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Can iPad WiFi connect to a Hotspot?

SPROINGY

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I have an iPad Air WiFi, and was recently on a remote island that had a, can I call it, a "Cellular Data tower," which I believe is commonly called a 'hotspot.' The island had only private WiFi service. So I was out of contact with the 'Net.

I was very surprised when, at a restaurant which had WiFi now & then the Personal Hotspot icon appeared on my status bar. I do not know why that happened; maybe something to do with management's tech setup?

Can I configure an iPad Air WiFi model to connect to the 'Net if a hotspot is in range? The User Guide (p.58) says a WiFi iPad *can connect to the 'Net but it must be connected to the cellular data network. How to do that??

I went to Settings, searched "Cellular Data," and one result was "Safari->Reading List." I went to Safari, there was no 'reading list.' So I don't know if I get my machine configured to connect to the hotspot or not. Does anybody know?

Another guy on the island had a Samsung laptop, and he had a little machine (he didn't know the name for it) which just needed to be near his laptop, cost $75, Huawei, I've attached a pic of it here
image.jpeg
so he was online because of it. It would fit in the palm of your hand. Does anyone know (if I can't connect just with my WiFi machine) what that thing in the photo is and do they make them for iPads like mine?

Thanks for reading!
 

scifan57

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Your WiFi only iPad can connect to any available WiFi hotspot, if you have the password. This includes the hotspot from a MiFi device like the one in your photo. These devices connect to the cellular data network and create a WiFi hotspot, allowing a WiFi only device to connect to the Internet. These devices will work with any device with WiFi capability, such as your iPad.
 
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SPROINGY

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Thanks for the enlightenment, scifan57. So, my WiFi only machine can't be configured to connect to a cellular data network on its own. I guess if it could, nobody would buy the iPads that use SIM cards!

I would presume the owner of the hotspot would have the password, and charge for usage by megabyte, i.e. how much uploading and downloading is done.

Thanks for letting me know the name- MiFi- and that it will work with my iPad.

This is a big help! Thanks so much!
 

giradman

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Thanks for the enlightenment, scifan57. So, my WiFi only machine can't be configured to connect to a cellular data network on its own. I guess if it could, nobody would buy the iPads that use SIM cards!

I would presume the owner of the hotspot would have the password, and charge for usage by megabyte, i.e. how much uploading and downloading is done.

Thanks for letting me know the name- MiFi- and that it will work with my iPad.

Hello - Scifan.. has already addressed your question but just to further clarify - I've owned 3 Wi-Fi only iPads (current one for me is an iPad Air 2) - the ONLY way to get on the internet is to connect to a Wi-Fi network, which I do in our home using a Wi-Fi router; other options are Wi-Fi networks, some are free (like the hotel rooms that we may be in) while others may be charged - passwords are often required for both free or paid connections (e.g. in our most recent hotel stay, the Wi-Fi was 'free' w/ the room but we had to enter our name & room number).

Now, another way to connect your Wi-Fi only iPad is through a cellular connection as a 'hotspot' - your phone may be able to set up its own hotspot depending on your plan; also, you can purchase a Mi-Fi device (or choose a cellular company w/ a plan and get the device for free; of course, you are paying for the plan - some are 'pay as you go' - i.e. many options) - check HERE for some more information on these Mi-Fi devices - basically they are cellular 'wireless routers' that create a local Wi-Fi network - please pose questions, if needed - Dave :)
 

scifan57

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Thanks for the enlightenment, scifan57. So, my WiFi only machine can't be configured to connect to a cellular data network on its own. I guess if it could, nobody would buy the iPads that use SIM cards!

I would presume the owner of the hotspot would have the password, and charge for usage by megabyte, i.e. how much uploading and downloading is done.

Thanks for letting me know the name- MiFi- and that it will work with my iPad.

This is a big help! Thanks so much!
The normal way fees are charged for using paid WiFi hotspots is by the hour or day. If you use such paid hotspots, it won't take long before the fees equal the cost of a MiFi device and your own data plan for it.
 
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SPROINGY

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I have been doing homework on this, but it's a new concept for me. I've learned that a phone is necessary as part of the setup. From what I've read, I don't get why my iPad and the MiFi aren't all that's necessary to get connected to a cellular network. A MiFi is a wireless router that acts as a mobile hotspot.

Why then, the phone? Because it's a cell phone, therefore necessary?

My phone is an old, discontinued model. But it is a cell phone and it has 'Net connectivity, storage, and a memory card slot. But, confusingly for me, someone said it should have wireless capability, too?

I'm just wondering what the function of a phone is here, and since I'm not clear about that, I'm not sure what phone to get to ensure compatibility with the tablet and MiFi, also I want one that will work without being a pain to use.

I'd be most grateful if someone could clarify this for me. Even more grateful if a recommendation could be made about a phone model that works as I've described above without being ridiculously expensive.

In the meantime, I see there's some other posts about this, but from 2012.

Tech changes rapidly!

Thanks!
 

scifan57

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If you have a MiFi unit with an active data plan, you do not need an iPhone to connect a WiFi only iPad to the Internet. The MiFi unit will generate a WiFi hotspot that can be used by the iPad.
 

giradman

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If you have a MiFi unit with an active data plan, you do not need an iPhone to connect a WiFi only iPad to the Internet. The MiFi unit will generate a WiFi hotspot that can be used by the iPad.

@ Sproingy - not sure what your confusion is about? You can have a smartphone w/ a data plan that can be setup as a Wi-Fi hotspot (typically at extra cost) or you can opt for a Mi-Fi device which behaves similarly as a hotspot but is NOT a phone - these plans can be purchased separately - as to cost, you need to research the brands, prices and locations to be used - I cannot make a specific recommendation, sorry. Dave :)
 

twerppoet

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A little more information that may explain why you are getting contratictory information.

A MiFi (and other similar devices) creates a small wi-fi network that you can connect to. It will work with any device that can connect to a wi-fi network, including your iPad.

Modern smart phones, those made within the last 4 to 5 years, do the same thing. They create a wi-fi network that any wi-fi device can connect to.

In between the modern smart phone and the old, unsmart phones, there was a period of time where you could get phones that used either a cable or Bluetooth to connect to the and the internet. It was slow, and didn't work very well, but it's what we had.

And, of course, there was some overlap. The first couple of iPhones used these older, slower, technologies.

A few of the phones in the market can still do this, but very few people care to use it; and the current generation of iPads don't work with it, or if they do it's unreliable and too much trouble to set up.
 
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SPROINGY

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Thanks, guys. My confusion/uncertainty is because I'd never even heard of a MiFi until about a month ago, and the iPad User guide doesn't discuss the topic in detail.

Now, I'm told a MiFi is all I'll need with my iPad.

I noticed a friend's phone today, it' 3G, has wireless capability as well as being able to use a SIM card. I'd never realized phones have both WiFi capability as well as cellular.

It's funny how you'll notice details like that when you're getting interested/obsessed with a topic! :)

So I'm sure she has all she needs, with a phone like that, to do all the things you can do with the 'Net these days. But I want to use the bigger screen iPads have.
 

giradman

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Hi again Sproingy - if you are isolated on an island and your iPad is only Wi-Fi capable, then you have the following choices to connect to the internet: 1) Obtain a smartphone that can be setup as a Wi-Fi hotspot (this will likely cost you extra on a data plan) - then you can use the phone to get on the internet and the iPad on its Wi-Fi 'hotspot'; 2) Purchase a Mi-Fi device w/ a cellular service - a local Wi-Fi network can be created and your iPad can connect; or 3) Find a Wi-Fi 'hotspot' on the island - if free fine; if not and protected, then you might ask if you can use the network (may have to pay and probably will need to be given a password). Finally, I'm not sure which island you are on but if you go for one of the cellular options above (i.e. 1 or 2), make sure the island is covered by the provider chosen. Dave :)
 

twerppoet

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I'd like to emphasise Dave's last point. An issolated island is unlikely to have more than one or two cellular carrieres available. Make sure your Mi-Fi (or other solution) will work on those carriers. And make sure it's not going to be in roaming mode (ask the carrier), because that is almost always 'very' expensive.
 
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SPROINGY

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Hi guys, thanks,
Yes, I know the cellular carrier. The cell tower, I'm told, has only been there for a month, before that, they had nothing.

But MiFi's will work, as I mentioned earlier on in this thread, I used a friend's connection when I was there, and I was impressed.

He told me the following (I'll edit out the unnecessary parts). He said:

"As for the MiFi, when you buy the thing, it comes with default username and password which you can change when you connect it to your computer. You name your network and specify your own password.

From my own experience, simple browsing and emailing don't gobble up your credit, but downloads do. It's difficult to measure, but it seems that 1GB of data costs around $10 on the Smart (cellular) network here. Sounds a lot, but they have a function to convert $1 of phone credit to $30 of internet credit. You put your MiFi SIM in your phone and dial *656*100#. The downside of that conversion is that the $30 credit lasts only about a week."

That's what he said, important to note he was using a Samsung laptop. Perhaps that's why he needed to use the phone? But an iPad has more capability, making a phone unnecessary? (I already have one phone, which is an old, discontinued model, but I'm satisfied with it).

I've read pages 68 & 69 of (I think it's) the latest User Guide- iOS 9.1

I'll get there! You've been tremendous help! :)
 

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