Your iPad is always on, and it’s always a touch away from the Internet. That is, of course, unless you are experiencing WiFi connectivity issues, the iPad’s evil twin. The moment the tablets were in users’ hands, the issues began. They haven’t stopped yet, but we’ve got your fixes.
Princeton Review – or, You Down With DHCP? In April, network administrators at Princeton University noticed that iPads were causing a problem for their network. This one is tricky, since the actual iPad-user can be completely unaware of what’s happening.
In a nutshell, the iPad keeps using an internet address, but forgets to renew the DHCP lease. That means the network thinks the address is free, and tries to assign it to another user. So regardless of how the server resolves the issue, somebody’s screwed. This becomes particularly nettlesome if you’ve locked your screen. Here is the workaround Princeton recommends until the issue is fixed:
1. Go to Settings, then to General. Set Auto-Lock to “Never.”
2. When you finish working on the network, don’t lock your screen. Either turn off your WiFi first (Settings/WiFi/Off); Turn off the iPad completely (hold the sleep/wake button until a red slider appears, then drag the slider); or do nothing – but make sure "nothing" includes not locking your screen.
"But honey, what about my needs?" Princeton's Office of Information Technology focused on the iPad's interference with other computers on their network, not the iPad losing its WiFi connection. But if you yourself experience connectivity loss, it’s possible that it’s DHCP-lease-related.
Your next gambit is to Tap the blue arrow next to the network name and then Renew Lease. You can also select Forget this Network, but you will have to set up the network again, so save it as a next-to-last resort. Finally, you can always turn off the iPad – as in option 2, above – then wait five seconds and turn it back on again.
Damn the battery, full speed ahead! If your iPad goes to sleep while it’s online, it may lose connectivity when you wake it up. Very strangely, WiFi loss tends to occur if you have lowered your screen brightness. Turn up the brightness again, and voila, your Internet connection may return.
Jesus, WEP! Your iPad loves to do things for your benefit, even if they kill you. Case in point: iPad WiFi connections tend to go dormant very quickly, possibly in an attempt to save the battery. Usually, you don’t care. When you do the next thing – say, go to another web page – your iPad dutifully reconnects you, and sends you there. But if the modem you’re going through uses 64-WEP encryption, you may have a problem.
To solve it, switch the modem over to WPA2, if that protocol is available. The problem will in all likelihood stop occurring.
Best bars in town, hands down. This one is just stupid. (I mean whacking-the-television-to-pick-up-a-channel stupid.) To improve your signal strength, stop holding your iPad like a book.
If you think I’m kidding, try it: keep your eye on the signal bar, orient the iPad so it’s taller than it is wide, and grip its sides. It’s likely the bars will drop before your very eyes.
If you love something, let it go. In the iPad’s case, “something” is signal strength, and “it” is the iPad. It’s okay. It’s not going anywhere. Tip not applicable in rough parts of town.
This router is a QoS. QoS stands for Quality of Service, and it’s a setting on some routers. More to the point, it’s a setting Apple does not support. Disable it and you may get better signal strength in your iPad.
Stay up to date. Apple is keenly aware of iPad users’ WiFi laments, and plans to address WiFi issues in future iPad software updates. So, be sure to download the updates as they become available… if you can.