It's never easy being an early adopter of first generation hardware, but for a select group of iPad owners, an irritating Wi-Fi bug has put a damper on the fun of using the latest touch-based mobile computing gadget from Apple.
Shortly after its official launch, a number of iPad owners began to post about connection issues both on Apple's own support site and elsewhere. Now it appears that Apple is officially acknowledging the Wi-Fi bug's existence and, even better, is preparing a patch to fix it.
Poor Reception, Dropped Connections
The Wi-Fi bug plaguing some iPad owners has been a tricky one to diagnose. For some, the issue is simply weak Wi-Fi reception while others routinely lose their connection altogether...even as often as every 10 minutes.
Everyone from bloggers to university I.T. departments have tried to diagnose the situation. Princeton, for example, found that the iPad doesn't handle DHCP assignments correctly. (DHCP is the protocol that provides IP addresses to computers requiring network connectivity.) Unfortunately, the university did not have a solution for the matter.
Then there was Loren Wiener, an I.T. consultant in Australia, who thought he discovered the fix which involved toggling a switch in the Wi-Fi connection settings area. However, his fix didn't solve everyone's problems.
The same goes for the official suggestions provided by Apple on its support site. A somewhat bizarre list offers potential workarounds ranging from setting wireless security to WPA on your Wi-Fi router to adjusting the iPad's screen brightness. (Brightness? We don't understand that one either - perhaps it prevents the iPad from going to sleep?)
Did You Try Rebooting the iPad?
Despite all the suggestions for potential workarounds, the only consist fix for the issue was this: turn the Wi-Fi off and then back on again. Or reboot the iPad.
For a company that likes to brag about how its products are simple and "just work," this bug is a bit of an embarrassment. However, early adopters aren't too put out by the whole mess - for the most part, they've come to expect issues when braving the purchase of first generation gadgets.
The only concern was that the bug could be hardware-related, and therefore, unable to patch via a software update. Luckily, that's not the case.
An iPad Patch is Coming
According to a recently updated support document on Apple's website: "Apple will also address remaining Wi-Fi connectivity issues with a future iPad software update." No word on when that patch will be available, but, hopefully, Apple doesn't wait much longer. Resetting the Wi-Fi constantly is annoying and has probably even led to decreased usage of the device in some cases, if not out-and-out returns on the part of frustrated owners.