iPad WiFi/3G vs. iPad WiFi + Verizon MiFi/Sprint Overdrive etc?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by MachThree, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. MachThree

    MachThree iPF Novice

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    Hi All - quick question - in terms of functionality, does the iPad with 3G built in really give you anything over the regular WiFi iPad if you have a mobile 3G/4G WiFi access point like the verizon MiFi or Spring Overdrive?

    I'm suspecting that the 3G iPad will have much better location accuracy in general? The WiFi iPad probably wouldn't get reliable location services using a mobile WiFi access point at all - unless these mobile devices from Verizon / Sprint can determine their own location and somehow this can be shared with the iPad?
     
  2. kierandill

    kierandill iPad Fan

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    I have a new iPod Touch - should be similar to iPad WiFi. At home, through my home wifi access (router on Comcast cablemodem) it actually comes within 100 yards on the map consistently. But I can also "see" to neighbors' routers from my home - don't know which it is getting the location from.

    Right now I am at work, and I have it tethered through my Verizon Windows Mobile phone, and the Maps app tries for a couple minutes and then says it can't determine my location. The phone knows where it is (weather locations says Indianapolis, updated 24 minutes ago, but I live in Lafayette). I add this part because it seems similar to what MiFi would provide.

    I Googled "Verizon Mifi location services" and this came up:
    Wi-Fi iPad with Verizon Mifi vs. iPad 3G on AT&T: Apple
    which doesn't sound too encouraging.
     
  3. kierandill

    kierandill iPad Fan

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    I decided to look into how your router tells your device where it is, and found this:
    iPod Touch: How to Change Current Location
    which led me to the Skyhook service, which is cool and slightly creepy:
    Skyhook: How It Works > Coverage
    So it appears that actually Skyhook is built into your mobile device, and asks their service where the router you are using is. So if your router is mobile that is a problem.
    What I haven't found yet is "how does Skyhook know where my router is" if I never told them with their web form? Could be my 3G iPad told them, and so my iPod touch is benefitting from that afterwards.
     
  4. MachThree

    MachThree iPF Novice

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    No - your router broadcasts a unique identifier that anyone can detect, including your iPad. Skyhook goes around in vehicles and looks for these signals, then triangulates their location and stores the location and the router's identifier in their database. So then your WiFi iPad talks to Skyhook and says "hey, I'm using the router with such and such identifier" and SkyHook looks up that identifier in their database and says "Ah Ha! I know where you are! You're at lattitude X and longitude Y"

    If you move your router, Skyhook won't know about it, at least at first. So if you relocated to Washington D.C. from Dallas, and brought your router with you, at least for a while your iPad would think its back in Texas. You'd either have to wait for SkyHook's vehicles to pass through your area again, or you'd have to go to the link you posted above to correct your router's location in their database.

    So that's the issue with a mobile router and Skyhook - I guess if you know your location when you're out and about and update it in their database using that procedure, it would work, but its manual and a pain in the butt. Also, if you were really on the go, like a passenger in a car, your location is changing all the time so updating it manually through Skyhook wouldn't be all that useful.

    So I guess at the end of the day I sort of answered my own question - bottom line is location services on the 3G iPad probably works much better and much more seamlessly than a WiFi iPad using a mobile router from one of the cell phone companies.
     
  5. wrecklass

    wrecklass iPad Enthusiast

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    iPad WiFi with my Evo 4G FTW. Now that we get 4G speed in Denver this has been terrific. And it doesn't require any extra hardware because I already carry both around.

    Plus the Evo works as a hotspot for up to 4 devices, so we can get both of our iPads and a net book and laptop all on for the same price!
     

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