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 18.104.22.1684, 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”.