1 2 Previous Next 23 Replies Latest reply: Jan 14, 2012 9:16 PM by Dragon4486
Ziatron Level 4 Level 4 (3,265 points)

I frequently find myself in areas where there is free Wi-Fi.

 

I go to settings and I see the available network with a checkmark next to it, correctly identified.

 

Others with me (using non-Apple products) are able to go onto Wi-Fi with no difficulty. However, my iPad stays stuck on the slow 3G.

 

When I am at home the iPad will automatically switch to my home Wi-Fi system that is password-protected. Were I have difficulties, are locations that have no password.

  • 1. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Dragon4486 Level 1 Level 1 (140 points)

    All public wifi are running at "G" (56 Mbps) at the fastest, some may run a little faster but not many. Public wifi are also setup with security blocking downloads of large sizes or heavy usage.

    The 3G will be average for public in a lot of places but that's not the same as a wifi that your connecting to at a coffee house for instance. 3G is cellular service and iPad uses that but with a cellular plan you get thru your cell carrier. WiFi is from a business like a coffee shop that they setup for customers to use while in their restaurant. Usually that's just a guest network which is at the max, a "G", you won't find any public wifi running at "N" speeds.

     

    If you are having problems connecting to a "wifi", the iPad may be connected to another wifi connection already. The iPad also would need to have the data turned off on the iPad, you can't use wifi if it's connected to your data package. Once you turn off the data, you should pick the wifi you want to use without issues. Then once your done with the wifi, then turn the data back on then you will be back on your data plan.

  • 2. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    pjl123 Level 5 Level 5 (6,135 points)

    There are some other issues floating around as well.

     

    Some public wifi will work fine. Specifically, starbucks always comes up fine for me, and often at pretty good speed.  Most free wifi in airports works for me as well.  Sites that show up as 'free wifi' never seem to work. 

     

    Nearly all sites want you to agree to some sort of disclaimer that says you will not use the connection for bad stuff, so you may need to simply wait a minute for that page to load, before the connection will be established.

     

    Other sites use a sign in, but the sign in is written in flah, and simply never shows up on the pad.

     

    So, some work, some dont.  After a while, you will learn to have a good feel for if a site will work or not.

     

    At any point, you can goto settings, wifi, and search available networks to see what is there.  The pad will not do that by itself unless you have 'ask to join' turned om. (which is, in general, a p.i.a.)

  • 3. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Tgara Level 4 Level 4 (3,540 points)

    The iPad is probably detecting that the "free" wifi is full of bugs, popups, etc.

  • 4. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Ziatron Level 4 Level 4 (3,265 points)

    Some public wifi will work fine. Specifically, starbucks always comes up fine for me, and often at pretty good speed.  Most free wifi in airports works for me as well.  Sites that show up as 'free wifi' never seem to work

     

    I often go with a group of men that have Droid phones, a Toshiba tablet, and a Samsung galaxy tablet.

     

    All of these devices always go to Wi-Fi with zero hassles.   I spend half of my lunch hour trying various settings and options (while being made fun of).

     

    Perhaps I should just leave my iPad at home.

     

    How can it be that my iPad correctly finds, and identifies the available Wi-Fi network (and puts a checkmark next to it), but won't actually use that network?

  • 5. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Ziatron Level 4 Level 4 (3,265 points)

    I guess there is no fix.

  • 6. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Chris Habig Level 4 Level 4 (2,220 points)

    Some free wifi networks make you "sign-in" even though there is no cost. I see this at airports and hotels a lot. Often, you don't see the sign-in page until you try to open a webpage. So connect to the wifi network and then use Safari to surf to a random internet page. That usually gets the sign-in page for you and you're on!

  • 7. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Skydiver119 Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)

    That's the trick i use. SOmetimes you need to refresh the page, or navigate to a different one to trigger the 'sign in' page to come up

  • 8. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Tim Snoots Level 2 Level 2 (325 points)

    Chris is correct that you must make sure to open safari and try loading a web page first at assure that you get past the terms and conditions page that many use.

     

    One more important issue is that it's likely a good thing that you are unable to join networks called "free wifi".  Networks with names like this are very commonly NOT legitimate "infrastructure mode" WiFi networks provided by the establishment you are in.  Instead, they are likely just fake "ad-hock" or "peer-to-peer" networks originating from a nearby laptop.  Joining these networks is dangerous because the laptop owner is a "man-in-the-middle" that can sniff all of your wireless traffic.

     

    Truthfully, if you have good 3G data signal and don't have a very restrictive data plan, then it's far more secure to simply use your 3G data connection.  In most other cases a legitimate, modern, and well configured WiFi network provided by Starbucks, AirPort, etc. should be easy to join with your iPad.  If you can't join them them with your modern iPad then you likely don't really want to.

     

    Just my $0.02.

     

    Tim

  • 9. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Philly_Phan Level 6 Level 6 (11,710 points)

    Dragon4486 wrote:

     

    All public wifi are running at "G" (56 Mbps) at the fastest, some may run a little faster but not many.

    Incorrect.

  • 10. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Philly_Phan Level 6 Level 6 (11,710 points)

    In addition to everything that you've stated, a good thing is that if you connect successfully once, the iPad remembers and connects automatically from then on.

  • 11. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    ClayG Level 4 Level 4 (1,415 points)

    I think this actually depends on the settings the Wifi Hotspot provider has programmed into its router. Many of them have session time-outs that require you to go through the whole process again if your connection has been inactive for a while.

  • 12. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Chris Habig Level 4 Level 4 (2,220 points)

    Tim Snoots wrote:

     

    One more important issue is that it's likely a good thing that you are unable to join networks called "free wifi".  Networks with names like this are very commonly NOT legitimate "infrastructure mode" WiFi networks provided by the establishment you are in.  Instead, they are likely just fake "ad-hock" or "peer-to-peer" networks originating from a nearby laptop.  Joining these networks is dangerous because the laptop owner is a "man-in-the-middle" that can sniff all of your wireless traffic.

     

    Excellent point Tim! I always see hotspots called "Free Public Wifi". It's all the fault of a bug in Microsoft Windows XP: http://www.techdirt.com/blog/wireless/articles/20101011/03194311357/the-history- of-the-fake-free-public-wifi-you-always-see-at-airports.shtml

  • 13. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Philly_Phan Level 6 Level 6 (11,710 points)

    Agreed.

  • 14. Re: Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?
    Dragon4486 Level 1 Level 1 (140 points)

    I dont understand your statement, how is this incorrect?

1 2 Previous Next