Does The New iPad Have Wi-Fi Problems?

Users are reporting new problems with the new iPad: the Wi-Fi seems to be a lot weaker than it is on the iPad 2, iPhone or MacBooks, according to numerous reports on AppleCare support thread. Could this be another antennagate? Have you experienced the same?

This AppleCare support thread started like this:

I am in a hotel with my laptop and new ipad3. The laptop wifi reception is as strong as it gets, but the iPad only registers a weak signal. Anyone else having similar problems? Any suggestions?

From there, the answers started to pour in with people reporting the same problem and comparing it to other Apple devices. There are already 63 replies in that thread. Some of them:

Same here ipad2 has twice the wifi range with the same settings as the ipad3. The screens nice but I may return mine if this is the way they all are.

Same here! Will not hold WIFI for more than a few minutes. Two MacBooks and iPhone working fine from same router. Ready to return iPad!!!!!

Same problem. Have the Decorah Eagles live cam running on my MacPro, Mac desktop, and Mac Air on home network no problem. The New IPad - continually loading with occasional brief connection. THIS IS A PROBLEM APPLE YOU NEED TO FIX IT!

Thank you.

And it goes on and on. Of course, this is not proof that there's a generalised problem with the iPad's Wi-Fi connectivity. But it's a strong indication that something may be wrong, at least in some manufacturing batches. The random sample is to high to think otherwise. [AppleCare Forums via AppleInsider]

Update: One of the commenters in the Apple forums had this to say here:

I'm one of the people referenced by Jesus Diaz in his story today on wifi issues. It's not a fabrication, and it's happening geographically across the globe, judging by the comments on the Apple forum. I switched out my iPad 3 three times, and all had the same problem.

Side by side with iPad 2, using speedtest, a government site and a Danish testing site, the wifi connectivity speeds of the new iPad were 1/10th to 1/2 of iPad 2, most often about 1/4 the speed. When you're adjacent to the router, speeds are fine. But as you move away, say, to the bedroom, like I did, my iPad 2 was blazing fast, and I had trouble getting a connection with the iPad 3.

One of my iPad 3's I got from Apple online. The other 3 exchanges were from Glendale, Ca. I saw posts on the forum from across the u.s., and England.

And today, the frequency of the posts is accelerating quickly. I was one of the first posts, almost as soon as I got the iPad 3, over the weekend.

Update 2: Another reader told us a quite enlightening story that happened to him at an Apple Store's Genius bar:

I spent 90 min in the store. We compared the speed on the 3 and my 2. Wasn't a dramatic difference (because we were in the back of the store, closer to the router mothership!) But still there was a difference.

They did an exchange — but we all decided to test the new iPad 3.

We tested it, and still there was a difference — about 2/3 the strength. It wasn't that big.

Then the clerk suggested we try another machine to compare two 3's — and my 2.

When we went to the front of the store — at the entryway to the mall — I was vindicated! Because the signal was weaker — the the 2 was flyin — getting 12 or 15 — while the 3 was lagging at 3 or 4.

So the manager was called over. It was decided to swap it for yet another 3.

Tested it again and it was still the same problem.

But now everyone was aware that there is a problem with the 3.

Bottom line: I returned it, got my money back — and am back to the 2. It's not as sharp, but it's fast! So, I'll wait a month or so, and see if they manage to improve the wifi issue.

Have you noticed this problem? Have you compared your new iPad's Wi-Fi signal to your other Apple or non-Apple devices? Tell us in the comments.



    I can't imagine that an aluminium back panel would be good for any kind of wireless transmission. Faraday cages and all that.

    I remember reading somewhere else that a company network with ipads on it required more power to the WAP antennas to get a proper throughput of data transmission, and I dare say it would have something to do with requiring a stronger signal to get around the big metal plate on the device. Apple probably decided to address this by changing something in how their wifi antenna works, but forgot to get rid of the metal back plate that led to the issue in the first place.

    I have definitely noticed a speed decrease when using my new iPad a little way away from my router. My original iPad is about twice as fast.

    The US Giz guys seem to be a bit bitter about the whole barred-from-every-Apple-event-ever thing this time around.

    "The random sample is to high to think otherwise."

    That random sample being a few dozen people posting on a support forum? Of the three million iPads sold? I don't think that's how 'random sample' works.

      "Yeah, Giz guys seems to just go against anything and everything with apple.. dont report just coz u can say you reported it first. 63 replies.. 63 out of 3million! if its about 100,000 out of 3million this could be an issue.. getting sick of this android fan reporting here

        It's at this point I'm realizing how clever the "Is X Y?" headline is. If it pans out you can say "We had it first!", if it doesn't then you can say "Oh we were just putting it out there, we never claimed this was the case".

        Though on topic, I'll wait for Anand's analysis. I remember he said the iPad 2 didn't have as good reception as the iPad 1, but from memory it want huge.

    Besides the over heating and the looooong charge time, I can at least say I've not had an issue with wifi... Well, at least so far.

    I've got 2 64gb iPad 3 devices at home and they both run pretty quickly on my cisco e4200 router.

    I'm still trying to get my head around why someone with an iPad 2 would buy an iPad 3????

    Man.. Apple really have you guys on a hook, line and sinker....

      If you sell the previous model just before the price drop then get the new model at launch you could probably be upgrading every year for about 150 bucks or so. Not a big price to have the best tablet on the market each year

      i went from ipad->ipad2->ipad3 and could care less about Apple in general. They just happen to make the best tablets available. Selling the old model when you buy the new one is not such a crazy idea either, allowing you to pick up the latest for only a couple hundred dollars.
      I pay more per annum on coffee than I do on tablets.

    Yea I've noticed that at home wifi is constantly dropping out but it's fine on my iphone....

      setting in the same spot my iphone 3GS has a faster download and upload then my ipad 3 using the app

    I noticed the same thing between my Ipad1, and Ipad2, that my ipad2 had worse Wifi then the original.
    So now the 3rd would be even worse?

    I seem to be okay using 5Ghz 802.11n. Can Giz to some quantitative tests for us across 2.4 and 5 Ghz, and N and G?

    Ive notIced no issues with my new iPad, it actually seems better at playing nice with my home network than my iPhone 4... It gets 60Mbps download at uni, if that's slower than the iPad 2, that's fine by me.

    I noticed the same issue, when running on my 5Ghz (802.11n) network the iPad had no connection away from the router, in my bedroom, but when I changed to 2.4Ghz it worked OK (2 bars)

    How do you find the heat of the new ipad. I tried one out in a store today and boy was it hot, not just warm but actually hot. I would not be able to have it rest on my bare legs.

      Not really applicable. Store units are always brightly lit, constantly handled, screens nearly always on and are always plugged in so of course they'll always be much hotter than normal use.

    My little brother bought one, indeed there be issues there. Even my TFP (201) gets better signal, and that's got issues of it's own.

    Here I am, in a hotel, browsing the Internet on my new iPad..I've been browsing and reading for a couple of hours. Battery at 78%,iPad running cool, and I luuuve the giant crisp display (without my glasses, my best focal distance is about15cm. So the iPad is better than a 50" hi-def tv.)

    What's eveyone complaining about?

    Currently on my ipad 3 have been using it in my house and the signal is perfect, brickwalls, and the router is in the top of a wardrobe.

    iPad 3 captures wifi better than my iPad 2. Lucky me. Router is a dlink 655 n.

    So which would you recommend, the iPad2 or 3, as i am thinking of getting one?

    I dont think that coz i buy recently new ipad and it is great....

    I-pad3 good and I-pad 2 is also good both are better each of them have different and important specification. My suggestion I-pad 3 in market why should buy with I-pad2.

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