WiFi Only vs. 3G: How to Decide

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by stevenflaugher, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. stevenflaugher
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    stevenflaugher iPF Novice

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    I don't really understand the advantages of getting one with 3G. For example, how do I know if WiFi is available at my home (where I'll be using it the most)?

    Please give me some education!
  2. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    You have to create your own Wifi network by plugging a router after your Internet Provider modem. That's the legal way of doing it. If you're using a wifi net invisibly, it's piracy.
    Call your Internet Provider. They'll be happy to help you with that.
  3. gentlefury
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    gentlefury iPad Guru

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    3g is only if you A) want to use the device where you don't have access to wifi or B) don't have a current phone that allows wifi tethering.

    I have a droid....i got the wifi only.
  4. Dorje
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    Dorje iPad Enthusiast

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    WiFi networks can be created by home routers and computers with wireless cards that use the 802.11(b/g/n) standards (get used to seeing 802.11). This is kind of like how civilian amature (or HAM) radio operators can call each other.

    Most Wifi networks have a very limited* range, usually shorter then the distance your cell phone can pick up and send to the nearby cell-tower. Typically inside and just outside a typical American home. *Although 802.11n is supposed to have a much wider range.

    For myself I know I have acesses to WiFi networks just about every where typically go. Be they home networks of people I know or business that have acess points for customers.

    At home you will need either a Wireless router or if your home computer has a Wireless card it can also create a wireless network while it is on. I strongly suggest the router as your computer would need to be stay on if you wanted iPad Internet acess. If you have a laptop it should have a wireless card, just check for local wireless networks in the places you go and see what's there, or ask the busnesses and locations you frequant if they have WiFi.
  5. stevenflaugher
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    stevenflaugher iPF Novice

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    I don't have a home computer, only a Palm Pre cell phone with Sprint. Can I tether a WiFi iPad with the phone and, if so, how the heck do I do that?
  6. Sonny Burnett
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    Sonny Burnett iPad Junkie

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    Get the 3G version as you don't have to use it if you choose not to but it will always be there just in case.
  7. brobar
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    brobar iPad Fan

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    This might be of benefit if you feel comfortable with it: MyTether

    I plan on using the iPhone equivalent (MyFi) to turn my iPhone 3G into a wireless router so I decided against the 3G version of the iPad. Why spend that extra money on hardware and the extra monthly fees if you don't have to?
  8. gentlefury
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    gentlefury iPad Guru

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    So spend $130 just in case? Doesn't sound like a feasible plan....for $70 more than the 16GB 3G you can get the 64GB Wifi....much better investment especially since the only service available is ATT.
  9. HX_Guy
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    HX_Guy iPF Novice

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    Stupid iPhone and not tethering...well unless it's jailbroken right? I may have to look into that.

    Either way, I went with the 3G version because I do plan on using it on the go a lot, even out of the car while parked to connect to my work stuff. Even if I get the iPhone to tether, I don't want to worry about the phone running out of battery and then I have no 3G access on the iPad. I know it's an additional $130 and even if I don't use ATT's 3G thru the iPad, I would rather have the feature just in case...you don't buy an iPad everyday so might as well do it right the first time.
  10. brobar
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    brobar iPad Fan

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    The jailbroken iPhone is a good stopgap for the time being. However ATT and many of the other providers are about to stop their "unlimited" plans and will be going to a tiered pricing (which may be good or bad... just depends on how much bandwidth you actually use). Me? I don't use a ton even though I do tether on occasion... so it may end up being cheaper for me. Until that happens though... I'll continue to tether my laptop to my iPhone 3G and the same goes for my iPad when I get it 'till a tiered pricing structure is put in place and even then I still might.
  11. KiltedTim
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    KiltedTim iPad Fan

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    You may have a bit of an issue then, considering that without a home computer, you have no way to back up what's on the iPad. Yes, you should be able to use it and purchase videos, music, books, apps, etc. from the iTunes store, but I'm not positive about that. You may want to check with Apple first to be sure. The iPad is a very cool and potentially very useful computing tool, but it should NOT be considered a replacement for a computer or laptop.

    As I said, it may serve you just fine without a computer to sync with/backup to, but I'm not sure I'd want to take that risk, especially if you'll be purchasing content. Also, as time goes on and you acquire more and more "stuff", you may find yourself running out of space on the iPad rapidly. If you don't want to shell out for a laptop, consider getting yourself an inexpensive desktop PC from Wal-Mart. Just about anything they sell running Windows should do the trick. You can get an all in one system with an Atom Processor and Windows 7 ( Walmart.com: MSI 18.5" AE1900-14SUS All-in-One Desktop PC with Intel Atom Processor N230 & Windows 7 Home Premium: Computers ) for under $400. If you don't know if you have WiFi at home, then the answer is "you don't have WiFi at home". You'll need to contact your phone or cable company and get it. Looks like you're in Cleveland (my neck of the woods). AT&T offers pretty inexpensive DSL service. If the combination of a computer and Internet service and an iPad is too rich for your blood, then I'd say the iPad is not something you should be looking at spending money on right now.

    I'll apologize in advance if it sounds like I'm talking down to you. I don't mean to. If you're actually in the Cleveland area and need help, send me a PM and maybe I can help you out with more information.
  12. stevenflaugher
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    stevenflaugher iPF Novice

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    VERY HELPFUL INFORMATION! Thanks.
  13. stevenflaugher
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    stevenflaugher iPF Novice

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    I really appreciate this information. I'm a beginner in computers and need all the help I can get. Let's keep in touch.
  14. HX_Guy
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    HX_Guy iPF Novice

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    Man now you guys have me seriously looking at the WiFi only version and doing some sort of tethering with my iPhone or maybe a replacement to the iPhone.

    I really like my iPhone but with the iPad coming, I dont see using my iPhone for much of anything other than making phone calls...most of the other features and Apps I see doing on the iPad, except maybe internet use at a restaurant or something similar where the iPad would be too large to use.

    Another upside, aside from saving $130 upfront and $15 per month would be I could have the iPad April 3rd instead of end of April.

    What other phones (other than a jailbroken iPhone) allow you to use it as a Wifi Hotspot?
  15. Dorje
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    Dorje iPad Enthusiast

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    The dirt cheap desktop is a good option. To add to that you can keep such a basic computer safe by not going online with it. Do not use the web browser or accept files from famally and friends. The less contact it has with the wider internet the less likely it will be to get any kind of Virus or Keylogger(which quitely record what you type and to steal password). I wouldn't even nessisarally keep such a "base station" phyisical connected to any router you get. Maybe plug it in once a week to check for software updates.

    Another interesting option for a "Base Station" PC is that it can be connted to most modern TVs which can act as it's monitor. If the onborad video card has an HDMI port even better.


    *edit*
    Actually I don't know about getting an all in one as a base station style device. Don't those have the same issues as laptops when you try to get at their hardware? I'd suggest a tower or standard desktop because with those you can always easly pull the internal hard drive if something goes wrong with it. Sorry, sometimes I can be prone to data paranoia. If the point of the cheap PC is data backup then it really should be easy to service.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  16. Finnedog
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    Finnedog iPad Fan

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    I am not getting a 3G iPad but probably would if there was any ATT coverage here. May get the 3G when I get my second generation iPad for trips and such.

    Although if they put a gps module in this gadget I would be thrilled, Garmin and TomTom would not be thrilled I am sure.
  17. drmrw
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    drmrw iPF Noob

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    I got the wifi only because I have a sprint overdrive wireless hotspot for those times that i might want to use the ipad away from wifi. I mostly got the ipad to browse on the couch at home (or office), for movies, books, games, and to use it to present my keynote presentations. So for that i didn't really think i needed the 3g version.
  18. rle737ng
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    rle737ng iPF Novice

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    I originally ordered a 64GB Wifi only version. I travel a lot (60%+) and spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. I have found that not all hotels have good Wifi. Some hotels have only a wired connection, which will not do me any good for the IPad. With my Iphone, I usually will have either wireless, 3G or both to choose from. Based on this experience, I changed my order to get the 3G 64GB IPad. I hate having to wait longer for it.
  19. lsymmonds
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    lsymmonds iPF Novice

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    Please explain the comment about using a Droid phone. I assume you mean to tether or does the Droid act as a WiFi spot? Also what is MyFi please?

    I ordered a 3G 64B iPad and hate waiting (has anyone seen any rumors about the release date for the 3G version?).
  20. IpadOne
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    IpadOne iPad Addict

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    iPad 3g

    I agree with you not so many Hotel have good Wifi, and it's clear for people like us travel a lot a 3G will be much better ...

    i deeply believe , i will not carry so often as now my MBP ... iPad will do most of i need in bizz trip

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