Are Universities Banning iPads?

April 21, 2010

12:07 am

Princeton University has found a major iPad wifi issue with its network. This problem is severe enough that Princeton has blocked the offending iPads from accessing network resources.

Typically, every gadget that uses a wireless access point is assigned a specific IP address for identification from a host network. These assigned addresses have a “lease” time or expiration date. When the lease time is up, a device’s IP address can be either renewed or reassigned.

iPad users can’t use the internet!
Princeton University IT reported a claim that Apple iPads are exhibiting a software glitch that causes DHCP/WiFi client malfunctions. Apparently iPads will correctly obtain an assigned IP address from the host network and if properly disconnected, iPads will stop using its assigned IP address.

Unfortunately, if the iPad falls asleep or locks itself, then it will forget about the lease time on its assigned IP address. This means that when the iPad wakes up and starts using its wireless connection, it may no longer have an assigned IP address, but it will continue to use the IP address it was assigned before falling asleep. According to Princeton University IT, “as of April 18, 25 of the 41 iPads on the campus network have exhibited this malfunction.”

This creates a network connectivity problem as most networks will reject devices that do not properly obtain and use an assigned IP address. iPad owners will see that they are connected but will not experience any network connectivity at all.

The story was soon picked up by both Live Science and the Wall Street Journal who have their own opinions on the iPad. iPad users may experience network connectivity issues but Princeton is currently working with Apple to provide a fix for this bug. In the meantime, Princeton has provided a few measures to allow the iPad to ask for a new IP address:

Power off the iPad (this is not the same as locking the screen). When you next power on the iPad, it will ask for a new lease.


Use the iPad’s Settings application to turn off its wireless interface. When you next turn on the iPad’s wireless interface (even if it’s only a few seconds later), it will ask for a new lease.

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Jeff Tong is a social media strategist in Washington DC and has been a long-time contributor at Tech Cocktail. You'll find Jeff at tech events, foodie hangouts, and possibly snorkeling somewhere tropical. Contact Jeff online at @gundamwing4132 or

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