Using what I learned from Apple’s own July 15th document (iPad: Troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks and connections) concerning the problem, as well as recent discussions on Apple’s support and discussion forum, the following are some suggestions that seem to fix Wi-Fi problems on an iPad.
Check for System Updates
First off, whenever you’re experiencing problems with any software or operating system, check to make sure you are running the latest version. In the case of the iPad operating system, simply select the Settings application, and then tap General > About > Version. At the time of writing, version 3.2.2 is the latest update of the iOS.
Connect your iPad to iTunes and select your iPad in the sidebar. Then click on “Check for Updates” followed by “Update” to install the latest version.
Firmware Update of Router
Many iPad users seem to have discovered the problem was with their wireless router or base station. This ended up being the culprit in my case.
I was running a three year-old Linksys router, which after talking to Linksys support, I was told that I at least needed a firmware update for my router. But instead I chose to replace the router with a newer model, and so far it has resolved the Wi-Fi issues I had on my iPad.
Another suggestion is to check how other devices and hardware (e.g., Wii, laptop, iPhone, Droid) are performing with your existing router. If you notice issues with them, then of course it may indicate that you need to check with the manufacturer of your router about any needed firmware updates.
You could also take your iPad to another network location, such as Starbucks or a friend’s house, to see if it experiences Wi-Fi connection problems.
This firmware update problem/solution extends to networks you might encounter outside your home. As discussed on Apple”˜s discussion board, you may run into frequent Wi-Fi problems when making a connection at a hotel network, for example, where there may be incompatibility issues with Safari HTML5, in which Apple will need to address (if it already hasn’t) with a software update for iPad Mobile Safari.
Resetting DHCP or Network
This is not always the best solution, but I found turning off and back on the Wi-Fi connection on my iPad helps with a weak signal range.
Back in September, Princeton University posted a lengthy report about DHCP issues related to the iPad. It’s a pretty technical article, but basically it says, “DHCPv4 the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for IPv4, allows a device attached to the network to automatically learn some or all of its network configuration, including its IPv4 (Internet) address. Most operating systems include DHCP client software.”
If you’re getting a weak connection or if it’s dropping out all together, you might try renewing the DHCP connection. Again, select the Settings app > General > Network. Tap the small blue button on the right side of your network and finally tap the Renew Lease button. This solution will cause the iPad to acquire a new IP address, DNS, and Search Domain information from the Wi-Fi network.
The Princeton report offers some other suggestions if you’re having Wi-Fi connection problems with an iPad+3G or if your iPad is configured with an email account that supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.
Above all, though it’s a pain, you can always try rebooting the iPad to see if it will get you back to full signal.
Reset Network Settings
Apple also suggests resetting networking settings on your iPad, by selecting Settings > General > Resettings. Note, however, that this will reset all your network settings, including passwords, VPN, and APN settings.
The final three solutions Apple offers might make you want to get your money back, but here they are:
- Try moving closer to the Wi-Fi router or base station to see if the Wi-Fi signal improves.
- Remove iPad from any cases, stands, or other attachments to see if the Wi-Fi signal improves.
- Open Safari and try to load a webpage to see if the Wi-Fi signal improves.
Let us know if you have experienced similar Wi-Fi problems with your iPad and what fixes have or have not helped. In the upcoming iOS 4 update for the device, there will no doubt be additional stability fixes to address any remaining problems.
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