 8260. And they’re right – it’s a load of crap.

The laptop out-of-the-box, at least for me, requires a very strong wifi signal. You need to be close to the router and without any obstructions, or you’ll end up with a connection like mine – see the screenshot below of me pinging Google’s DNS servers:

Ping timeouts
Ping timeouts

So, I had a connection like that, while another laptop right next to that machine was connected in the same wifi but scored constantly under 200ms ping times to the same server. That’s not very impressive from a brand new laptop. The real fault lies within the drivers, though – the machine uses a wifi chip called “Intel Dual Bank Wireless-AC 8260”, which apparently Intel has been publishing just worse and worse drivers for.

Wifi driver version
Wifi driver version – Intel Dual Bank Wireless-AC 8260

When I got the machine, the driver date was 30.10.2016, so it was fairly fresh (got my laptop at the start of 2017). That’s the driver with constant timeouts, and the one that Intel probably used all their skills on to mess it up as badly as they could. The simple solution to (at least my) wifi problems on this laptop, is uninstalling the driver and using as old version of the driver as possible. That’s achieved by uninstalling the drivers as many times as you can, until finally you can’t uninstall it anymore and it defaults to something like this:

Intel Dual Bank Wireless-AC 8260 default driver
Intel Dual Bank Wireless-AC 8260 default driver (technically speaking, the Uninstall -option should be disabled at this point, but after restarting the machine before taking the screenshot it was re-enabled)

Every time you click “Uninstall”, also remember to actually REMOVE the driver from you system. Otherwise you won’t achieve much.

Uninstalling drivers
Uninstalling the driver

This is what the ping at a bad wifi looks like after removing the fresh driver and using an older one:

Normal Ping
Pretty normal ping. Still not good, but the wifi was a crappy one!

At least for me, the uninstallation process far fairly straighforward, and I wasn’t even required to reboot my machine before wifi started working again.

Issues with Windows Update

What I haven’t found a solution for yet, is Windows 10’s tendency of forcing updates on the driver. Every time you notice your wifi connectivity becoming super bad, go and rollback your driver, or if that doesn’t help, uninstall it time and time again. There’s a good chance the wifi will start working again.

When I find a way to block the driver from ever updating, I’ll update it here 🙂

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Antti K. Koskela

Solutions Architect / Escalations Engineer at Koskila / Norppandalotti Software / Valo Solutions
Antti Koskela is a proud digital native nomadic millenial full stack developer (is that enough funny buzzwords? That's definitely enough funny buzzwords!), who works as a Solutions Architect for Valo Intranet, the product that will make you fall in love with your intranet. Working with the global partner network, he's responsible for the success of Valo deployments happening all around the world. He's been a developer from 2004 (starting with PHP and Java), and he's been bending and twisting SharePoint into different shapes since MOSS. Nowadays he's not only working on SharePoint, but also on .NET projects, Azure, Office 365 and a lot of other stuff. This is his personal professional (e.g. professional, but definitely personal) blog.

5 thoughts on “Fixing Lenovo T460S Wifi connectivity issues (removing the evil versions of Intel Dual Bank Wireless-AC 8260 driver)

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  2. My wireless connection fails constantly, no matter where I am. I called Lenovo support today and they had me update the BIOS, uninstall the wireless adaptor driver and reinstall it. Nothing works.

    1. I feel you, mate. When the connection just kept failing, I ended up using my phone to connect my laptop to wifi – and that tells something about Lenovo’s (or Intel’s?) quality assurance process. Can’t believe they let crap like this ever reach customers…

  3. There is only one real solution: replace this piece of garbage with new wifi card and never buy any laptop from vendor that uses 8260.

    1. It’s an embarrassingly bad chip and quite a shoddy driver, I agree. Wonder how Intel could mess it up so badly. Guess it’s the lack of competition? 😛

      It’s a real shame, too, since the laptop is otherwise quite ok.

Let me know your thoughts!