Answering my own question! If you click through to Wireless Network Options from the Wireless tab on the Airport Utility, you can check 5 GHz Network Name and give it a different SSID. Then you can connect to that SSID from the iPad, and presto, you are connected to the AEBS in 802.11n mode on the 5GHz band. Yeah!
Last questionn first.
My support issue: for some reason I am not going to be allowed to submit a question directly to support, even though I bought this AEBS a week ago! What gives with that?
If you read any of the terms of the forum user agreement that you said you did by registering for the forum, you know that this is a user forum comprised of folks just like you. Apple is not here. We can't answer for them or their policies, so can't answer the question above. They may look at posts at times ( we really don't know), but they do not and will not respond here. You need to contact Apple directly if you want to speak to them.
I want it to connect on 5Ghz.
Regarding your question about having your iPad connect to the 5 GHz band, computers will automatically connect to the band with the strongest signal. Your iPad, and any other Mac looks at the available signals and chooses the one that it thinks is best based on signal quality, which is a combination of speed, signal strength, noise and who knows what else.
I'm not sure why you would not want the iPad to connect to the signal with the best overal quality, but you may have your reasons.
Have you considered assigning a different name to the 5 GHz band on your Apple router? If you do this, then you can specifically "point" your iPad at the 5 GHz band and tell it to connect there first, even if that is not the best available signal.
Thanks for your response Bob. I had already figured out to assign a different SSID to the 5Ghz network, as I posted a little while ago, so my basic problem is solved.
Looking at the info from the Airport Utility (clicking Wireless Clients), it seems that the iPad 1 isn't very good at the 5.0 GHz network. And maybe that's why it's auto-selecting the 2.4 GHz network. Here's what I mean: I see a MUCH quieter environment on 5.0, with noise levels in the high -90 dBs. The 5.0 GHz signal is also a lot stronger than the 2.4 GHz signal by 12-16 dBs. However, the rate the iPad 1 is getting is about the same or LESS than it gets on the 2.4 GHz network! Below 60 mbps! Yeesh, I guess it's just not capable of running 802.11n at rated speeds with AES encryption.
By contrast, my Windows netbook with an Intel 5100 wifi chipset LOVES the 5GHz network, getting speeds in the 200 mpbs range, and extremely strong signal and quiet noise (-81/-97).
Conclusion? The iPad 1 kind of stinks real bad at WiFi. I wonder if the iPad 2 is any better. Frankly my iPhone 4, even though it doesn't hit the 5.0 GHz net at all, runs at about twice the rate of the iPad 1.
Finally: as to your comment about support, I wasn't being clear I guess. I totally understand what this forum is. What I was saying was that Apple is not going to allow me to submit an incident to THEIR official support, without paying a per-incident fee, EVEN THOUGH I bought this AEBS less than 2 weeks ago! My question is: what's up with that? I buy this high-dollar router (costing 2-3x what others go for) and I get zero support? I thought Apple was good at holding your hand.
Well, it's kind of moot now, because I figured it out. Thanks.
Message was edited by: MyDogHasFleas -- changed censored term to "stinks real bad"
Sorry, I don't have an iPad, so am not that familiar with their wireless characteristics. I will say that Apple engineers apparently value connection quality....a combination of signal strength, low noise and speed...far more than speed alone, but no one knows the exact criteria except Apple.
Can't speak for Apple. Whenever I've had a question on a product, I get free phone support...but have AppleCare on everything. Don't know what the issue is, but would call Apple to ask for an explanation of the policy.