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Why won't my iPad use free Wi-Fi ?

20257 Views 23 Replies Latest reply: Jan 14, 2012 9:16 PM by Dragon4486 RSS
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Ziatron Level 4 Level 4 (3,255 points)
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Jan 13, 2012 4:30 PM

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.

  • Dragon4486 Level 1 Level 1 (140 points)
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    Jan 13, 2012 5:44 PM (in response to Ziatron)

    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.

  • pjl123 Level 5 Level 5 (5,430 points)
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    Jan 13, 2012 5:51 PM (in response to Ziatron)

    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.)

  • Tgara Level 4 Level 4 (3,540 points)
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    Jan 13, 2012 6:47 PM (in response to Ziatron)

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

  • Chris Habig Level 4 Level 4 (2,220 points)
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    Jan 14, 2012 7:35 PM (in response to Ziatron)

    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!

  • Skydiver119 Level 7 Level 7 (20,275 points)
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    Jan 14, 2012 7:40 PM (in response to Chris Habig)

    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

  • Tim Snoots Level 2 Level 2 (200 points)
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    Jan 14, 2012 8:07 PM (in response to Chris Habig)

    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

  • Philly_Phan Level 6 Level 6 (11,010 points)
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    Jan 14, 2012 8:11 PM (in response to Dragon4486)

    Dragon4486 wrote:

     

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

    Incorrect.

  • Philly_Phan Level 6 Level 6 (11,010 points)
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    Jan 14, 2012 8:14 PM (in response to pjl123)

    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.

  • ClayG Level 4 Level 4 (1,415 points)
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    Jan 14, 2012 8:16 PM (in response to Philly_Phan)

    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.

  • Chris Habig Level 4 Level 4 (2,220 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 14, 2012 8:16 PM (in response to Tim Snoots)

    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

  • Philly_Phan Level 6 Level 6 (11,010 points)
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    Jan 14, 2012 8:18 PM (in response to ClayG)

    Agreed.

  • Dragon4486 Level 1 Level 1 (140 points)
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    Jan 14, 2012 8:26 PM (in response to Philly_Phan)

    I dont understand your statement, how is this incorrect?

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