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Are iPads REALLY sucking all of our wireless power in our school?

This is a discussion on Are iPads REALLY sucking all of our wireless power in our school? within the iPad at School forums, part of the iPad for Business and Education category; Our school tech department has told us that our ipads use 4x the wireless "stuff" than a laptop does, therefore creating lots of problems for ...

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  1. #1
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    Are iPads REALLY sucking all of our wireless power in our school?

    Our school tech department has told us that our ipads use 4x the wireless "stuff" than a laptop does, therefore creating lots of problems for our school and its use of internet. I can't imagine this to be the case, however I know nothing about such things. They also have said as long as the ipad is on and the wireless is "on" even if they are not being used that they "pull" on our wireless connections, etc. and we should turn them off and disable the wireless. There are lots of apps where I need the wireless on -- in fact most of them that I use need it for various reasons. Is this really the case that they are such a problem? I have a sync cart with 23 ipads and I am afraid to use them for fear that our tech department will call me and tell me I am causing everyone else in the building to "crash" and have no internet connectivity.

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    I would say no. I am currently running and maintaining a computer network, consisting of 40 computers, approx. 20some laptops, and 8 iPads. All running on a cable connection and have experienced no slowdowns.

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  4. #3
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    Our tech coordinator has her "master watcher of the connections" data -- which means nothing to me -- and I know none of the correct terminology for all of this ... but she apparently views all of our interactions all day long with wireless and our internet "comings and goings". She can see when and where we access and how much "juice" we are pulling. She knows that my ipads are on (even when I'm not using them) and that they are pulling from our wireless source -- apparently causing all others using the system to have slow to no connectivity. We were testing online down the hallway and around the building on a completely different wireless router (that apparently cost us many many tens of thousands of dollars) and she claims that my ipad cart of 23 ipads caused them to not be able to test online with their 30-40 laptops because my ipads suck 4x the laptop useage. I am sure hoping that someone who knows can give me feedback. Right now I just have to listen to her and shut off my ipads -- all the while wondering how this can possibly be true!!

  5. #4
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    More likely you simply used up the available connections. There is a limit on the number of computers, iPad, iPhone or laptop, that can connect to any given wireless router, as well as a limit on the range of IP addresses available.

    Data volume is not likely to be higher than a laptop unless you are streaming video or something.

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    What thewitt said.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad 2 using iPF

  7. #6
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    IT people are always complaining at my university about how mobile devices are killing the network. I think part of the problem is probably with usage. A lot of people are streaming videos, for example. Another problem is probably with volume. Instead of working with 30-40 laptops at your school, they now have about 60 devices in total. That alone could overwhelm IT staff with insufficient resources. At my university, it is the number (so they tell me). Everyone has several devices (ipods, ipads, laptops, etc.) when they used to only have one just a couple of years ago.

    It sounds to me like your school needs to invest in more staff / equipment to handle the load instead of forcing teachers to hobble their devices.

  8. #7
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    I suspect that there's something to what "thewitt" noted, i.e. limits on the number of connections in your router infrastructure. But I'm also intrigued by your use of the term "'pull' our wireless connections." Are you sure the term wasn't "poll," rather than "pull?" It's more than an grammatical issue. I suspect that what may be going on is repeated efforts on the part of the iPads to connect to a wireless network even when it is not needed.

    It may well be, of course, that your infrastructure is simply not up to the demands of adding so many devices to the wifi network. But it may also be that the problem can be minimized by accessing wifi only when it is needed rather than constantly trying to connect. I have a feeling that the iPads (and other devices in your school) may be placing an unnecessary burden on your wifi network.

    This interpretation would be consistent with the IT person's claim that iPads are responsible for "4X" the load of a laptop if laptops are routinely powered down when they're not being used while iPad's (with their much longer battery life) are left turned on when they're not being used. Otherwise, as thewitt notes, the iPads should not be anymore of a burden than a laptop (possibly less, in fact) unless the iPad is constantly accessing a heavy data stream, e.g. video.

  9. #8
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    I don't understand any of the tech talk but I am amazed at how many devices can run off my home wifi without affecting speed.
    On some days we'll have an Xbox, Wii, iPad, iPhone, and Samsung Galaxy II and a computer all drawing data at once.
    Often it's streaming video and / or gaming on line.
    AA

  10. #9
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    I believe if the iPads are trying to use the network to wirelessly sync, this would heavily effect the "Wifi" juice you speak of. Otherwise, I'm really not too sure.

  11. #10
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    If everyone watches video on Youtube, it could be the problem. Otherwise, I guess not.


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