D-Link DWL-G520 BSOD

I’m getting a periodic blue screen of death (BSOD) with my D-Link AirPlus DWL-G520 wireless network PCI card. The BSOD occurs intermittently, but will always occur immediately after I click on a link in a web page.

More precisely, I’m using a D-Link AirPlus Xtreme G 108Mbps PCI Adapter DWL-G520 Wireless PCI Adapter(rev.B) card with WPA-PSK network authentication and TKIP data encryption. I haven’t gone to the trouble of opening the case to find the exact hardware specs, because I have a lot of crap piled on top of it. The driver (according to the D-Link web site) is version 3.18, released on 5/9/2005. According to Windows Device Manager, it’s driver version 4.0.0.1414, released on 3/22/2005. Thanks for the added confusion, guys.

This card then connects to a D-Link DI-624 Wireless Router with hardware version C3 and firmware version 2.70. I realize that there is a newer firmware version out there, version 2.75, but I’m not sure it’s Xbox compatible, so I’m holding off on updating.

The error itself is a STOP: 0x000000D1 DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL which occurs in the file A3AB.SYS.

I’ve looked into this problem, and while there are a few bulletin board topics mentioning the A3AB.SYS BSOD, they generally tend to suggest using Atheros drivers instead of the D-Link-recommended drivers. The deal is that Atheros developed the chipset, AR5002G, for the DWL-G520, and also writes its own drivers for the chipset which are more recent than the drivers supplied by D-Link. At least one poster recommended the Ekahau Wireless Utility and Driver. After ruling out some other possible causes, I’ll probably try these alternate drivers.

My theory is that the error is due to the WPA-PSK / TKIP encryption, which I turned on shortly before getting the BSOD for the first time. Unfortunately, to test the theory that the error is related to the WPA-PSK / TKIP encryption, I would have to fiddle with my network security for a few days, something I’m unwilling to do.

It has been suggested that the error is caused by the network card overheating due to its proximity to the video card, and while excess heat may be the cause of someone’s problems, my system functioned perfectly fine for months with the cards in their current slots. It’s still a good idea to try to keep your other PCI cards as far away as possible from the video card, because that thing will generate some heat.

Furthermore, some people report that when they search their system for A3AB.SYS, they get multiple files, but with different sizes and time stamps. There is also the implication that A3AB.SYS should exist only in the D-Link drivers folder created when the driver is installed, and not in C:WINDOWSSYSTEM32DRIVERS. Whether this is actually problematic is something I’d have to look into.

Another possibility raised on the boards is that the BSOD is caused by the router’s Super G Mode, specifically, by the Super G with Dynamic Turbo option. Of the possible fixes, this is the easiest to test, so it’s going to be the first one I try. I’ve changed the mode to Super G without Turbo on the router.

To sum up, the D-Link AirPlus DWL-G520 wireless network PCI card seems to be a bona fide piece of crap some of the time.

Update: August 28, 2006

Well, after a few weeks of using the router with the turbo mode disabled, there have been no BSODs. Who’da thunk it? If you’re having similar problems with your router, I would recommend that you change the mode from Super G with Dynamic Turbo to Super G without Turbo. To do this, log into the router’s admin panel, and from the Home tab, click on the Wireless button. Change the value in the Super G Mode : drop down menu to “Super G without Turbo”.

17 thoughts on “D-Link DWL-G520 BSOD

  1. Brian

    Your methodology and solution are perfect! Changing drivers did nothing for me. I have a WBR-2310 router and WDA-2320 108Mbps PCI, WUA-2340 108Mbps USB, WDA-1320 54Mbps PCI.
    I was getting a BSOD about twice a day. I turned off Turbo at the router and everything has been rock solid for a week now.
    I sent D-Link 3 support requests and never got a response…

  2. ATF

    This is a continuously annoying problem recognized by Microsoft here;

    http://oca.microsoft.com/en/response.aspx?SGD=2222c731-d4e3-43de-8c52-8a1f33d23b73&SID=1811

    I followed your directions and shut off turbo. I might also like to try the newer DI-624 driver, v. 2.76 and also the Atheros update to a3ab.sys

    Thanks

    D-Link has no solution, lousy customer service that simply want to tell you to get the newest a3ab.sys driver or RMA the hardware. One supervisor told me they had no other solution, but maybe I could talk the RMA dept into an upgraded wireless card. Then put me on hold for 30 minutes until I hung up. Their solution is avoidance. There is no way I can believe everyone who uses this D-Link product has this problem but D-Link is unaware of it.

  3. David Clark

    Thanks for the article.
    I installed the DWL-520 in my daughter’s brand new dell dimention E520 (nice computer) and she started having occasional BSOD issues. She is also using the DI-624 wireless router. I’ll bet there are a lot of folks out there with that combination. D-link’s resonse to my request for help was to tell me to load the latest driver for the DWL-520 from their web site. The only one I could find was 3 years older than the driver on the disk that came with the wireless card. UNSAT!! If you have stock in that company, it is time to sell it because they do not take care of their customers. I’ll try backing down the router from turbo mode as suggested and hope that resolve it. Otherwise, I’ll be out buying a different brand card and D-link will lose another customer.

  4. kamatua

    Thanks, that solved my problem, dont think ill be buying any more dlink products in the near future

  5. Ian Bailey

    It is the Super G. I had been running for 18 months without Super G. Shortly after I turned it on, boom, the blue screen of death or worse shut a shut down.

  6. ATF

    3 months later I am still using the DWL G-520 with the DI-624 router and no BSOD with the Super-G Turbo mode disabled. While it seems I am not getting 108mbps now, but a reliable 54mbps requiring 2x transfer time, it works. So after repeated calls, hours spent on hold and lousy customer service at D-Link, I found some use for these junk parts.

  7. Dave

    You are a god, my man. I hope your computer has many other hassles so you can write even more clearly explained instructions for the masses.
    I’d gone INSANE with my G520 rev B and DI-624 router since I upgraded the firmware to the router. I never thought to turn turbo mode off, I mean, who doesn’t want more speed? I uninstalled AVG, uninstalled my firewall, (who needs one when you can’t connect?) uninstalled and reinstalled my memory chips (which I was sure was the problem) and uninstalled my video drivers, etc.
    the irony is, before I upgraded the firmware to the router, the 520 and 624 were monsters, always working, never failing, reliable download speeds, nothing I could say bad. who would have thought the upgrade would be a downgrade?

  8. Ashton

    About a week ago I installed the DWL-G520(b) running XP Pro OS and experienced the same BSOD problem once or twice a day.

    Before finding this forum, I located a newer driver on the Microsoft website in their beta “Catalog” section. It is A3AB.sys V 5.3.0.46 dated 5/28/2007. I downloaded and installed it yesterday. No BSOD yet.

    Note: This version is not posted on the D-Link website yet as they still have the V 4.0.0.1414 dated 5/22/2005 as their latest version (which is the same as their installation CD in the box).

    TWO ITEMS:

    1. Has anyone else tried V5.3.0.46 yet and if so what are the results?

    2. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the next week or so and report back with the results. If this doesn’t work, then my next plan of attack is to take the suggestion above about disabling the Super G Turbo mode on the router (D-Link DI-624).

  9. Ashton

    UPDATE…….

    It appears that the new drivers available from the Microsoft website solve the BSOD crashing problem of the D-Link DWL-G530(b) wireless adapter running under Windows XP Pro SP2 when running full speed in “Super G with Dynamic Turbo” mode.

    It has been over a week since the new drivers were downloaded from the Microsoft Catalog beta website and installed. So far so good since there have been no BSOD crashes.

    The Microsoft beta Catalog website with the D-Link driver is:

    http://test.catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=d-link%20dwl-g520%20xp

    and the driver I downloaded is:

    Version 5.3.0.46 dated 5/28/2007

    If there are any additional developments related to the stability of this driver I will post them and it will be appreciated if others that use these drivers post their experiences.

    Good luck!!!

  10. Ashton

    I don’t know if anyone is still interested in this product/problem, but the new driver downloaded from Microsoft as described above has worked without problem now for approximately 1 month.

    I’d recommend that if you are in a rush to patch the problem, turn off the turbo mode since that is an instant fix. Then later download and install the updated driver from Microsoft as a permanent fix and turn the turbo mode back on.

  11. Shanon

    I was having the same problem, and I ran Windows Update, and there is an optional download under “Hardware” This fixed my problem. I’m not sure however if I’m using turbo or not…

  12. ardamis Post author

    Hmmm, I can’t recommend the Version 5.3.0.46 dated 5/28/2007 driver from Microsoft’s Catalog.

    I just tried it, and it completely blew out my system. I was in a BSOD crash and reboot loop until I booted into safe mode and disabled the numerous new WAN and other network adapters the driver seems to have installed. I then had to uninstall the D-Link adapter and reinstall it with the official driver. I also had to reconfigure my wireless network connection, SSID, encryption settings, etc.

    I’ll stick with the 54mbps, no Turbo option until I replace the card.

  13. Robert

    This stupid problem is been the bane of my exsistance, I just wish I had the for thought to look at this site before. I have the latest drivers from D-link and will be giving it a try tommarow at a job site. Now I see why it worked at my shop and not at the job site. I use a Linksys access point and I never thought it to be the super G mode. To bad this a is a warentew repair. I wonder if D-Link will reinburse me for lost time on this job.

  14. Robert

    Well it is official i made the changes as listed above and the problem went away near as I can tell. and the good part is I got paided by the guy just for being prompt in getting the solution as fast as I did. So thanks to all the people who contributed to this.

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