Lenovo C340 in the wilds of Animal KingdomSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

What you need to know

  • A Wi-Fi bug has been discovered in Chrome OS 80, impacting the Lenovo Chromebook C340-11.
  • This bug causes the C340-11 to see a significantly weaker Wi-Fi signal than other devices, making it unable to connect to the router unless very close to the machine.
  • The problem has been fixed in Chrome OS 81, which is now slated to push to Stable next Tuesday on April 7.
  • If you need to fix the problem right now, your best bet is to hop onto the Beta channel.

I've been using and loving my Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 since it debuted last fall, but when Chrome 80 arrived at the beginning of the month, I began to notice something odd. My normally stable and dependable 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi began disconnecting from my Chromebook randomly, and I couldn't see my 5Ghz network at all.

Turns out, I'm not the only one having issues: this is a Wi-Fi bug discovered in Chrome OS 80 that seems to be limited to the Lenovo C340-11, and the bug has been fixed in Chrome OS 81. When the bug was first found, the only solutions were to either track down a Chrome OS 79 build to flash your Chromebook back to — erasing all of your local data and apps — or to break out an Ethernet cable and a USB hub to use it with. We also now know that Chrome OS 81 is slated for an April 7 release to the Stable channel.

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So if you're having this problem, here are the current solutions:

  • Switch to Beta Channel — You won't lose any data upgrading to the Beta channel and I can confirm that that after switching to Beta on my own C340-11, the problem is resolved. That said, whenever I inevitably need to swap back to stable, at that time I will have to Powerwash to go back to stable.
  • Wait a week with Ethernet — The stable update is only a week out at this point, so if you can use Ethernet to get around the spotty connection for the next few days, you can avoid having to mess with your Chrome OS channel or Powerwashing.

Chrome revised its development schedule last week, cancelling Chrome OS 82 and focusing instead on security and stability instead, as both the Chrome development teams and most people using Chrome OS are working from home and more reliant on their laptops than ever. There's never a good time for a high-impact bug like this one to be uncovered, but I'm very happy that's it's been found, an immediate fix is available, and a stable fix is just days away from the general public.