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Monday, April 05, 2010, 07:50 am PT (10:50 am ET)

Apple iPad owners report Wi-Fi connection issues

Some who purchased their iPad on launch day have experienced wireless connectivity issues with their new device, with reports of weak Wi-Fi reception, dropped signals and difficulty connecting to a network.

Already there are a number of threads with dozens of posts about Wi-Fi connection issues, ranging from a weak signal to an inability to connect to a router. Issues have been reported with a variety of routers, including Apple's own AirPort Extreme.

"I have also noticed very weak wifi signal in my 16GB iPad," user tdbc wrote. "Even when standing in front of the wlan router the signal fluctuates from strong to very weak. The router has very strong signals as every other computer here has full signal strength, even 20-30 meters from the router. So there is definitely a wifi signal issue here with the iPad."

Another user, Dr. JB, said their iPad is getting just one bar of Wi-Fi signal, while a nearby MacBook Pro has strong, full reception. They said their iPad was also experiencing slow downloads due to the weak signal.

A post from powerguru revealed bandwidth data from the Speedtest.net application, which showed an iPad with 1.83 megabits per second download, compared to 14.77 megabits on the iPhone 3GS. The user also noted that the iPad uses 802.11n while the iPhone 3GS is 802.11g.

Others said their signal sometimes fluctuated, and some said resetting the network settings or restarting the iPad would temporarily fix the issue. But others who commented said they have experienced no Wi-Fi issues, suggesting the problems are not universal.

In response to some issues, Apple has set up a support document for users who have problems getting their iPad to rejoin known Wi-Fi networks after a restart or waking from sleep. The issue is known to occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable.

To resolve the issue, Apple recommends creating separate Wi-Fi network names to identify each band, such as adding G to the 802.11g network name, and N to the 802.11n network name. It is also recommended that both networks use the same security type, such as WPA. If the issue persists, users can reset their network settings under Settings, General, Reset.

Apple sold more than 300,000 iPads on its first day of availability. Currently, only models that utilize Wi-Fi for Internet connectivity are available for purchase. The hardware starts at $499 for 16GB.

iPad models with 3G connectivity are set to arrive later this month, and will carry a $130 premium. The added wireless radio will offer 3G connectivity with the AT&T cellular network in the U.S. The carrier will offer no-contract data plans starting at $15 per month for 250MB of data, and $30 a month for unlimited access.