Your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch finds wireless networks within a hotspot range and connects to the internet.
Your Apple mobile device will discover wifi networks only within a certain range from a hot spot. If you are too far away it wont connect or your pages will take a long time loading. Be aware not all commercial wifi networks allow free Internet access and you may need to pay a fee (airports, hotels, etc). In those places open Safari and try to navigate to a website. It won’t allow you but it will take you to their Home page asking you to agree to their terms of service and giving you instructions to pay fees.
To connect to a specific network in your iPad/iPhone/iPod go to Settings / Wi-Fi Networks and choose the network you want. If prompted enter the password.
What if you can’t connect?
Sometimes you need to renew the DHCP.
In some places and colleges like Princeton sometimes iPads has issues with this setting. It may be an issue related to the iPad/iPhone OS 3.2.
Go to Settings / Wi-Fi Networks and tap the blue arrow > next to your home network. Select Renew Lease down in the DHCP tab.
Power off the iPad/iPhone/iPod holding the phisical button for 2-3 seconds (not the same as locking the screen). When you next power on the iPad, it will ask for a new lease. You don’t need to do it yourself.
In the Settings turn off Wi-Fi and then turn it on again. Even if you do this a few seconds later it will ask for a new lease on its own. You don’t need to do it yourself.
Forgetting the Network
This only works for connected networks and your device will not auto join the specified open network. But also will help to reestablish the network connection you need.
Go to Settings / Wi-Fi Networks and tap the blue arrow > next to your home network. This time tap Forget this Network and wait for your iPad to reconnect. When you select the network again you will have to type a password if the network requires one.
You may have DNS Errors
You will need to use this method with every new network that doesn’t work. It increases your security and even speed up your connection.
Go to Settings and select Wi-Fi Networks. Chose the network. Tap the blue arrow > for the network you are trying. Select DNS and change/type 184.108.40.206 or/and 220.127.116.11 (OpenDNS IP address)
Additionally on your Router
Check the website for the manufacturer of your router/Wi-Fi access point and check if you have the latest firmware or software update.
Try resetting your router.
If you have more than 1 WEP key configured on your router/Wi-Fi access point try to just have 1 WEP key configured.
Turn OFF wireless security on the router/Wi-Fi access point like encryption and enable your Service set identifier (SSID) to be broadcast in order to isolate the issue.
And as a last resort consider performing a factory restore/reset of your Wi-Fi access point.
Need More Help?
Don’t forget to check out the Computing.Net iPad Forum.