How to fix Surface Wi-Fi Limited Connectivity problem in Windows 8.1

Here are seven different solutions you can try to fix your Surface wireless connectivity when you see the "Limited Access" or "Limited Connectivity" message.

Surface Limited Connectivity

Pinpointing the exact cause to why you can’t simply connect to the internet through a wireless network when you’re getting the “Limited Access” or “Limited Connectivity” message on your Surface running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 can be difficult and time consuming. Nonetheless, here are several solutions you can to try to fix this problem that doesn’t seem to go away for many users.

If the following solutions don’t fix your Surface RT or Surface Pro wireless connection problems, you may want to check the previous guide I wrote on Windows 8.1 limited connectivity.

Solution 1#: Restart Surface wireless adapter

  1. Open Control Panel, do a search, and open Network and Sharing Center.

  2. Navigate to Change adapter settings.

  3. Select the wireless adapter and click Disable then Enable.

How this solution fixes the connectivity problem? After an update or for unknown reasons the Wi-Fi adapter may stop operating correctly and re-enabling it could solve the problem. Also, it could be the case where the wireless adapter got disabled by other means, again enabling it could solve the problem.

Also, it could help turn Airplane mode On and Off. To do this simply bring up Charms by swiping from the right edge, tap on Network, and toggle the Airplane mode On for 60 seconds and then turn it Off again.

Solution #2: Disable Selective Suspend

  1. Open Control Panel and tap Power Options.

  2. Tap on Change Plan Settings.

  3. Tap Advanced Power Settings.

  4. Scroll and expand USB settings.

  5. Expand the USB selective suspend setting and disable the option (both).

Why will this solution fix the limited connectivity issue? Selective Suspend is saving power feature in Windows that basically reduces the power of a particular device. Turning this option off will allow the device to operate at full power all the time (remember that this solution will drain your battery faster).

In this case the problem might be that drivers can’t properly contact the Wi-Fi adapter, because the selective suspend settings. Disabling the setting can restore proper connectivity, therefore fixing the connectivity problem.

Solution #3: Re-install the wireless adapter drivers

Before doing anything download drivers for your Surface Pro (Surface RT uses the same wireless adapter than the Pro model). After downloading the driver package remember to unzip the files.

  1. Open Control Panel, do a search, and open Device Manager.

  2. Expand Network adapters, tap in the Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-N Network Controller, and select Uninstall driver.

  3. Restart your Surface RT or Surface Pro.

  4. Return to the Device Manager and on the Network adapter, right-click the the adapter with the yellow exclamation and choose Add Legacy Hardware from the menu.

  5. The Add Hardware Wizard will launch, follow the steps to install the wireless driver.

  6. On How do you want to search for driver software, select Browse my computer for driver software, find the driver folder with all the drivers you downloaded earlier, and select the MARVELL folder as the source to install the driver.

Solution #4: Restart everything

Sometimes the simple solutions are the ones that work best. Shut down your Surface and unplug the power cable from your wireless router. Wait about 60 seconds. Plug the router back again. Wait until about 2 mins. Start your Surface and try connect to your network.

Solution #5: Run the troubleshooters

Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 8.1 have a network troubleshooter and network adapter troubleshooter. They both can help you to fixe the Limited access or Limited Connectivity issue.

Using the network troubleshooter

  1. Swipe from the right edge and tap Search.

  2. Search and tap Identify and repair network problems.

Using the network adapter troubleshooter

  1. Swipe from the right edge and tap Search.

  2. Search and open troubleshooting.

  3. Tap Network and Internet, and the tap Network Adapter.

After following the wizard, try to connect once again to your Wi-Fi network.

Solution #6: Windows Update

Surface devices are suppose to have Windows updates install automatically, but it could be the case that didn’t happen or you still need to restart the device for the update to take place. To install the latest updates from Microsoft follow these steps:

  1. Swipe from the right edge, tap Settings, and Change PC settings.

  2. Tap Update and recovery and in Windows Update, tap Check Now.

  3. If updates are available, tap View details.

  4. Select every available update and tap Install (restart may be required).

Once again, see if you can connect to your network wirelessly.

Solution #7: Disable MAC filtering

Highly unlikely, but it could be the case your router is filtering the MAC address of your Surface RT or Surface Pro device, therefore preventing you from connecting to the internet. To resolve this issue, find the manual of your router and look for the instructions to disable MAC filtering in the router.

Also it could be the case your tablet isn’t seeing the wireless network. So make sure your router is broadcasting its network ID (SSID). Steps will vary from router to router, consult your user manual to change this setting.

Did any of these solution fixed your problem? Tell us your results in the comments below.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].