How Do I Connect My iPad 2 to a Network?

To get on the web, your iPad must first connect to a network that offers Internet access. To make this easy and seamless, your iPad comes with internal hardware that enables it to detect and connect to available networks.

iPad 2 comes in two versions:

– iPad with WI-FI: This type of iPad can connect only to wireless networks

– iPad with WI-FI + 3G: This type of iPad can connect to wireless networks and cellular networks.

Understanding Wi-Fi networks
Wireless devices such as Apple iPad 2 transmit data and communicate with other devices using radio frequency (RF) signals that are beamed from one device to another. Although these radio signals are similar to those used in commercial radio broadcasts, they operate on a different frequency. The most common wireless networking technology is Wi-Fi. There are four main types – 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n (we will not explain these types in details, it is enough for you to know what types exist). Apple iPad 2 supports all types of wireless types which means it can take advantage of the fastest wireless networks out there, particularly those based on Apple’s AirPort Extreme wireless acces point.

Understanding cellular networks
If your iPad is a second model, it means not only can your iPad connect to wireless networks and hot spots, but it also can make use of a cellular network if no wireless networks are in range. There are two specific types of cellular networks: 3G and EDGE (again, we will not explain in details). Unfortunately, although you can often ride the wireless train for free, there’s no such luck when it comes to cellular networks. Your iPad’s 3G chip won’t work unless you plug a micro-SIM into the iPad’s micro-SIM slot (located on the left edge of the device when you hold it in portrait mode).

Connecting to a Wi-Fi Network
As soon as you try to access something on the Internet, your iPad scours the surrounding airwaves for wireless network signals. This dialog displays a list of the networks that are within range. For each network, you get three tidbits of data:

  1. Network name. This is the name that the administrator has assigned to the network. If you are in a coffee shop or similar hot spot and you want to use that network, look for the name of the shop.
  2. Password-protected. If network displays a lock icon, it means the network is protected by a password, and you need to know that password to make the connection.
  3. Signal strength. This icon gives you a rough idea of how strong the wireless signals are. The stronger the signal (the more bars you see, the better the signal), the more likely you are to get a fast and reliable connection.

Making your first connection
Follow these steps to connect to a Wi-Fi network:

  1. Tap the network you want to use. If the network is protected by a password, your iPad 2 prompts you to type the password.
  2. Use the keyboard to type the password.
  3. Tap Join. The iPad connects to the network and adds the wireless network signal strength icon to the status bar.

To connect to a commercial Wi-Fi operation – such as those you find in airports, hotels, and convention centers – you almost always have to make one more step. In most cases, the network prompts you for your name and credit card data so you can be charged for accessing the network.

Connecting to known networks
If network is one that you use all the time – for example, your office network or home – the good news is your Apple iPad 2 remembers any network you connect to. As soon as a known network comes within range, your iPad makes the connection.

Stopping the incessant Wi-Fi network prompts
The Select a Network dialog is a handy convenience if you are not sure whether a network is available. However, as you move around town, you may find that dialog popping up all over the place as new Wi-Fi networks come within range. If you don’t want to be bothered with constant tapping the Cancel button, there is a solution:

  1. On the Home screen, tap Settings. The Settings screen appears.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi. Apple iPad 2 opens the wireless network screen.
  3. Tap the Ask to Join Network switch to the Off position. Your iPad no longer prompts you with nearby networks.

Now you no longer see the prompts, and you don’t know when you are able to connect to network right??? Here is the answer:

  1. On the Home screen, tap Settings. Your iPad 2 displays the Settings screen.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi. The Wireless Networks screen appears, and the Choose a Network list shows you the available networks.
  3. Tap the network you want to use. If the network is protected by a password, your Apple iPad prompts you to type the password.
  4. Use the keyboard to type the password.
  5. Tap Join. The iPad connects to the network and adds the network signal strength icon to the status bar.

Connecting to a hidden Wi-Fi network
Some users disable network name broadcasting (you can’t see the name of the network in available network connections box) as a security precaution. The idea here is that if an unauthorized user can’t see the network, he or she can’t attempt to connect to it. You can still connect to a hidden network by entering the connection settings by hand. But you need to know the network name, the network’s security type, and the network’s password. Here are the steps how to connect to a hidden network:

  1. On the Home screen, tap Settings to open the Settings screen.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi. You see the Networks screen
  3. Tap Other. Your iPad 2 displays the Other Network screen.
  4. Use the Name text box to type the network name.
  5. Tap Security to open the Security screen.
  6. Tap the type of security used by the Wi-Fi network: WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA Enterprise, WPA2 Enterprise, or None.
  7. Tap Other Network to return to the Other Network screen. If you chose WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA Enterprise, or WPA2 Enterprise, your iPad prompts you to type the password.
  8. Use the keyboard to type the password.
  9. Tap Join. The Apple iPad 2 connects to the network and adds the network signal strength icon to the status bar.

Turning off the Wi-Fi antenna to save power
If you know you won’t be using wireless for a while, you can save some battery juice for more important pursuits by turning off your iPad’s antenna. Here’s how:

  1. On the Home Screen, tap Settings. The Settings screen appears.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi. The Wireless Networks screen appears.
  3. Tap the Wi-Fi switch to the Off position. Your iPad 2 disconnects from your current network and hides the Choose a Networks list.

When you are ready to resume your Wi-Fi duties, return to the Networks screen and tap the Wi-Fi switch to the On position.