Princeton Threatens to Block iPads Due to Wi-Fi Issues

Princeton University’s Information Technology department has issued a statement suggesting that iPads are disrupting campus Wi-Fi networks. The department recommends that students do not attempt to connect their iPads to campus networks “until the issue is fixed,” and says iPads may be blocked on a per-device basis to “maintain the stability and reliability of campus network services.”

iPads have exhibited a number of significant Wi-Fi issues, including weak/fluctuating Wi-Fi signals, inordinately slow transfer speeds, and/or inability to maintain wireless connections (constant drops). [See a comprehensive list of potential fixes]. However, we have yet to hear of any cases in which the iPad has caused general network instability or problems for other Wi-Fi-connected devices.

Princeton’s note to students reads:

“Network monitoring has shown that many iPad devices are causing a problem on the campus network. These devices are continuing to use an IP address they have been leased well beyond the time they should. This behavior causes a disruption on the campus network.

“At this time, we have seen this behavior from the majority of iPad devices connected to the campus network. We believe this is a bug within the iPad operating system. OIT has reported this bug to Apple in hopes that they will be able to provide a fix for this issue.

“Until a fix is provided by Apple, OIT recommends not connecting your iPad device to the campus network as it is extremely likely it will malfunction. iPad devices that malfunction in this manner while connected to the campus network may need to be blocked to maintain the stability and reliability of campus network services.”

A similar course of events unfolded at Duke University in 2007 when the first iPhone debuted. Duke initially blamed the iPhone for causing periodic network outages, but later discovered a Cisco router issue was to blame and recanted.

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