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Troubleshooting Problems Connecting to Wireless Networks

Once you've dealt with iTunes gremlins, the next place you're likely to run into support problems with the iPad and iPhone is wireless networks.

The iPad has notoriously short Wi-Fi range thanks (if that's the word) to its sleek aluminum case, and even the iPhone has much shorter Wi-Fi range than laptops or desktops with full-size antennas. As a result, your wireless network may appear to have dead areas to the iPad and iPhone even though other wireless devices are happy as clams.

In this section, we'll start with signal issues, because you're unlikely to be able to avoid them unless you seat each iPad user within spitting distance of a wireless router. Making your wireless network as friendly as possible to iPads and iPhones. We'll then look at what to do when the Wi-Fi connects but the device can't reach the Internet, how to find the IP address for an iPad or iPhone, and how to reset the network settings if necessary.

Making Your Wireless Network Friendly to iPads and iPhones

If the iPad and iPhone struggle to acquire and retain a wireless signal at certain points within your premises, you may need to take the measures to make your wireless network friendlier to the devices:

  • Move one or more access points to cover areas that have weak signals.
  • Add further access points or repeaters to provide better coverage.
  • Add antennas to access points to boost the signal.

NOTE If there are some areas of the building or campus that the wireless network doesn't cover adequately for the iPad and iPhone to connect, make sure the users know where they are and where to go to get a better signal. It's much better to lay out the weak spots and how to avoid them than to claim blanket coverage that doesn't work for some network citizens.

Dealing with iPads and iPhones That Can't Connect to the Wireless Network

When a user can't connect to the wireless network, first make sure that the wireless network is in fact running and happy. Pull out your iPhone and make sure the network is there and that it's working. Check the signal strength; if the iPhone is getting several bars, the iPad ought to be able to sustain a connection. But if even the iPhone is struggling, you may need to reposition the user, the iPad, or the wireless access point.

If you have multiple wireless networks, make sure that the iPad or iPhone is trying to connect to the right network. If the user has wandered beyond the reach of his or her usual wireless network, you may need to turn on the Ask To Join Networks option so that the device will suggest the network that's available. Otherwise, the user can be sitting on top of an access point but not getting a signal.

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