Apple iPad Users Complaining of WiFi Woes

Soon after Apple iPads were slipped from their packaging and powered up April 3, Apple Support forums began filling with complaints of sporadic WiFi signals. The same issue followed the rollout of iPhone OS 3.0, which was fixed with a software update.

Apple saw brisk iPad sales during the tablet's opening weekend, with more than 300,000 iPads, including preordered units, selling on April 3. That same day, however, complaints of fluctuating WiFi signals began to accumulate on the Apple Support discussion board.
"My signal keeps fluctuating from strong to weak, while my MacBook and iPhone show a consistent signal at the same location," wrote Andrew79, an early adopter of the iPad.
"Even when standing in front of the WLAN router the signal fluctuates from strong to very weak," iPad user tdbc similarly complained on April 3.
Two days later, forum visitor Gary McCoy, with others, was experiencing the same issue.
"I am losing the connection using the iPad in the same locations I used my iTouch. ... The iPad first seems to slow down, then lose the connection, and doesn't reestablish the link. I cannot keep the device if this doesn't get better," McCoy wrote.
Other visitors to the forum said their iPads were working perfectly, while still others blamed the aluminum casing, insisting that WiFi signals pass more easily through plastic.
While to date Apple has only made its WiFi-capable iPad available, a version offering both WiFi and 3G connectivity from AT&T Wireless will begin shipping in late April.
After the July 2009 introduction of the iPhone OS 3.0, Apple fans similarly complained of WiFi instability. On the Apple support forum, one updater, echoing the comments of many, complained, "My WiFi signal strength jumps all over the place, from five to zero bars every few seconds."
Apple later addressed the iPhone issue with a software update, which is likely the fix that iPad users can expect.
"You have to know that they iPad was extensively tested in a lot of WiFi situations," Ezra Gottheil, an Apple-focused analyst with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK. "So what they've got is some combination of the kind of signal, or interference with another signal, or something that's giving it problems. It is likely that it's using a standard component to do the hardware aspects of handling WiFi."
Gottheil added, "My guess is that a software fix will be forthcoming relatively quickly and that the problems themselves are currently being experienced by a relatively small percentage of buyers."