What's the Best Option for Wifi on iPad2?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by txdave38, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. txdave38 macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I bought my first iPad this weekend, the $499 16 gig wifi only model. It was a bit of a risk because I don't have wifi at home, and no nearby hotspots. The selling point for me though is I figured out how to turn my no contract virgin mobile phone into a wifi hotspot. I successfully tethered the iPad to my phone, and I was thrilled that I was able to watch youtube and web surf, even do facetime.

    But my excitement faded last night as the connection was so pathetic, I could not watch youtube, and my weather channel app would never load. I downloaded speedtest, and saw my download speed was like between .40 and

    I don't think the VM option is going to make me happy. I don't need blazing fast speeds, but strong enough to use my apps , surf and watch youtube. I'm looking for some other cheap alternatives. Verizon, Sprint, and Att all have mobile mifi devices, but the data is very limited like 5 gigs for 50 bucks.

    It sounds like T-mobile has an unlimited data option, but I'm worried their network would suck. What do most people use who don't have home wifi?
  2. Meanee macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2011
    Sprint and Verizon has mobile hotspots that support 4G. Verizon is the fastest (LTE) and Sprint 4G is fairly slow as far as 4G speeds go (WiMAX), still much faster than 3G.

    Both are pretty expensive, and both have transfer limits.

    The way I solved my problem is by using a Sprint's 4G phone, rooting it, and running Wifi tether app. It serves up 4G speed without transfer limits, and I can still make/receive phone calls. It's not something that is legal by carrier's definition, but they tolerate it, as long as you do not mess with PRLs and force it into 3G roaming tether.
  3. macking104 macrumors 6502


    Jan 14, 2003
    California, USA
    You say no wifi at home... does that mean you don't have any regular internet access? If no internet, you could get dsl from your phone company or internet from your cable provider. Probably cheaper and faster than 3G tethering.

    If you have internet, just get a wifi router...

    Many US McDonalds have free wifi...
  4. henry2 macrumors regular


    Dec 9, 2010
    Also try Cricket phone & US cellular & Metro PCS & Boost Moblie .These company they have a couple of plans for there socalled Andriod smart phone plans that run around $55.oo dollars a month plus tax and that the plan i have .

    If you talk & text alot it worth it to get one of there phones from the above named company and you can use it as a mobile hotspot for your ipad
  5. d1sahib macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2009
    Reston, VA
    I use the Verizon MiFi 4510L and am very pleased with its performance -- reliable connections and excellent speeds while traveling in the DC/MD/PA/NJ areas.

    Battery life is an issue (runs for about 3 hours), but this can be alleviated with the right accessory (car charger, extended battery etc.).

    Hope this helps,
  6. txdave38 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm curious about Verizon's device. Can you do a lot with their limited data plans? Did you have to sign a 2 year contract?
  7. Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Have you looked into Virgin Mobile's MiFi?

    $129 for the device and your choice of limited or unlimited plans - no contract.

    On the other hand, have you considered returning your WiFi iPad and just getting the 3G version?

    Also, buying internet-only for your home might be a much cheaper option. Phone and cable companies often run special on internet service for your home, and you won't have to worry about contracts or watching your data usage.
  8. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    I have the Verizon Samsung 4G/LTE. Fifty dollars per month on a 2 year contract with a 5gig per month ceiling or $80 for 10gig and $10 per gig after that. Excellent speed (regularly from 7-12 mgps and up to 20 mgps). I use the hotspot when travelling and estimate I could use it about 8-10 hours per day for two weeks with more or less constant audio streaming and occasional movies/tv/etc.

    It is NOT, however, an adequate substitute for a wired broadband connection and a wifi network unless you want to bleed money. I've never used the entire five gigabyte ceiling in a month but as noted above, I would probably hit about 10gigs per month if I used it exclusively.
  9. txdave38 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
    Do you know if the VM mifi gives a better signal than doing a VM hotspot? My speedtest did go over 1mb download last nite which allowed me to watch youtube.


    I actually do have high speed cable internet at home, but it is all wired. I don't think my computer can do wireless internet, and never really understood how that setup works. Besides if I want to get online at home, I'll just use my computer, not the iPad. Not really seeing the benefit there unless you just love web surfing in bed.

    I bought the iPad mainly cuz I'm addicted to apps and games, and I want to have internet available with me on the go. It doesn't sound like Verizon would work if I want to do the netflix or movie streaming. I don't understand why they keep advertising that feature when people can't afford it on limited data plans.
  10. Joshitect macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2011
    Lexington, KY
    All you need to do is buy a wireless router, plug it in and set it up. Then you download everything from home and use it when you are on the go.
  11. Sodner macrumors 68020


    Jan 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Well if you want access "on the go" and not in your home then maybe the do as another suggested and get the 3G iPad.
  12. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Well, it's all a question of just how many movies you want to watch. If you expect to watch a several movies every day for a month you're going to burn through a five gigabyte ceiling in a week. But again, that assumes you're using a cell carrier as a primary internet provider. If you want to watch movies at home, I'd suggest you get a router attached to your internet modem at home and set up a home network. I use the iPad for video frequently but usually at home.

    For apps and games, you'll never touch five gigabytes in a month unless you're playing 18 hours a day, every day.
  13. txdave38 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
    Don't I need some kind of adapter for the computer though? Course I don't care about the computer being on wifi, just the iPad and my Xbox. It is a pain to drag ethernet cables across the floor to the Xbox.
  14. BrennerM macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    Most wireless routers have 4 plug-in ethernet ports so you can use both wired and wireless at the same time.
  15. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Set up a router next to the wired modem (from your cable company). Connect the two devices via ethernet. You can leave your computer wired to the modem through the router or independently if the modem supports multiple wired connections.

    However, unless you're using an ancient computer, you can also connect it, your iPad, and your Xbox via a home wifi network (using the router).

    Just keep in mind that the modem (supplied by your cable company) is the wired connection to the internet. The router uses its connection to the modem and distributes a wifi signal to any device that supports wifi.
  16. porcupine8 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2011
    If your computer is currently connected to the Internet via an Ethernet cord and modem, you just plug the router into the modem and run some setup software. The computer can stay wired or go wifi if it has a card. $40 router and you have free unlimited wifi at home.
  17. Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
  18. txdave38 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
  19. mstrze, Dec 21, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011

    mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    Don't pay $50 a month to watch 'the occasional video' on your iPad when you can just pay $30 one-time and have WiFi for no additional monthly cost by buying a simple Netgear wireless router.

    And unless your computer is older than 5-6 years old, chances are is already has a built-in WiFi card and could easily be hooked up to your new WiFi router. Having your computer and all of your other home devices on the same wireless network could benefit you greatly in the future.
  20. txdave38 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2011
    Well I took your advice, and bought a belkin wireless router. It claimed that all I had to do was plug my eternet cable that normally goes to the computer into the router.

    I did this, and installed the software, but XP would never let me launch it. My Ipad did recognize a belkin wireless connection but it had the padlock symbol, and I don't know the password. It killed my internet connection to my computer. I had to uinstall everything, unplug and reboot everything!

    My computer is 4 years old, and I have no idea if it can do wifi or not. Honestly, I don't even care about the computer being on wifi. I just want to use the freaking ipad. My connection is so slow that I can't even purchase an app. I tried driving outside Mcdonalds, and it was just as slow on their wifi.

    Very frustrated here.
  21. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    You shouldn't need to install that software to set up your router. Here's a guide to how to do it through your web browser.

    The guide is a bit old, and the setup screens will likely be a bit different because you probably have a different router from the one used in the guide, but the basic idea is the same. Just get into the settings screen and start exploring. Don't be afraid to mess up, because if you do, you can always do a hardware reset.
  22. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    You need to...

    1. Get on google and do some serious research.

    2. Give your neighbors/coworkers/friend's kid a20 to setup and school you on networking.
  23. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    You may be having some setup problems, but it WILL work. You will find that the $40 +/- you spent on that router was well spent.

    Go wired to your desktop. Wifi to everything else. Ipad, phone, friends visiting, etc.

    Since you are on XP, it might take a little work, but you will get there.

    As to password, read the manual and it will tell you the default. And if you think you screwed it all, read the manual on how to reset back to factory default.

    And, as said, use GOOGLE to find your solution. Better than asking here.
  24. Luis Ortega macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK
    You dont need wireless for your computer.
    Your Internet cable goes to your router, then your computer is wired to the router with another Ethernet cable.
    Your router can probably handle several wired connections as well as wifi.
  25. takeshi74, Dec 23, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Doesn't really matter. What does matter is coverage where you need it.

    Doesn't matter. You can add WiFi and still hardwire.

    Age doesn't matter. Plenty of people hardwire current desktop computers. Plenty of older computers can support WiFi with a suitable adapter.

    Did you connect your computer to the router?

    You don't need to install the software. Get your computer up and running and you can connect to the router's web interface to configure it and set the password. The documentation should indicate what the default password is though you really should change it for security reasons.


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