Mobile

iPad users experiencing wireless problems

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The honeymoon may be over for some iPad owners, who are now reporting issues with the device’s WiFi connection. The issues include claims of short wireless range, connection problems, and slow speeds, according to TechCrunch and SlashGear.

You can check out a whole slew of complaints over at Apple’s support forum, and I’ve chatted with several iPad owners who are having similar issues. It’s too early to tell how many iPad users are actually affected — but given that it wasn’t too hard for me to find other users having wireless trouble, it’s very likely that this could end up being a big problem for Apple.

One user writes:

Having same problem with wifi being weak and constantly fluctuating. I have to keep entering my password to regain access to my network after having lost a signal. Two iPhones and two MacBooks showing full signal with no interrupts. Certainly hope this is fixable. Too pricey of a toy for it to have this issue right of box.

It’s important to note that all of their other Apple devices work fine on their network. Clearly, it’s the iPad specifically having issues, and not the network.

Another user ran some speed tests on his iPad and compared it to the speeds of his iPhone:

Ok. I used speedtest.net app both on iPhone 3GS and the new iPad. I clearly see the difference.

iPad download speed is 1.83 megabits/sec whereas
iPhone 3GS download speed is 14.77 megabits/sec

Upload speed seems comparable.

The speed difference is massive, and is likely related to the reported reception issues.

Given the wide variety of networking hardware available to consumers, plus the difficulty of cramming all of the iPad’s hardware into its slim case, there’s definitely the potential for wireless problems. Unlike the iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad runs the faster 802.11n WiFi specification — which requires a larger internal antenna as well.

We’ll be keeping an eye on these wireless issues, because Apple certainly will be forced to respond to the user complaints. A software fix may not be enough to resolve the problems, and Apple may have to institute some sort of hardware recall or exchange to deal with dissatisfied customers.